starbucks is a waste of money
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Why Starbucks is a Waste of Money

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Wait a second…didn’t we just publish an article about how you could drink Starbucks every workday and still retire early. I’m sure you are all confused at this point. Well, luckily, I’m here to clarify it for you in case you didn’t gather it from the title. Starbucks is a huge waste of money.

That first article was a farce. I lured you in with the idea that you can still have your frivolous coffee and cut your working life years, or even decades, shorter. Everything in that article still applies, though. Working from the top-down regarding your spending will pay off multiples more than working from bottom up. But why not do both? Unmercilessly slash every overspent dollar and keep it for yourself.

Why Starbucks is a Waste of Money

Money Wasted on Starbucks

Now that you’re paying attention, let’s reiterate the math from the earlier article to help explain why Starbucks is a waste of money.

Starbucks Waste of Money
Un-pictured: the $37,172 in student loans not getting paid off because of coffee.

The average seasonal grande (medium) drink at Starbucks is $5.25. The average ticket for a single drink from a black coffee to a chai latte is between $3.45-$4.45.

For those that struggle with math, averaged out, this $4 daily coffee habit would cost you nearly $1,500 a year!

Alternatively, this money would accumulate to $16,200 in a decade if you invested it instead of spending it.

Also, this isn’t counting the time committed, or the wear and tear on your car driving to and sitting at the Starbucks drive-through. You gotta cut that shit out if you are wanting to say goodbye to the W-2 world anytime before 60.

Time Wasted on Starbucks

It’s not just the direct money lost from it. Everyone’s heard the age-old saying ‘time is money’, right? Well, that’s especially true here so we are going to break down the moments of your life lost here.

Let’s assume that it takes you 2 minutes to divert from the quickest route to work and get in the drive-through, and another 5 minutes in the drive-through ordering and waiting on your coffee. 7 minutes a day sounds like nothing. 35 minutes a week x 52 weeks = 30 hours. So at this point, you have spent $1,040 and 30 hours of your life in a single year.

Don’t forget the stress induced by this whole fiasco of getting a to-go coffee on the way to work.

You’re rushed for work and about to ram the idiots in front of you with your car because they aren’t going fast enough. You are about 200 mg of caffeine and 30 seconds away from going on a killing spree. You like to think that you’d be doing them a favor. Massacring every person in this hellhole seems like a courtesy at this point.

Just take a deep breath and think about all the jail time you would get for becoming an arsonist and turning this place into an inferno…and no, you can’t make it seem like an accident. Your time should be worth more to you than that, I know mine is. To sum up this section, Starbucks is a waste of money and time.

Health Wasted on Starbucks

Now, let’s turn a corner and discuss how it’s draining your wallet while filling up your clothes.

Starbucks waste of money
Does this look like a healthy way to start the day?

First off, you aren’t buying a cup of coffee anymore at Starbucks. They hardly even offer coffee. Instead, you’re buying a coffee-flavored dessert. Sugar is even more addictive than coffee. However, when you can combine the two, you’ll have people fiending for their next fix.

Let’s say it’s warm out and you want to get an “Iced Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino” (genuinely, it pained me to type this). Well, that’s a whopping 500 calories.

Oh, now it’s cold out and you just HAVE to get a warm drink. How about a “Salted Caramel Mocha”? Tack on another 500 calories. According to the Google machine, in 2017 the average American woman is 5’4″ and 166 lbs. She needs 1,449 calories per day to maintain her weight. (Update: as of 2019 the average woman is over 170lbs)

If she has three even meals per day, that coffee was more than her breakfast. If she gets her base rate of 1,449 calories per day + the coffee, she will gain 1 lb every week and a half. A total of 39 lbs in a year. This 166 lbs woman has just ballooned up to 205 lbs just by adding a Starbucks “coffee” to her diet.

Do you remember the stress mentioned earlier? Imagine how stressed you are at this point, you’re fat and broke! You’ve lost over $1k, 30 hours, and gained 39 pounds….in what world does this trade-off make sense? Why in the hell are you still torturing yourself by going to this place?

The Solution

I’m not here to only point out the problems though, I also come bearing a remedy. The solution to this problem that plagues most American’s: make your coffee at home. Better yet, make your coffee at work. Not only is it free, but I’m “working” and it’s completely permissible.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you choose the more expensive of these options and you make your coffee at home. First off, check out our Guide to DIY Coffee at home to be sure you’re using the best method for your preferences.

Amazon has a 24 oz jug of Folgers. This bucket of ground coffee makes 210 cups. For less than the cost of 2 of your overpriced sugar-laden coffees you could have a cup every day for 7 months. Sure, you have to buy the filters or get a reusable one. Even after adding those in, your cup o’ joe is setting you back less than 7¢.

Starbucks waste of money
Black coffee: great for energy, alertness, focus, & weight loss. Also, it’s cheap as hell.

This brings us to the next point. We’ve covered how to make it cheaper, now let’s make it healthier.

Drink your coffee black. Not only is it cheaper, but this simple step will transform it from a sugar-laden drink destined to pack on the pounds into a cheap and effective fat burner. Studies have shown that a cup of black coffee can boost your metabolism by 11%.

Ironically, every coffee snob that scoffed at the idea of drinking Folgers probably doesn’t even know what coffee tastes like anymore. Why are you buying expensive coffee just to overpower the flavors with sugar and creamer, again?


Ditch the useless status symbol of having an overpriced cup of coffee. I promise that no one cares whether your cup has a logo on it or not. Everyone is just falling prey to mindless consumption and the narcissism of showing off that you can afford to pay $6 for a 10¢ cup of “coffee” filled with sugar, milk, and caramel. Cut out the overpriced coffee and you can keep your money, your time, and your physique.


  • tiniancrawford

    I’m with you there! I take a small splash of milk in my homemade coffee, and every once in a while (maybe once a month or so) I’ll splurge on a store-bought iced coffee. I can’t help but silently judge the obese person in front of me ordering a large iced with six creams and seven sugars. Just get a Coke, it’s probably less horrendous at that point.

    • James Lowery

      You are exactly right. I have members in my family who aren’t as financially minded as I am, and when I have to go through the drive-through with them, it’s borderline disgusting. “Can I get this with three pumps of vanilla syrup, and one pump of caramel?”

      • Delete Starbucks

        I agree with Michael but you did not cover all the negatives Michael but I agree with each you have 1000% and I couldn’t have stated it any better if I had not stated it myself. I am with a Starbucks fanatic and I might go as far as to say Starbucks mag be more important then ourselves . Not only is it costing that 10 dollars a day as my girlfriend never brings me coffee! Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t want her to waste her money ; I am a firm believer anything someone else can do I can do better. As I’m sure I can duplicate the coffee . Now back to the problem my girlfriend doesn’t make me coffee . So now I have to make my own coffee every morning.
        200 I saw charges $23 dollars to Starbucks

    • Michael

      I have dated a few Starbucks coffee fanatics and I would say not only is it a major waste of money and time , wear and tear on your car , I say the $1500 a year is way below the $$ figure I have seen.
      We must realize take into account a person that is to lazy to fix their own coffee is probably to lazy to fix breakfast, lunch etc… They are not just buying coffee all the time and that is why Starbucks has added items to go with the coffee. Now they are spending $10-12 dollars a day but not everyday as they start to feel the cash Foo dwindle; So let’s go with $200 to $225 a month a year half a car payment , and 30 minutes a day 3 and 1/2 hour a week

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