When creating your budget, or tracking your expenses (whichever you prefer), you must take into consideration what you are and aren’t willing to spend your money on in order to reach your savings goals.
Clearly these choices are extremely personal as everyone is different in their tastes and preferences.
For example, I enjoy going out to the bars with friends, (perhaps a little too much), which means I’ve needed to cut back on my spending in other areas.
This is the only way I could justify to myself all that bar spending: at least I was still reaching my savings goals by spending less on other things.
One such area I’ve cut out virtually all my spending?
Are You Spending Too Much on Coffee?
While reports vary in how much money the average American spends on coffee per year, one number I see reported often is over $1,000 per year.
That’s $20 a week or about $3 a day.
On the one hand, $1,000 is a lot of money, but $3 a day doesn’t seem like much at all.
This just goes to show how fast small daily expenses can add up.
For the record, I’m not advocating that anyone should necessarily give up coffee to save money. There are many easy ways to bring that number way down such as making your own coffee at home.
If you truly enjoy coffee and can’t go without it, there’s no need to take that out of your life.
After all, there are much bigger fish to fry when it comes to ways to trim your budget, such as your big house/apartment, fancy car, cable bill, cell phone bill, etc.
So just how much do I actually spend on coffee?
From analyzing my past spending and knowing my personal habits, I reckon I’ve spent about $50 on coffee… in my entire life.
Going by the above numbers, this would mean I’ve saved close to $4,000 since I started working compared to the average American, by not spending money on coffee.
The Weird Relationship with Coffee
Before you say anything, I want it on the record that I actually like coffee. Not like it as in I’ll make it for myself (since I never have), but I actually have it a couple times a week currently simply because I don’t mind the taste.
One of the perks through my current job is that my company offers free coffee and tea, so I’ll have a cup of coffee or tea a few times a week.
It hasn’t always been like this though; throughout my first two years of working I didn’t have free coffee as part of my job perks.
(It could be argued that the coffee/tea isn’t “free” since I’m paying for it with my labor hours, but that’s a separate discussion :))
The fact that I have this benefit doesn’t change my main point: I simply have not been willing to spend my money on coffee.
Should my company take away the free coffee/tea, I would not begin brewing my own coffee prior to leaving for work (who has time for that!?), nor would I stop anywhere to grab a cup before going into the office (not in my budget!).
(Side-note: I have a few co-workers who buy Starbucks coffee and bring it in everyday, even with the free coffee at work! This I just can never understand.)
There are a couple reasons I don’t drink coffee more often even though I enjoy it.
Firstly, I like tea just as much and (in my mind) it’s much easier to just boil some water and be good to go.
Secondly, I’ve noticed how coffee has the ability to be addictive to many people. These people will say they need to have coffee every day, and often times multiple cups of it, in order to function.
This honestly scares me a bit as the thought of having an addiction, even if it is just to caffeine, to be productive is troublesome.
Lastly, and probably most important, I’ve found ways where I don’t need that jolt of energy to wake me up in the morning.
How to Wake Up Without Coffee
While I don’t really consider myself a morning person, I have almost always been able to be productive and alert during the mornings, whether that be in high school, college or work without the benefit of coffee.
Here’s what works for me and others:
Drink Water in the Morning
One thing I’ve always made sure to do is drink an ice cold glass of water within an hour of waking up. After 6, 7, or 8+ hours of sleep, your body can become dehydrated.
By drinking a glass of water when you wake up, it can re-hydrate your body and also increase blood flow to your brain, giving you more energy.
Some people swear by a morning workout that helps them to wake up and have energy throughout the mornings.
While I’m not a huge fan of morning workouts, I almost always will get out of bed and do a couple quick push-ups and yoga poses or stretches to get my blood flowing and body looser.
Get Natural Light in Your Room
One thing I have never had is those curtains that completely black out your room into total darkness even when the sun is out.
While this has certainly affected my ability to sleep in sometimes on the weekends, the natural light that makes its way through my blinds has an effect of telling my body it’s time to get up and be more alert. When it’s sunlight that creeps through the effect is even greater!
End Your Shower with Cold Water
This is not actually one that I consistently do (since the cold is not fun!), but I have noticed it helps a bit when I have done it.
You don’t need to take your entire shower cold, just the last couple minutes (or seconds) and it may have the effect of increasing your metabolic rate and help you to feel more awake.
There are undoubtedly many other methods you could partake in to help you wake up in the morning sans coffee/caffeine, (such as eating carbs for breakfast, apples, listening to upbeat music, etc) but these are the methods that work for me.
Do you drink coffee in the mornings? If so, how often? If not, what methods do you use to wake up without it?