When “just give up your Starbucks Coffee” isn’t Helpful Advice

Ask how to save some money and the first piece of advice most people will give you is that you need to start “giving up your starbucks coffee.” But, that advice isn’t helpful if you already aren’t buying coffee at the coffee shop because your budget is so tight.

just give up your starbucks coffee

I’ve been there. I’ve racked my brain so hard with how to save money and when I shared with people my worry over our finances I’d hear that advice too.

Granted, there are many who can save money by giving up their Starbucks (or whatever coffee you drink!) But for some, they are wishing they had coffee money they could give up.

And look, I get it. I understand that those people sharing that advice are just trying to help. Unless you have been in a position where you are barely getting by and barely affording the basics in your life, it’s hard to relate or understand.

Being a financial position that is so tight there is already no extras to take out of your budget can feel discouraging and hopeless.

It doesn’t need to be though, because even when your budget is as tight as it’s ever been, there are often things we haven’t thought of that could help our finances.

It isn’t going to be easy. But it is worth it when you feel like you can pay your bills.


If you aren’t already, make sure you are writing out your budget. While I believe EVERYONE should have a budget, those who have no wiggle room DEFINITELY need to be writing out a budget.

You can sign up for my mailing list which includes access to a free printable budget.

So let’s talk about ways to save money when you are so strapped for cash you don’t have coffee to give up.


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Look around for subsidy programs.

If you are low-income, or even in some cases middle-income, there are often subsidy programs to help you with expenses. For example, where I live you can receive a subsidy to help pay your hydro bill.

There are also often subsidies for extra-curriculars in a lot of communities. Some places have subsidies for services such as dental or medical. Some areas will help you with winter clothing for your children or school supplies.  When we were barely making ends meet we used many subsidy programs.  It allowed us to manage our bills a little better, and more importantly, it offered our children things we just couldn’t give them at the time.  I will forever be grateful for those programs being available when we needed them.

Check into what your community has if you are struggling to make ends meet.

Negotiate your bills.

Sometimes, if you have debt you can negotiate with your creditors on a smaller payment if you are struggling to meet the monthly bills.

As well, some services allow you to do equal billing all year long instead of paying more for some of the year and less for the other part. This would be for things like heating or electrical bills. In the winter here we use more but for us we pay the same amount every month so that it is easier to pay.

Start couponing.

Some people are really against couponing. Truth is, it takes time and patience. But, if you are finding it a hardship to pay your bills, your grocery bill is one area you can decrease with things like coupons (along with shopping the sales.) Consider adding couponing apps to your phone like CHECKOUT51 or Ibotta. For more coupon sites, check this post out.

Start a side hustle.

One of the pieces of advice people would give me when we were struggling really hard was to “just go get a job.” Unfortunately, in my situation it wasn’t that easy.

You see, I had three kids at home. I was also not qualified for much because all I had was a one year office administration certificate from college. We also lived in a small town with few jobs, which meant I’d probably have to drive to the nearest city 25 minutes away to find something.

Except, we didn’t have a second car. So by the time I got a job that was either minimum wage or just above minimum wage, got a second vehicle, paid for my kids to be in child care and before and after school care (probably for extra time because of driving to and from work in the next city over), well, I probably wouldn’t be bringing home much extra, or would maybe even be set back.

So, it wasn’t that simple in my situation. And maybe you have a similar situation. But even if you can’t work OUT of the home, you may be able to work IN the home.

That’s what I did. Enter blogging. Literally has changed my life.

But you don’t have to blog as a side hustle. There are many opportunities. You can do surveys at home for example. They won’t make you rich, but if you only need an extra 100 dollars a month, they can help. My favorite are PineCone Research and Survey junkie.

Or you could work as a tutor. Or sell things on Etsy. Or maybe you could work as a virtual assistant or freelancer.

Use loyalty point programs for extras.

So, maybe you actually WANT to be able to afford that Starbucks coffee? There’s other ways to get it! Swagbucks, for example, is a great way you can earn gift cards for places like Starbucks, or Amazon (just to name a couple.) I’ve used Swagbucks towards books on Amazon before. Swagbucks is a way to earn money by doing daily searches, polls, streaming videos, surveys, and more.

I even know people who have saved Swagbucks towards vacations, or big ticket items.  You can sign up here.

Beyond Swagbucks, you can use this kind of idea for other points programs. For example, here we have a points program for our grocery store. I use the points for free groceries for when we travel.

We’ve recently been discussing wanting a canoe, but it isn’t in the budget. We are saving up our Canadian Tire money for one. Our goal is next year. Canadian Tire is a store and a gas station here in Canada. We get points every time we make a purchase we need, or we get points on gas as well!

In the US, one of the most popular loyalty programs is the REDcard program at Target which gives you various discounts and coupons for items throughout the store.  It also includes free 2-day shipping if you order online.


This is an option for people who are in real financial trouble because it’s often not something you can just start doing tomorrow. Downsizing to a smaller home, or to a smaller vehicle takes time and definitely sacrifice.

However, if your finances are in trouble, downsizing may be the only way. The good news is that downsizing is probably the way you’ll save the most money.

Make your own.

Cooking from scratch will save you a lot of money. I can make my family muffins, or baked oatmeal, or banana bread for a lot cheaper than buying packaged snacks or food.

You can also save money by making your own laundry soap. The little things all add up, especially when your budget has NO wiggle room, every bit helps.


No matter your income level, you can save money. Sure, it may not be as much. You may only be able to save $5-10 dollars here and there. You may save more through points programs rather than actual cash.

Utilize what resources you have available to you, and work hard at making it work for you.

Sometimes it isn’t as easy as “just give up your Starbucks coffee.”  But that doesn’t mean there’s no way to save money with hard work and determination.

Article Name
When "just give up your Starbucks Coffee" isn't Helpful Advice
Saving money tips beyond the common "give up your coffee" advice.
Publisher Name
Simple Life of a Frugal Wife

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