I frequent about 5 local coffee shops that I rotate during the week.
Opening the door to one of these Lower Manhattan cafes and entering into a warm wave of coffee-scented air is one of my favourite feelings, especially knowing that in a few minutes I’ll have a cup of that delicious liquid in my hands.
I know coffee isn’t for everyone, but for me, it’s one of life’s little pleasures.
Occasionally, I’ll come across an article that tells me all the things I can buy if I give up coffee. Sometimes these things will be useless crap that I don’t need, but recently I read a great post that listed all of the investments I could make in my blog for the price of a daily cup.
I’ll admit, these articles are often on point. If I forgo a daily cup of coffee at around $3.50 a day, I could save $105 per month or $1260 per year. As a minimalist, I’m all for reducing spending and redirecting that money towards something more valuable (such as blog improvements or flights to Europe).
But where do we draw the line with these money-saving schemes? Sure, we could try living off rice and beans for a year to save for a round-the-world trip, but is that year going to be enjoyable? Absolutely not. We’ll probably just spend that time being miserable that we can’t purchase anything we enjoy.
So in my opinion, there are some things, like a daily cup of coffee, that might actually be worth spending a little money on even if it seems frivolous.
Over the past few years, I’ve reduced my spending by giving up car ownership (which saves me around $3000-$4000 per year), by going vegetarian (which means I spend less money on groceries), by limiting eating out to 1-2 times per week, and by living in cramped share houses to save on rent.
I also don’t smoke, I don’t go out clubbing on weekends, and I don’t splurge on trendy electronic gadgets (I currently have a 2-year-old HTC smart phone with a cracked screen and barely a day of battery life, but it does the job).
I meticulously follow a budget and track my spending and savings, all so that I can save money for travel.
So why do I include a daily coffee in my budget? Yes, it is partly because I really love coffee, but there’s another reason – it’s also an important part of my job as a freelancer.
Self-employment means that I work from home. Now, spending all day in your pajamas might sound like a dream come true, but what most people don’t realise is that there are setbacks to being stuck at home all day.
Not so long ago, my husband showed me a meme of a self-employed person getting excited about a pigeon landing on their windowsill. It’s funny, I know, but it’s actually not far from the truth. Working from home every day can be extremely dull.
We need to occasionally change up our workspace, even if it is for only an hour or two each day. Working in a different space helps us be more productive and gives us a reason to get some light exercise.
Many people might suggest using a co-working space, which are all the rage right now. Now that is a great idea and one that I would love to pursue, but to be honest – it’s expensive.
If I take a look at shared workspaces here in NYC, I’m looking at a minimum of $350 per month just to rent a desk. But if I take my laptop to a cafe to work for a few hours every weekday, my costs are at $75 per month for a daily coffee.
Yep, I’m actually saving $275 per month.
Let’s take this calculation even further. Say I wanted to stay in a cafe all day, purchasing 2 coffees and my lunch in the process. The cost would then go up to about $15 per day or $325 per month, and that figure includes me getting fed. It’s still more cost-efficient than the cheapest co-working space.
For me, a daily coffee is not only an enjoyable experience, it’s also a vital part of keeping my sanity. If I was cooped up in my apartment every single day, I have no doubt that I would slowly go insane.
So, daily coffee, consider yourself justified.