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28 Mar 2014

When it Comes to Coffee, Twenty is Plenty

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by Jesse Mecham

Twenty bucks. That’s all I’ve got in my coffee budget, meaning all coffee consumed out of the house. It includes hangouts with fellow authors, meetings with clients, and visits with friends. Twenty bucks.

It took a bit of training and practice to let go of the vanilla latte habit. But see, when one can get eight cups of drip coffee for the price of four lattes, well, you understand at a glance how much richer one’s social life can be.

Another sad fact? I used to be unable to enjoy a coffee without a little snack to go with it. Usually I liked a muffin or a scone. But I found my coffee budget didn’t go half as far. So I took it in baby steps, swapping the $3 scone for a $1.50 biscotti. And then one day, I just…ate beforehand, so I wasn’t running on empty when I got to the coffee shop. And I found I could be completely happy with just a coffee and some good company.

It was a very Buddhist moment. Simplicity and contentment and all.

Sometimes I get lucky and a client treats me. And every so often I’ll have a good run on a gift card that someone has given me in exchange for doing a presentation on writing. All of this generous goodness means I can squeeze a few more coffee dates into a given month. And I do love that.

But generally speaking, twenty is plenty.

And I have to admit: part of the fun of being a YNABer is seeing just . . . how . . . far . . . you can get your money to  s t r e t c h. I see it as a challenge now, rather than a restriction.

It’s addictive, isn’t it?

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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