When I left Seattle for the wide open spaces of the Midwest, I had what one may describe as a serious Starbucks addiction.
So serious, I came this close to driving three hours to risk being shanked by a mom gang so I might be the very first customer at the new Stargetbucks in Smalltown.
Yes, it was that bad.
Six months later, I’m proud to say I’ve only visited the Stargetbucks in Smalltown twice.
In six months.
And I didn’t even have to go to Promises for rehab!
Minnesota has really changed me, you guys.
So what happened? How did I go from compulsive latte drinker to once in a blue moon customer without even really trying? Let me break it down for you.
1. I started working at home.
We all know that Starbucks is less about the coffee and more about the actual experience. My daily Starbucks routine used to be the highlight of my morning, and sipping my skinny caramel macchiato while sitting at my desk truly provided me with a feeling of joy. Also? There were at least a dozen convenient Starbucks locations on my drive into work.
But now? Now that I telecommute, stopping by Starbucks is no longer convenient as it requires actually putting on clothes and leaving the house.
You know what is on my way to work? The trusty coffee maker in my kitchen.
2. I started saving more money.
Scott and I really like it here in ‘Sota. As a matter of fact, we’re hoping to buy a permanent residence as soon as all of our student loans are paid off next year. In preparation for this we’ve been trying to save money where we can, in order to set aside a few extra Benjamins for a down-payment on a home.
Here’s where the crazy coffee math comes in.
My signature drink, a grande skinny caramel macchiato, costs approximately $4.25. Let’s say I had five of these a week, one for every morning of the work week. (In all reality, it was probably more than this as some days I went twice, some days I ordered a pastry, and some weeks I wound up stopping in on the weekends once or twice.)
That’s at least $21.25 a week on coffee. Like I said, on average, it probably ended up being a even little more.
Which means I was spending $1,105.00 on coffee a year.
Eleven hundred dollars.
That’s a trip to Mexico! Four pairs of designer shoes! Enough to buy two different fancy espresso machines so I could make my own lattes at home!
My beloved Gevalia coffee that I’ve been brewing myself costs about $17 a month, or $204 a year. It’s still a significant chunk of change, but is much more reasonable by comparison. Agree?
3. Nobody in Smalltown cares about Starbucks.
I’ve already mentioned that Starbucks is more than just coffee — it’s about a luxurious and idealized experience. In my opinion, part of that experience is the “image” that the little green mermaid represents. In Seattle, my white and green coffee cup was more than just a beverage holder — it was a fashion accessory, and even a status symbol. In the city, smugly toting that adorable little cup in my right hand meant something.
But in Smalltown? In Smalltown, nobody walks around with a Starbucks cup. It loses its prestige and it’s status. The cup doesn’t mean anything.
Suddenly, the less other people started caring whether I drank Starbucks, the less I started caring whether I drank Starbucks.
4. I was paying over $1,000 a year to drink milkshakes.
Warm, sugar-free, non-fat milkshakes with just a tiny splash of coffee in them.
And don’t even get me started on the Frappuccino.
I’m not saying the custom beverages at Starbucks aren’t delicious — they totally are.
But to call them coffee? I think we all know that’s a little bit of a stretch.
While I’m no longer a daily Starbucks customer, I still love the company and look forward to stopping in for a caffeine boost every once in a while as a treat. But that’s the difference. Starbucks runs have become less of a morning ritual and more something I do once in a while — when I’m travelling for work, on vacation, or meeting a friend. While I will always love my skinny caramel macchiato I no longer feel as if I need it to survive.
And now that Starbucks is a once in a while indulgence as opposed to a non-negotiable component of my daily grind? I actually enjoy it more. Go figure.
Also? While I still treat myself to a sugar-free milkshake about half of the time, I’ve taken to ordering a grande drip coffee with just a splash of cream. And guess what? It actually tastes really good.
See? I told you Minnesota has changed me.