This weekend gave us the Super Bowl of insane catches and dancing Sharks, but it also ushered in the start of February. And a new month means a new challenge for the Simple Saver Series! This month’s challenge? Skip Starbucks February.

February Skip Starbucks

When most readers write me to ask about how they can save more money, I notice one name tends to pop up frequently: Starbucks. Starbucks is one of those tricky habits that’s small on its own – $3-5 dollars at a time – but adds up quickly.

Let’s say you’re responsible and just get a black coffee. Depending on the size, with tax you’re spending about $3. If you make that same coffee run every work day, that’s $15 a week, or $60 a month, or $780 a year. And if you go for a latte, that’s about $4.50 a visit, $22.50 a week, $90 a month, or almost $1,200 a year!

So this month, we’re going to break the coffee habit. The goal is to minimize our Starbucks (or Dunkin’ Donuts, or whichever coffee shop you prefer) consumption for the month, and brew coffee at home instead.

Some tools that could help? Starbucks ground coffee, Target’s Cinnamon Vanilla Nut coffee, reusable k-cups, and a milk frother.

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My at-home coffee ingredients. I might be too high maintenance for Starbucks anyways.

Now that we’ve chatted about February’s challenge, let’s recap January’s. January’s challenge was to not drink, aka Drynuary. The first two and a half weeks of this challenge were smooth sailing for me. I navigated happy hour like a boss.

And then, things got hard. It was my anniversary on the 17th so we decided that the occasion deserved a night off from the challenge, and split a bottle of wine. That was supposed to be the one blip in the month… which worked for a week. Then the last week of January my friend had a party, and I had work events, and I just totally gave up.

Here’s the thing, I’m totally cool with that. The Simple Saver Series isn’t about perfection; it’s about saving a little more than you would have otherwise. And I still saved money from my 3-ish weeks of not drinking.

I also initiated the Simple Saver series because I wanted us to better refine our spending priorities. I believe that smart budgeting and saving money comes from prioritizing, not sacrificing. For example, maybe you really care about going to a nice gym, but don’t care as much about having your nails done. By skipping the lower priority, and painting your nails at home, you have money left to save for your higher priorities.

In January, I learned that red wine is one of my spending priorities. Good thing Trader Joe’s has delicious, cheap wine.

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