My Frugal Life: Coffee Wasters?

Inspired by Lucy's lovely essay on her move to England and coming in touch with frugality (not to mention her talk of wasting Starbuck's coffee), My Frugal LifeI was inspired to submit a piece I wrote a few months ago.

Coffee Wasters: Why, Oh Why, Dump Your Starbucks? And, May I Have It?

By: Jackie Tithof Steere
As appeared on ChicagoNow

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You know who I'm talking about, don't you? You have to have seen this.

A man (or woman, let's be fair) goes to all the effort of stopping off at Starbucks, waits in an enormous line, and digs deep into his pockets to pay for (let's face it) that very pricey cup of coffee, only to walk over to the condiment area and purposely spill about an eighth of it into the garbage. All to make room for cream.

When I see it, it's all I can do to stop from cupping a hand or opening my mouth beneath their cup to catch that liquid gold. Steaming hot or not, I'd risk singeing my taste buds for the stuff, and not because I like it so much. That's a good quarter of two's worth of fancy java.

Am I insane, or is wasting coffee (any coffee) one of the most illogical things you've seen another human being do?

First of all, don't Starbucks employees usually ask customers if they'd like room for cream? Even if they don't, can't you ask them for the space? Even if you forget to ask, can't you make some yourself by sipping it down? I actually know what I'm talking about here. It's happened to me before. I don't have quite enough room for all the half and half or milk I want, so I fill it up as far as I can, take a few gulps (it's cooler now), and fill 'er up again. There's no shame in that (I think, anyway).

And, second of all, there are people parched for coffee in India (or in some part of the world, surely). Did their parents neglect to tell them? Haven't they heard the same dinner time stories I heard growing up? My parents told us "eat your vegetables, there are children starving in the world (blah, blah, blah)", and "I walked five miles uphill to school everyday with holes in my shoes."

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If that didn't encourage us to clean our plates, they'd charge us for the meal. I think skipping out on my mom's stuffed shrimp one night set me back about five bucks, thirty years ago!

Last time I checked, food and drink cost money, and even more dough for gourmet. Is it a sign of one's status or wealth to waste such luxurious things? Clearly, I haven't arrived.

Or is it a matter of copycatting; someone sees someone else dump, they figure it's all the rage, and so they hop aboard the wasting train?

Now, I've certainly heard of topping off a drink; I've never before heard of tipping off one. But, then again, I'm no expert.

Please, please, please can someone help me understand? Have you seen this? Are you a coffee waster who'd like to come clean? Tell us all about it!

By Jackie Tithof Steere from Chicago, IL

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

May 28, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing Jackie! This gave me a good laugh.

I must come clean and admit I have been a coffee waster. Not in the sense of pouring my Starbucks in the trash but with that 1/3 pot of coffee left over from the day before. I often try to heat it back up but end up so disappointed in the flavor. Maybe I am just a coffee snob, but reheated black coffee (no cream or sugar for me, thank you, I like my fuel pure) is not very delicious.

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Wow! I'm a country gal, so I don't see this waste. Thanks for posting. My parents and teachers said the same thing "eat your vegetables". The old coffee is good for making your own Starbucks treat. Coffee, milk, sugar, ice cubes, your own flavorings, vanilla, almond, peppermint, etc. whirled around in a blender. Yum!

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Forgot to mention, old coffee is good for the liquid when you make brownies or chocolate cake. Also makes gravy a nice brown color when you're short on pan drippings.

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

You made me see my Gran's disapproving face.

"Waste not, want not! Oh! How I wish I had that crust that once I threw away!

Thank you for bringing her back to me.

(I can just see you hiding in the rubbish with your mouth open.)

Marg from England.

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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

Wouldn't it be more frugal to not go to Starbucks in the first place? Truly frugal people don't waste money on "gourmet" anything.

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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

I can think of several better ways to spend my time and money. Maybe it would be more frugal to find a good recipe for coffee that you love and make it yourself.

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June 1, 20100 found this helpful

I rarely buy coffee (I prefer tea) and usually make my own at the office or at home but when I really am craving an expensive cup of Java I tend to go to Caribou (a slightly less pricey coffee shop, similar to Starbucks) and every single time I go I have to restrain myself from yelling at the huge amount of people who pour their liquid drinks into the trashcan. My father is a janitor and I've always been taught to always empty a liquid container before disposing of it so that the person emptying the trash doesn't ruin their pants and shoes with your old drink. The least they could do is hand it back and ask if they could pour some into the sink or pour it in the gutter themselves on the way out.

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June 6, 20100 found this helpful

Re to SanMer25

Just wanted to point out that frugality is being wise with your money so you can spend it on the areas you think are important. For some people, this may be gourmet coffee :)

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