Lent: I gave up coffee and it saved me £187

Last year I decided to give up coffee for Lent as I was becoming concerned by the amount I was drinking and how much I was spending on my daily caffeine fix. I had gotten into the habit of stopping off for a coffee on my way to work each morning and didn't really give this much thought.

When my office moved to a new building that was right next door to a shopping centre I started topping up my morning caffeine fix with a lunchtime trip to my favourite coffeehouse chain. Again, I didn't think much of it as so many people around me were doing the same and I deserved that lunchtime coffee after a busy morning dealing with clients, right?

On top of my twice a day coffee habit during the week, I was also buying several cups at the weekend when I was shopping or just having a coffee date with my husband or friends. Each cup of my favourite beverage was costing me around £2.60 and at times I would add a cake or sandwich to my order just because they were there.

It wasn't until I started to consider whether I could reduce my hours at work that I looked at how much I was spending on coffee. My £2.60 per cup habit was costing my around £31.20 each week, or a staggering £1,622.40 each year. Seeing the total staring back at me from my spreadsheet left me feeling really angry with myself, so I decided to go cold turkey over Lent and use my caffeine-free period to think about what I was doing with my hard-earned money.

Over the six-week period it wasn't the coffee itself I missed so much as my routine. I especially enjoyed my trip to buy a coffee at lunch as it was an excuse to get out of the office and there was nothing but industrial units and the shopping centre nearby. However, I was determined that things had to change and I enjoyed knowing that I was regaining some control over my spending.

I thought about my attitude toward buying coffee and how frivolous I had been with my money and by the end of Lent I had decided I would not be buying my coffee from expensive chains any longer. I bought a cheap coffee maker that cost £6 and stated making my own coffee and taking it to work with me.

I used the savings to reduce my hours at work before making further financial changes that allowed me to leave that job altogether. So giving up coffee for Lent had a significant impact on the direction of my life that I really couldn't have anticipated.

How does the coffee from my £6 coffee maker taste? It's excellent and has a much deeper flavour than the "designer" coffee I was paying a fortune for.

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