Your Choice Of Coffee Could Cost Tens of Thousands of Dollars

Last semester, one of my personal finance students, Treat Swarstad, created a screencast to show how your choice of coffee could cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

It was part of an “Opportunity Cost” project to show how small decisions can have huge financial impacts over time.

Where I work, there are employees in their 50s (with children) who are millionaires. There are employees in their 50s (without children) who are broke. 

Teacher’s salaries, at my school, are relatively consistent. But small financial decisions create inconsistent levels of wealth.

Treat Swarstad shows such possibilities with his screencast below. 

Trim costs where you choose to.  The impact could be huge.



Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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4 Responses

  1. mid says:

    Great work Treat. It really illustrates the point.

  2. Matt says:

    Nice project Treat. I especially like how you brought up the third option of not stopping to buy the drink at all-that’s my choice.

    You are fortunate to be taking a class that helps teach you how your decisions affect your financial well-being.

  3. R. Mohan says:

    Hi! this is a nicely put video which contains the same idea as David Bach’s LATTE EFFECT slogan…little by little over time, small, but recurring expenses that could have been curtailed long ago, adds up to a big number, and even a bigger number for the opportunity cost lost by not investing those monies.
    In between Gong Cha store and going cold turkey, there’s a better way…prepare coffee at home, and take it with you in a sports bottle…or a thermo…it’s even cheaper that Gong Cha, and it gives you the caffeine fix…

    BTW, Happy Chinese New Year!

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