Back when I was in investment banking I was working the crazy hours everyone always hears about. Yes, it is possible to work 80+ hours a week. And yes, it’s virtually impossible to have any life outside of work if you work those kinds of hours. I kept up that crazy charade with a nice addiction to Starbucks. An average of 5-6 cups of coffee spread throughout the day and I survived. Granted, I wasn’t the healthiest or the most frugal back then, but at least I wasn’t drinking those $5+ frappuccinos or macchiatos, right?
I have since kicked my Starbucks habit (and am down to a single cup of java a day), and hadn’t thought about it until I came home the other night and my wife told me about the insane line she saw at the drive-through Starbucks in our town. She said it basically wrapped around the entirety of the shopping center. And this was in the middle of the morning. I can’t imagine what that line must have been like during the peak morning rush.
Other than the fact that you’re wasting dollar after dollar on coffee every time you go to Starbucks, there many other factors that have a negative impact on both your finances and your health.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Assuming you go to Starbucks 3 times per week on average, you’re most likely spending upwards of $10 per week. My wife and I live in a high cost of living area, so that number is probably closer to $15 per week here. That’s $780 per year! Maybe you hit Starbucks every weekday? You could be spending upwards of $1,300 per year on coffee! We can get a 30.5oz Folgers coffee for $9.99 at our local grocery store to brew at home. This will last at least a month, which means I’m only spending $120 per year on coffee. That’s a savings of over $1,100! If you invested that savings every year for 10 years, at the end you’d have a total of over $15,000 with a modest 5% annual growth. That’s some serious money.
What about the health benefits? Those specialty drinks are loaded with sugar and other detrimental ingredients. Ok, maybe you’re only ordering a small (venti, grande? I could never remember what’s what) Pike’s Place. But you’re still on the drive-through line! Not only are you wasting valuable natural resources by idling there, it’s probably taking you twice as long as if you had just parked and ran in. And you’re losing out on the exercise. All of those small steps you take to and from your car every day really add up.
Here’s my advice to save some cash and save your health along the way:
- Brew your own coffee at home. It’s much more affordable and it saves time!
- If you must go to Starbucks, limit yourself! Don’t go every day. Doesn’t it lose its luster after a while? Also, steer clear of the specialty drinks and other items loaded with sugar.
- If you just can’t bear to rid yourself of your Starbucks addiction, choose the farthest parking spot and walk in. Your body will thank you.
- You may be worried about the social aspects if you go with colleagues. Here’s a tip: ask your family and friends for Starbucks gift cards for holidays and birthdays. Then invest the savings for your financial future.
Do you have a Starbucks/Dunkin’ Donuts/local coffee spot addiction? What are your thoughts about the amount you’re spending on that after really thinking about it? Let me know in the comments below.