As an intern with a two-hour commute each morning, Starbucks has become my best friend this summer, even more so than before. They're everywhere, fast, and reliably good, especially at 6:30 a.m. when the wrong coffee can make your already bad mood worse.

I'm an avid coffee drinker, and my usually daily consumption comes in around 2-4 cups, depending on my level of sleepiness that I'm experiencing that morning. I tend to make myself coffee at home every morning, drink it on my commute, and then upon arriving at my place of work, take the extra 15 minutes I usually have to swing by Starbucks. 

beer, alcohol, liquor, ale, wine, lager
Molly Doroba

I'm a person who loves sleep more than most things in life, but while sleeping in, I tend to miss breakfast most, if not all, of the time. So when I go to Starbucks every morning, I not only get my Grande Iced Coffee with Vanilla and Cream, but I tend to get something for breakfast along the way, usually the Slow Roasted Ham & Swiss breakfast sandwich. .

Giving up my Starbucks habit for a week seemed slightly daunting on Monday morning, but I was confident that I could survive on homemade coffee and the mini cereal boxes that are stashed at my office. Depending on where I buy my coffee, either in Virginia or D.C., the prices at Starbucks vary, but I would say I was spending about $8-$10 each morning.

So by the end of the week - and we're classifying week as the 'work week' here because my small town in Virginia lacks a Starbucks for me to visit on the weekends - I was estimating that I would save about $50 by kicking my Starbucks habit for five days. It's not much by normal standards, but for an intern on a budget, every little bit counts. 

The one thing that I knew I needed to provide myself with options for was breakfast, because I tend to get a little hangry with the combo of early wake up calls and lack of food. I stocked up on protein bars (thank you, Mom and Dad) and fruit to supply me for the week.


coffee, milk, tea, beer
Sarah Yanofsky

Monday severely tested my willpower to complete this challenge - on day one - due to the four hour drive I was facing on the way home from my weekend trip. Lucky for me, my friends fed me breakfast - thank god for eggs - and provided me with coffee before I hit the road, saving me from spending money. The multiple exits advertising a Starbucks almost derailed me, as a craving for their iced coffee hit hard around 2 p.m.


coffee, espresso, milk, cappuccino
Kelsey Emery

Independence day treated me well, and since I was spending the day at home, there was no Starbucks within a 30-minute drive. Thank you, small towns. I sustained myself by sleeping in and eating freezer waffles and coffee from my Nespresso machine until the big cookout later in the day.

I did notice the beginnings of withdrawal headaches. I have a tendency to finish iced coffee and not finish hot coffee (I cannot tell you why) so when I miss my Starbucks, I tend to not consume as much caffeine as usual. I get withdrawal headaches a lot though, so I was prepared, and combatted the pain with Advil and water.


Rachael Piorko

After a four day weekend, getting up early was a rude awakening that I was not ready to face. I knew that I didn't have time to make a real breakfast, as I chose sleep once again, but I grabbed a protein bar on my way out the door and made some coffee. Sitting at my desk at 9 a.m., however, I realized my stomach was growling and I really wanted a breakfast sandwich to warm me up in my cold, cold office.

However, I stayed strong, subsisting on the snacks that my office is full of. Interns, find yourself a job that asks about your favorite snacks and stocks up on them. It WILL save you a ton of money over the summer.


coffee, tea, milk, study, bagel, bread, laptop, cafe, breakfast
Denise Uy

My willpower was once again tested as my eyes began to close while waiting at a stop light and my stomach growled. Starbucks was right up the street, but I resisted with the promise of $10 extra in my bank account and a free lunch from my internship. Only two more days until I could return to my favorite coffee place and satisfy my cravings. 

And yes, I've definitely been having cravings. I'm super picky about my iced coffee, and in the summer, that's all I tend to drink. I can't make the iced coffee that I like at home, so the taste for it has definitely been a major craving.


Ah, sweet freedom! The last day of this challenge was definitely, well, the most challenging. I woke up late and rushed out the door, forgetting my coffee and wondering if I could make it to work without my eyelids drooping and panicking about staying awake. The entire drive before I got to my usual Starbucks, I was thinking about the challenge.

But, I held strong, and decided that I could not break my dedication to the challenge... and the promise of all that extra $$$ in the bank was another thing that I could not resist. 

At the end of this challenge, I can definitely say that I missed my daily Starbucks, and I had some major cravings for the tastes that I had gotten used to in the first half of the summer. But, overall, the approximately $50 that I saved was worth it, and I now know that I can skip my Starbucks a few times a week - but I've got to have it at some point.