Frugal Hacking: Things We Don’t Do

WE DON’T DRINK COFFEE

Premium coffee beans can be quite expensive. Beyond that, you still need to buy grinders, filters, coffee making machines, timers, frothers, etc. etc. Doesn’t make any sense. You don’t need any caffeine if you know how to sleep well. These days, we buy cheap powdered tea leaves from the grocery store and make chai at home on the weekends. Being Indians, we drink chai for the phenomenal taste, not for the caffeine. We’re not addicted to it, and can easily go days without consuming any chai.

From a cost perspective, a single daily cup of $3 coffee bought outside can easily cost you ~$16k over 10 years (if invested instead). If you’re a proud Starbucks Gold member, the only thing you should be proud of is how much money you’ve given away (or will be giving away) to Starbucks over the course of your lifetime. Even the cheapest lattes can significantly add up over time. If you want to call yourself frugal, buying coffee outside everyday is anything but. The only acceptable frugal coffee purchase would be this 3-pound tin of Folgers coffee from Costco for 3 cents a cup. And no, Keurig K-cups aren’t considered frugal. They’re not all that cheap, and look at all that wasted plastic! For someone wanting to achieve an aggressive 70%+ savings rate, cutting out all non-essentials from your life is key. Try starting with coffee — the biggest non-essential of all time.

WE DON’T SMOKE

Cigarette smoking is ridiculously expensive, because of all the added taxes. It’s paradoxical to try to be frugal and be a smoker at the same time. What’s worse is that your future health costs are also likely to be higher. Financial independence (with a potential to retire early) is just the beginning of a long journey. After you reach FI you still need to make sure your future finances, notably your future health costs, are under control for the next 2-5 decades of your life.

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