Pugs, not drugs. On dope, no hope. Get high on life, not drugs. Just say no. No matter what variation of catchy slogans is being used to get the point across, almost anyone can agree that parents have been drilling these values into their kids’ minds since what seems like birth. 

Sitting in Library West at 1 am, foot tapping repeatedly, jittery beyond belief — yet trying not to spend another dollar on the drug that is making me like this — I wonder why my parents never warned me about the drug of caffeine. 

Okay, yes I am being a bit overly dramatic, but I have come to realize that in my first year of college, the only “drug” I have failed at “just say(ing) no” to is that of coffee. Over and over and over I have failed. 

Don’t get me wrong: this is not a cry for help. I have no desire to give up Starbucks or Coffee Culture or Karma Cream’s addictive, but oh so fulfilling caffeine. Instead, I want to offer some life tips for the typical coffee addict’s everyday struggles.

1. Money Hacks

Sure, that Caramel Macchiato and S’mores Frappuccino may sound fancy and delectable, but is it really worth upwards of $5 for one drink? And the truth of the matter is that you can get a venti iced or hot coffee for cheaper than a tall swanky drink.

To make the black coffee taste better, you can ask for milk and a few pumps of your favorite flavor such as vanilla, white mocha, or caramel. And flavored syrup at Starbucks doesn't cost extra until you get past eight pumps. More coffee = more caffeine= more happiness.

2. Saving Money = Saving Calories

This brings me to my next tip: my money saving strategy is also a much healthier option. While a grande Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino has a whopping 450 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 68 grams of sugar, a grande black iced coffee has only 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugar. 

Obviously most people can’t drink black coffee and enjoy it, but try adding skim milk or almond milk instead of cream. When selecting your favorite flavor of syrup, choose the sugar-free option. I bet you'll even start to enjoy this pure kind of coffee better while saving money and calories — it is an acquired taste after all, just like my mom always said.

3. Support Local Businesses

As much of a Starbucks fanatic as I am, I always try out Gainesville coffee shops I’ve never been to whenever I get the chance. It is always good to have a change of scenery when studying, so instead of going to Marston for your next study sesh, visit Karma Cream, Maude's or Patticakes for some bomb coffee and a peaceful environment. 

Not only will visiting local coffee shops change your life and the way you look at coffee, but it is also an easy way to give back to our community while fueling your addiction. Take economics if you don't understand why. 

Coffee is a way of life, and I don’t want anyone to ever have to give up this wonderful drug. So follow these tips and live the coffee life the right way. You can catch me doing the same with a venti iced coffee with non-fat milk and three pumps of sugar-free vanilla in hand.