One of the rules that I have for work is that you should not spend any money to do work. It’s simple and if you stick to it you can save loads – but what about in work beverages?
Or at least you should keep the cost of work to a minimum and this includes things like the cost of getting to work (the commute) and the uniform you wear (suit, tie, shoes, and cufflinks?). I know some people who have watches that cost well over £1000 that they would only wear at work. You can even spend a lot of money on stupid things like your own fancy stationary to make you feel more important – I only write on an moleskin journal but the company paid for it and my pen was a freebie at a conference.
These things are all quite obvious you’d think. The cost of work can be huge and I would estimate that even a penny-pincher like me has spent £50,000 over the last decade and a half jut on the commute. That’s more than I’ve spent on skiing and I love to ski more than I enjoy my commute.
These costs we must endure but there are other costs which can be controlled. These are the things that we do everyday and that cost us money. Things like:
- Smoking at work (costs you money and health)
- Eating out for lunch at work
- Coffees at work – the latté factor
In my current work place we have a choice of free tea bags or free instant coffee. A few years ago when a colleague joined, he was so disturbed by our lack of proper coffee facilities that he bought a Nespresso machine for himself (and everyone else) and put it in the kitchen.
In my work, I see a lot of different work places and often the most desirable offices have a starbuck’s (other chains are available) nearby. 2 coffees a day there can add £1000 a year to your expenses. If you office had free good coffee, consider that a nice £1000 (after tax) payrise!
Caffeine Junky GFF
Now you should know that I am a caffeine addict and I my dosage is so high its measured not by cups but by grams!
When I joined the new company, I ran into a problem of not liking instant coffee (snobbery) and took to buying the Nespresso pods at a cost of around 30p each. Now you can get them cheaper if you shop around but I was drinking 6 a day – sometimes two at a time as they don’t actually contain much coffee. That was about £2 per day or £10 a week or £500 a year!
Was my coffee snobbery really worth £500 a year (or £12,500 over a lifetime) just for workplace coffee? I have to admit that there was a bit of coffee camaraderie around the coffee club but it seems a bit silly now.
One day whilst rummaging in the cupboards I found an old cafetiere which I began to use. I could buy decent coffee for £10 a kilo and make it at work. Nespresso pods contain about 6g each which puts them at £50 a kilo – the price of convenience. This old cafetiere was going to save me £400 over a year! Happy Days. So what if it’s a bit messier and takes longer – I’m making coffee on company time and property.
Sadly the cafetière broke and I decided to have a cup in the morning before I go to work and a travel mug on the commute. First rule of work is to not spend money working – so I didn’t want to buy a new one, just do without (I probably drink too much anyway).
That worked for a while – although I often was struggling with withdrawal – until I recently decided to get some instant coffee when chatting with a colleague. I had a cup and decided that although it wasn’t great coffee it was still coffee – quick to make, packed full of caffeine and free too! What’s not to like?
And best of all, since humans are best at contrasting qualities rather than knowing their absolute quality; drinking instant coffee has made my run of the mill coffee taste even better!
So there you have it, my dirty little secret. I enjoy instant coffee and might even buy some for home. It saves time, money and improves the taste of “real” coffee. It can be very easy to avoid things we don’t like because we believe that we are too good for bad coffee or wine or whatever – but I’m drinking coffee firstly for the kick and the taste second. What price is your palette?