Today I had to attend a business lunch for my boss. It’s a weekly meeting where a different member gives a presentation to the group. Sometimes it’s on insurance. Sometimes it’s on pest control. Today it was on retirement. The presenter took us through a worksheet to help us calculate how much we need to be saving so that we are ready for retirement. After the presenter wrapped up, another person in the group pointed out that I had a Starbucks. “Do you know how much we spend on coffee each week?” he asked the group. I suppose he was attempting to make a point about how much each of us spends on frivolous things without even thinking about it and how that $3.94 I “wasted” on my grande sugar-free vanilla latte could equal two-days of fully-funded retirement thirty years from now.
But to answer his question, yes, I know exactly how much I spend on coffee each week. In fact, coffee is a line item in our monthly budget. My husband and I are very aware of what our lattes and mochas cost. But frankly I’m getting sick of people placing the blame on that little, sweet, innocent grande peppermint mocha. What about people who throw down four bucks for a bottle of beer at a bar when they could have bought it at the grocery store for $1.50. Isn’t that frivolous ? What about the money we spend on greeting cards for every major holiday? Isn’t that a little wasteful? What about those crazy people who buy potato chips, playing cards or movie tickets? How dare they!
The point is, just because I spend a few bucks a week on coffee doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible with my money. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I bring my lunch to work 95% of the time. I consider coffee a special treat, a hobby even. And it’s one I’m not giving up. Even though if my calculations are right I need to have $1,193,400 saved for retirement. That means saving $104.97 each week. Now that’s a lot of lattes.