Breaking the Starbucks habit can save thousands a year

Kate Flynn, special to

WASHINGTON – If you’ve ever had a nearby coffee shop or convenience store close its doors, you know that it can be hard to go without that mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, even if your wallet may thank you for not spending the extra money.

Here at WTOP, the beloved Starbucks across the street closed earlier this year. On average, according to our unscientific survey, WTOP staffers are saving $14.12 a week by not making a daily trip to Starbucks.

In a time of tight budgets, the money saved from not indulging in a daily soy latte can really add up. Some estimated that they saved as much as $25 a week by not buying food and drinks from the coffee chain.

“I was always very cheap — I would only buy the basic coffee,” says Jason Miller of Federal News Radio Radio, WTOP’s sister station. “Now I either bring it from home, or don’t spend it.”

Miller estimates that he’s saving $8 to $10 a week by skipping the morning coffee purchase.

According to personal finance expert Jordan Goodman, founder of Jordan Goodman Financial and Tax Planning, if a 25 year old saves $14.12 a week by not visiting Starbucks on a daily basis, she would save $3,671.20 a year. By the time she turned 65 years old that would total $146,848.

“If you invested that money at a 5 percent return, you could buy eight cars,” he says. “It would make a big difference in your retirement. The point is, little money adds up over time. We call it the ‘latte factor.'”

At almost $5 for a large (or “venti”) flavored latte, Starbucks is not always a cheap indulgence. However, some people would rather pay the price than go without freshly brewed coffee.

“My quality of life has seriously taken a hit,” jokes Mike Gartell, WTOP’s managing editor. But he says his wallet is enjoying saving $2 every day.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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