The Value of a $5 Coffee Shop Visit

In my attempt to be more like Mr. Money Mustache, and in my goal of retiring by 40, I decided I could easily cut out coffee.

I often work remotely and enjoy working from different coffee shops around town. Each of those visits is $5, which adds up to significant money over the course of a year. I'm not really a coffee drinker. I don't have a way to make coffee at home, and I have never made a single cup of coffee at work. But, I enjoy a latte, and I leave that little treat for the hour that I get to spend at the coffee shop.

I decided I could easily cut out coffee, and I did for more than 6 months. Instead of working at different coffee shops, I would work from the library, the park, a nice office lobby, or just from home.

Instead of taking my 3-year-old every Saturday morning to our wonderful neighborhood coffee shop, we would just stay home and play, and I would have some of my favorite tea.

I saved a bunch of money.

But, then one Saturday morning, I decided to check in with some old friends that I had made at the neighborhood coffee shop, and take my little guy on our past routine of visiting Steam.

That time was worth so much more than $5.

We caught up with Hani the owner of the shop. We saw Jay and Dave, both parents who have a lot of wisdom to share. We saw Rod, a generous and seasoned business owner with a different type of wisdom to share. We saw Lisa, who is just really good at interacting with little three-year-olds.

What's the value of connection with the community? What's the value of supporting the community? There are people who have genuinely come to love my son and have seen him grow from the time he was a few months old. Letting them see how he now communicates. Letting them experience the comical stream of words that flows from his mouth. There is value in that, on both ends.

I've found a middle ground concerning coffee spending. I use that experience much more consciously now, really enjoying the opportunity instead of using it as a mindless routine.