Hi – my name is Phia, and I am a Starbucks-acholic.
Ever since I was a small child (like I’m talking 5) I’ve had a love affair with coffee. I would sneak sips of my mom’s coffee whenever I could. I started making and drinking my own coffee’s well before 10.
All of which resulted in some stern warnings from my Nana that my growth would be stunted and I would end up shorter than her.
This was a warning that I should have taken seriously, my Nana was only 5′ tall, but in the wisdom of all my 10 years, I completely ignored her and indulged in my coffee drinking with little regard for my future selves potential height impairment.
Lucky for me, even with the caffeine, I turned out just fine at a very average 5’6″. (Okay – 5’5 and 3/4″, which I’m only admitting because I know Mike will call me out big time if I don’t. But come on, who doesn’t round up a little when it comes to their height.)
When I hit my teens and discovered Starbucks, which happened somewhere around the age of 14, it was the beginning of a long and very expensive relationship.
If I tallied what I’ve spent at Starbucks over the past 20 years, it would probably make me and everyone reading this cringe, and I would probably be able to make a pretty substantial downpayment on a rental property with said amount. Yikes.
I have alway made room in my budget for Starbucks, even back in my multi-job waitressing years. Whether it was my calorie laden Mocha with a chocolate oat bar (more chocolate than oats) for lunch, my several year stint with green tea, or my current Decafe Americano, I refused to be one of the people who gave up their daily “latte” for the gain of future financial independence. I found creative ways to save elsewhere.
As I once explained in extensive detail to our oldest son, who at 7 was legitimately confronting Mike on why we spend so much money at Starbucks when we are always espousing the importance of mindful spending, we get a whole lot of value out of our Starbucks.
So much value that we intentionally budget about $250.00 per month on our Starbucks trips. Yup – I know…..that’s a doozy of a number for coffee, but we make up for this indulgence elsewhere, and we really do love our Starbucks!
Before our youngest was born in 2017, Mike and I would head to Starbucks almost daily, library books in tote (one of the many ways we offset these coffee costs!), and we would sit in the “comfy” chairs and just read and sip our coffee’s. (Yes, we do realize that we are old fogies at heart, but we prefer to use the term old souls.)
Pre-our youngest child, we did this so often that the Starbucks employees nicknamed us “the book couple”. I kinda liked it 🙂
We would easily spend an hour or two sitting, reading and sipping, and loving every minute of that downtime. Surrounded by the smell of fresh brewing coffee, and the hub bub of our favourite Starbucks locale.
We LOVED our “Starbucks dates”. And anytime we considered cutting Starbucks out of our daily routine (which we discussed on MANY, many, many, occasions), we always came to the same conclusion. We got a LOT of value out of our $3.73 beverages and the occasional chocolate chunk cookie split between us about 70/30. It was Mike’s cookie, I just always had a “couple” bites.
For us, the return on investment was completely worth it.
And when our youngest son was born, we still went for our Starbucks dates. Albeit less frequently, and they lasted for however long he would nap in his car seat for. But as he became more mobile, the reality of our Starbucks dates changed. I began to make Starbucks a destination for my daily walk with him, and I would just grab my coffee and go. Some mornings Mike would hit up the drive-thru after dropping our oldest off at school, and we would have our Starbucks at home.
These changes were all part of the flexing of parenting, but what we recently realized is we were no longer getting the same value out of our daily ritual.
The value wasn’t just coming from the beverage we were buying, it was coming from the whole experience. And we weren’t getting that experience anymore.
Sitting in Starbucks, reading for an hour or two is just no longer conducive to the current circumstances of our lives (aka the terrible twos).
So as we re-evaluated our Starbucks ritual, it became readily apparent that our current “experience” could be easily replicated at home with our trusty, but very underused, coffee maker. In fact, after spending a couple weeks vacationing with my in-laws, we came to realize that we really liked the smell of freshly brewing coffee in the morning. It was a whole new (cheaper) version of our coffee experience, one that fits with our life circumstances now.
So, after returning back home to Vancouver this past week after a month of fun in the sun, we decided that we would do a trial run of life without our Starbucks. Starting with a 30 day Starbucks-free challenge. No coffee, no treats, no Starbucks at all.
In 30 days, we’ll re-evaluate to see just how much we missed our daily ritual, or if we like our new one even better.
Who knows, this might just be the first time in nearly 20 years that I say an extended goodbye to Starbucks.
Either way – it was high-time we reevaluated the return on investment of our Starbucks experience, so here we go. I had my last Venti Decafe Americano yesterday……hello Day 1 of our Starbucks free challenge.
We’d love to hear what you break your financially frugal rules to indulge in! Leave a comment and tell us about your “daily latte”, and why it’s totally worth the money spent!
NEXT WEEK: We’ll tell you all the reasons why you should NEVER buy your kid a cell phone. Ever, ever.