Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reason #643 You Know You're Crazy: Developing the Starbucks Habit

Reason #643 You Know You're Crazy:

If you live in an area without kosher restaurants, you develop a heinous Starbucks habit. Starbucks is the only "kosher" place I can go in town. Sure, the food isn't kosher, but many of the drinks are! (Please check with your LOR and rabbinic websites to find out which. I also recommend!)

Why have I developed such a heinous Starbucks addiction? Quite frankly, I'm not the best cook (though I've improved exponentially), and I'm not used to cooking. I go to Starbucks simply for the "pampering" that someone else is making something for me. Sure, it's only a nice drink, but I didn't have to make it! And this keeps me somewhat saner and less rebellious.

I'm a big fan of personal finance books/blogs, and the "latte factor" (coined by David Bach) is a frequent discussion in personal finance. I pretty much never went to Starbucks until finals loomed over me and law school started giving me gift cards to Starbucks. To be honest, I don't even like coffee. This is a big problem for me because "coffee is the great equalizer" according to Kvetching Editor, but most coffee shops aren't obviously kosher for the kind of drink I would like. Starbucks' fancy-pants drinks are like the gateway drug to coffee.

How can I afford this extremely expensive habit? Being on a student budget, the "Starbucks habit" was a big concern, but I've made it work. I go there an average of twice a week and some weeks not at all. But for about 90% of the purchases I make, I'm using gift cards that I didn't have to pay for! I have a very nice debit card reward program, which is where I get most of my reward cards. I probably get about $25/month from that. I can also get Starbucks gift cards from reward programs for legal research through one of the two major research companies (yay for marketing to law students!). Also, you begin to balance price v. enjoyment v. craving between the kosher drinks you know you like. Hopefully, I'm using my gift cards to their maximum benefit, even if that means less drinks total during a big "craving" time. Also, now I've registered my gift card, which means a free drink on my birthday, and a free drink for each 15 drinks I buy!

In the end, the little amount that I actually pay to Starbucks is worth every penny for having a little bit of "kosher" enjoyment somewhere else besides my own kitchen.

In retrospect, perhaps I should also be spending more time in bars drinking kosher alcohol :)

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