Should you feel guilty about buying your morning coffee? | The Tylt
Should you feel guilty about buying your morning coffee?
Articles and advice abound when it comes to "cutting back" on your daily coffee habit. As soon as Starbucks claimed its spot on every city corner, and millennials collectively started ordering Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccinos, financial advisors warned against making daily coffee runs a habit.
Eating out should always be done in moderation, and experts agree that preparing your own food and yes, coffee, is a great way to keep your spending in check. If nothing else, you should plan ahead for the days you intent to buy coffee out, rather than needlessly wasting $5 here and there.
But advice on turning your daily coffee run into hundreds of dollars monthly is bordering on cliche—if not altogether patronizing. Even Bustle's Raven Ishak's advice from 2016 seems trite. Ishak tells readers:
While it might not seem like you're spending a lot of money at that given moment, excessively purchasing a cup of joe can really add up. According to Yahoo! Finance, buying a $4 latte every day means you'll eventually be spending $1,460 by the end of the year. Think about that before you go to Starbucks so many times that they know your credit card number by heart.
Sound familiar? Odds are you've heard that projected $1,460 yearly expenditure turned into a gym membership, a vacation, a computer, and plenty of other would-be purchases. Enough is enough! If buying a coffee once a week or every day makes you happy—and you can afford it without going into debt—you shouldn't let anyone tell you your money would be better spent elsewhere.
Ishak's "money-saving" suggestions border on delusional, including replacing coffee with exercise and giving up coffee altogether—both of which would require entire lifestyle changes—just to save a few bucks per week.
CNBC's Suze Orman took to Twitter to all but yell at coffee-drinkers about spending money on their daily roast. The way Orman calculates it, a daily coffee habit translates to roughly $100 per month. If you were to put $100 per month into a Roth IRA for 40 years—at a 12 percent annual rate of return—you'd be left with $1,000,000.
It's hard to choose coffee over $1,000,000, no matter how happy the latte makes you.
Fast Company's Sallie Krawcheck has had enough of the belittling coffee advice, saying it often targets women and implies female "frivolous" spending habits are truly what is holding women back. Krawcheck isn't standing for the patronizing implications; here is her math when it comes to investing your latte-fund in the stock market:
In order for that one latte a day (at $5 per latte) to earn you that $1 million over 40 years, you would need to earn 10% annually, every year, year in and year out. Seem reasonable? Well, the stock market has gone up 5.6% annually over the past 20 years, while individual investors have earned 1.9% over the same time frame. So either the stock market needs to do close to two times better than it has in the past 20 years (possible but not likely) or you need to turn into a super-human investor. In your spare time. In a way I’ve never heard of any part-time–or full-time–investor ever doing.
Krawcheck says the over-saturated market of coffee-related advice plays into the centuries-old narrative that women are bad with money.
Women have effectively internalized the messages that our society sends them about money, and the result is that the primary emotion so many of us feel about money is shame. We feel shame when we are in debt; we feel shame because we spend too much, certainly; we feel shame because we earn too little–and we even feel shame because we earn too much.
According to Krawcheck, cutting-back-on-coffee advice "isn’t about the lattes. It’s never been about the lattes." No one should let someone else make them feel guilt for a purchase they have the autonomy and ability to make.