Is it really worth it?
That is the price I paid for one medium, flavored, double caf coffee last Friday. At the moment, I justified the 7:45 am, 20 minutes in line for the drive-through order. Considering I was on my way back from picking up my computer cord I left at the office with a dying computer at home, my 2-year-old had been up since 3:00 am with a cough and just wanting to be held, and my 4-month-old woke up with goopy, crusty eyes; in my tired mama’s eyes, it was better than going back home, unloading them both, and trying to make a cup of coffee before plunging into the day’s work. But as the (way too cheerful for 7:45 am) barista handed me the coffee, I found myself asking myself, was the convenience of this over-priced coffee actually worth it for that price?
And even though it was technically a guilt-free pleasure because I used a gift card I got from Christmas, I still had buyer’s remorse after pulling out of the now even more crowded parking lot. I kept thinking how at the moment, I was tired and felt like it was warranted. And, yes, I know I was not being frivolous since I had the “cash” from the gift card, but I kept thinking of how if I didn’t, would I still have bought it? Would my tired eyes and arms still lead me through the drive-through line? Is a treat now really a treat in the end?
A moment on your lips, forever on your hips
Or, in this case, “A moment on your lips, forever out of your bank account.” Again, I realize I had the gift card, so I wasn’t really taking from my budget, but what if I had? Would I have indulged in the convenient coffee had it taken away from my diaper budget? (Because hello, two under two in diapers; let’s just go ahead and start a sinking fund for that now, please) Or, at the price of eggs, did I trade a warm cup of joe for two dozen eggs out of this week's grocery budget line?
Can instant gratification lead to instant regret?
I know that with coaching, I discuss with clients the importance of setting parameters around their budget items and stress the importance of monitoring their expenses to help regulate their behaviors. But with the world that we live in now, with more convenience due to our fast-paced society, and can literally at the click of a button have what we desire, monitoring your behavior is more challenging than ever.
But here’s the lesson…
However, despite all the mom guilt I was throwing at myself, I realized something. I had changed my behavior. I have re-wired my brain over the years. And I don’t mean only before kids, but before I started budgeting for myself.
Before learning to budget, I wouldn’t have thought twice about ordering that coffee. And even though I had a gift card to pay for the coffee that day, the fact stands that I took a second to pause and think about how, if I had not had the gift card, how that coffee trip would have impacted my budget.
I have made the lifestyle changes I talk about with my clients. I know I talk about changing these behaviors and learning these new habits, but it was refreshing to have an “ah-ha moment” and a reminder for myself.
So, was it really worth it?
$6.75 for a cup of coffee.
Here are my thoughts on it:
For starters, it brought me a little bit of sanity to an already chaotic morning (remember, have grace on yourself). And the fact that I was using “free money” by paying for it with a gift card, vs. taking it out of my budget, allowed me to have the convenience coffee guilt-free (well, almost). And it was a great reminder to take a step back and see how I had come along these last few years in modifying my behavior. And not to say that I modified it in a way that says I could never have such a treat ever again, but I modified it in a way that I took a second thought on if that was the best way to spend my money.
Today I am going to say it was worth it.
If you want to learn ways to budget and learn lifestyle changes to help you save, set up a meeting with our financial coach.
Author: Lindsey Curry