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Reasons to Keep Your Morning Latte

Here's Why It's OK to Have That Morning Latte

Are you considering ditching your morning latte to save some cash? Business Insider shares why you should keep your caffeine routine going.

Do you ever feel guilty about that $4-a-day caffeine drip you have hooked up to your arm? You're not alone.

RELATED: 13 Scientific Reason to Drink Coffee

Ever since financial author David Bach seized on the latte as a symbol of how small daily purchases can do a number on your bank account, personal finance writers have issued a clarion call for coffee drinkers to kick the habit and protect their wallets.


But does nixing Starbucks and brewing at home really save you that much money? Entrepreneur and microblogger Jim Wang isn't convinced. In a recent post on Daily Finance, Wang argues that Bach's "Latte Factor" theory misses the value of time. Wang writes:

"To take the coffee example, you could buy yourself a coffeemaker, coffee grounds and filters, brew your own coffee and save yourself a few dollars each day. But you'd also have to alter your morning routine to include brewing coffee, and you'd likely not brew a comparable product to a Starbucks cappuccino. All that to save a dollar a day? That's crazy.

You feel effective because you're doing something to save money, but the actual benefit is quite minor given all the extra work. It's also unlikely that you'll stick with these big changes, especially if it disrupts your normal routine."

In other words, Bach assumes that coffee drinkers value the money they'd save by not buying expensive lattes more than the amount of time they save and pleasure they get by doing so. Wang argues that if buying that latte makes you happy and more productive, it doesn't make sense to cut it out for the sake of a few extra dollars a day.

What's important, he says, is to be intentional about your spending: "Save in the areas you don't care about so you can spend in the areas you do care about."

Besides, if you're really trying to fill your coffers, it's much more efficient to focus on increasing your income through smart investing than to spend time and energy trimming marginal costs. "Unlike cutting costs, growing your income has an unlimited upside," Wang concludes.

I'll raise a latte to that.

—Lydia Dallett

Check out these smart tips from Business Insider:

If You Drink It Regularly, Coffee Won't Dehydrate You
A Coffee Expert Explains Why It's a Terrible Idea to Order Your Coffee Drink "Extra Hot"
Your Mom Was Wrong: Coffee Doesn't Stunt Growth
5 Tips For Making Great Coffee at Home

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brittsavvy brittsavvy 3 years
While I agree that the now-cliche argument to save money by skipping your daily Starbucks run really needs to end (while you certainly would save money, there is much more useful financial advice that people should use), I have to disagree with Wang's explanation as to why this money saving tactic isn't worth it. Maybe he has never brewed a cup of coffee before, but if you are using a standard drip coffee maker (which the majority of people in the U.S.), all you need to do is literally put water and ground coffee beans in the machine and turn it on. You can even set it to auto-brew the night before so you don't have to do it in the a.m.. It is not time consuming. If you can't find time to do this (the entire hands on time for this is maybe 30 seconds) yet you can find time to go to Starbucks, your issue is time management. It takes more time and energy to go to Starbucks than it does to brew your own cup. Also, you will save much more than a dollar brewing at home (if you've ever been to Starbucks, or most any coffee shop, you are well aware of this). Sure, you may not be getting a latte (unless you have an espresso machine), but if you are doing this to attempt to save money, the trade off (which isn't even a trade off for the many people who like a regular cup of a coffee) isn't an issue. Based on Wang's explanation ("All that to save a dollar a day? That's crazy.")., I'd also assume he would argue to buy lunch every day instead of bringing a homemade lunch. There are many instances where the time it takes to do something justifies spending more money for it. I don't believe getting a cup of coffee is one of these cases.
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