Thursday, February 17, 2011

A coffee dilemma.

I was recently asked at a sales party, what I would do with an extra $1,000 per month. Of course, the person was promoting positions within this sales company. While I certainly do not need another job, it did make me contemplate how I would utilize extra money, should I have it.

What would I do? My answer was this: pay bills! 

This can more easily be tied to one of the loves of my life. Nope, not a man...COFFEE. I drink at least a cup to two per day. Previously, coffee was an every day outing to Caribou Coffee, Dunn Bros., Starbucks, Spyhouse, Uncommon Grounds or the like. Of course, with trying to be less wasteful and save money. This nasty habit had to be! 

I've taken a quick moment to calculate exactly how much one might spend with a habit like the one formerly known as, "Alyssa's Habit". If you had one flavored latte per day at a coffee shop, the price would likely be $4.00. $4 x 365 days = $1460! That's enough to pay for a vacation...outside of the country!

Speaking with a friend recently, I was contemplating what my attraction was to going out for coffee rather than just having it at home? My coffee maker has had a long history of sitting in its own isolated corner of my kitchen collecting dust. For the most part, it appeared to be a decoration rather than a tool. 

What makes me feel SO great about going out to get a cup of coffee? Is it just the fancy whipped cream and highly sweetened lattes? Is it the lure of "see and be seen"? Do I simply relate coffee as being a social activity and just enjoy the atmosphere of being out around people? Am I simply lazy and having someone else make it for me is so much more appealing? Has it become an emotional comfort?

I don't know if I have come up with an answer to this question. It could be that it is a combination of all of these things. Though I don't know the answer to the why yet, I do know the answer to the how the heck do I solve this problem?!

I've decided  to utilize several resources to attack the issue at hand: wasting paper cups and wasting my money on coffee I could just as easily make at home. During the week, I've decided to only drink coffee at work. My work provides it for free, so why not utilize it? Sure, it isn't any fancy organic or flavored coffee, but it does the trick. I make my own coffee at home during the weekends. Since I drink it all week at work, I also don't have to purchase my own coffee grounds quite as often. I've begun purchasing a larger container of half and half. I pour part of it into a jar that I keep in the fridge at home to use during the weekends and I take the other part of the carton to work. A teaspoon of sugar and some half and half and I'm off to coffee bliss.

Have I completely eliminated the fancy schmancy coffees? Nope. I've decided to allow myself 2 coffees per month, a budge of $10. I've stuck to this for the last two months. I'm not going to lie and say that it's easy to do this. It is quite trying to not slip back into this old habit sometimes. I don't have a refillable coffee cup to use when I do go to the coffee shops. I would like to purchase one of these at some point to eliminate using the paper cups all together. I have realized though, when I am able to go to get the fancy coffees...I savor and appreciate it even more!

My new coffee habit savings? $4.00 x 24 days = $96.00. Much more manageable and pleasant to think about than the previous number.

Food news for the evening:

I got sick of minestrone tonight so I made a fried egg sandwich. You can't see in this picture because it is gone already, but I did add some green pepper to it. This is a ciabatta roll (I had bought some to go with the minestrone and then I froze the leftover rolls) buttered and grilled in a pan, shredded mild cheddar cheese and an egg (a little runny only). Was soooo delicious! 
Egg, cheese, green pepper and ciabatta roll.
I also made myself a small treat. This is a dessert my mother used to make when I was younger and something she continues to make for herself quite frequently. My love for this dessert was only reinforced when I lived in Mexico for a year. Of course the way it's made in Mexico is a little different and longer process than this, (I've made it before), however this is my quick method.  It is "arroz con leche" in Mexico and I don't know a name for it in English but it's rice, milk, cinnamon and sugar. I had some leftover brown rice I made a little while ago for a dish and it was going bad quick. I needed to eat this small amount left. I put the rice and milk in a pan and heated until the milk thickened a little and it was visibly cooking. I then mixed in a small amount of sugar and some cinnamon!  Raisins or Craisins go really good in it as well. Delicious!
Make-shift "arroz con leche".
Do you have any nasty spending habits that you would like to kick? What has your tactic been in conquering your habit? What type of savings could you make by changing your habit and what would you do with the savings?

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