Your Latte Habit Is Costing a Fortune


Every time I go into a Starbuck’s, I cringe at the inflated prices of their coffee drinks. Even a plain cup of coffee is pretty expensive, at $1.75 for a Tall (12 ounces), $1.95 for a Grande (16 ounces), and $2.25 for a Venti (20 ounces). Look at the prices of some of the other coffee drinks sold at Starbuck’s:

Item Price

Tall $3.05
Grande $3.80
Venti $4.20
Trenta $4.30

Tall $3.45
Grande $4.20
Venti $4.50
Trenta $4.70

Tall $3.90
Grande $4.65
Venti $4.85
Trenta $4.95

Starbuck’s Coffee is a treat for me, not a daily habit. I may have five Starbuck’s beverages a month at the most (my average is one or two Starbuck’s beverages each month), but I know many people who indulge in Starbuck’s beverages on a daily basis, and some of them get the fancy drinks every time. All of those multisyllabic coffee concoctions can really add up and burn a hole in one’s wallet over time. In addition, the mochas, the lattes, and certainly the frappucinos are loaded with calories. Here is the nutritional breakdown of my favorite Starbuck’s beverages, a Tall Caffè Mocha. I get it with nonfat milk but even then, the calories, carbs and sugars really add up:

Caffè Mocha (Espresso with bittersweet mocha sauce and steamed milk)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (12 fl oz)
Calories 190 Calories from Fat 20
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 100mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 27g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 30% Iron 20%
Caffeine 95mg**
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
**Each caffeine value is an approximate value.

Let’s look at how much someone would spend in a year by getting a Grande Caffè Mocha every day, including weekends (after all, when you need your coffee, you don’t take breaks on the weekends, right?). At $4.15 per Mocha, you would end up spending $1,514! That same $1,514 could be invested in a vacation fund, put into an IRA, or be used to pay bills. Do you really think it is worth spending that amount of money on coffee drinks each year? I certainly don’t. What I do is I load up a Starbuck’s card with some money, say $50, and use it when I visit Starbuck’s. I find that I re-load my card maybe one or two times in a year, and I confine my consumption to special events, travel, and the occasional weekend coffee run. I am comfortable with the idea of spending $100 to $150 on Starbuck’s coffee in an entire year, and couldn’t imagine being hooked on those beverages and having to pay ten times that amount!

I challenge all of you who have a daily Starbuck’s habit to spend one month in which you brew coffee at home. Then what I want you to do is to set aside the money you would have spent at Starbuck’s ($126 in the example above). You will dip into the money you set aside to buy ground coffee and whatever ingredients you add to your coffee (like chocolate, sweeteners, milk). At the end of the month, see how you feel. If you truly love Starbuck’s Coffee (or Coffee Bean, or Peet’s) THAT much, then by all means, resume your habit. But if you can’t stand the idea of spending a small fortune on caffeinated delights, you might want to continue with your home brews.

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