I have the perfect illustration of that fact.
A while back, Business Insider published a video showing a “hack” to save $2 on an iced latte at Starbucks.
I found out about it when a young friend posted it on her Facebook feed, along with the outraged comment,
“This is stealing!”
That intrigued me enough to watch the video, which you’ll find below.
So, basically a caloric and monetary nightmare, coming in at a whopping 190 calories (IF made with skim milk, but it can be as much as 314 calories if made with whole milk, or even more if made with cream - yikes!).
And it costs a gasp-worthy $4.65! If you order one a day at that price, you will spend $1700 per year on a coffee drink! Even if you limit it to work days, it’s still $1209 per year, and if you limit it to just once a week, it’s still $242 a year --- for COFFEE!
And to be perfectly clear, this drink sounds like nothing more than the very strong, very delicious iced coffee my husband makes at home for about 50 calories and about 50¢ per serving. He uses a simple drip filter method and a somewhat larger portion than usual of whatever brand of coffee I happened to find on sale that week.
I happen to agree with my young friend’s perception that the proposed “hack” was nothing more than thievery.
Milk and cream are expensive items, and coffee shops calculate anticipated usage in their pricing. There’s a reason the latte is priced much higher than a regular coffee at Starbucks that costs about $2.95 (still an exorbitant amount, in my ever humble opinion, however).
The amount of milk and/or cream the latte calls for will greatly increase the cost to the shop owner, so the menu price will be that much higher.
Needless to say, I found the video very troubling, as I did the attitude of several young people participating in the discussion about this “hack”/theft who felt it was justified because Starbucks is a big corporation and they’re (the young people) "poor" people.
Here’s one such exchange below.
It’s a perspective that demands to be addressed frequently, strongly, and very clearly by stating unequivocally that NONE of us are entitled to anything beyond the basics in life. And take-out coffee of any kind - let alone the ultra expensive Starbucks variety - does not even remotely qualify.
It is not a birthright or a necessity in any way, shape or form.And neither are a whole host of luxury items that many people have come to see as must-haves in their lives.
These are things that you can easily do without. So, if you cannot afford it, you simply do not buy it. And you are not killed for not having it.
Here’s my suggestion for whenever you find yourself slipping into the victim mindset:
First, give yourself a good mental shake and talking to.
Second, remind yourself of the cumulative effects this kind of habit can have on your bottom line. It is easy to lose sight of that when you pay small amounts here and there. But these spending habits definitely add up over the course of a the months and years -- sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, when all is said and done.
Third, remind yourself of your savings goals and what you are trying to accomplish by living on a budget and beneath your means. These may be short-term ones, such as building an emergency fund, or they could be longer term ones, such as saving for a car or home.
And finally, if you find the urge to spend on these extravagances happening frequently, re-evaluate the environment you find yourself in and the company you keep. There is not a doubt in my mind that certain areas of this country foster a consumer lifestyle more so than others, as do certain circles of friends.
Be aware of that and make changes wherever doable so that you can surround yourself as much as possible with like-minded individuals and a culture of simple living that puts a Starbucks latte in its proper place -- as a very occasional treat or indulgence, and not a budget- and waistline-decimating entitlement you have every day.