Woman holding plaid coffee cup in her hands on city balcony

The need for caffeine is real.  At least around here.  You’ll find me with a cup of java most mornings and sometimes into the afternoon.  Sipping away as I work, play with the kids, chat with friends.  All from the comfort of my own home.

It wasn’t always like this, though.  We went through a really difficult gourmet coffee habit phase when both kids were little.  It wasn’t pretty and it was quite expensive.  I had no idea how expensive until my husband calculated the total at the end of one month.  It was almost $100!  Just on gourmet coffee.

The thing was a cup of coffee from our local coffee shop was my sanity for the afternoon.  We’d get through our mornings with a cup or two brewed at home.  But by the time the afternoon rolled around and I was trying to wrestle two kids down for nap at the same time, I hit my breaking point.

Eventually, I’d give up and put both kids in the stroller.  Then, I’d wander over to our local coffee shop (a chain too, what was I thinking) and grab a tall – no venti – of my favorite gourmet brew.

On the way over to the coffee shop, the kids usually fell asleep.  But sometimes, one of them would wake up while I was ordering, so I had to add on a snack.  Lemon pound cake it is then.  Before I knew it $6 or $7 dollars were gone.  Almost every day.  And that was a number of years ago.  I can’t imagine what my bill would be today.

According to Suze Orman, if everyone gave up they’re daily coffee habit, they’d be millionaires.  I don’t know if I quite believe that since it’s easy for those dollars to be spent on other “needs”, but a daily gourmet coffee does add up over time.  And those costs are increasing.

Coffee bean heart with a cup of coffee on top and the text overlay "Ways to break your gourmet coffee habit"

After realizing how much money I spent on my gourmet coffee habit each month, I knew it was time to break the habit for good.  No more gourmet coffee.

If only it was that easy.  I started the next month with a ban on visiting our local coffee shops (similar to the month I gave up discretionary spending).  I was a pretty grumpy mama.

So, maybe quitting cold wasn’t the best solution.

Over time, though, I have managed to completely kick the gourmet coffee habit.  I now understand the importance of limitations and don’t crave these sugary brews any more.  Best of all, I’ve seen the money I was spending on them go into savings.

But this process wasn’t easy.  It took a lot of willpower and determination to not just walk over to the coffee shop.

Here are some of the strategies I used to kick my gourmet coffee habit altogether.

Have the Right Mindset

According to the experts, supposedly, gourmet coffee is not a need.  As a young mom, I would completely disagree.  Many times caffeine keeps you going through multiple sleepless nights.  I crave the stuff even more when I’m tired.

But looking at the matter more objectively, there are plenty of moms doing the parenting thing in third world countries that don’t have the luxury of walking across the street to feed their gourmet coffee habit.  And they are still good moms.

In truth, as much as I hate to admit it, you don’t need coffee to be an awesome mom.  It might make you think you’re a better mom, but really you can be an awesome mom without it.  The trick is having the right mindset.

The mindset that you are stronger than that gourmet brew.  You don’t need that gourmet coffee to have a good morning, afternoon or even evening.  Having this mindset will help you walk right on past that gourmet coffee shop.

Find a Different Route

You know, gourmet coffee shops are smart.  They place their locations in high trafficked areas where people are likely to stop.  It doesn’t help when you drive or have to walk past a coffee shop every day.  Of course, you’ll want to stop.  Their business depends on that desire.

To break your habit, find a different way to go for awhile.  Don’t make it so easy on yourself to divulge in your habit each day (this goes for all vices).  Walk down the other side of the street.  Drive home the longer way.

I used to pass a drive thru Starbucks on my way home from preschool pick up each day.  It was a terrible habit.  I would stop after I picked up the kids and get coffee and a snack.  Soon I realized that the only reason I stopped was because I was driving passed it.  Once I started taking a different route home, suddenly there was no need for the gourmet coffee.  I just heated a cup of coffee up when I arrived.

It’s amazing how much the power of suggestion will cause you to purchase something.

The other crazy thing about the drive thru Starbucks was the drive thru part.  I would never have stopped for the coffee in the first place if I had to wrangle two kids out of their car seats and then back in again.  It wouldn’t have been worth it to me.

The coffee shop knew this, which is why they added drive thru windows in the first place.  They understand how lazy people can be.  And they’d never make any sales without it.

Make Brews you Enjoy at Home

Even though I no longer drink much gourmet coffee, I still love coffee.  Just because you are giving up gourmet coffee in a shop, doesn’t mean that you have to never drink coffee again.

We started ordering our favorite coffee beans online and brewing them at home.  Even though the bags are more expensive than the traditional brands you find at the supermarket, the cost was less than grabbing a gourmet coffee every day.  Much lower.

If you have a gourmet coffee habit that’s tough to break, you can still purchase your favorite brands of coffee.  Just brew them at home.  It’s a lot more cost effective.

Most coffee brands are also available at your local supermarket these days.  Or go to your local coffee roaster and buy a pound of coffee beans instead of a cup.  (Pro secret… many times they’ll throw in a brewed cup of coffee when you purchase the beans.)  They’ll even grind them for you if you ask.

Just be sure to brew something that you love at home.  Coffee isn’t fun to drink if you don’t enjoy the taste.  And there’s no reason to settle these days with so many options out there.  If you make one that you love, you’ll be surprised how lovely enjoying your coffee at home can be.

Woman holding gourmet coffee with balls of yarn and text overlay "Ways to break your gourmet coffee habit"

Start a Coffee Klatch in your Home

This was actually how my coffee habit went to new levels.  Remember that drive thru coffee shop I mentioned above.  As the kids got bigger, I used to meet moms there after school.  Multiple days a week.  We’d drink coffee, have snacks and share in conversation.  It was the sanity to our day.  And turned into quite an expensive habit.

Although we didn’t know it, what we’d formed was a coffee klatch.  Common in the 50s, a coffee klatch is just a gathering of women who come together for a cup of coffee and conversation.  The best time to talk to other moms always seems to be over a cup of coffee.

I love the idea of a coffee klatch, but going out for these brews can be expensive.  Even though I’ll do it occasionally at our local coffee shop, I have started coffee klatches in my own home.  I am happy to brew a pot of coffee and bake a snack for the kids.  The kids play and the moms catch up.  This keeps the cost down for everyone.

If you decide to start a klatch in your own home, try to create a rotating schedule with other moms.  Let everyone host and you can really spread the feeling of community (and coffee).

Set Limits

Cutting gourmet coffee habit completely was probably one of the hardest vices I’ve had to break.  It also wasn’t that successful at first.

After my month off of gourmet coffee, I went right back to drinking a few cups a week.  Although it was less than before, it still wasn’t completely out of my life.

Eventually, I decided that I needed to have a limit.  For me, it was two cups a week.  I would plan them carefully and enjoy every drop.  I had suffered from hedonic adaptation.  Hedonic what?

Hedonic adaptation is when a luxury – for me drinking gourmet coffees – becomes a routine and deadens my enjoyment of the coffee.  I didn’t drink gourmet coffees because I wanted an afternoon pick me up every once in awhile or had a profound craving for pumpkin spice.  It was because I needed them.  I couldn’t stop.  I didn’t even enjoy them any more.

A few months after I set my limits, iced coffee season started.  I am a huge fan of Frappachinos.  I LOVE them and always have a special day to mark the first one of the season.  Or at least I did.

That day there was a special in the supermarket – half off a large one.  They know how to find gourmet coffee lovers in the most unsuspecting places.  I ran over and purchased my large one.  It would help me through the afternoon grocery shopping trip with two littles.

I took a sip.  It was disgusting.  I took another.  I checked if the barista had done anything differently.  Nope.  It turned out that after months of not having overly sugared, spiced or doctored up iced coffee drinks, I didn’t actually like it after all.  I’ve never had one again.

When I do have coffee these days, my standard is that I need to be with people I like.  Coffee is something that should be shared.  So, no longer do I come to expect a cup on the weekends (we’re more likely to come home and brew some).

I find we have a cup only when we’re out and want to spend some time together.

This way the limit isn’t an actual number.  Those don’t work for me.  The limit is an experience.  I can have a cup of coffee if I am with others I would like to share one with.

On the flip side, I also allow myself one occasionally when I decide to go work in a café.  Because as a work at home mom, we all need to get out of the house.

Create your Own Signature Drink

Which is your favorite gourmet coffee drink?  Does it have pumpkin spice, apple cider or even whipped cream on top?

The truth is that as wonderful as many gourmet coffee drinks taste, they aren’t that complicated to make at home.  Except for my chai tea.  I need a special mix for that one.

Figure out the ingredients that go into your favorite drink and work on replicating it at home.  For me, my very favorite coffee is a Nutella mocha from our local creperie.  It is delicious and if I stop in for a crepe, I usually will splurge on the $4.25 price tag.

Since we don’t eat crepes that often, I discovered that I can replicate the drink at home for a fraction of the price.  All I need to do is add hot cocoa mix and a large dollop of Nutella to my coffee.  If I am really in the mood, some whipped cream on top makes it perfect.  No need to spend $4.25 or even go out.  I’m in coffee heaven.

Once you know the ingredients that make your gourmet coffee perfect, create your own signature version that you can make at home.  It’s a great way to enjoy the gourmet coffee feel in your own kitchen.

Use your Coffee Savings Purposefully

If I can really save a million dollars over 40 years if I kick my gourmet coffee habit, why do I never feel richer when I skip my afternoon brew?  Probably because you’ve spent it on something else.  This million dollars is based on putting away the $100 a month into your Roth IRA.

Instead of just spending this money on other desires, have a plan for it.  Whether you decide to use it to pay down debt, go on a vacation, give to your local charity – it doesn’t matter.  But have a purpose for it.

You will be more likely to forgo the coffee purchase if you know why you aren’t buying it.  Just giving up a habit isn’t good enough.  Know what you are putting it towards.

And every time that you deny yourself a gourmet coffee, place that amount of money in a special account.  You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by simply giving up a $4 to $5 cup of coffee.  Seeing is believing, so having a separate place to watch it add up can be motivating.

Final Thoughts…

Although a gourmet coffee habit can be costly, they are also quite delicious.  And can feel necessary when in the throes of parenting and business venture building.

If you decide to break your gourmet coffee habit, maybe try a more gradual transition.  Start skipping one or two cups a week.  Avoid your local coffee shop and come up with alternatives for enjoying your favorite drinks at home.

Supposedly it takes a minimum 21 days to break a habit.  So, most importantly, be patient with yourself.


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