Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a good cup of Starbucks coffee and a delicious Starbucks pastry. It is my own personal slice of happiness. I love the coffee, the pastry, and the conversations that I have with the baristas when I am there. One of the baristas even invited me to attend church and I gladly went the following Sunday. To me, Starbucks is an experience that I budgeted and even talk about in my first book and in the workshops that I teach. However, once I had twins, I had to rethink my spending habits. I had to reevaluate everything, even my precious Starbucks.
As I looked at my finances and realized how tight things were becoming, I started to understand that every little bit counted. Even though I allowed myself to spend $20/week on Starbucks, I understood that it cost me $80/month. As my twins started to drink more, I found myself needing to supplement with formula and I needed to be able to pay for it. However, if I’m totally truthful, I found that I wasn’t even sticking to my budget as I would sometimes find myself spending more. Therefore, I decided that I needed to reduce the frequency that I went and limit my expense to $10/week maximum. My parents and close friends urged me to purchase a coffee maker so I could still drink coffee, and not have to leave the house every time I desired a cup or two. However, I loved the experience of visiting my local Starbucks. I resisted purchasing a coffee maker until it became too difficult logistically and financially to continue my current practice. Therefore, about 1.5 months ago I reluctantly bought my first coffee maker.
To put this sacrifice into perspective, I was a Starbucks snob. I only drank Starbucks coffee and if it wasn’t from Starbucks I probably wouldn’t drink it unless I was tired, cold, and there wasn’t a Starbucks near me. If someone picked up coffee for a meeting, I would rather struggle through the meeting before I would drink coffee that wasn’t from Starbucks. I knew where all of the Starbucks locations were and people close to me gave me directions based on where a local Starbucks was located. When I say I loved Starbucks, I mean it. After I purchased my coffee maker, I had every intention of brewing Starbucks coffee at home. However, I forgot to pick up Starbucks coffee at Costco the day that I purchased my coffee maker. Since I had already left, I decided to go to Whole Foods and purchased a locally roasted coffee from Detroit. I loved it. Since then, I started to buy locally roasted coffee at home and save my Starbucks for a once a week treat or when I need to get away to do some work.
I share this story with you for a few reasons. First, although I teach personal finance, sometimes it is still hard to engage in the behavioral and habit changes needed to have healthy finances. Second, you can use habit changes to allow you to explore new things and have new experiences. Third, it is all about balance. I still love my Starbucks, but I’m also taking the time to try out other coffee. I’m looking for opportunities to buy local so I can support the local economy, and I am saving money in the process by drinking more coffee at home.
If you have an expense that you are having a hard time re-evaluating, then check out these tips on how to incorporate the things that you love while saving money.
- Make the thing that you love into a reward. I try to tie purchasing Starbucks to treating myself or a quick “me-time” getaway. I also may visit Starbucks after a long day of running errands or working.
- Look for ways to reduce the cost of the thing that you love. With Starbucks, I leverage the benefits of being a rewards member by taking advantage of the free refills on iced and hot coffee. I also make sure that I am a member of the rewards club for my favorite places so I earn benefits towards free or discounted items.
- Create an environment of success. In order to support my decision to reduce the frequency that I go to Starbucks, I purchased a coffee maker so I had the flexibility to still drink coffee at home. I also ensured that I had clean coffee cups on hand so I could pour coffee to-go to reduce the likelihood that I would stop while I was out.
- Reframe the change. Instead of looking at this as being something restrictive and onerous, look at this as a way to find and identify new things that you can potentially love.
- Find joy in a new experience. Instead of drinking boring coffee, I challenged myself to find coffee that allowed me to support a local business. This allowed me to try new brands and new flavors and ultimately find other things that I loved. This made it so that drinking coffee at home wasn’t a chore. Instead, it became something else that I could look forward to.
- Start small. Although you want to reevaluate all the ways that you spend, do not think that you have to make changes all at once. Pick one expense and make the change. Once that becomes a new habit, pick another area. Before you know it, you will have created many new habits that will help to lead towards more money in your pocket and more happiness.
What are some items that you can cut from your budget? What are ways that you can reframe the changes, replace that with something new that costs little or no money, and still have happiness along the way?
Leave a comment in the Phenomenal Moms Facebook Group to let me know how this helps you!
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE and Jet Magazine. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms transform their finances, enjoy life, and stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!
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