How Much Does Your Morning Routine Cost You?

I wanted to point out an interesting post at The Simple Dollar. Entitled When a Treat Stops Being a Treat – and How to Get It Back, the author goes much beyond the “stop spending $3 on your morning latte to save $50 a month” mantra.  He points out that for many office workers, it begins with the morning coffee and progresses to an afternoon “pick me up” and then perhaps a coffee or chai tea at night.  Pretty soon you realize that $150 a month is going into the coffers of your local Peets or Starbucks or here in Chicago it would be Caribou Coffee.

What many don’t realize is this:  it isn’t a matter or “giving up a treat” but adjusting a routine.  More than that triple shot non-fat latte (what can I say, it takes big coffee to move big machinery), as humans we love the familiarity of a routine.  Ever get irked when they don’t have the onion bagel at Einstein’s that you usually order each morning?  Well perhaps if you were to change your “routines” you would see that you can save money by substituting a cheaper alternative.

For me, having worked from home for the past four years, I’ve been lucky.  I usually make my own coffee in the morning.  But I was getting hooked on Starbucks’ iced coffee in the afternoons until I came up with this idea: I just make twice the amount of morning coffee, and place the second cup in the refrigerator.  Then in the afternoon I make a tall iced coffee.  Plus I can always slip in some amaretto or Bailey’s!  See, I’d have to bring my flask to Starbucks for that.

Check out the post and also the rest of The Simple Dollar blog – there is some great advice for those of us watching every penny during these hard times.

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2 Responses to “How Much Does Your Morning Routine Cost You?”


  1. 1 thepennypincher 23 November 2008 at 1:21 pm

    I read the post in the Simple Dollar as well. He is right: if something becomes a habit, it is no longer a treat and becomes mundane. I keep my trips to the coffee shop as a social event as opposed to a habit. If I want to meet with a friend, I go to the coffee shop, but if I want to drink a cup of coffee on my own, I brew a cup at home or at work.

  2. 2 NotYet 26 November 2008 at 12:15 am

    Still unemployed.

    I’ve managed to scrape together a few consulting hours here and there.

    Not eligible for UI yet.

    I’ve been eating homemade vegetable soup for three weeks now (vegetables in water, which helps you feel more full). Tofu for protein. Occasionally I treat myself to a day-old pastry (at half price). I try to make sure I get at least 2000 calories a day.

    No coffee. Just filtered tap water. Luckily I still have a bunch of multivitamins left from the days when I thought my money troubles were over.

    I’ve discontinued every non-essential service. No more NetFlix at $9.99 a month. No more land-line phone. YMCA account closed.

    I set up a small duct that directs the fan exhaust from my laptop down towards my feet, because it gets cold when I’m working at my desk, but I’m not paying for gas to heat my upstairs neighbor’s place.

    I had a root canal in my last week of insurance, but I can’t afford to have a crown put on now. I also had another cavity that needed to be filled, but I can’t afford that either.

    Ran out of my blood pressure meds last Thursday. Can’t afford to refill that prescription because it was for two drugs that have no generic versions, and the combined cost is nearly $100/month. I’m trying to take up meditation in the hopes that it will keep me from keeling over with a stroke or losing a kidney.

    I’m not really sure what more I can do to save money.

    I still can’t believe that I’m in this situation at a time when the entire world’s economy is falling apart.

    Now I can’t stop singing that Depression Era song to myself all day:

    If I ever get a job again,
    I will never be a snob again;
    I will live within my means,
    Carry a dollar in my jeans,
    If I ever get a job again.

    If I ever get a break again,
    Brother, what I’ll do to steak again!
    No turning out the light,
    Bidding my appetite good night,
    If I ever get a break again.

    I’ll get two rooms and a kitchenette,
    Furnished comfortably;
    With two rooms and a kitchenette,
    I’ll get a sweet somebody to move in with me!

    If I ever get a job again,
    I know that two hearts will throb again,
    She told me with her eyes
    We’ll be rehearsing lullabyes,
    If I ever get a job again.

    If I ever get a job again,
    I will never be a snob again!
    I’m through with stocks and bonds,
    I’d rather spend it all on blondes,
    If I ever get a job again!

    If I ever get my pay again,
    I’ll save it for a rainy day again,
    But let me tell you, bud,
    I’m gonna save up for a flood,
    If I ever get my pay again.

    I’ll get two suits and an overcoat,
    Like a millionaire!
    Just two suits and an overcoat,
    And then when things get better, I’ll buy underwear!

    If I ever get a job again,
    With my old friends I’ll hobnob again,
    What great fun it will be, saying
    “Just have one more on me!”
    If I ever get a job again.


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