Yes I Drink 5 Dollar Tea- Finance Friday

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Welcome to Finance Friday! Every week I’ll be giving you a financially related post on Friday. I want us to be able to take about our finances in a healthy way. When we give ourselves space to have these conversations, we can learn and grow from each other. We all should be striving to have healthy financial habits. Even those of us who indulge in the cliché 5 dollar tea or coffee.

Coffee is not my Cup of Tea

In college in learnt the hard way coffee is not my cup of tea (yes the pun was intended), by only getting three to four hours of sleep at a time, because I was too wired from all the Starbucks I was drinking. It left me too jittery and made it extremely difficult to focus at work or in class, so I switched over to tea. Sadly that means I cannot stand by the importance of ones beloved 5 dollar cup of tea. Despite the fact that the 5 dollar latte myth has been debunked, we still see it and avocado toast as the main reasons millennials are killing our finances. So  I will happily go on and on about why I will spend 5 or 8 dollars press pot of tea.

If you scroll my Instagram or browse earlier blog posts, you’ll likely see images of my Macbook, my iPhone, and a press pot. During college, I found the quaintest coffee shop, Open Eye Cafe, which soon became my go-to study spot when I moved off campus. It was about a 10-minute walk from my apartment or 3-minute bus ride, and one of the calmest places that away from the overachieving bubble that is UNC. So after work or class, I would, prepare a snack, pack up my books, and head to Open Eye.

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Sometimes I’d people watch to unwind from a long day, others I would jump right into working on a paper, a few times I worked on my side hustling editing photos of my fellow Tar Heels. But the one constant was my press pot of tea. The smallest size could fill up my travel mug once and the largest could fil it twice.  I knew I had tons of individual tea bags stashed away in my purse that only cost 4 dollars a box, but it wasn’t the same as watching the leaves steep and the water slowly darken.

5 Dollar Cup of Tea or 4 Dollar Box of Tea

This is not to say I abandoned my box tea by any means because that is the furthest thing from the truth. I had a routine.  Turn on the kettle, hop in the shower, pour water as soon as I got out of the shower and enjoy my first cup of tea in the morning. Then if my roommate didn’t use all the hot water before she left, I’d pour myself another cup to have during my first class. Then between classes, I’d run to one of the conveniently located markets with my tea bags and use the free hot water and sugar for my third cup of tea.

And as much as I advocate for the convenience and accessibility of bagged tea, the was always to sense of hurriedness associated with it in college. It was the thing to energize me and get me to the next thing to do or that was due. Because overachievers don’t have time to sit and water the tea steep. But that is what my 5 dollar cup of tea gave me.

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If offered me solace from the chaos and the pressure of never underperform. It reminded me I couldn’t do it all at once because I only had 100 percent to give. When you’re in a space where everyone is worried about crippling debt or how to survive adulthood or how to graduate on time, you need moments like that.


How Much Did 5 Dollar Tea Cost Me

On average I visited Open Eye 3 times per week and averaged about 15 dollars per week, sometimes ya girl needed more tea to get through the evening,  which leaves us at 60 dollars a month. Additionally, I bought two boxes of tea per month averaging 10 dollars for the month. That brings my tea total of roughly 70 dollars. That 70 dollars could have become $840 in my saving account or funded a trip to Scotland or another trip to the beach(haha), but it was my pick me up. The thing I needed to in conjunction with a support system, meditation, and prayer to keep on keeping on. For that, I can justify that expense to myself in my budget.

That is what matters when you’re taking a look at your budget. Is this an expense I’m comfortable with? Is this taking away from a necessity?  Do I have guilt from spending this much money? If you’re okay with that and you live by the three Fs, you have no reason to explain your expenses to anyone else. Live your life how you see fit and drink as many 5 dollar cups of tea or coffee a.s you please.

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What do you think of Finance Friday? Do you have any topics you’d like me to cover? Or better yet, what is the thing you spend money on that people judge you for? I’d love to know below. 

Until next time,

Aitza B