March 3, 2010

Let’s Do Some Math

I had to reevaluate my finances a few months ago to be more budget-friendly. Seeing as how on a day-to-day basis I already am accustomed to a rather economical lifestyle, cutting more corners was hard to do. In fact, I was rather certain nothing else could go, and my social life and decorating habit would soon fall victim to the reality that is our recession... and my need to renew my gym membership.


But, then I had a thought where many people at least pretend to have brilliant ideas, the coffee shop. As I stood there waiting for the barista to perfectly blend skim milk, vanilla syrup and overpriced espresso, I realized that at $5 pop, a small fortune was being spent on my latte habit. In fact, after a quick count of the fingers and toes I realized that I was spending around $100 per month on non-fat vanilla latte caffeine fixes. Yikes! What was a girl to do? I may take the bus with no shame anywhere and any time (before 9 p.m.), but I don’t drink regular coffee or instant lattes (eeewww). I also couldn’t fathom giving them up completely.


So, I decided it couldn’t be THAT hard to make your own tried and true latte with the right equipment. I researched espresso makers and put it on the top of my Christmas list. And, I have to say, it’s the best money my parents have spent on me in some time. It took a few weeks to get over my fear and catch the hang of it, but that latte fund is now my new gym membership each month – and instead of tempting me with baked goodie coffee add-ons, it’s slimming down the excesses created by said baked goods.


Here’s the breakdown of what my caffeine habit now costs: I buy the vanilla syrup at the neighborhood Dominick’s for less than $7 a bottle about once a month – and a bag of my favorite espresso from Intelligensia costs around $13 with tax.  I'm still on my first one, so I might get 3 months out of it!  In short, I’m spending pennies now and have the convenience of making my own lattes whenever I want, without the walk, wait or frustration of a barista not understanding the difference between a “skinny vanilla latte” and a “non-fat/skim vanilla latte.” (Trust me, there is a BIG difference.)

I'm rarely a proponent of math (although despite popular opinion when the check comes at the dinner table, I'm quite capable), but I've gotta say this is math I'm glad I did.  I'm now fattening my wallet and fitting into my skinny jeans!!

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