Forever Trapped In The “What’s Another $25?” Cycle

It’s Monday morning. My baby is crying. Or laughing. But likely laughing because if she’s truly my daughter she’ll think it’s hilarious that anyone dares ask her to do something as silly as “nap” when she has things to do. The only option is to go for our daily walk around town to get her to sneak in some shut-eye before the cry-laugh turns to scream-yell.

Should we take a stroll to Starbucks?” I literally say aloud to myself because I am trapped with an infant 24-7 and have no one else to talk to.

Duh,” I again, say aloud to myself because I’m running on 4-hours of sleep and this is my new life please send help.

I open my Starbucks app, choose my poison, and yet again — reload the app.

What’s another $25?” I don’t say aloud, in case some angry personal finance lover hears me and starts to lecture me on the latte factor.

Coffee is kind of my thing these days

I wouldn’t truly be a first-time parent if Starbucks cups and coffee receipts weren’t overflowing from my garbage can each week. In fact, I wouldn’t be a human being if the exact same scenario weren’t occurring. You see, these days caffeine seems to be the one thing that mankind is completely onboard with. We all agree that coffee is the bomb.

And that’s why it’s tanking my budget.

Since June 1st, I have spent $2.25 per day on Starbucks coffee. Not a ridiculous amount of money if you think about it. Especially considering the only beverages I choose from their menu ring in around an average of $5.25 a pop.

Hazelnut Blonde Roast, Iced Caramel Machiatto, London Fog, and Cinnamon Dolce Latte are common terminology in my household. It’s kind of become a problem. A problem that I’m unwilling to kick.

Is spending money on coffee the problem, though? Hell no. I’m all about buying coffee if that’s what makes you happy. In fact, if you’re arguing someone shouldn’t buy coffee because they could save that money for retirement later in life, just know that without these coffees I may never make it to retirement because my employers will likely fire me for sleeping at my desk on a regular basis. Just kidding
— I’m a millennial so I obviously work from home.

The real problem here is the digital currency

You see, I am an avid user of the Starbucks app. The ability to preorder my drinks so that I can just pop in and skip the line is key. Not to mention, I am rewarded with a free drink every once in a while because I’m an extremely loyal customer.

But the problem here isn’t the spending — it’s the convenient means of reloading an app using your credit card and a fingerprint. The entire transaction takes less than one minute and rings me up around $25/week. I’ve become numb to the fact that I’m actually “spending” money.

We all know that no one carries cash these days. It’s amazing, but it’s also a seriously dangerous way to control your finances. Not being able to see the money leave your wallet is one thing, but not being able to see your money leave your bank account is an entirely different thing.

Every app that has access to your credit card is like an all-too-convenient-spending-spree waiting to happen. And I’ve learned my lesson in more ways than one.

When you don’t see the balance in your bank account, you become very liberal with your spending. How can you say no if you can’t even see the dollar amount?

The problem with the “what’s another dollar” mindset is that you don’t ask yourself that question once and then never again. Once you become comfortable with the “extra $5 here” and “small $10 amount there,” you fall down a rabbit hole of how-do-I-save-money-again? And it’s pretty much the deepest yet most shallow hole you’ll ever find.

Am I cool with this neverending cycle of the disappearing money that I spend on very expensive syrup mixed with very cheap coffee? No.

But will stopping the cycle make me feel any better? Also no.

Sometimes money isn’t as simple as an “I’ll stop doing this” and suddenly becomes a more emotional decision of “I need to continue doing this for reasons A, B and C.

I’ve said “what’s another $25” over eleven times in four months

And I’m clearly not alone.

It’s not the end of the world that I’ve gone coffee crazy since becoming a parent. It’s honestly just honest. No one has a perfect financial record and everyone has their hook up that will forever cost them more than they intend. Sometimes it’s on a delicious drink — other times it’s on an important investment.

What’s the one app you constantly reload without question, week after week, just because it’s convenient and you’re a huge sucker for a good treat? Let me know in the comments!

4 Responses to “Forever Trapped In The “What’s Another $25?” Cycle

  • Soooo much coffee that first year. And I drink decaf haha. It was all about getting out of my freaking house and talking to people who could talk back. And yes, treating myself to something that was easy to do with a kid in tow.

  • It’s so hard when some of the spending comes out of survival. What I have noticed now that I’m out of that newborn stage is that my Starbucks/chai habit stuck. I still mostly use gift cards or make it at home. But now I’m paying the calorie cost! It is such a hard habit to change though. Gah!

  • I agree! “it’s the convenient means of reloading an app using your credit card and a fingerprint. The entire transaction takes less than one minute ” – I use apple pay for Uber and food delivery apps and have been struggling with this! It is SO much easier to order whatever I’m craving in less than a minute rather than getting home, deciding what to eat then having to cook – when my favorite poke bowl is only a fingerprint away! I’m trying to break this cycle and I’m considering removing my credit card from apple pay so I don’t fall any farther down the rabbit hole. It’s nice to know that there are others that can relate, thank you for sharing and posting!

  • I was doing the same thing on my way to work every morning. There’s a coffee shop in the bottom of my office building. My drink was costing me $5.75 a trip.. and sometimes I went twice a day. It became ridiculous. My husband finally convinced me that buying an espresso machine would ‘save’ us money in the long run. At first the $1,200 price tag was terrifying to me, however after 5 months, we’ve almost got our moneys worth with the amount of times we haven’t spent the money on take-away coffee. I make my own cinnamon hazelnut latte every morning and actually prefer it to my coffeeshop coffee. Maybe consider investing in an espresso machine? We purchased the Breville Dual Boiler and love it.

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