Financial Literacy and a Coffee

 Let’s dream for a moment. What would you do with $800? Don’t worry about where it came from. There are no strings attached. It is simply yours to use however you choose. What would you do with $800? Go ahead – close your eyes for a moment and dream.

In a recent class, we were discussing budgeting and accounting. One of my students stated that she spends, on average, $5 each time she buys coffee from one of those nationally recognized coffee shops. For her, that was about 3 times per week.


Doesn’t sound like much, does it? I grabbed my wallet and pulled out $60 (all the cash I had in it), and held it up. You should have seen my students’ eyes light up! Even my coffee-drinking student was quite intrigued by the prospect of an additional $60 in her pocket. Flashing the green, I quickly worked them through the math. That $60 in my hand was the amount she spent per month on coffee – a mere $5 at a time.

Working that out further, $15 per week multiplied by 52 weeks gives us a total coffee budget of $780 for the year. So again I ask, what would you do with $800? What DO you do with $800?

Among many other things, April is officially “Financial Literacy Month”. Financial literacy is, stated quite simply, an understanding of how you manage and use your money – an awareness of where that paycheck goes.

 ImageAccording to, one study found that you are likely to spend 12%-18% more per purchase using a card compared to watching the cash slip through your fingers. They went on to explain that McDonald’s realized their average sale went from $4.50 to $7.00 simply by allowing people to use credit cards at the restaurants.

 Again, it doesn’t sound like much, but look at the bigger picture. The same article reported that 32% of home loan applications in the US were rejected last year. 1 OUT OF 3 people that wanted to buy a home were not considered financially stable enough to do so. Do you see homeownership in your future? What are you doing about it NOW?

 Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating a complete abandonment of coffee shops. What I am encouraging for Financial Literacy Month is that each and every one of us becomes a little more aware of what we do with our money.

  •  Keep a simple tally of spending.
  • Set some financial goals for yourself.
  • Maybe even develop a basic budget to help you reach your goals.

 It sounds like common sense, but we need to transfer that to common practice. There are all kinds of resources out there, including classes and consultations here at LSS – Center for Financial Resources. Take a chance and seek them out. You can find more by calling us at 1-888-258-2227 or visiting our website at Any time you spend on financial literacy is an investment in yourself.

Remember, the goal is not to eliminate those little joys in life, but to create the healthy situation where you can enjoy even more of them.

What are you going to do with $800?

By Breck Miller

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