On Giving Up Starbucks
I had decided to give up Starbucks for the month of February. This is monumental for me. For the last few years, Starbucks has been a very large part of my life. It began early in 2010, when I was working downtown and Starbucks was only a few short blocks away. My job was stressful and slowly began to involve working later and later hours. I started going to Starbucks in the morning before work for a caffeine boost – the late hours had messed with my sleeping schedule and I was often waking up exhausted. Then I began taking a break in the afternoon with my co-workers for a Starbucks pick-me-up. The real trouble began in August when Starbucks began their $2 drink promotion: buy a drink before 2pm, get a coupon for a $2 grande drink for after 2pm that same day. I started going twice a day, morning and afternoon. The caffeine helped me get going in the morning and stay going as I worked late into the evening.
Why didn’t I just make my own coffee, you ask? Well, the truth is, I don’t really like coffee. My beverage-of-choice is a caramel frappuccino, which is vaguely coffee-flavored but mostly tastes like ice cream. My second choice is the salted caramel mocha, which is basically just hot chocolate with a barely-recognizable shot of espresso. Making coffee at home was never an option, because I couldn’t make those drinks at home.
Starbucks quickly became a crutch for me. Not enough sleep? Starbucks. Long day? Starbucks. Pre-exercise pick-me-up? Starbucks. Road trip? Starbucks. Need to work on the weekend but don’t want to do it at home? Starbucks. Need an evening to myself to read or journal? Starbucks.
I realized that Starbucks was becoming a problem while on a weekend trip to Vegas in January of this year. My husband and I were there with his parents, and I looked up all the Starbucks locations in the city so I would always know where the closest one was. I even left them in the Venetian casino while I trekked over to the Treasure Island Starbucks to get my fix. Hotels, malls, airports… anytime I saw a Starbucks, my heart would lift a little, and I would have to get a drink.
So, I decided to give it up completely for one month. I wanted to see if I could make it without my daily crutch. And, to be honest, my wallet needed a break. I had my last drink on Sunday, January 29.
February 8: The first week is rough. Work is becoming more and more stressful, and I miss my morning frappuccino on my drive to work. My husband and I go grocery shopping and he gets a frapp from the Starbucks inside the Kroger to sip while we shop. I seriously consider making him walk home.
February 15: Work is no better, and I’ve started buying the caramel frappés from McDonald’s as a Starbucks replacement. They’re cheaper and contain 1,000 times more calories than the Starbucks version, but they do in a pinch. When I contemplate getting one on my way home from work after having just had one that morning, I realize that I’m just trading heroin for methadone. No more frappés for me.
February 22: I’m able to make it through most days without thinking of Starbucks at all. I feel myself slipping from their giant, tasty clutches. But! I’m also counting the days until I can go there again. My caffeine dependency is under control, but my days are a little less joy-less. Nothing else seems to feel quite the same as my little frappuccino treat.
February 29: On the last day of my challenge, I have to get up at 5:00 am to go to work after having gone to bed around midnight. I desperately need coffee. I buy a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino from the gas station and wonder if that’s cheating. The drink is like a caffeine injection to my brain and I’m surprisingly able to function for most of the day.
March 1: My month of no Starbucks has drawn to a close. I did not stop there on my way to work this morning, though I briefly contemplated it. I kind of want to see how long I can keep this going, but I know I’ll probably cave this weekend.
So, what did I learn? I can buy more books and shoes if I’m not spending all my extra cash on coffee drinks. I need caffeine most days but the form doesn’t matter so much. I can make a surprisingly decent cup o’ joe at home if I take the time to do it and have clean travel mugs. And when I do finally have my frappuccino, it will taste extra-awesome because it’ll be a treat, instead of something I get every single day. That’s how it needs to be from now on.