In a recent New York Times article, Damon Darlin advises graduates to save money by skipping the lattes at Starbucks. Make your own coffee, he says. You’ll save about $2000 a year.
To read the article, you have to register (free):
New York Times site
I would tend to agree…except…
Freud famously said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
Sometimes a latte is NOT just a latte.
That latte can be your entry into office politics, depending on who you’re drinking with. Those $3 drinks may be an investment in your future. For example:
(1)You’re sipping with the stars.
If your industry or company group hangs out at the local coffee shop, you’re not just drinking coffee: you’re gathering intelligence that you can use to advance your career.
Of course, if you get together to gripe and you’re drained by negative energy, gossip and whining, you’re losing a lot more than the price of coffee.
One small town business owner invested over $200 a month in coffee at two espresso hangouts. He was one of the few business owners who came by regularly to chat with the regulars and stay informed. His business was one of the few that demonstrated explosive growth in the downtown area.
(2) You’re forcing yourself to get some work done.
Those who work at home know all too well: sometimes you gotta get out of Dodge. You’re feeling enclosed by four walls. The refrigerator is way too tempting. And frankly, you’re just plain lonely.
Drop the dog into day care and head for Uptown Espresso, Java Joint, Bean City…whatever your locale has to offer. Nurse a drink and work with the wi-fi. Cheaper than renting an office…and if you meet with a client, you deduct the coffee from your taxes (if your accountant approves – I’m not an expert).
Bonus: I’ve met several business owners who made better connections over laptops at Starbucks than at those $50-a-pop networking meetings.
I’ve also spotted corporate executives hiding out in the corner, ducking yet another dreary meeting.
(3) You absolutely, positively hate your job and your latte gives you a break.
When people hate their jobs, I advise them to find something to enjoy, even if it’s just a picture on an office wall. Of course, I also advise them to get proactive about making some change. See
my free article on Ten Things To Do When You Really, Really Hate Your Job.
Sometimes you need to hang on because you need credibility, experience, time in grade, or basic survival funds. Looking forward to that latte may get you through the day and the week…and it’s a lot cheaper than therapy. I’d also recommend that you join a gym: exercise is a natural mood-enhancer.
If you need the prescription version of anti-depressants, you get to discuss the meaning of lattes, cappuccinos and decaf with your therapist. Not me.
And if you choose the coffee shop for the taste, or you get your coffee in takeout containers, then I’m with Darlin, the New York Times writer. You’re not investing in anything: you’re buying coffee.