This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.
I had the opportunity to enjoy an “Employee Appreciation Day” at work recently, which of course resulted in conversations having nothing to do with money that I promptly interpreted into financial lessons for us all. On this particular sunny afternoon, a few co-workers were discussing their addiction to iced coffee. Where I live, iced coffee, particularly that produced by a popular chain that rhymes with “Munkin Monuts,” is a big deal. We work in a busy area, on a campus full of professionals, so there’s no lack of opportunities to visit any number of establishments and load up for the day on delicious icy caffeine.
These co-workers, however, were discussing the frequency with which they buy iced coffee. I listened carefully, and the average seemed to be about two, but occasionally more, trips a day. Because I am a miserly curmudgeon, I was horrified. I’m no Dave Ramsey with his Latte Factor, but let’s do the math: 2 iced coffees a day, at $3 each (I’m being conservative, as it can be more depending on where you prefer to buy your coffee) for 50 weeks a year, figuring five-day work weeks, means they’re spending about $1500 a year on iced coffee. Don’t get me wrong – I greatly enjoy iced coffee. Once in awhile, I’ll start my Saturday or Sunday by picking up that popular chain’s delicious caramel swirl iced coffee, and happily begin my morning by drinking what is essentially melted coffee ice cream; or I’ll pick up something stronger and cold-brewed, and sip it delightedly. I love coffee. When we moved, my “new apartment” treat for myself was replacing my old and (despite my best efforts) filthy Mr. Coffee machine with a shiny new french press. Part of my excitement over finally having a kitchen was based on the fact that I will finally be able to brew my own cold-brew iced coffee (when the weather goes above 65 degrees, which won’t be for eons, but whatever). I understand a love of coffee. I understand a love of ritual. But I do not understand the constant purchasing of store-created (and store-cost) iced coffee.
My reasons aren’t only financial, although of course that plays into it. For $14 a month, I get fresh ground French Roast coffee from a local coffee spot I’m very fond of. I’m not so much of a coffee drinker (or snob) that I go through it very quickly, so it lasts me about two months (AND I get a free coffee drink out of the purchase, which I always look forward too, as it’s a way to have a latte without feeling like I’m paying for it). That breaks down to about forty cents a day. I also have a small but cherished ten minutes built into my morning routine, before my husband wakes up, during which all I do is sit on my couch, savor my coffee, and watch Matt Lauer tell me how many more children the Duggars plan to have. It’s glorious.
It’s also the reason I cannot totally comprehend the need to buy so much coffee (and iced coffee at that, which is universally more expensive) every day. No time to drink it at home? I’ve been there, and that’s why they invented those great heat-sealing tumblers. Love the way Starbucks crafts their lattes? Great, but then do not continuously show up to work in the latest J.Crew outfits bemoaning your lack of savings and expect me to sympathize. Perhaps I’m too tight-fisted for my own good; but I’ve trained myself so thoroughly that things you end up buying, despite being able to make them yourself, are a special treat, that the frequent purchase of coffee unsettles me.
Am I crazy? Do you buy coffee on a daily basis?