Coffee, makes you think

After owing its name to the mindful Fransciscan monks, the Capuchin friars, many of us overlook our daily cappuccino (or other frothy delight) and how much we spend on these little luxuries in life.

One of the best ways to add meaning to our money is to be mindful about how we spend it, and our financial well-being is closely linked to how we feel about our money and what it means to us.

If we use the example of buying a daily cup of take-away coffee (this could be from Woolies, Starbucks or your local hipster cafe) – we can learn a lot about our spending habits and bias.

Many people savour the flavour of this power drink each morning, and many caffeine addicts can happily knock back a few in a row. However, some calculations show that if you’re willing to give up just one of those daily cappuccinos, you could save nearly R40,000 in five years and over R90,000 in a decade. 

With the ominous effects of inflation and the cost of living on the rise around the world, it can often seem impossible to save more money without the help of a big bonus or salary increase. However, Hildegard Wilson, a member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa’s investment committee, is quick to ascertain “that you can save without compromising your overall standard of living. With the power of compounding, where growth on your investment earns additional growth, these kinds of ‘breadcrumb’ savings can turn into large amounts over time.”

If you buy a cappuccino from Monday to Friday at an average cost of R25, your coffee habit is costing you roughly R500 a month. If you opt to forego the cappuccinos, you could alternatively commit to investing R500 a month in a multi-asset high-equity unit trust fund. Over the past decade (calculated up until March 2017), high-equity funds have delivered average annual returns of 8.2%. Although this figure offers no guarantee of future performance, if your investment were to achieve an annual average return of 8.2%, you would have just over R37,180 after five years and R93,130 after 10 years.

Foregoing just one cappuccino a day, you could generate a significant lump sum, which could make a serious dent in your debts, or top up an education or retirement fund.

The goal is not to give up a cappuccino, it’s to be mindful of how you use your money and acknowledge that the little things all add up in the end. So… next time you order your beverage of choice, hopefully it makes you think!

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