Should You Save Money By Not Buying Coffee? No, and Here's Why

29 Oct 2021

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Should You Save Money By Not Buying Coffee? No, and Here's Why

If you have been following personal finance influencers or have read books on money management, you might have noticed that some of them (or maybe most) have compared buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks as an unforgivable financial sin - akin to the lines of:

"If you save up Rp30.000 on coffee each day, you could have saved up Rp900.000 in a month and Rp10.800.000 a year!"

I understand how people who refrain from buying coffee can save hundreds of thousands each month. Then consider these few examples.

  • Why buy snacks when you already have a couple of full meals a day?
  • Why pay for online taxi services when you can use public transportation?
  • Why bother paying for a Netflix subscription when you have the rest of the internet?

We spend money on the things we love, enjoy, or gives us convenience - be it food, travel, or even coffee. Realistically, we are probably not going to buy a Starbucks on a daily basis anyway right? Even if you did however, it would mean that you actually REALLY love coffee! And to think of it, despite being able to save a little bit more money, would you actually enjoy this type of life?

We get caught up in the thought that saving money over coffee will one day make you a billionaire and we will eventually get to enjoy it in better ways. But here is my personal take on this mindset:

Not only are you restricting yourself from enjoying your hard-earned money, but you are ultimately relying on the chance that one day in the future you will be able to use it, possibly when you are older with much less energy to enjoy.

So let's get back to the initial question

Should you save your money by not buying coffee?

You might have figured that my answer would be a no. Simply because you should enjoy the things you love in life, especially when you can.

However, dont get me wrong, this does not mean that you should go on a spending spree and empty your bank account.

Instead, spend (wisely) but save and invest accordingly.

At whatever your income, set aside (for instance) 15% for savings and 15% for investing. After buying the necessities beforehand, you will be left with guilt-free money that you can actually afford to spend. The idea is that even if you spend Rp30.000 on coffee every day, you have already set aside a set amount of money for your future. No stress, no guilt.

This is because saving, as the name suggests, will only save you SOME money. But by no means that it will make you (very) rich. Compounding interest through investing, however, can make you rich, especially if you start early.

On the topic of being wealthy, many financial gurus tell people to stop buying coffee to save money is because, well... it's an easy answer to give, to which anyone with common sense would have had already figured out *duhh*. So in closing, instead of focusing on how not buying coffee can save you  million rupiahs a year, focus on the bigger picture, and do yourself a favor by asking yourself questions like:

  • What can I do to increase my income?
  • What are the investments best suited for my goals?
  • How do I protect my assets?
  • What can I do with my budget without debt payments?
  • How much should I start to invest to retire early?

What other questions should you ask yourself? Or maybe you have a different viewpoint on this topic?

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