Saturday, 14 January 2012

The No Coffee Shop Challenge: Update

It is now four months into my pledge to give up coffee shops, so I thought it was about time for an update. 

The reason for this challenge was primarily to save money.  In the 12 months previous to saying Goodbye Magpie, I had spent a whopping £500+ on cups of coffee.  This spend would be fair enough, if we could afford it.  Coffee shops can be great places to while away a pleasant half hour, particularly on a wet and miserable Scottish winter's day.

However, we couldn't afford it.  Toting up our total spend for the year, my husband, JW, and I realised that we had managed to spend almost precisely double our income.  Drastic measures were called for and £500 on cups of coffee was definitely not going to be on the list of essentials!

This new no-cafes lifestyle is actually really easy.  Cups of nice coffee and homemade treats at home are more relaxing and enjoyable.  I don't feel pushed out of my table after 15mins, and my large cafetiere certainly goes a whole lot further than one cup of medium coffee does, meaning I can sit back and relax properly.  Small changes have been easy to make, such as, rather than paying for a cup of coffee once I have done the shopping, I walk home and brew up instead.  I really look forward to my nice cup of coffee when I get back from shopping. Easy.

My Trusty Thermos
When I am going out and about, I just plan ahead.  My trusty thermos flask has never been so busy and a tupperware box with rolls, biscuits or crisps is an easy to pack treat.  Sat on a public bench, I watch the world go by, sipping on the coffee that is made just the way I like it, eating a snack I know doesn't contain a ridiculous amount of calories.  Today JW and I did just that, and we had the most fantastic view over to Edinburgh Castle from our park bench, one that neither of us had noticed before, despite walking along the path many times before.

Of course, I have fallen off the waggon a couple of times.  Most recently on my birthday, albeit I used vouchers I had received as a gift, so didn't spend any money.  But, having not drunk espresso machine coffee for so long, I found it far too strong and bitter and I couldn't actually drink the cup!  This is amazing, as I was completely hooked before and could well have had two cups of the exact same coffee in a row, at a cost of nearly £5.00. 

Another time, just before Christmas I was out with my sister and we had coffee in a little cafe, as a Christmas treat.  I really enjoyed the coffee this time and ordered a second cup.  But that second cup tipped me over the caffeine edge and made me feel sick for the rest of the day! 

This may put you off giving up spending money that you can't afford on cups of coffee.  But don't let it.  I don't miss going out for coffee at all, I enjoy sitting outside with my flask, without the hustle and bustle of a crammed and noisy cafe to contend with, general lack of seats and being unable to hear my companion speak.  I have had friends over to my house for coffee and I have gone over to theirs, much more relaxing all round.  The only hiccough is meeting up with old work colleagues, where lunch time meet ups in a nearby cafe is the simpliest thing.  I will have to make an exception here, but maybe I will order a cup of tea instead!

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