A lot of personal finance sites out there focus on saving you a few bucks here and there, but I’m more concerned with the big stuff. Everyone knows that they can save money by making coffee at home but what about getting rid of coffee altogether? Cutting out your morning coffee won’t have a huge impact on your day to day finances but it could end up saving you a ton of money.
I’m a huge proponent of preventative care and taking great care of your body. I like working for a company that feels the same way and I also know that there is a direct correlation between how healthy you are and how long you’ll live. I think we all want to live as long as possible and we all want to be healthy for as long as possible. Getting sick sucks and it’s getting more expensive every year(are your premiums going down or up?). There are things you can do to reduce the costs like getting a HSA, but the biggest thing(along with having good genes) is living a healthy and active lifestyle. There are always outliers, so being healthy won’t guarantee a long life but it should greatly increase your chances.
I started thinking about all this a few weeks ago when the water was out in my building at work. Imagine over 2,000 engineers without working bathrooms and drinking water. I drink about 3-5 cups of water a day so I was kind of bummed that I would have to buy a water bottle(water bottles are a total rip-off) and my weak bladder would mean that I’d have to walk to the building next door to go to the bathroom. Not a huge deal, but it would be slightly inconvenient for me.
The company sent out a couple mass e-mails saying the water would be out for the day and they’d be bringing in drinking water eventually. But then the e-mails started flying around from concerned co-workers: people literally could not work without their coffee. The e-mails I started getting(a lot of reply all variety) were pretty hilarious. People were genuinely pissed that the water was out and the coffee machines weren’t working. A couple of the managers even had to run over to Starbuck’s and buy meeting-sized coffee jugs just to get their employees to work. And that’s when I realized it. These people were addicted to their coffee, they were becoming agitated, stressed and cranky by the minute.
I don’t need a doctor to tell me that type of product can’t be good for your body. The key with coffee or almost any addictive behavior is to use it in moderation. You can’t do it every day. I know some people enjoy the taste of coffee but caffeine is a drug and the sugar that you add in doesn’t help matters much. If you’re a coffee drinker and any of this concerns you, I’ve come up with a few ways to help you get healthier. Like I said, I could care less about the couple hundred bucks you’ll save a year by cutting out coffee. I’m more concerned with the lifelong health problems that being dependent on coffee for over 40 years will inevitably cause.
1. Switch to Tea
I know there is a little caffeine in tea but I don’t think most people drink tea for the caffeine boost. I like a nice glass of tea after a big meal to calm my stomach or to keep me warm on a cold day. This might be more of an intermediary step to help you wain off coffee for good since I don’t think it’s a smart idea to replace one addictive behavior with another.
2. Pair It With a Rewarding Behavior
I really like this one because for those of you who still want to enjoy a nice coffee once in a while or a couple times a week it forces you to challenge your body. Make a deal with yourself: every time you drink a coffee you have to go for a 3 mile run or you have to go lift weights before work the next day. That should make you think about drinking that next coffee and also make it more rewarding when you do. As with anything, I’m sure coffee would taste a lot better if you drank it only once in a while as opposed to every day.
3. Take a Cold Shower
A lot of coffee drinkers tell me they can’t start their day without a coffee. I can get the same feeling of awareness and readiness from a cold shower every morning. I don’t actually sit there for 10 minutes in cold water(that would be painful), but I will take a cold shower for the last 30 seconds or so. Going from hot to cold will wake you right up no matter how tired you are and it won’t have any negative effects on your health. Try it and I bet you’ll be hooked.
4. Sleep More
One of the biggest reasons why people tell me they drink coffee is because they’re tired. But it’s important to listen to your body; when your body tells you it’s tired you should sleep more, it’s that simple. I feel great after a nice long work out so I constantly do them; my body might be tired but my find feels relaxed and alert. After I eat a cheeseburger with fries and a coke my body feels bloated, so I don’t do that very often. It’s important to listen to the signs your body gives you and follow through on them. If your body tells you it’s tired, you need to make time for more sleep.
5. Man Up
If you don’t know what this saying means(or you’re a woman) it’s the same as going cold turkey. Not everyone has the willpower to do it but if you are reading this article and you want to give yourself the best chances at a long, healthy and financially stable life, the decision should be pretty easy.
Readers, are you addicted to coffee or could you stop if you wanted to? I think caffeine is a highly addictive drug, you’ll feel even worse at first when you cut out caffeine but after a couple weeks your body will start to reward you.
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-Harry @ PF Pro