I just went out and bought an extra large double double and a cheese croissant. I am nursing it as I write this and it tastes like nostalgia sprinkled with heaven. More specifically, it tastes of finality, like drinking and gorging on New Years Eve before a health kick, or my eating my Last Meal (I’m not overdramatic at all).
Coffee, more specifically Tim Hortons and Second Cup coffee, is my Achilles heel. About three to four times a week, I’ll go on a fifteen minute walk to the Second Cup, about 1.2km away from my office. I’ll get a medium flavoured coffee ($2.05, or $1.85 if I bring my travel mug). I can justify it because it gives me a mental break out of the office, and on average costs a meagre $2. Nothing, right?
Except sometimes I get a cookie if I’m hungry. Or about once a month, I’ll go to Starbucks instead and wind up getting a hot chocolate and lemon poppyseed loaf ($6.50).
Using my debt and credit card alone, over the past 12 months I have spent $200 on coffee shops. Unfortunately, this only represents what must be less than half of my expenditures, since Mint doesn’t always classify the purchases correctly, and I often use cash. So let’s just say, conservatively, that I spend $500 a year on coffee shops. That would almost cover the entire cost of one course through Athabasca.
This has been one money leeching habit that I have been reluctant to eliminate. In the fall, when money was super tight, I bought a $7 container of instant coffee to keep at the office, which lasted me for about 3.5 weeks. I’m not that fussy, so I didn’t mind. But I missed the smell of the coffee shop, the experience of getting a lovely fresh cup of coffee, and the inherent mental break from the office. Caffeine also provides relief from my crippling migraines and barometric pressure headaches. This past week, I was able to accurately predict each and every snowfall within hours, purely through my headaches (side note: lamest superpower ever. I’m like Jubilee in the X-Men…completely useless).
I have done a solid job of eliminating unnecessary expenses. I pack my lunch to go to work. I don’t have cable. My gym membership has been stripped down to the bare bones, so I only pay $18 biweekly (I forgo towel service and the use of other clubs, saving me $7/biweekly). My biggest expense in December was gas for my car, since I travelled home and halfway to Montreal. I also paid $100 for a New Years return trip to Montreal (Frenchie was kind enough to cover 75% of the costs. I am such a lucky girl.)
So is a sacrifice of my coffee really going to make a difference in the long term? Well, yes. Not a huge difference, but over the course of a year/lifetime, it’ll add up. But more importantly, what I need right now is a mental acknowledgement that I am trying to achieve a goal (my education), which will require some sacrifices.
Am I kicking the habit to the curb permanently? Probably not. But from now until the end of January, I will no longer be buying coffee or any kind of hot beverage (unless it’s from the grocery store). The one concession that I will allow is a post-skating indulgence, no more than $2. I’m planning on attending several free skating events in January, and it’s always so lovely to unwind with a hot beverage.
I know. First world problems. Look at me, such a martyr, giving up on buying coffee for a month. But believe me, this will be a challenge for me. I have leaned on coffee trips as a crutch in the past. A small luxury in a sea of frugality. It’s my cheat. More than anything, this will be an exercise in mental mindset.
Mmmm, double double. I am going to miss you SO much.