I met Starbucks during my freshmen year of college. After long nights of studying, the only thing that got me to class on time was that $5 latte at the shop conveniently located next to my 8:00 a.m. class. After a while, my connection with that latte grew tired, a typical trait in most relationships, and I branched off to bigger and better options. I began trying americanos, macchiatos, frappachinos, and all the other “os” I could get my hands on. My morning sip was no longer good enough and the afternoon pick-me-ups started to become another permanent addition to my daily routine.
Fast forward 8 years, as I sat at my desk reminiscing of all my coffee conquests, holding my triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat caramel macchiato, and dreaming of a debt-free life full of travel. Not realizing my toxic relationship with Starbucks was holding me back from these dreams, it was a coworkers comment that gave me my “a-ha” moment that day. Said coworker walked by my desk cracking a joke about my coffee addiction and how I should just send Starbucks my paycheck every month. A-Ha! I immediately pulled out my calculator and my online bank account and was determined to find out exactly how much money I had wasted on this relationship. In 6 months alone, I had given Starbucks $1250! I was spending $50 a week on coffee!! I was spending more money on my coffee fix than I was paying toward my student loans each month.
That was the last coffee drink I purchased that year. I broke up with Starbucks and have not regretted it one bit. Here are some of my tips for cutting that extra cost and applying that money to other areas in your budget:
- Take advantage of free work coffee! I broke up with Starbucks, not coffee. So I still needed to find a way to get my caffeine fix without spending a fortune. If you work in an office environment, you most likely have access to free coffee. Is normal coffee as sweet and delicious as a macchiato drizzled with caramel? No. Does it give you the caffeine boost you need in the morning? Yes. Beggars can’t be choosers; and besides, maybe you’ll lose an inch around your belt from cutting the calories!
- Pimp out your at-home coffee station. If I’m spending $50 a week on coffee, then I can afford to buy a nice coffee maker and all the accessories for creating my own home made lattes. Once I got past the price of the coffee maker, I was spending only $4 a week on coffee.
- Don’t spend your coffee money, save it! At 26 years old, I had student loans along with medical bills dragging down my credit score. I came up with a method of paying $50 a week toward bills since I was spending that money already anyways. (With the exception of my student loans, that sucker still has a rope around my ankle.)
- Don’t stop when your bills are paid off. When I paid off my debts, I didn’t go back to spending that money. I used it to accomplish one of my dreams. I booked a trip to Paris that fall. I’m not sitting at my desk dreaming of traveling the world; I’m actually doing it.
Nobody’s perfect, it’s been over a year since my breakup with my barista and I’ve still had moments of weakness and hit Starbucks up for the occasional “backslide”. Breaking up with your barista will not solve all of your problems, and not everyone spends as much money on coffee as I used to. The point of my story is to show you that if you dig deep and take a look at your lifestyle choices, you can find ways to cut unnecessary spending and apply it to what matters most…shoes!
Stay tuned for next month’s money-saving tip: “How shoes ruined my credit score.” Only kidding 🙂