1. Penny I love you so much. This is awesome, in an “educating and leading by example without being preachy” way. I just spent some time last week reading a bunch of articles about the state of our oceans and am just sickened over it… I’ve decided I will not use plastic straws ever again, and am going to start carrying my own silverware whenever possible. Funny how many decisions that are good financial decisions turn out to be great for the environment as well.

    • I think that frugality and environmentalism can go hand-in-hand. I also think that being more eco-friendly is worth an extra cost (whether that’s financial or re-thinking your habits and routines). Thanks so much for the vote of confidence!

  2. Once a week we do coffee Fridays at McDonalds where all the small McCafe drinks are $2. The new Cold Brew Frozen coffee is pretty delectable! I haven’t paid attention to the cups but maybe I should.

    Aside from coffee Fridays I do save money by drinking coffee at home because I like having control over exactly how it’s going to taste and how hot it is. I’m a bit finicky first thing in the morning.

  3. I’ve also never been a big coffee drinker. Mostly I drink coffee if it’s free (at meetings, or my annual free birthday drink from Starbucks). I tend to bring a bunch of tea bags to work and make that when I need something to pick me up. But your post has me wondering about environmental impact of tea bags… probably loose leaf tea is better for the planet (and better tasting)?
    Great post thinking about what a treat actually is, and how our actions impact the environment!

    • I ditched tea bags a couple of years ago and switched to loose leaf tea. I buy in bulk which is way cheaper, use a french press so the flavor is amazing, and then throw the used tea leaves straight into our composter. Some tea bags are supposed to be biodegradable, but I have found that that isn’t always the case.

  4. I love this so much! There are more to some decisions than just money. Making environmentally friendly choices is important to me. You can only recycle two types of plastic where I live, so I’ve really cut back on what I buy from the grocery store – so that’s one way to cut down on your grocery bill ?. My next big swap will be bringing my own take out containers to restaurants. I just have to buck up the courage to look like a hippie.

  5. I’ve been bringing my personal cup with me for awhile now for this very reason. I can’t stand how much trash is wasted just with coffee cups, let alone everything else, every single day. And it totally bothers me when coffee shops make my drink in a paper cup and then dump it into my cup, kinda defeats the purpose if you ask me.

  6. Jover

    I don’t drink coffee (never have) but I can tell that people are so addicted to it, I finally broke down and purchased a few shares of SBUX because I was going to profit off of everyone’s favorite addiction. Within a month, my shares are down 10%+. Womp womp.
    Even after traveling to Seattle last month, I can’t wrap my head around why soooo many people are soooo addicted to that hot brown water.
    Kudos for taking a stand for the planet and for yourself!

  7. Penny,

    First, I am not a coffee person either (and for that fact alcohol). Since I have never made these things part of my daily, weekly, or monthly routine I have a hard time seeing people justify the dollar cost of these items. In trying to live a bit more frugally in order to achieve Financial Independence at a young age, the annual costs of these indulgences or “nice to haves” is a bit crazy in my mind. I don’t judge a person for it and I will always accept them, but it does give me pause when I see folks with daily Starbucks and nightly beer habits.

    Second, as you mention, is the health concern. As an avid fitness and nutrition guy, these things are so counter-intuitive to a healthy lifestyle. They do more than destroy the benefit you may receive from a daily workout. In the case of sugar, you may never be able to undue the damage that sugar can cause your body (and mind!).

    Finally, I love how you incorporate the importance of our responsibility to nature and the Earth. I grew up as an outdoor enthusiast in the Rocky Mountains and the red rocks of south west. I sincerely hope that my children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature that I am, but I know they won’t if we don’t take personal responsibility for our actions.

    Thanks again Penny, another great article!

  8. love love love this! I really want to start composting at home. Most of the garbage we throw out is actually stuff that could be composted. Very little of it is actually true trash. I’ve gotten on a sustainability kick lately and stopped using straws. I very rarely go out to eat any more so that helps cut down too.

    • I really want to buy a metal straw! I love composting. I even bring my scraps home from work to toss in. It’s so low maintenance.

  9. Great points, especially about the cups! I work from home, so I often go to coffee shops to get out of my little bubble and have some social interaction. I do like coffee, but after drinking all of the fancy (and expensive) coffees, I realized I prefer simple, black drip coffee. I bring my own reusable cup, which they are usually happy to fill. It ends up being a few dollars, but with cheap or free refills, it’s worth the cost for me to get some work done. Much cheaper than the $5 or $6 for fancy coffee drinks.

  10. Yesssss. So many points of this ring true! It’s definitely hard to break a habit, but recognizing not only the financial impact you could make (yay! savings!) but also one on the environment (yay! trees!) is far and away the best incentive to do so 🙂


  11. I hardly ever drink coffee that I haven’t made myself in either a mug or a travel mug, so it’s easy to explain away the guilty twinge I feel on the rare occasions I DO buy coffee in a paper cup because it’s not like I do it all that often. This post is inspiring me to quit ignoring that twinge of guilt. I’ll either have to find a reusable solution or—since I suspect it’s not that easy for coffee in the airport before early flights, which makes up the bulk of my coffee-buying—just forgo the caffeine!

  12. Staci

    Recently came across your blog and am in love!

    I’m a big fan of a frugal lifestyle immediately creating more of environmentally friendly lifestyle – in the last few months I’ve traded in my liquid face wash and body wash for the equivalent bar soap and both saved (a surprising amount of) money and reduced the plastic usage in our house. Why didn’t I do this years ago?!

    My vice in this world is coffee, and while it doesn’t have to be fancy I do love me a cup of McDonald’s black coffee and my boss routinely picks one up for me in the morning. I’ve got stuck in this rut when I know the impact of those little coffee cups – kills me to love it so much when every aspect of my life I am striving to lessen my environmental and financial aspect! Yesterday I said enough was enough and pulled out my thermos and filled it up this morning with coffee from home (that I make every morning anyways!)

    Our city in Canada JUST declared that we are going to start moving to a Pay-as-you-throw garbage can system and my goodness the city is in an uproar! How dare we be encouraged to compost and recycle more in order to reduce our garbage costs. Wow. I’m thrilled as we had ONE small bag of garbage in our giant bin this past week on pickup day when my neighbours bins were overflowing.

    With a two year old, a husband and another baby on the way in August it is impractical for us to get to zero waste but I aim for close to it! I just love the equal benefits of extra cash in my pocket and reducing my carbon footprint. Thanks for listening to my rant!

    • Deb

      Pay-as-you-throw sounds like a very smart move. I’m jealous. Where I live I am forced to pay almost $50/mo regardless of whether I ever use the trash service or not. Sometimes it takes me 4 weeks to fill the trash and take it to the curb, so I definitely feel like I’m getting ripped off.
      I just started my 1st composting, so I’ll have even less trash. ?

  13. Jody

    I just moved into my own rental – in the country. It’s great. I haven’t started composting yet but I have in the past.

    The county picks up trash every week and recycling every two weeks. Granted, I still have an abundance of cardboard due to boxes and such, but since I’ve been here my weekly trash has amounted to approx. two grocery bags of stuff while my recycling container has been overflowing every pick-up! I’m shocked and glad I have that little “trash.”

    As for foo-foo coffee, I love me a cappuccino and they are definitely a treat for me – I have maybe 6 per year!

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