I’m officially one month into my shopping ban and am happy to report I’ve fought off all temptations to buy new “things”. Truthfully, I can only remember being seriously tempted twice, and both times were for… you guessed it: books!
The first was a book I’d been wanting to read and saw on a sponsored tweet that it was on sale for just $4.99. It’s only $4.99! That’s so cheap! Can I just get it!? My credit card number even flashed across that thought, which shows you how I’d trained myself to complete online purchases before I could think twice about them. But then I remembered the shopping ban and the stacks of unread books on my bookshelf, and I knew I couldn’t justify it.
The second was David’s new book, which took a lot more thought and even a discussion with J$ (my personal shopping ban guide, ready to stop me from making any impulse purchases!). Before we made the final decision on that purchase, David sent me a copy and told me not to test my resolve. I have some really good friends in my corner, I tell ya.
So, I haven’t shopped and haven’t felt too much temptation to do so. Hooray! I have, however, been craving takeout coffee. Oh goodness, have I ever been craving takeout coffee.
Surprisingly, I was totally fine for the first week or so. I woke up early each morning, ground some beans and filled my French press with delicious coffee – the last of a bag of Starbucks’ Christmas Blend, which was a gift and is one of my favourites. I’d take it to my desk, sip two cups with just a splash of almond milk (unsweetened, and I don’t add sugar) and happily plug through my first hour of work. This is going to be easy! I thought. Oh dear, so naive.
One morning, maybe 7-10 days in, I woke up so tired that I could barely open my eyes. My first thought: I need espresso from Starbucks. That was immediately followed by, No you don’t! What are you thinking!? Just go make some coffee NOW. In zombie mode, I got up, walked into the kitchen, filled the kettle, ground beans, put some into my French press then poured water on top. Why isn’t it steaming!? Omg, I’m so tired I forgot to boil the water. Seriously, I could barely lift my arms.
Things were fine for another week or so, after that, until one morning when I was getting ready to leave home to run a bunch of errands. Before walking out the door, I thought, I should get a latte to sip in the car. That thought alone made me question how difficult this challenge would be – not because I don’t think I can do it, but because the act of “getting” coffee for certain reasons is so ingrained in my daily life.
For so many years, I picked up a Starbucks on the way to work, before going shopping or going on a road trip, and apparently before running errands. This whole no-takeout-coffee-for-a-year thing isn’t just going to challenge me to save more money; it’s going to require me to change behaviours and thought patterns that have been with me for as long as I’ve been drinking this stuff (age 15).
The thing is: I don’t actually mind making coffee at home. In fact, I’ve always loved it. This past week, I ran out of coffee beans, so I picked out something new (Level Ground’s Espresso Blend), and have switched between making hot coffee with steamed almond milk and cold brew that I turn into iced coffee. So, no, the problem isn’t about whether or not I enjoy making coffee at home; it’s just that buying takeout coffee became so convenient that it eventually seemed like the better option.
In the past month, I’ve been tempted to get takeout coffee a few other times:
- When I went for brunch a couple weeks ago, I was tempted to order coffee with it. Instead, I woke up early and had coffee at home, then sipped water at the restaurant.
- A few friends have offered to buy me a coffee when we’re out, which I’ve always declined. I love everyone for the offers, but the point of this challenge wasn’t to get you guys to spend money on me!
- Over the long weekend, I danced with the devil and met a friend at Starbucks (it was the first time I’d been in one as a “customer” all month). I ordered a glass of water.
And the most intense situation of all: I gave up my desk at my coworking space last week and, in its place, my company offered me a monthly coffee budget to get out of the house and work in some new spaces. I have been sooo tempted to accept this, but the amount they offered me is close to what I used to spend in a typical month anyway. And, again, the point of this challenge is now to change my behaviours, not just save money. So, no. No no no. I can’t accept it.
With that, the first of twelve months is over and was a success: I haven’t had takeout coffee since July 6th. However, August is going to paint a very different picture, as I’m travelling to cities where I won’t have access to coffeemakers which, according to the rules, means I’m allowed to get takeout coffee. When I started this challenge last month, I thought I’d be counting down the days to my trips and those takeout coffees. Instead, I sort of feel like I’ll be cheating… but maybe it’ll just be a really nice treat.
Until then, it’s just me and my French press – taking no prisoners.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without takeout coffee/tea?