How to save money on your daily coffee habit?

by SimpleFinance on March 23, 2015

Shuttling work, chores, kids and the myriad other daily activities in our busy lives means most of us don’t get deep, restful sleep every night.  A little java booster in the morning definitely goes a long way toward making a lot of us tolerable to be around.  Almost any advice you read on personal finance asks you to cut out the Starbucks.  However the sheer convenience keeps people coming back for more.  Instead of constantly testing your self-control, here are a few strategies that can help you minimize the cost of a Starbucks habit.

  • Spice it up yourself: A number of coffee shops charge big premiums on special flavors like Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you buy flavorings yourself, order a regular latte and then add the pumpkin spice flavor yourself to save quite a bit.
  • Coupons: If your favorite coffee shop shows up in a coupon website, snatch it up. A coupon to a place that you go anyway is an excellent way to save money. Don’t pay for coupons, there are many sites like Groupon Coupons that is completely free for shoppers to find thousands of coupons and exclusive promo codes from stores they frequent. For example, check out the Starbucks store page to see if there is any coupons you can use.
  • BYOC. Many coffee shops offer you a small discount if you bring your own c  It’s good for the environment too.
  • Social media. Becoming a “Friend” on Facebook or following your favorite shop on Twitter can get you discounts toward your daily habit.
  • Take advantage of the loyalty program. There are two coffee shops I really like within a mile from my house.  Both of them give me 1 free drink for every 10 that I purchase.  I leave both loyalty cards in my car.  That way I never miss out on what is effectively a 10% discount.
  • Buy in bulk. If you don’t mind brewing your own coffee, you can purchase your favorite coffee shop’s beans for cheap during the holidays.  Then whenever you need a java fix, you grind the beans and brew your own cup.  A fresh, flavorful and frugal means of getting your fix.
  • Stay in the store. In many coffee shops that are not part of a national or international chain, you might be able to get a refill for cheap if you stay in the establishment while drinking your cup of joe.
  • Loyalty pays. If you frequent the same shop and become friends with the shop owners, you might be able to try out new flavors or drinks for cheaper or free as part of their research.

What other strategies do you have to minimize the cost of a daily coffee habit?



Finding Ways to Pay for Rehab

by SimpleFinance on January 19, 2015

When it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, rehabilitation services (rehab) are an important and crucial part of the recovery process. Unfortunately, many people let the cost of rehab prevent them from getting the help they so desperately need. In an article published at, Michael’s House reports that nearly 23.1 million Americans were in need of drug treatment programs in 2012, but only 2.5 million actually received treatment. For many of those who did not get treatment, money was the primary cause.

Money does not have to be an obstacle for care, however, and there are options; even if you think you can’t afford rehab.


Health insurance is the obvious choice and, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance has become more accessible to much of the population. In fact, the rate of uninsured in the U.S. has dropped to 12.9 percent, from 17.5 percent, since the ACA became law in 2012.

However, some insurance plans might not cover drug and alcohol rehab, or might require you to prove that the service is medically necessary before they approve coverage.

An insurance company defines a treatment as medically necessary if:

  • It is required to diagnose or treat a specific illness or condition;
  • The treatment is appropriate for the condition and meets the standards of good medical practice;
  • The treatment is required for more than just the convenience of the requester or provider – meaning that it is the best option for treating the addiction; and,
  • It is not more costly than any other treatment that could produce the same result.

This mean that you might need to have your personal physician contact the insurance company to verify that a rehab program is medically necessary to treat your addiction. This could include claiming that you have medical issues that require you to be treated in a residential rehab, that your substance abuse is so severe that it interferes with other aspects of your life, and/or that your condition will worsen if you do not get this specific  type of treatment.

If you have been hospitalized for drug-related illnesses, that fact can often bolster your case; as can previous mental health hospitalizations.

Getting an insurance company to approve drug rehab can be difficult, but it can definitely relieve the financial burden if you can make it happen.

For Those Without Insurance

Although the ACA is closing the gap between insured and uninsured, there are still those who do not have insurance. If you are one of these people, you could still have options for getting into a rehab facility.

The first thing you should do is shop around. Not all facilities charge the same rates for treatment, and it’s not unusual to find that some facilities are much more affordable than others. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of location and amenities. For example, a beach-front facility is likely to cost more than one located several mile inland. A facility that has an on-site gym and offers massage therapy and yoga will cost more than one that has fewer amenities. When choosing a facility, it’s important to determine what locations and amenities you can live without, and take it from there.

There are some rehab facilities that offer services on a sliding scale based on need. They may also allow people to pay on an installment plan, or even offer the equivalent of scholarships to allow people to get care free of charge.

You can also try negotiating with the facility to see if they will offer discounts for cash payments, or allow you to make payment arrangements.

Individuals without health insurance might also qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, depending on their age and financial situation. However, just like with private insurance, individuals on Medicaid and Medicare might have to prove that going into a rehab facility is medically necessary.

If your condition has not yet affected your credit, you could also take out a loan, borrow against your retirement plan, or use credit cards to finance your treatment. While these last options carry the risk of high interest charges, which can substantially inflate the cost of the treatment, they are better than getting no treatment at all.

Other Considerations

You should also consider that an inpatient, residential rehab facility might not be the best option for you.

Inpatient programs take you away from familiar surroundings and allow you to focus on nothing but your recovery. They also provide round-the-clock care, and can provide supplemental care for those with other medical issues all of which comes at a premium.

Although many people thrive in an inpatient setting, some might actually have problems with being taken away from familiar surroundings, or with the comparatively rigid structure of the inpatient setting. If someone is employed, he might not get paid time off to go into a residential program, or could lose his job entirely, which could create more financial hardship.

If you believe that you will be able to focus on your recovery while living at home, and don’t need additional medical care, you might be able to recover in a more affordable outpatient program.

There are also community-sponsored group programs that are often free or low-cost. Like the outpatient facilities, these programs require people to be highly motivated to stay in recovery, while continuing to live in situations that might be contributing to their addiction.

While these options might not be ideal for someone with severe addiction issues, or for those without a strong support system, they can be beneficial to someone with mild addiction issues.


As you can see, recovery does not have to be out of reach. There are several options for paying for care, as well as several options for getting the care you need. What’s important is that you explore all of the options that are available to you, and be open to different possibilities.


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