I used to be somewhat of a coffee fanatic. It all started when I entered college. While I never relied on caffeine in high school, come college I began to develop a bit of a dependency. For one, whenever people asked to hang out it was usually over a cup of coffee. It became a social thing, especially for getting to know members of my sorority when I first joined. My campus coffee shops also happened to have extremely delicious latte drinks, which definitely didn’t help.

Over time, I became used to having a morning cup of coffee to help me get through the early classes. It didn’t seem like a big deal. However, I have realized recently, since I have been cutting back on coffee during quarantine, how much of a money waster drinking coffee daily can be. 

The average American spends $92 a month on coffee.

A $5 latte drink may not seem like a lot on paper, but if you’re buying one even 3 times a week, the money really adds up. For avid coffee drinkers, a few cups a day may even be a reality. In fact, according to Acorn in 2018, the average American spent $1,100 a year on coffee. That breaks down to $92 a month. In the scheme of things, I began to realize just how much my coffee habit chipped away at my bank account. As a broke college student, any unnecessary expenses are worth examining.

Since the rise of the coronavirus, I have begun to try to get my caffeine intake under control. Many coffee shops in general are not open or only offer takeout orders. This has helped me significantly to repress my desire to drink coffee. Let’s face it, fancy coffee drinks made by baristas tend to be slightly more appealing that an at-home Keurig creation. On days that I do find myself craving a coffee or needing some extra caffeine to power through work, I have been instead gravitating toward tea. It gives me the caffeine I need without getting me too wired and also is very soothing on the throat. In general, tea makes me feel a lot better than coffee as well. My stomach feels less upset and more settled. 

It feels good to not feel reliant on something.

From building this habit during quarantine, my body has become used to going through day to day life without that caffeine mix. It feels good to not feel reliant on something. I also find that I crash less often now because my energy level stays more consistent during the day. However, the best outcome of this change has definitely been its impact on my wallet. Besides grocery expenses, I spend very little money. 

Even though quarantining isn’t ideal, I can’t complain too much about how it is allowing me to cut back on my overall spending. Where $20 used to not last me very long at all in the height of my habit, now $20 goes straight into my bank account savings.

I am hoping the money saving habits I have integrated in my life will remain even as social distancing and stay at home orders are lifted. Quitting coffee has helped me take a good hard look at my spending and what things are really necessities for me. Being frugal and building up savings is more important now than ever in our current unstable economy. I know with discipline that I can maintain the money-saving work I have begun during this unprecedented time.

  • Maggie Mahoney

    Maggie Mahoney is an editorial fellow based in Washington D.C. She is a soon to be graduating senior at American University studying Literature with a minor in Communications. Maggie is passionate about poetry, elementary education, blogging, and R&B music. She loves to cook and try new cuisines and considers herself a textbook Virgo.