So guess what? I did not drink coffee, soda, juice, wine, etc… for two whole weeks! I had a little box marked “Water Fund” in which I threw paper slips declaring what drink I would otherwise be drinking so I could estimate the cost of drinks to donate. I am proud to announce I actually completed the “Drinking Only Water” advocacy project and raised much more money than I would have guessed!
If you didn’t read Pt.1 yet, Action: Only Drinking Water (No Coffee!), you might want to learn about the project and why I decided to do it. Unfortunately, you will also see my semi-amusing rant about having to give up my coffee. I have some soda drinker friends who would absolutely die if they tried this advocacy project. (I kinda hope they do!)
Withdraws & Giving Up Your Vice
Do you think it would be hard? Maybe two weeks doesn’t sound bad–it didn’t seem long to me at first. But in a world where I can pretty much get whatever drink/food I want, indulging whenever I want, having an actual boundary was a challenge (check out this post about fasting and becoming a world changer to learn why this can be a good thing).
Besides it just being really hard to beat the habit of drinking my delicious addictive drinks, I was apparently actually going through withdraws. My 1-4 cups of coffee a day apparently had me hooked. I have more compassion for druggies now! Not only is it hard to resist the craving, but it is literally painful to stop. I had a headache for about a week, didn’t feel well, and was soooo tired.
But, around day 5 this really started to improve. Now I can actually wake up in the morning without my cup joe, which I assumed was not possible as an adult with kids. I actually felt a lot healthier. Not only did I save money to give real people clean water, but I became free of this delicious legal stimulant controlling me, and I might have even lost weight. Well, probably not, but I can pretend it was just that good of an experience, right?
Calculating the Cost of Drinks
What you are probably wondering about probably isn’t my coffee withdraws, but rather, is it actually worth it besides on a personal growth level. How much did I really save to give away to clean water initiatives?
How much is a cup of homemade Joe?
According to the article, The Real Cost of Drinking Coffee (article link expired) by Erin Joyce, a home-brewed cup of coffee costs 42 cents and a cup of homemade espresso costs about $1.71. But I wasn’t sure if this was accurate.
I often will specifically buy espresso coffee for my stove-top cappuccino-maker but I generally pay the same amount for each type of coffee. I am guessing I pay around anywhere from $7-$13 per pound, depending on the type I buy. I would prefer to stick with the $10 per pound she uses to formulate the home-brewed coffee cost. But as I like strong coffee and I use a French Press or my espresso-maker, I should probably err on the side of using more grounds.
Therefore so I will go with her usage formula for espresso, $10/22 shots= 45 cents per shot. If I use 2 shots per mug/cup of coffee, that would be 90 cents. So, here is my equation, adding in for a slight bit more milk and sugar than what she does.
90 cents (coffee) + 35 cents (milk) + 5 cents (sugar) = $1.30 per mug.
Yet, as French Press is probably more like the brewed coffee (42 cents), yet with more milk and grounds, I will round up 42 cents to 50 cents. And as I use each method to make coffee equally, I will average these two costs to be my homemade coffee cost:
(50 cents + $1.30)/2 = 90 cents.
That is almost one dollar for each cup of homemade coffee! Wow! I didn’t realize how much I spent on coffee! Now I need to write a blog post why we should only spend that money on social good coffee, like Three Avocados or other Fair Trade coffee!
My total for mugs of coffee over two weeks is: 24 cups x $1 = $24.00
Cost of specialty coffee
This is a lot easier, because I already know this! I am going to say each time I go out and get a latte from Starbucks or Panera (or even McD’s not-so-great specialty coffee) it will cost about $3.50, depending on where I am and what suits my fancy (Iced Milk Coffee? Toffee Latte? Peppermint Mocha Twist? Caramel Macchiato?). And, apparently my slips of paper say I would have probably bought coffee out five times over these two weeks!
My total for having specialty coffee is: 5 x $3.50 = $17.50
Cost of drinks: Random teas to wine
Tea: I buy 20-packet box of tea for around $4, meaning each cup comes out to about 20 cents before honey, sugar, or cream. It seems to be about 6 cents per teaspoon of honey ($8/24oz./6tsp). So for each cup of tea I drink with 2 teaspoons of honey I will say costs about 30 cents.
My total for Tea is: 3 x 30 cents = $.90
Juice: At about 15 cents per ounce of the juice I drink, one (real) cup would be about $1.20.
My total for Juice is: 6 x $1.20 = $7.20
Wine: From a store-bought bottle of cheaper wine (about 25 cents per ounce) I might drink five ounces at a time, and therefore a glass would be $1.25.
My total for Wine is: 2 x $1.25 = $2.50
Random drinks: I didn’t even include soda, shakes, or other drinks as I almost never have them. I didn’t actually give up milk in my cereal or a fruit smoothie if that was my meal. Yet, I think I might have gotten a shake and a couple value meals which would have given me fountain drinks. Considering:
My total for random drinks is: $5.00
My total for the amount of money I might have saved from drinking only water was a whopping: $57.10! This blows my mind! I am so surprised!
At about $20 for a person to have access to safe, clean water, I can give a lifetime of water to almost three people! Two weeks of sacrificing drinks to guarantee that these three people will not die or get sick because they drink unsafe water.
Because I did the “Drinking Only Water” challenge, these three people will have the time to go to school, go to work, or start a small business simply because don’t have to walk long distances in search of water (often up to hours a day).
Then, the economic returns on investing in clean water is about $12 per dollar, which would make my $57 into $648! I am pretty blown away.
Like this short video below suggests, our drinks add up quickly!
Drinking Only Water was a totally worthwhile advocacy project!
I must say, I am glad I did this experiment if nothing else for my own personal growth. But then when adding in how it helped me become healthier and how much it gave to others, I just might do this every year. And I am also going to reconsider how much I spend on drinks in general!
If you do this action, go ahead and peak at Action: Drinking Only Water Pt.1 just to make sure you are all set and ready to go. Then let me know how the advocacy project went for you below in the comments!
If you need ideas on a clean water organization to donate to, please check this post out, covering some of my favorite water organizations: Delicious Water: Charities
Want more advocacy project ideas like this one? Get the free pdf. guide by clicking below to help you and your group started. You are meant to make a difference!