2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Illustration by Megan Koch

How to stop spending all of your money at Starbucks

By Nazeefa Ahmed, November 4 2022

As I write this, I am shamefully sipping on a grande iced matcha latte with pumpkin cream cold foam. I bought the drink while passing through Mac Hall, a spur of the moment decision that has become an expensive habit as of late. The drink was a whopping $6.58, but I am telling myself that this is a “reward” for all the “studying” I did. However, I hope that by writing frankly about my addiction, I can move forward to a future where I am not salivating for a caramel macchiato mid-lecture. Here are some tips to quit Starbucks that I really should follow myself.

Think critically about what you are paying for

Most of Starbucks’ drinks are a mixture of ice, milk, and either coffee and/or flavoring. Different permutations and combinations make the drinks so much fun to buy. Some people have their whole identities surrounding a particular pump of flavour, or a certain combination that is just right for them. Being able to customize something to your own liking is desirable, but is it worth the price? I am not going to calculate the annual cost of a daily Starbucks run because I am sure you’ve seen it multiple times, but it really does add up.

You and I could quite literally make these drinks from home. Instead, we are paying almost $7 for someone to mix basic ingredients together and pour it into a plastic cup. This spending is not sustainable for the average person, especially not in this economy. We are quite literally throwing our life savings out the window for a daily dose of pumpkin spice.

Media influence

Why do you buy from Starbucks? Really think about it. Is it the best coffee you have ever tasted? Maybe it is, though I highly doubt it. You buy from the franchise at least in part due to an intense and unwavering brand loyalty. Starbucks represents a lifestyle that you and I want to emulate. We yearn to be the corporate girl boss who can afford a daily latte. We desire to be that mysterious venti drinker passing through Mac Hall. Our choice of beverage is at least in part due to a superficial idea of what it means to be aesthetic. There is not the same pizzaz carrying a reusable coffee mug. But, once again, we are paying a high price for a nonessential and subsequently shooting our future selves in the foot.  

Avoid Downstairs Mac Hall

There is no valid reason for you to go there daily. You can get to your destination by passing through the food court and taking the stairs down on the other side. The Kinesiology building is easily accessible outside as well. Treat Starbucks as a forbidden place on campus to keep yourself away from temptation. By doing so, your willpower to resist is not tested as much.

Also, when you are studying at TFDL, try not to get up after twenty minutes to buy Starbucks just because you are tired or want a break. You and I both know that your “break” will become hours of time wasted. Your study session will become a TikTok scrolling session, where you will inevitably discover another trending drink to try. If you are tired, close your books, set a timer, and sleep. Remember, you don’t need an expensive habit to take you out of a bad one.

Set up a reward system

This is something that was helpful for me. I used to hold myself very strictly to this rule: you are only allowed to have Starbucks on Friday. I would then keep this promise to myself, and it made it easier to resist. I was not giving up Starbucks anymore. I was having it in moderation.

This rule also gave me something to look forward to in the week. After working so hard from Monday to Thursday, I was deserving the award that I was giving myself. I, interestingly, did not feel guilty for purchasing a drink. It was my active choice to reward myself, rather than a passive and impulsive one. I am striving to apply this rule to my life once again.  

Like I said in the beginning, I am personally struggling to stop buying Starbucks all the time. I am aware that this is a bad habit that is going to hurt me in the future. The first step is acknowledging that I have a problem; I shouldn’t wake up everyday thinking about coffee. Second, I critically think through the motivations behind my habit. Finally, I must make active choices to limit myself. I must respect personal promises and control my impulses. I hope my personal therapy session inspired you to quit too. 

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet