In Zac Bissonnette’s, How to Be Richer, Smarter and Better Looking than Your Parents, the 23 year-old instructs the college-ager how to be, well – richer, smarter and better looking than their parents.
While tidbits of his advice include “practice saying ‘no’ to yourself,” and how it’s imperative to choose a career that “should excite you,” much of his advice revolves around the green standard: money.
Though the Millennial generation has been described as power-hungry and economically fixated, Bissonnette doesn’t write of anything involving power from the dollar. Instead, he urges early to mid twenty-somethings to pay with cash, and to save. “A little bit of money in savings will make life good,” he writes.
This got me thinking: what is the biggest money-waster of my generation?
The sole image that came to mind was the iconic green and white Siren of Starbucks.
With over 16,500 locations in almost 60 countries, the coffee giant has marked its territory everywhere.
Yet for many college students, both the coffee and sugary, frothy drinks are the bane of one’s existence.
Take, for example, Lisa Garza, a senior at University of North Texas (and current USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent). At one point, she drank an average of six Venti Skinny Vanilla lattes per weekday (and two-to-four on the weekends).
There is no Starbucks on her campus, and when she first moved into her apartment three years ago, she “plotted out on a map the four closest locations,” she explained in an e-mail.
Garza was a devoted customer. Period. “I would have rather spent my last few dollars on a latte than a meal,” she said.
Like many, Garza would be irritable in the morning until she got that first sip. “Once I decided to quit, the headaches from the sugar withdrawal were very painful,” she said.
In contrast, there are those like upcoming Bates College senior Corinna Parisi, who treats Starbucks like a reward.
Though there is a Starbucks nearby, and she does have her car with her at school, Parisi only treks out for a drink once or twice a week.
Parisi makes an outing to Starbucks a treat, thus, the caloric intake doesn’t faze her. “I think Starbucks is like my splurge,” she said. “If I’m gonna get my vanilla latte, I’m gonna get my vanilla late and enjoy it.”
Sure, it tastes good; and yeah, it looks cool, but to anyone buying these drinks ‘on-the-reg’: have you ever stopped to think how much your mocha-hoo-ha is costing you annually?
A math lesson:
The staff at the Short Hills, NJ location of Starbucks (my local spot) deemed a Grande Caramel Frappuccino as their most popular among the college-aged customer.
I also learned that every location’s prices vary slightly; at Short Hills, a Grande Caramel Frapp goes for $4.45.
Let’s say a typical Starbucks-a-holic buys one of these four times a week, for a grand total of $17.80.
Multiply that by four, for $71.20 spent per month.
And let’s say someone does this every month for the nine months of a college year.
Grand total? $640.80.
(And that’s assuming there wasn’t any carb noshing on the side)
Do you see my point? It’s expensive, and honestly – it’s not healthy.
Parisi feels that, generally, people don’t go to Starbucks without a hidden agenda. “You know that you see people carrying around their Starbucks cup just to be seen carrying a Starbucks cup,” she said. “I get it, you go to Starbucks, but that doesn’t really add to your personality.”
Garza agreed. “It’s sort of a culture,” she said.
Here’s to drinking le$$ calorie$ this fall.
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