So what the heck constitutes a vice anyhow?  Well, some of the dictionaries described them as a moral weakness, a moral fault or failing, a habitual or usually trivial defect or shortcoming, an immoral or evil habit or practice, or immoral conduct; depraved or degrading behavior.

Holy cow!  You mean to tell me, we've got a bunch of sick, depraved people standing in line for coffee???

Okay, now that we all know we are ... er; let’s just call it ‘not well’ for having these vices, what’s next?

First off, I personally choose to think of vices as bad habits that control us, not intentionally mind you, but just like I implied, out of habit.

So, now that I’ve powder-puffed it up a little, my whole point in this conversation is to show just how much we spend on these ‘habits’.  Have you ever stopped to do the math on the cost of your personal vises?

Okay let’s call them unnecessary indulgences.  Ouch! (even that's gonna leave a mark!)

Take the top three that most are familiar with: alcohol, cigarettes and coffee.

Me?  I only have one and an eighth of the three above, I drink coffee and I'll have a sip or two of alcohol (any more and I'm on the table dancing with the lamp shade on - yeah I'm that girl).

Now in the normal course of things, these indulgences are usually considered our adult "time-outs" our "me-time” to help justify an otherwise daunting day. 

But have you ever stopped to think about just how much those "indulgences actually cost? 

Are we so programmed (out of habit), to just grab and go without thought?  Have our vices become second nature to say, brushing our teeth or getting dressed or hailing a taxi for work? Sadly, the answer is “yes”.

Granted, there is just something about that morning ‘foo-foo’ drink that seems to say "we can do this together" at the start of the day, isn't there?

We know our vices are addictive, not to mention physically harmful if consumed in excess. So why do we continue?

Again, simply put out of habit.

What if those vices were tallied?  From the foo-foo coffee in the morning, to the cigarette breaks, to the after-work cocktail or two - all in a day?

As I did research on this topic I found that had actually done the calculating for me.  Their method was simple, they did a cost analysis by obtaining retail pricing in Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Orlando, Fla., at Applebee's (domestic bottle beer and call liquor), 7-Eleven (cigarettes) and Starbucks (double-tall latte), then averaged each unit price. On cigarettes and coffee, they rounded up to the nearest dollar to account for tax. On alcohol, they factored in a 20% tip on the average cost, and then rounded up to the nearest dollar to account for tax. What they came up with is as follows:

Let's start with alcohol:

Based on their three-city survey, it was found that a domestic bottle of beer plus tip on average will run you $4; while a call drink (lowest-price name brands) will run you $6 a pop. If you have two beers or drinks each day, here's your bar tab:

Weekly: $56 for beer; $84 for call drinks. Monthly: $240 beer, $360 for call drinks. Annually: $2,920 beer; $4,380 for call drinks.

Now to cigarettes:

Average price of a pack of cigarettes: $5

Daily pack: $5. Weekly: $35.  Monthly: $150. Annually: $1,825

And my favorite coffee (and I’m sure yours as well):

Average price for a Starbucks double tall latte: $4.

Daily double tall latte: $4. Weekly: $28. Monthly: $120. Annually: $1,460

Are you ready for this???  The total for just these three vises alone is $10,585.00!!! 

And, that doesn’t even touch other vices, like video games, fast-food purchases, movie rentals, lottery tickets, candy bars, etc.  Add those into the equation and we'd all probably be millionaires!

So, the next time you say you can't afford to buy survival gear, food storage or an out-of-town retreat - put down your coffee first.

- Survivor Jane










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