Is saving $1,000 a year worth giving up my latte habit?

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CoffeeI always try to heed the advice of wise financial council that recommend a whole number of ways to cut expenses, reduce debt and live a prosperous and conscientious life.  The only advice that I have trouble heeding is the one that all seem to give …

Did you know if you cut out your triple lattes every morning you could save over $1,000 a year?

My problem is that well, yeah, I know I could save the money, but cutting lattes out of my life would put a serious crimp in my style.

Everywhere I have lived, I have developed an interesting relationship with the local cafe.

  • In San Francisco, I frequented a family-owned coffee place called Martha & Bros that was owned by a Nicaraguan woman named Martha and, of course, her brothers.  The coffee was really good, but the ambiance was even better.  The place in Noe Valley was right next door to a bagel shop, so I could get a piping hot bagel to go with my latte.  Not to mention that many friends were there, as well as two local fire stations in proximity (Those were my single days.  I was there once with a friend who loved firemen when two large truckloads of them piled in.  I believe she thought she had died and gone to heaven)
  • In Silicon Valley, the only place close to home was a Starbucks, so I went there.  This was a fascinating study in customer service.  I went to the same place for two years and always ordered the same drink (venti nonfat latte).  They never remembered me or my drink.  I must have looked like all the other techno-crazed Anglo residents who were dreaming of the next big dot.com pot of gold.  The only week they remembered me is when my best friend Desiree visited from Chicago.  She is African American, which was very rare in those parts, so for the week I was with her, Desiree thinks they remembered me as the "white chick with the black friend."  They forgot me again the week after she left.
  • After I left Silicon Valley and moved up to Oakland, I found a Peets Coffee within walking distance of my house at Lake Merritt.  I was a bit gun shy after my Starbucks experience, but within two months of going there, I received the coveted "Customer of the Week" designation by the staff.  They told me the criteria was "You have to come in a lot and we have to like you."  Just my kind of place!  I got unlimited free drinks for a week.  I knew everyone’s name and they knew mine.  That was an amazing neighborhood and an awesome cup of joe.
  • If I hadn’t fallen in love with Darryl who lived in Arizona, I would still be sitting at Peets.  But his powers of love brought me across state lines to Mesa where I live now.  The closest coffee place is again a Starbucks.  I dislike the "evil corporation" part of it, but this Starbucks has a big leg up on the last one.  I go every morning during the week with my son Josh and he has become somewhat of a rock star.  He actually has a set of "adoptive grandparents" there who we affectionately term "Grandma and Grandpa Starbucks."  All the baristas know him by name, and even stop what they are doing to run out from behind the counter and hug him.  As a work at home Mom, I really enjoy getting a strong dose of good vibes and community before I hit the keyboard.

So could I save a thousand bucks a year if I would leave my coffee habit behind?  Most definitely.  But you can bet I won’t give it up.

Financial advisers, hold me to the wall and make me clip coupons, lower my credit card interest rates and stop all impulse shopping.  But please don’t take away my latte.

7 Responses to “Is saving $1,000 a year worth giving up my latte habit?”

  1. Tuesday Financial Reading

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  2. Pamela Slim says:

    I hear you Natalie!

    I sure wish cutting expenses ran in my family. Actually it does with my Mom, but unfortunately, that gene went to my sister and not to me. I joke with my parents that I got the spending habits of my Dad (who loves to eat and live well and be spontaneous) with the guilt of my Mom (who is a wonderful, loving person, but sweats over spending money).

    As an almost 40 year old adult, I know I can’t blame my parents for my financial habits. I am learning to enjoy cutting back, since I can see how investing my money in things that matter instead of “shiny objects” is the best long-term strategy.

    Keep up your good work, and please enjoy a chocolate biscuit for me!

  3. I’m big on cutting expenses. I love that feeling of ‘gaining’ money through not spending it, I think it runs in the family. But you’re right, sometimes expenses are necessary, even if you can’t say they are strictly vital for your business to continue.. Like chocolate biscuits – Yes I could run a business without them, but why would I want to? 🙂

  4. John says:

    Set your self free from the Big Bad Mermaid. I did the math and then went out an bought a “pro-sumer” espresso machine adn grinder from http://www.wholelattelove.com. MMMMM, home brew, Peets can send beans via mail. Pays for itself in about 6 months. Then you can invite your friends / neighbors over for the social part, and free yourself from baristas that don’t know microfoam from shinola!

  5. Definitely Pam! After I posted my first comment, I was wondering how many cubicle escapee wannabes frequent Starbucks each morning? It might be a ‘legit’ place to drum up business. Any chance of doing a five-minute spiel during the morning rush?? Good luck!

  6. Pamela Slim says:

    Great point Glenda! Would you mind defending me to the IRS if I ever get audited for writing off all my morning lattes?

    🙂
    -Pam

  7. Pam,

    Perhaps your lattes aren’t really your latte factor, but rather a networking/marketing expenses, particularly if you hand out a few business cards each morning! Just a thought. Enjoy your morning ritual.

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