1. Save Money---More Coffee at Home:
If you’re like most of us, it can be shocking to see how quickly all those small everyday purchases add up. Being rich is not solely dependent on how much one makes each year; wealth is directly correlated to our spending habits. Who doesn’t love starting the day by going to Starbucks or your local coffee shop and getting that quick, convenient caffeine fix? Sadly, this habit of spending a few bucks a day on coffee may be having a bigger impact on your pocketbook than at first glance.
One of the most popular drinks at Starbucks, the White Chocolate Mocha, will cost you ~$4.50 for a Grande (16 oz) cup. While prices vary across different coffee shops, let’s just use this medium-sized mocha as our example. One cup a day will ring you up at about $125 a month or $1,500 a year. If you spend two decades doing this, the total would be over $30,000. Now, if you were to invest this money (at the beginning of the two-decade period), assuming an average stock market return of 7% a year, your daily cup of coffee would have grown to over $115,000. What could you do with an extra hundred thousand dollars? Well, you could buy a whole lot of ground coffee…
By choosing to brew your coffee at home, you can save a shocking amount of money! Choosing a good ground coffee, such as the coffee we recently reviewed of the McCafé Premium Medium roast (see Amazon listing here: Amazon—Premium Roast, that same 16 oz of coffee would be just over 30 cents a day. Let’s round up and imagine it was even $0.50 a day, you would still be saving $4 a day. While none of this is professional financial advice by any means, if you started with no money and just invest $4 a day for 40 years at the same average return, you would have just shy of $300,000 for just choosing to brew your coffee. Now that may be something to think about.
2. Ditch the Portable Coffee Cups:
Speaking of small daily habits that add up, let’s look at the environmental impact of disposable “paper” coffee cups. It is estimated that over 16 billion “paper” coffee cups are used each year.1 I put “paper” in quotes as these cups are often coated in a thermoplastic polymer called polyethylene. This leads to considerable recycling issues; the average polyethylene-coated coffee cup can take up to 20 years to decompose.1 Most of these cups end up filling our landfills which is becoming an increasingly prominent concern! Moreover, this equates to nearly 6.5 million trees being cut down each year just for our leisure of drinking out of paper cups.2
Invest in one portable coffee cup. It will last you many years if it is a quality cup so make sure to do your research and get yourself something nice! One of our favorites is the simple modern travel coffee mug. It gets great reviews (over 7,000 reviews on Amazon) and even gives some of the proceeds away to charity. Furthermore, this mug is insulated, should work with most cup holders, and comes in multiple designs. Also, coffee just tastes better when not drinking it from a paper cup.
3. Stay Hydrated:
We’ve all heard that we need to drink more water. It is estimated that 50-70% of your body weight comes directly from water weight with the brain being made up of ~90% water! One study found that dehydration equivalent to a 2% decrease in body mass is enough to cause a moderate to severe impact on attention, motor coordination, and executive functions.3 The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking 2.7 (11.5 cups) and 3.7 liters (15.5 cups) of water for women and men, respectively.4 While the advice of drinking 8 glasses of water a day may not be enough water for everyone, it is a reasonable goal to strive for.
But the question remains, does coffee count toward our daily fluid intake?
The caffeine molecule inhibits the release of the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) which typically stimulates the retention of water in the body. Since ADH is inhibited after drinking large amounts of coffee with high caffeine content, less ADH is released causing a diuretic effect that causes the user to release more water (hence the need to pee after drinking lots of caffeine).5 However, since coffee is primarily made up of water, the diuretic effect does not completely offset the hydrating effect of coffee. So, like most things in life, moderation is the key. Drinking too much coffee can lead to a greater risk of dehydration. While this is not medical advice by any stretch, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least one cup of water for every cup of coffee consumed. Seems to be a pretty easy thing to add to your new year’s resolutions!
4. Get More Knowledgeable About Your Favorite Drink:
We take so many things for granted. The new year is a chance to contemplate all the good things we have to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, there is a solid chance you love coffee… Who wouldn’t want to learn more about the things you do and enjoy every day! One of the easiest ways to learn more about the history of the coffee bean and how it came to be one of the inventions that transformed our world is by just picking up a book on the subject. Unfortunately, with so many of us getting seemingly busier each year, not all of us have the time to read entire books on such a frivolous subject.
This is why audiobooks are so great. Check out the book Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast on Audible. It takes you through how the very first cup of coffee was made to the revolution and commercialization of coffee companies such as Starbucks. I think you’ll be amazed at the rich history your favorite drink has.
(At the time of writing this Audible is having a sale to get the first 3 months at $5.95 a month. This is a really great deal! Also, if you sign up through this Audible link (or click on the banner to the right) you will be supporting the blog and helping me to provide new content on a more regular basis with no extra cost to you!)
5. Be Healthy --- Try One of the Following:
On average, Americans consume nearly 100 pounds of sugar a year with over 50 pounds coming in the form of drinks. While coffee is not as big of an offender as, say, soda or sugary juices, many individuals still insist on adding sugar or other high-calorie additives to their coffee.
Let’s go back to that Grande White Chocolate Mocha example from Starbucks we used previously. One cup of this yummy mocha will add well over 400 calories and 50 grams of sugar to your diet. Assuming you don’t already drink your coffee black, see if you can make at least one of the following adjustments to your coffee habits this year. Your future self will thank you!!!
Below are some ideas to make this new year your healthiest year yet!
- The Paper Coffee Cup recycling puzzle. The anatomy of a cup | Where business meets science. (n.d.). Retrieved January 2, 2022, from https://insights.basf.com/home/article/read/anatomy-of-a-cup#:~:text=The%20thin%20layer%20of%20plastic,the%20cup%20from%20getting%20soggy.&text=Incorrect!,the%20cup%20from%20getting%20soggy
- Effects of paper coffee cups on environment. GreenMatch. (n.d.). Retrieved January 2, 2022, from https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2015/06/the-effects-of-paper-coffee-cups-on-the-environment
- Wittbrodt, M. & Millard-Stafford, M. (2018). Dehydration impairs cognitive performance: A meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 50(11), 2360–2368. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000001682
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, October 14). How much water do you need to stay healthy? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 2, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=So%20how%20much%20fluid%20does,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women
- Dovey, D. (2014, November 26). What the world’s most popular drug does to your health. Medical Daily. Retrieved January 2, 2022, from https://www.medicaldaily.com/caffeine-side-effects-and-more-how-worlds-most-popular-drug-can-affect-your-health-312208