Oh, coffee

As I carefully perused my bank accounts last night, pretending to be an adult, I came to the realization that my coffee trips and crucial late-night refueling occur with shocking frequency; if I keep it up, I can expect to be broke by February.
Students at an esteemed university such as our own hold themselves to incredibly high standards and push themselves to accomplish remarkable things. There is no way an average person here can find enough time between going to class, meetings and library (Facebook) time to hibernate and rest for the next day’s harrowing activities. How else are we supposed to prosper without developing semi-addictive relationships with caffeinated beverages?
I remember laughing at an article I once read that reported graduate student debt occurs not just from financial aid bills and heavy annual tuition, but from daily visits to Starbucks and other worthy coffee establishments. These expenses amass tens of thousands of dollars of debt that continue to plague those individuals as they leave the intellectual vacuum we call college and enter the professional workplace. Now, I shudder to realize I too shall incur a similar fate. Books, room and board, and all other living expenses aside, coffee poses a serious problem to our financial health as young and prosperous students.
Conscious of my terrible spending, I kept a record of my activity through the next day. I woke up for class, got a coffee on the way to Cabell Hall, left, had lunch with a friend, studied for a few hours, then grabbed another coffee without sugar or cream to wake me up because I felt fatigued. The worst part is, I know during evening study I will most likely do the same thing at Alderman Café or, should I say, the source of my demise.
Not convinced you have anything to worry about yet? If the average person were to sit down and calculate what he or she spends on a daily basis and what that money is spent on, the numbers likely would be shocking. Let’s say an average cup of coffee costs $2. Multiply that by five and you’ve just spent $10 on coffee alone. Don’t even think about sandwiches or snacks you may purchase to accompany your beverage; that’s an additional $10 right there. So, according to my numbers, you’ve just spent $20 in one week ... when there are more than a dozen more weeks to worry about for the rest of the semester, two of which take place during finals crunch time.
Anyone can plainly see that students sustain themselves with coffee. Without it, no one would pay attention in early classes, go to the library to study or be especially productive in any given component of his or her life. To put it bluntly, coffee makes the world go round here at the University. Knowing this, I find it quite disappointing that the school doesn’t do more to support the student body’s source of sustainable energy. Personally, I think they should take all the money they’re saving by making us carry our plates around without trays and set up free coffee bars in the libraries. Laugh if you will, but being up at 1 a.m. with 100 more pages of Kant to read isn’t exactly feasible without some sort of assistance.
In my endeavors to correct my spending and salvage my personal bank account, I’ve realized there are many ways to cut back on expenses.
First, don’t drink coffee. Just kidding. But seriously, converting to tea not only costs less but it also still provides an adequate caffeine source. Did you know it only costs 15 cents to get a large cup of hot water? With a box of Earl Grey from a local grocery store, you can cut back on costs considerably and still have a nice warm beverage to aid your studying and make you look smart when sauntering around Grounds.
Next, buy coffee. Sounds hypocritical, but I’ll tell you now that the whipped cream and milk-filled drinks many students order have about two ounces of legitimate coffee in them and therefore will only keep you functioning for two ounces worth of time. That’s not being economical — that’s called blind waste. Time is money, my friends. Plus, these frothy latte drinks cost almost three times as much as plain brew. Do yourself a favor and cut back the queue time by omitting the elaborate drink details and simply ask for small, medium or large.
Remember, the financial limitations of a student are modest and it is imperative we keep ourselves from falling into debt. I hope my words of wisdom have helped, and to all you coffee addicts out there, I feel your pain.
Bailee’s column runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at b.barfield@cavalierdaily.com.

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