The Starbucks Problem

I am in the minority on this, but I don’t get the concept of Starbucks.  I’m not a coffee drinker, so maybe that’s part of it, but I just don’t get it.  If I were given the opportunity to get anything I wanted at Starbucks for free all the time, I still wouldn’t ever go.  The thought is just so negative in my eyes.  To me, Starbucks represents everything about how most people don’t have savings, and live paycheck to paycheck.

If you go to Starbucks, you’ll easily pay $5 or more for a cup of coffee.  I suppose you go there because it’s “convenient.”  I would argue with that though.  Waiting in the long lines makes it incredibly inconvenient, and not efficient at all.  My wife had a gift card a while back, and I had to go stop and get her something while I was out running errands.  I think it took me 15 minutes just to get through the drive through lanes.

If I did drink coffee, I’d make it at home.  Even if you bought an expensive Keurig and drank a cup every day from that, it would still be a fraction of the cost of a trip to Starbucks.  They have every flavor you could imagine, too, so it’s not like you’d have to compromise on taste.  And it takes about 15 seconds to get your cup of coffee, compared to around 15 minutes to go to Starbucks.  You can do other things during those precious 15 seconds if you want, too (grab your coat and put it on, and it’s no waste of time at all).  Yet, with all this real convenience without even needing to leave your house, Starbucks still has a huge line all the time.

If you are one of the millions of people who go to Starbucks even a couple times a week, think about the amount of money you’d save by making your coffee at home.  In fact, if you are a regular Starbucks customer, you probably should take a look at other areas in your life where you are wasting money as well.  You could end up retiring tens of years earlier if you really understand the definition of convenience, and change your way of thinking to be able to save more.

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2 Responses to The Starbucks Problem

  1. Amy K says:

    This is like saying “I don’t see why anyone ever goes out to eat, I always make everything at home.” or “I don’t see why anyone ever eats dessert, it’s just empty calories so I eat strictly meat, grains, and vegetables.” or “I don’t see why anyone ever hires babysitters, I can take care of my own kids just fine, thank you!”

    It’s a treat.

    I’ll admit I only visit coffee shops once in a great while, but I enjoy my large pot of tea in some unusual flavor I don’t have at home. I enjoy dining out to enjoy something I won’t make at home (gyros!) and don’t need to clean up after. I hire a babysitter weekly for date night with my husband. All worthwhile.

    On the other hand, when it’s routine rather than treat, I agree there’s value in buying a coffee maker and setting it up the night before. I’m in Massachusetts and Dunkin’ Donuts rules this land. One coworker has an hour+ commute; she hits the DD drive through and gets 2 coffees on the way in every morning.

    • J.D. says:

      That’s exactly what I’m saying in this article. It’s fine as a treat (albeit one I don’t get, but that’s because I don’t drink coffee), but the real problem is when it becomes a habit. How many people do you know that occasionally go to Starbucks as opposed to the regulars? Starbucks just seems more like the symbol of how people can waste a lot of money just a little bit at a time, so I thought it would be a good topic to write about.

      I totally agree with you on a babysitter. When you have kids, you need that time just as a couple. It’s hard to survive without that. I have two kids under 3 (soon to be 3 under 3), and it can be really crazy around our house.

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