Why You Should Break Up With Coffee

I remember my first cup of coffee in 2013.

Awaiting my first semester at university, the hours were long and relaxed. There was little to do but walk, read, think and blog – how lovely!

(Netflix, Youtube and amazing data plans were yet to be a thing thing).

I drank a kopi-o-kosong: black coffee, no milk, no sugar.

My mind was ablaze!

Strolling home in wide-eyed wonder, my imagination rippled in euphoria. The road beside me infinitely folded in on itself like a scene from Inception… in my imagination. Poor cars. Other mental acrobatics ensued on my 30-minute walk home.

A few weeks later, after more cups and reflections on this powerful drug, I posted this:

What a cute lil blogger!

Those rules were promptly broken, and here I am after 8 years of coffee consistency.

After exploring the experiences of Michael Pollan, I’m inspired to take a break to understand my relationship with this plant.

For a month.

Cold turkey.

omg.

I’ve started today, and the fog definitely settled in at work in the morning. I still feel very much myself, but just about conked out after lunchtime. Work had to go on, and I experienced a second wave of wakeful focus around 4pm!

As the days go by, I’ll be documenting my experience here.

I’m looking forward to weeks of better sleep and rediscovering my mind off coffee. Here we go!

The Ultimate Singapore Kopi O Kosong Peng Comparison Table

I dislike bubble tea.

Haters gonna hate.

Coffee tho. I’m a coffee guy. There’s something about the taste of black kopi (o kosong peng) that gets diluted with milk n sugar. That strong, bitter taste is rocket fuel to start the day.

Rocket Fuel

In my last post, I showed you how saving $3.60 on coffee could save you $10,000 at 35. The list of coffee prices was rough, so I thought I would get more specific and list all the prices of Singapore’s popular coffee spots.

I make these things to budget my life better. I hope you find em useful too.

Let’s start with cold coffee!

Note: Coffee bean only has one cold brew size, compared to Starbucks’ three.

ALSO, you can see that the maximum savings you can get is $5.50 a day on cold, black (heartless) coffee. According to my calculator (you can download it here), that’d save me $15,467 at 35.

$15,467 saved!

I thought it would also be interesting to list the prices for hot black coffee, which would eventually show us the price of ice after a quick subtraction.

The most you could save here is a comparable $5.3. Of course, a kopi o kosong is not the same as a Large from Coffee Bean. You might have to drink a little less coffee a day to make those savings. Ask yourself how much caffeine you really need.

Thought it would help to compile em all in a big graph too:

An awesome graph of coffee prices in Singapore.
Boomz.

Aaaand ice price!

Interesting to see the increase in markup on ice for smaller vendors. That extra 20c-$1.30 would amount to an extra $562 – $3,656 at 35.

I hope you found these tables and charts useful. I’ll be adding more coffee prices here as I see them, and the next topic will be on something close to heart – cookies.

<3

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The Lifetime Savings Calculator: Which kopi will save you $10,000 at 35?

I love iced black coffee! (sans the sugar.)

Living a short walk from the local shopping mall and hawker centre, my mornings could involve a kopi o kosong peng or an iced americano. Sometimes I grind & press coffee beans at home, so… aiyoh, daily trilemma. But alas, variety is the spice of life.

Being a me, I had to list the options.

  • Kopi O Kosong Peng: $1.40
  • Kopi O Kosong Peng (Marked up): $3.00
  • Iced Americano: $5.00
  • Cold Brew: $5.80
  • Homemade: $2.00

Note on the Homemade: This will depend on your beans; I use 35g of beans a cup, so a 250g bag at $14 = seven cups at $1.96 each.

Look at the difference between an americano ($5) and kopi o kosong peng – you could be saving $3.60 a day!

What would this mean in a year? Or 5 years?

The answer is complicated – interest rates, inflation and options to invest need consideration.

Luckily for you,

Excel kung fu strong.

So before we get into the sheet [free download at the end of this post] let me unpack these basics:

Interest Rates

For money saved in the bank, interest rates determine how much your saved money grows over time, or the amount that banks pay you to keep your money in their account. They would then use your money to lend borrowers and charge them that interest.

Moneysmart’s already compiled a nice, updated list of Singapore interest rates to refer to, but for the sake of this post I’ll assume a value of 1%. This means my saved money today would grow by 1% per annum over the years.

Inflation Rates

Eroder of savings. Eater of worlds. Inflation is probably the number 1 reason to invest your money, and also why my iced kopi costs $1.40 instead of $0.90 like it used to back in school.

Inflation is the rate of increase of prices of stuff (goods and services la) over time. Inflation has many causes – higher costs of stuff-production, higher wages of stuff-makers (shame on your payraise), higher demand for stuff (e.g. when people in developing citiers can afford higher standards of living) and government policies are the usual suspects.

What’s Singapore’s inflation rate? Most sources use the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the change in price of commonly purchased goods and services, including housing and transportation.

For this post, however, I’ll be using the MAS Core Inflation, which excludes fluctuations in housing and transport. More info here!

Source: mti.gov.sg

To be a little conservative, let’s go with a fixed inflation rate of 2% per annum.

Investment

A popular topic – this could bloat up a post real quick. However, it’ll be good to illustrate just what can happen without investment, so I’m going to assume an investment growth rate of 0%. Keke.

Here we go.

Savings between Iced Americano ($5.00) to Kopi O Kosong peng ($1.40) = $3.60

Saving $3.60 a day means $1,310 a year! That may not look like much, and indeed $1,310 saved in the bank (earning interest) will only have the spending power of $1,221 in 7 years.

Summing up the accumulated years of savings, 7 years of disciplined cheap coffee drinking would result in an extra $10,124 in my bank account.

If I invested those savings, say, in CPF top-ups with a guaranteed rate of 4%…

$1,310 saved this year would no longer be worth less next year, but more. Specifically, the growth percentage would look like this:

Growth of Savings = Interest Rate – Inflation + Investment Growth

= 1% – 2% + 4%

= 2%

Measly. But much better than the -1% you would be “earning” if you let your money lose to inflation in the bank.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of savings – let me know if there’s any

-Improvements I can make

-Clear explanations you’d like for certain pointers

-Other stuff you think I missed out

I’d love to hear them! You can post in the comments if you like.

Download of the sheet used above:

Have fun!

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