The Latte Factor: I’m addicted to coffee

A Starbucks Coffee Cup with Post Title

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Coffee?  What’s this have to do with finances or architecture?  
I’m glad you asked!  Let me tell you! 

Coffee Addition in the Making

I started drinking coffee in college.  It became a symbol of being in architecture school.  That coupled with the infamous all-nighters and you had the formula for “Architorture” as many students not-so-lovingly referred to our major of choice. 

I was blessed with some financial assistance in college so all I had to focus on was doing the best I could at school.  So besides sleep (I only pulled two all-nighters in 5 years), coffee became my second best friend. 

The problem though, is that I am lazy when it comes to food at home.  I consider coffee “food” because it requires preparation.  I absolutely hate cooking.  I’ll eat out every day if it means I can avoid the kitchen, and the associated cooking and dishes that goes along with it.  

I’ve always known my tendency toward food laziness.  I’ve gone off and on stints of Starbucks versus making coffee at home.  

I must say, that many architects I know (with the exception of one) also all drink coffee. It seems to be our drink of choice – at least for the morning.  And then there’s the afternoon coffee.   

When I was in high school, I worked for an architecture firm in Vegas, and one of my job duties was the Starbucks run.  It was right down the street.  There was no drive through, but rather metered parking.  I’d go it with money from 5-10 people and come out with two cartons of drinks (or whatever the cardboard drink holders were called).  Then I’d have to very carefully drive back to the office.  

I never understood the afternoon coffee thing until I started working full time in a firm myself.  

Don’t even get me started on when I discovered that you could drink coffee for desert!  When I studied abroad in Italy for a year during a school organized dinner, we were offered desert wine or coffee.  I was amazed; I could have coffee at 8pm?!  I thought it was only for mornings!!  

That was the beginning of my coffee demise! 

I am a Coffee Addict

Coffee is like water now. I drink it in the morning, afternoon, and often in the evenings.  I’ve transitioned from drinking coffee at home to at work to drive through Starbucks.  I’ve also transitioned from creamer with coffee to coffee with creamer to black coffee.  

Through all these transitions, I’ve discovered how expensive my coffee habit can be, especially in the last two years.  My current place is located right by a drive-through Starbucks making it really convenient to drive through in the mornings when I am especially lazy or didn’t get up early enough to make coffee at home. 

The drive-through coffee is a result of poor habits at home.  Since I’ve moved to a small space, I do not have room for a plug-in drip coffee maker.  I’ve switched to a french press.  While this is good, it means that I can’t automate my coffee.   It also means that if I don’t clean out the press each day, it’ll end up sitting for too long and I’ll avoid making coffee again. 

For me, it’s all about ways to make things as easy as possible and automate whenever possible.

Financial Repercussions of Coffee Convenience

I haven’t checked all my accounts, but a year ago (2018) I realized I was spending way too much money on eating out and Starbucks.  Occasionally doing these things won’t break the bank, but doing them every day will.  

At first, I stopped drinking lattes more than twice a week and switched to just coffee at $2.65 per large cup.  I’ve noticed that different areas have different prices, so this is the price my local Starbucks charges. 

Let’s look at 1 coffee per day at $2.65. That’s $13.25 per week.  That’s a minimum of $53 per month on just coffee.  I don’t get anything special any more – just a large, dark roast coffee with milk.  

I do also get special drinks on the weekends that average $5.55-$6.25 per drink.  These vary between large mochas with an extra shot of espresso to large caramel macchiattos or just plain vanilla lattes.  If I get one of these on each Saturday and Sunday, I’ve spent about $12.  That’s $48 per month in addition to my daily morning coffee habit. 

Can you believe that is a total of $101 per month I’m spending on coffee out? That’s insane!  

After a year that’s $1212.  Compounded over the next ten years at an average of 7% (based on the historical performance of the stock market), I could have $2,384 instead of overpriced coffee to satisfy my desire to be lazy. I’ve missed out on some money!

OOOORRRR…. 

I just get my coffee from Costco at $13 for a 2 pound bag and that will last me 3-4 weeks.  Assuming it only lasts 3 weeks, that’s $0.62 per day for coffee.  And I usually get two large mugs full.  Since I don’t drink milk with my coffee at home, it is now much cheaper for me than it was a few years ago too! 

This allows me to enjoy life, and coffee, while still saving for my future.  

I think I just needed to run the math and really show myself what I’m doing financially.  

Coffee isn’t good for you!

I know, I can hear you screaming at me: don’t drink so much coffee!  But I love it.  I’ve tried to switch to tea of various types, but it’s just not the same.

Not to mention the health effects.  I know I’m addicted because I get regular caffeine headaches if I don’t have coffee each morning. 

Coffee I make at home

Since I’m not going to quit drinking coffee, I need to just commit to making coffee at home. While this is a small issue in the larger scheme of my spending habits, it is one I absolutely can control and see an instant win (for now).

When I make coffee at home, I use the French Press. This is because I live in a small apartment without lots of counter space or cabinet space. Rather than dealing with an electric coffee maker, this is much easier and tastes better too!

I did have to adjust to using the french press. I still do because I can be lazy in the mornings as I’m waking up and getting ready for work. I’ve learned that I have just enough time to use a stove top kettle to heat the water if I start it right after I get out of the shower. While I’m getting dressed and ready the water is boiling. I’ll pour the water into the french press when it’s hot and then finish getting ready! Pretty easy!

I just have to remember that it is that easy! Haha!

Coffee in a French Press

The Challenge

I’m challenging myself to a month of drinking coffee at home (or at work since it’s free).  That means no buying coffee at Starbucks on the weekend. No afternoon walks to Pete’s Coffee for a sweet treat.  Just coffee from home.   

I’m also going to reduce my coffee intake from countless cups to just that which I make in the morning.  If I want more to drink during the day, I can switch to hot tea or water.  I need to drink more water anyway.  

Follow me on Instagram for the next 30 days to track my daily progress in this personal challenge.  Not only will it help my pocket book, but it will help my health as well.  One small change at a time.  

What about you?!

Will you join this challenge?  Have a better idea for a challenge that will help you more than changing your coffee habits?  Share your personal challenges for this month in the comments or over at my Facebook page

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