Buy a coffee.
I know it sounds counter intuitive to buy your coffee when the bills and stress are mounting. Sometimes those yummy treats cost upwards of $7 a cup or more! But I found out something very interesting over the past few years.
When I was hired at my current job a few years ago, I found that my personality was changing…for the worse. My office is in a walkthrough storage area with no windows and barely able to see the volunteers as they pass through. For someone who is not too keen on solitude, I was becoming more isolated working than I was at home. So I decided to change things up!
I first began by saying hello and goodbye to volunteers as they passed or getting up to walk around the office. If visitors came I would find a way of getting up and walking over to say hello. Soon after I would walk around the building after lunchtime. Each lap would be about a quarter of a mile. Depending on the weather and my physical condition that day, I would take 1-3 laps around. But I was still missing something and it wasn’t the caffeine.
I needed a place I could go and see familiar faces, something to break up the routine more. My pay was enough to cover my bills with a little left over.
As a side note, I am someone who supports saving and being so strict with where my money goes. I literally will count pennies. I’ve gotten myself out of thousands of dollars of debt this way even when I was on a small stipend from the government. Saving money is not difficult if you know the techniques and I will give you some tips on how to do that in future blogs.
Getting back to the caffeine, I love coffee.
My passion for the embrace of that delicious warm substance started when in high school and the weather was well below 0 degrees F. I had only moved to Vermont a few years before and the cold temperatures were still very new to me. I was standing in the school store shivering when a friend handed me a cup and said “Let me introduce you to coffee”. Before this moment, coffee made me gag. Somehow between the weather and being tired most days, that was the best thing I tasted.
Since that day, my coffee consumption goes up and down. Sometimes I add sugar, other times creamer. I found that coffee is also amazing in starting social relationships. Can I live without the stuff? Sure, I have for years. However, since I no longer drink alcohol and my diet is going more towards vegan with limited sugar, I found that I needed to bond over something. Hello COFFEE!
With a little money in my pocket, the need to break routine, and my love of coffee, I started to go to Dunkin Donuts next to my work.
I generally buy a small or medium drink and keep it real simple. I am not looking for a rush of sugar or caffeine, but a friendly smile in a familiar setting. After many years of going there, even with staff changes, most folks recognize me and my smile. One amazing woman even remembers what I drink and makes it once she sees me coming into the café.
There have been times in my life when things are falling apart and that little routine of getting a coffee meant everything to me. It’s amazing how seeing a smiling face can change a day around.
Coffee breaks the language barrier.
When I traveled to Brazil to meet my fiancé and future in-laws, I spoke very little Portuguese. The one thing that I recognized was coffee. I was silly and would make such a grand face saying “COOOFFFEEEE!”. Everyone smiled. It created such a connection that went beyond our language barrier. Unfortunately, now they see me as an over caffeinated American. I guess there are worse things!
So, how does buying a coffee every so often save money?
Simple. Once I began to think ok that small cup as an investment in my personal sanity, learning how to build relationships, and learning the fine art of coffee, it saves so much on therapy. I also use that café as an office away from my office, creating business connections over some java.
It took a change of insight to realize that a monthly investment of $50 can go a long way. I do my best to stick to this amount, sometimes going over it when I buy a coffee for someone else. Try paying for the order of the person behind you in line and see what joy you can bring. You never know if that person’s life is falling apart and that hot cup of coffee is everything to them in that moment.
Sending you so much love and blessings this Christmas season! CHEERS!!!