Coffee costs add up over time

Tess Rowland, Pack News

For mass communication junior Lily Glennon, her morning caffeinated drink is an essential part of her morning routine. Depending on the day of the week, she can be found ordering a Starbucks Iced Chai latte or Strawberry Açaí Lemonade Refresher. 

“I get it everyday. Sometimes twice a day. I don’t even want to think about how much I spend, it’s scaryand probably a lot,” said Glennon. 

Glennon is just one of the many college students who purchases a cup of coffee daily. 

How much do these lattes really cost though? What may seem like an expense of just five dollars a day, can really add up in the long-term, and the numbers may surprise you. 

More than one in three Americans spent more on coffee last year than they invested their money financially, according to a survey of 3,000 adults ages 18-44 by money app Acorns. 

Dave Lesmond, an associate professor of finance at Tulane University, said that coffee is a big expenditure for students. 

“In terms of disposable income, people make choices, and coffee is the social choice that people make as it becomes an outlet and people want to go with their friends,” said Lesmond. 

He warned that small expenses add up over time and constant purchases of coffee, like anything else, should be limited. 

“That’s the secret of wealth is not so much how you make, but how much you spend as a result,” he said. 

In Louisiana, 48% of graduates will graduate with student loans. The average student in Louisiana has a debt of $26,808 which is based on data from LendEDU. 

If you spend about $20 a week on coffee, you’d have spent $1,040 dollars in one year. If you invest that money in a savings account compounded at an annual rate of 2%, you’d have about $18,000 in 15 years. 

Lesmond encouraged students to think about their finances like a diet, and remember that it is okay to reward yourself. 

“Think about spending maybe once or twice a week instead of four or five days a week to get your coffee fix,” he said. 

While Lesmond praised the use of cellphone apps to manage your monthly income and budget, he also said that purchasing items through apps and debit cards can cause you to spend more frequently. 

“With cash you can actually see how much your spending and how much you have left,” he said. 

As for Glennon, while coffee is something that she claimed to need daily, she said she will be more mindful of the expense and try to limit herself in the coming weeks. 

“I think I will definitely try to find other alternatives, like making my Chai Latte from home,” said Glennon.