When I was seven months pregnant with our fourth child, our third child was only 18 months old and still wasn’t consistently sleeping through the night.
This sleep deprivation coupled with some general life stress and a discovery of a love of iced mocha frappachinos led my husband, Chip, to begin buying a coffee every afternoon.
He’d be at his office working on pastor stuff and begin to feel that afternoon slump hit, so he’d walk the two blocks to our local cupcake shop, Cuppiecakes. He and the sweet owner collaborated to make a delicious tasting coffee drink that was as low in sugar as possible.
After about three tries, they’d reached perfection for about $2.50 a cup.
This habit continued for a couple weeks until we were roaming aimlessly through Target on a date night. Because at this season of life, every date night ends up at Target. We came across the Mr. Coffee Espresso machine on sale for $25.00.
We did the math and decided that it would be worth the savings to figure out how to make our own coffee. Which, I know, sounds ridiculous to some of you veteran coffee drinkers.
Yes, we were in our thirties and didn’t own a coffee maker?!?!
We experimented with different flavored creamers and other add ins until we found a mix that is perfect for our tastes, is low in sugar, and costs well under a dollar for a sixteen ounce cup.
In the course of the last sixteen months, we’ve saved approximately $583.00.
And now our beloved little espresso maker has a cracked handle on the tiny little pot. My first thought was that we’d saved so much money from that $25 purchase that it makes total sense to just go buy a new one right away.
That would be the easiest thing to do, right?
But then I remembered that the easiest way to get coffee that we like is to simply drop in Cuppiecakes and have an expert whip us one up for $2.50.
So we taped the broken handle with this cool, stretchy, waterproof tape about a month ago.
I’m fully aware that taping the handle of my broken coffee pot isn’t a permanent solution, but it is extending the life of a machine that is saving our family an average of $40 per month.
This may not seem like a great sum because, quite frankly, it isn’t.
But for most families, building savings and reducing debt don’t happen in great sums.
They happen in small, sometimes even minute, sums that gradually accumulate over time.
The savings are built and the debt is reduced by choosing to pack a lunch rather than eat out.
By going to a matinee rather than an evening movie.
By having a dessert only date.
These choices aren’t easy because they don’t show immediate and large results.
They’re tiny little drops in an giant bucket, and it feels like it will never get full.
But it will.
Average families pay off all their debt all the time.
There are tons of inspirational money management stories on the internet, and very few of them involve a large inheritance or winning the Publishers Clearing House contest.
The most common story is this: We made deliberate daily decisions about how we spent money. We used the small amounts we saved to pay down big debts – gradually. The exact way to reduce debt varies, but the method is typically the same.
To read our blog post about four great books that all Christians should read to help manage their finances in a way that honors God, check out our post Four Must Read Finance Books for Christians.
So every time I look at the taped handle of my broken $25 espresso machine, I smile.
I smile because I know that someday we will be debt free.
I smile because I’m finding contentment in the everyday.
I smile because I love cold espresso with a ton of creamer.
Anthony House Cold Coffee Recipe
- 2 shots of chilled espresso (Cafe Bustelo and La Llave are very good.)
- 1 scoop of collagen protein
- 1 tbsp of heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp of Nestle Cafe Mocha Creamer
- A healthy dallop of Reddi-whip and
- A large scoop of Sonic Ice
What small steps are you taking to move towards your financial goals? Have you found a creative way to reduce debt?