As you walk in, you are comforted by noises and sights that feel familiar now. You hear the whir of steamed milk, see the familiar faux wood surroundings, and navigate your way through a line. Once there, you ask your green aproned friend for the usual…
“Hi, I’d like a Grande, nonfat latte and a plain bagel toasted please.”
Okay, maybe that’s not you. Maybe you are a drive through Starbucks customer, busy on your way somewhere. Or, maybe you use the mobile app to forgo some time (over 25 million people apparently do).
Or, perhaps you don’t go to Starbucks at all. There are other coffee shops.
However, with over 32,000 stores, Starbucks serves over 100 million customers a week (Zipdo, July 2023). So, at least one of you reading this is buying.
The Financial Wake-Up Call
Brewing Wealth, One Pot at a Time!
Often I hear from clients that tell me they are financially struggling and have absolutely nothing to save. Actually, there may be something steaming right in front of them that could help out.
That’s right, with just a few tweaks in their daily routine, using what they already have,they could potentially land a 7-figure reward.
Wait, what? With coffee?
Right now, the average Starbucks drink is around $5 each. Now, many of you enjoy a quad this or frappuccino that, and that can easily go over $7 each. Others just get a $3 drip coffee. We’re going to stay with the average of $5, just to build our scenario.
The data shows that 75% of Starbucks customers also get food (Zipdo, July 2023). So, we’ll keep it simple and low-end, and just go with a toasted bagel. Yes, there are many other treats and those can increase the bill quickly. For our comparison, we’ll go with that $3 humble bagel with just butter. I know, that’s no fun at all.
Finally, most of us (again, based on data) touch that tip button. That’s another $1 to this order, making a total of $9/day.
On an annual basis, that’s $3285, if you go absolutely every day and $2376 if it’s just weekdays.
Now, let’s be honest, there’s soft benefits of this Starbucks routine. If you go inside, you might actually share nice words with a barista who has become your friend. You might know some regulars, and you might have had a nice walk to your Starbucks.
We don’t want to villainize anything here - but just to suggest we look at the numbers a little bit. If you want to play with these right away, and take a pause from this post, check out our calculator here.
"Sip, Save, and Smile: Your DIY Morning Ritual"
What’s the alternative to Starbucks? Clearly we need our coffee (and bagel) for life support, right?
Absolutely, or something like that for sure.
So, let’s look at doing this at home.
Now look, I know we are all busy. And, brewing a cup of coffee and toasting a bagel only takes a few minutes. Sorry, the time argument doesn’t hold. Yes, you do need to buy a few things from the grocery store to make this happen and maybe an inexpensive coffee pot (hint hint: Goodwill) or just do a simple pour-over.
If we look at a nice pound of coffee costing around $15 now, that will get you 30 cups for around $0.50/cup.
Then, add an organic bagel (about $1.20 each), we’re looking at around $620/year for the combo. Yes, you may add cream cheese and other things to your starter here. We’re just trying to compare the same thing at home with Starbucks.
Oh, you want a latte instead and not just drip coffee? That’s fair. You’ll have an upfront expense for the machine of your choice and about $6/week added for milk. However, once you see the numbers below, you might find that you enjoy drip coffee a whole lot, eh?
So, instead of $9 for your standard Starbucks outing, you’ll realize $2665 of funds.
So what, no way that $2600 will make you a millionaire, right? I mean c’mon, it’s the one luxury I have in life.
Stay with me, because the upside of investing this savings is probably going to surprise you.
I re-checked my math about 10 times, because it did surprise me!
Bitcoin and the Daily Grind
"From Latte to Luxury: Investing in Your Caffeine Fix"
Okay, so while just savings here is considerable for most - even with the pain of inflation - having “only” $2500 a year or so would make it 400 years to make a million. We might not live that long, so let’s just splurge on coffee, right?
Well, that’s where a lot of people might not consider investing. The fear of losing something, or perceived complexities can stop us from taking action.
Let’s put aside the fears for just a second and look at a very simple investment plan.
Let’s take the money saved every year on our new plan here, and invest it. And, let’s do it for 10 years.
You can use this tool on calculator.net to play with this a bit on your own.
We’ll dive into the numbers here in a moment. Your brain may already be saying “that’s not possible” or “the numbers are wrong, because…”.
I get it - that’s what our Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brain does - it replays fears to keep us “safe. For just a moment, tell it “thanks for sharing”.
Imagine, just for a moment, if this could work. Yes, you’d have to make some changes and maybe be uncomfortable at times. And, you could use what you already have to realize a pretty considerable goal - $1M.
The Math Behind the Millions
Subtitle: "Crunching Numbers and Brewing Success"
Okay, now that you have dreamed just a little, let’s dive into the numbers and factors to make these calculations.
Just to be transparent, here are all the assumptions that went into our logic. By the way, none of them are perfect (they never are). We just want you to know what’s behind the math.
One warning though, is that your brain will naturally fight anything new - so if “this isn’t for me” and “I can’t do this” and even “see, this is wrong, I knew it” come up - do your best to ask them to tone it down just a little bit. They can come back in 10 minutes or so.
- Daily Difference
On our comparison, we modeled a coffee purchase and bagel purchase at Starbucks. We also modeled doing it daily. You may only go to Starbucks on weekdays or half the month or something else. You can change this figure in our Google sheet to reflect what you do. Some people also go 2x-3x a day to Starbucks - and we didn’t model that either.
- Coffee and Drink Prices
For our model, we use a $5 average drink, using some industry data to shape this. Drink prices vary from location to location. You may enjoy a frappuccino or other drinks that can easily go above $7.
- Bagel Prices
Starbucks bagels currently range from $1.00 for a plain bagel to $3.00 for an everything bagel. Starbucks pastries are generally all above $3.50. For our model, we used a $3 pastry average.
- One-Time Prices (coffee machines, etc.)
In this comparison, we did not include one-time purchases like coffee machines. We also didn’t account for a transportation budget, if driving or taking public transportation to Starbucks. You can absolutely add these in. We just kept the model simple.
- Latte vs. Drip
For this model, we compared a latte at Starbucks compared to drip coffee at home. This might not seem fair and some people can “only” have a latte and struggle with drip coffee (even with milk and sugar in it). Feel free to modify your own numbers to look at this the way you want to.
- Bitcoin Investment Engine
There are a number of ways to buy and secure Bitcoin. For this model, we used our recommended model of using a provider like Swan Bitcoin and then taking self custody. Exchanges like Gemini can offer recurring buys, and their transaction fees and transfer fees for self-custody are higher than others like Swan. You can also choose to mine Bitcoin as an acquisition strategy. Again, for this article, we kept it simple.
- Bitcoin Returns
Honestly, Bitcoin returns can be challenging to map, as they are a unique asset class. One could take the all time gains, and divide by the active years, to get an average percentage per year (812%). One could also take the last five years - as they are the most active, and take that average (that comes out to 178% per year). Or, one could look at both of these, consider future growth, and scale it back a bit. That’s what we did, and went with 65%. Yes, that can sound huge as an annual return, so feel free to use whatever number you believe is reasonable.
How to make this happen - 4 easy steps:
- Setup an Account (Swan Bitcoin or Similar)
- Setup a Schedule to Invest
- HODL - Hold your investment for 10 years
- Bonus: Take Self Custody
Lifestyle Shifts and Environmental Uplifts
While ditching this habit will be profitable for you financially, there are considerable side benefits for the environment - and maybe even your mental health.
So first, those Starbucks cups, sleeves and lids take about 20 years to decompose (CNN). The coating inside of them to hold the drink does not deteriorate quickly, so it’s different from cardboard or paper.
Over 10 years, those 3650 cups result in 185 pounds of landfill, per person. The legacy left will last 20 years - which might not be the kind of legacy you care to leave.
You can absolutely use a refillable cup and go to Starbucks if that’s what you do. I know, it’s hard and you have to remember. Or, even better, you ditch the Starbucks habit, pocket your savings in Bitcoin, and leave an amazing legacy with minimal landfill impact.
Coffee at home is a waste too you say? Sure, you are going to use water and soap to clean your cup and coffee maker. The coffee grounds do decompose in 3-6 months if you throw them away. And, whatever you buy your bagels in (likely plastic) will take some time to decompose. It’s not environmentally perfect, but it’s probably better.
On the mental health front, there are a lot of studies that moderate coffee intake can potentially help with anxiety and depression (WebMD). Apparently, there are also studies that indicate coffee can be good for your memory (Harvard Study). Again, moderation is very important here, and there’s a bevy of studies that too much coffee is a detriment (American Psychological Association).
That said, there might not be clarity if coffee out vs coffee at home is better for you - and that may be entirely a personal question. Extraverts may thrive on social interaction, which boosts their dopamine levels and ensures well-being. Introverts may prefer to stay cozy at home and build up their reserves.
While some may decide to go “all in” on this, have coffee at home and invest the difference in Bitcoin - you can get results even with moderation.
For example, having coffee at home instead of Starbucks for a few days a week, and putting the difference in Bitcoin can provide considerable long-term wealth… something like “$500k for just a few days” may be a good mantra.
You can easily try out a few scenarios with our free Bitcoin Coffee Investment Tool here.
Whatever plan you go with, to your health, and wealth!
Notable Sources For This Post:
Bitcoin Profit Calculator (Coincodex)
Cost of Eating Out (Top Nutrition Coaching)
Investment Calculator (calculator.net)
Issues With Too Much Coffee (American Psychological Association)
Starbucks Cups (CNN)
Starbucks Customer Statistics (Zipdo)
This is an educational and entertainment oriented post. This is not financial, tax, or coffee preference advice. Please see your favorite finance person, tax advisor, or barista for your situation.