OMG OMG! There’s a Starbucks open in town! It has a drive-through! OMG!
Still, as much as I love Starbucks…the thrill of the aroma, the cup of joe on the go to start the day, or the afternoon treat…that stuff adds up. Way up. How much? Well, let’s just say that our premise – Avoid Starbucks, Save Money – isn’t something we arrived at overnight.
Now, the advice on this subject can often be trite: don’t go to Starbucks, set the money aside, and you’ll have thousands of dollars extra and you can retire to an island somewhere. (Ideally, an island where you can grow your own coffee, then roast it yourself, and make all the double espressos you want.) It’s true, but it’s also easier said than done.
Your Three-Step Plan
You need a plan, and, in our opinion, these three steps are the way to go. Will it completely cut your Starbucks addiction? No. That could be impossible. (We think back to the time we worked at a downtown office where there was a Starbucks on the first floor – so avoidance was not realistic.) Here, then, our three steps.
1. Get the Goods Cheaper
NO, we’re not advocating any sort of Starbucks credit card, or Rewards card or some such.
We are advocating one of the memberships that we plan to keep: Costco. There, we get the Colombian in a 2-pound bag, and we pay less than $10. Five bucks a pound for the premium stuff is a good deal – better than just about any kind of coffee we can get anywhere.
But this is important because the second step is where the magic really happens…
2. Add Up the Make-at-Home Cost
This part was ALARMING to me, for a couple reasons. Reason 1 – we make A LOT of coffee at home. Reason 2 – we throw OUT a lot of coffee at home.
Alas, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so time to come clean with the math. REMEMBER…two of us drink coffee at this house. ALSO, I drink…A LOT OF COFFEE.
- We’ve been tracking this since August and we know, roughly, that a pound of coffee lasts us one week.
- We also know that the typical week includes a 10-cup pot each morning, plus the random 3-5 cup pot three times a week in the afternoon.
- TOTAL CUPS BREWED PER POUND: 85.
- COST FOR POUND OF COFFEE: $5.00.
- COST PER CUP: $0.0588.
If that kind of math doesn’t hit you upside the head, I don’t know what will.
Even factoring in things like sugar (my wife uses a minimal amount in her coffee, I don’t use it at all) and half-and-half (which is $2.19 or so for roughly a ten-day supply), you can see the advantage of doing this yourself.
3. Be Realistic: Give Yourself a Starbucks Allowance
It’s best to use cash for this – if you’re a fan of the envelope system, set aside a monthly Starbucks envelope. $50? $20? All up to you.
Quitting cold turkey is borderline crazy – it’s really not a good idea, and sometimes you DO need a break, need to unwind, need to get away, need to entertain the kids (I’m rationalizing for you).
However, if you’ve got your supplies ready (step one) and you know what it’s costing you (step two), then you might find yourself thinking twice before spending $2.50 on something you could make at home for a fraction of the cost. (Like…1/40 of the cost.)
What About You? Can You Avoid Starbucks – or Somewhere Else – to Save Money?
Any strategies for winnowing out the pesky spending that eats away at your wallet? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you…