Saving Money: So What’s Wrong with the Starbucks Latte?

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In the personal finance world you’ll probably notice that many authors talk about ditching the morning latte as a part of our saving money routine. As you can guess, some don’t agree, considering the save to be of too little value, compared to the joy said latte (or any other similar product) brings us.

DISCLAIMER: if you are not interested in aggressively save money, don’t have debt and can afford to spend hundreds of bucks/month without having to worry about it, then this ‘discussion’ is clearly not for you. Just enjoy your lifestyle and don’t worry 🙂

So .. back to our issue.

You are currently in debt. Or just want to be more responsible with your money, having some bigger plans for yourself (a home, some serious traveling, retirement etc.). In this case the morning latte brings more issues that we’d like it to.

I have already told you about my financial mistakes and how spending ‘a little here and there’ didn’t bring me any good. I was earning a very good salary and, besides some ‘investments’ for which I saved some money, there’s absolutely nothing to account for that.

saving-money-latte

Others in my position were able to save for a home (or at least for a big part of the cost, choosing a good mortgage for the rest), while I was living the good life, not caring about what I spend my money on. When my folks would try to advise me to slow down, my reply was the same: ‘it’s my money and it’s made to be spent‘.

Fortunately life taught me that money is OK to be spent, but there’s a difference between spending it on something that really matters and just reckless spending.

So, in my opinion, when it comes to saving money, this is what’s wrong with the Starbucks latte:

IT TEACHES A BAD HABIT

When you are paying off debt, saving money or just being more responsible with your money, the little stuff matters. All the small payments, when being summed up, get you to more money. It’s easy to waste hundreds of bucks a month, just by indulging like this.

IT COSTS WAY MORE THAN IT SHOULD

I am always willing to pay for something that saves me time or/and tastes good, but I find the latte (and other similar products) to actually be overpriced. Seriously overpriced.

OK, it’s a brand, it’s indulgence, it tastes nice, but seriously … it is expensive. Just when you come to think of how much coffee actually costs (you can find any brands that really taste amazing), some milk/whipped cream and some sugar, you start realizing you’d be able to make your own stuff at a fraction of the price.

YOU DON’T STOP THERE

I already talked about the bad habit we learn like this: many people don’t just stop at the one morning latte. You might want some coffee after few hours, maybe a muffin etc. So, the few bucks here and there might add up to 10-15/day, which, in a month, is already big money, especially for someone who’s trying to pay off debt faster or hasn’t been able to save anything for retirement.

Should you skip the lattes?

I personally would do so. Oh, wait, I am doing it. I don’t ‘drink out’ unless I travel or meet with a client (and most of the time in this case the client is paying).

We do have a nice small coffee machine at home. Nothing too fancy, just something that can do a decent job. It takes few seconds for it to make a nice coffee, a cappuccino or a latte. We have the best coffee (as husband is seeing it, since I’m not a huge fan), that costs as 4-5 lattes would cost us. And we can make a lot of coffee from it. Some good quality milk or whipping cream is also in the fridge.

Once equipped with this, even a monkey can press the button and get the ‘juice’ out. This is good, since I’m clearly not the most talented person when it comes to our kitchen.

Both of us have decided to keep an eye on the small expenses, trying to invest in the things that really make us happy. In our case traveling is very important, so, by not eating out too much and being careful at what we spend money on, we can afford at least an yearly vacation.

So, is the Starbucks latte something you can live without? Is there any indulgence you consider it affects your savings plan?

6 COMMENTS

  1. I stopped drinking coffee about two years ago, when I realized that it wasn’t working for me anymore. In my case, we owned a small coffee shop and I didn’t even have to pay for it, but I still decided to stop. Anything that you consume out of habit alone is, in my opinion, something you should stop consuming.

    But my “latte” was a can of soda daily. It was more expensive, per liter, than getting a 2 liter bottle, but I preferred it because it was exactly what I needed and was always fresh and cold. Until I realized that it adds up to a pretty big sum monthly, so I stopped. Indeed, it’s the small things that add up to big spending!

  2. I’ve never been a latte drinker, and I far prefer my coffee from a pot at home as soon as I roll out of bed. Also, I’m far too lazy to have to go to for takeout coffee every single day. I never got into the habit. I do think it’s a bad habit to have though; after all, the environmental and health impact is nuts.

  3. It’s often the little, regular expenses that can really add up over time. Many of them could be greatly reduced by making some relatively easy substitutions. However, sometimes we have those little expenses in our life that we really enjoy.

    Ultimately I think it’s about needs before wants – and then in terms of wants, it’s a matter of what gives you the most happiness and value for money spent. It might be different for each of us.

    For example, if you can give up expensive coffee to save for a nice vacation, that’s the way to go. If a person would forgo the vacation and instead have expensive coffee each day, that’s okay too. Having both is where the problems start 🙂

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