Occasionally one of my articles gets picked up by a major media outlet. My daily page views will spike to 15,000, I get some awesome new readers and everyone is happy. No, actually, let me take that back. One guy wasn’t happy. At all.
Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, picked up my post “Your Starbucks Habit Is Not Why You’re Broke”. I received this email a few days after it posted. Maybe it’s just me, but I think I hit a n-e-r-v-e.
“Dear Mrs. Nickels / AKA Laura,
Put this in your pipe and smoke it. $5.09 at Starbucks PER my wifes 4 PER DAY/& 7 DAYS PER WEEK for the past FU@#ING 9 YEARS. That’s $66,882.60 ($20.36 per day/ $142.52 per week/ $570.08 per month/$6,840 per year) over the past 9 years!!
So don’t be so biased in your article here. Our cars are paid for….. BY ME, I don’t drink alcohol, and I don’t indulge in Bull$h!t either. We have NEVER had a vacation, we don’t go out to eat. We have 4 children and a home to pay for.
On top of it all, guess what…….. I am the only income in this family. Take you article and stick it where the sun don’t shine.”
Brad S. – Minnesota
Oh, where do I begin with this guy? No, seriously. Not sure where to start with this one. (I’ve decided to overlook the spelling and math errors for now.)
I don’t know about you, but my BS meter started flappin off the charts about 15 words in. Maybe his wife goes to Starbucks twice a day (crazy, but somewhat believable), maybe even three times a day (now we’re stretching the bounds of reality), but…4 TIMES A DAY, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR?!?
Sorry, dude. That’s just plain silly.
Maybe he subscribes to the belief that if he exaggerates enough, I’ll just cave and believe him.
But let’s get back to the tall tale by Captain Exaggeration…
“We have never had a vacation, and we don’t go out to eat.”
Again, are you kidding me? Are you trying to convince me that if I took a look at your banking statement for the past 9 years, I wouldn’t see a single meal out? No burger joints, chinese food, sandwich shops…anything? Even my uber-frugal friends still manage to eat out at least a handful of times a year.
There’s my dang BS meter going off again.
I think his goal with all of the inflammatory words was to get me worked up. And it’s true that after I read his email, I cried. Tears from gut-busting laughter.
I get it; he’s frustrated at his wife’s Starbucks habit. But Brad, if you’re going to yell at me, at least stick to the facts. I’ll pretend that I believe you for the sake of argument. $500 a month at Starbucks is pretty hard-core, but I still don’t believe it’s why you’re broke.
You poor soul, you missed the whole point. Should anyone be spending $500 a month on Starbucks if they’re in debt or have no savings? Of course not. But I don’t think Starbucks is the real problem. It’s a symptom, but not the problem.
So here is my response to Captain Exaggeration:
Dear Brad aka Captain E,
First, thanks for the kind offer to stuff my pipe, but I don’t smoke.
A $500/month Starbucks habit is pretty crazy. But frankly, it’s not my place to judge where somebody spends their money, if that’s what makes them happy. My only caveat is that all other financial priorities must come first.
- Downsize your house. We have four kids, and downsized from 2,600 square feet to 980 square feet with one bathroom. Don’t regret it for a moment. Toughen up.
- Drive reasonable vehicles. Your cars are paid for? Great! Are any of them worth more than $10,000? Sell it and buy something else. Put the cash difference towards debt or savings.
- Eat out less. Oh wait, you’ve obviously got that one down already. You already told me that you never eat out. * pause for effect *
The truth is, your wife is probably going to Starbucks to escape, not because she truly enjoys the experience. If money wasn’t such a stressful issue, she wouldn’t spend as frivolously to begin with. So reverse engineer that bad boy. Stop spending so much on housing and transportation, and start taking care of your financial priorities (paying off debt, emergency fund, saving for retirement).
Once you’re doing better financially, her need to escape to Starbucks will probably dwindle down to a more reasonable frequency. (Mr. Nickels suggests some marriage counseling as well. You and your wife need to get on the same page when it comes to spending and money.)
But even if I’m wrong, and the Starbucks habit lingers, at least your financial house will be in order.
P.S. I’ll try sticking my post where the sun don’t shine, but here in sunny California that’s a tall order.
Laura aka Mrs. Nickels