In a previous post, I talked a little bit about my past Starbucks habit in the context of refining your budget and identifying blind spots for yourselves. Someone asked me, did I in fact break the Starbucks habit, and if so, how?
Multiple Issues To Address
I did! And it’s a good one, because I was dealing with two issues at the time; the spending habit but also the caffeine habit. I knew from past experience that I can’t just stop caffeine cold turkey because I basically can’t wake up for 3 days; I am VERY susceptible to its effects. I can’t even have a soft drink with lunch because it’ll keep me up all night!
I also knew the low likelihood of me setting up my coffee maker and figuring out how to use the timer and finding a travel mug . . . my eyes are glazing over just talking about it. I know it’s NOT complicated, but it was distasteful compared to my current Starbucks experience. I knew if I started making coffee at home, I’d either forget one day and see that as permission to abandon my plan, or feel penalized because I wasn’t getting the experience of sitting in Starbucks. I needed compromise.
I decided that I wanted to first try to cut my coffee spending in half, let’s say to $75 per month—which is still big, I know, but baby steps here. This meant I could spend about $2.50 per day. I decided that what I would do is get regular coffee which cost about $1.50 or so, and then save the rest for a weekend splurge. Instead of getting a pastry during the week, I started buying more “portable” breakfast food so I could eat on the run.
Turns out, this was all I had to do . . . because you know what? My taste buds changed. I used to be a big fan of the Mocha, so that was my splurge on the weekend. After awhile, they started to seem WAY too sweet, much sweeter than my weekly coffee. I realized I wasn’t enjoying the Mocha anymore, so I started drinking regular coffee all of the time.
Additionally, after breaking my sugar habit, the pastries just didn’t have the same appeal for me—now that I had created an alternative for myself in the way of breakfast food that I liked and could take with me, I couldn’t get excited about second-rate, dried up pastries that I knew wouldn’t keep me full as long as my protein-based breakfast.
Baby steps are typically the best way to kick ANY habit, and I am happy to say I have been Mocha-Free for many, MANY years . . . although I just sampled a Salted Carmel Mocha, so this Saturday I might have to go get a full-sized one of those. But it’s nice to feel like I have choice, instead of just being driven to drink!
I have started calling this Conscious Spending, and it now is the decision-making paradigm behind all of my spending decisions. You can read more about the principles here in this free ebook.