Confessions of a Caffeine Addict

I’ll admit it — I’m addicted to caffeine. And no, I don’t mean that I’m a coffee junkie (although I do love my coffee). I mean, I am 99.9% certain that I’m addicted to caffeine, specifically energy drinks.

Confessions of a Caffeine Addict
Image: “Shining Red Bull” by reynermedia on, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added

Now, before you try to lecture me, please note that I understand energy drinks are bad for me. Especially drinking as many energy drinks as frequently as I do. I know it’s a problem and I’d love to quit… but they are just so delicious!

I’ve tried several times to quit drinking energy drinks but the withdrawal symptoms, particularly the headaches, make me legitimately afraid to quit (check out this article on caffeine withdrawal). The headaches get that bad. Some have been so severe that I couldn’t manage to function — I even had to take a trip to the ER once for the worst headache of my life after giving up energy drinks and all other caffeinated beverages. I’ve also been to the ER for an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath which was most likely related to drinking energy drinks, although I was drinking far less at that time than I used to.

My sophomore year of college I could drink up to four in one day and often did. (I know, that’s absolutely horrible, disgusting, and unhealthy.) Recently I’ve been drinking at least one each day but I’ve managed to go energy drink-free for almost a full week now. I have had a couple caramel macchiatos… One thing at a time, right? On the plus side, I have been able to quit drinking pop permanently.

Yes, the once delicious nectar now takes like a concoction of disgustingness, so at least I have that going for me.

Trying to quit energy drinks has been much harder, though, especially since they were part of the reason I was able to quit pop. I just love carbonated, sugary beverages. I’ve been able to make it a few months at a time without drinking energy drinks before, but then water loses its appeal. And then I’ll try to go back on pop, telling myself pop is better for me than energy drinks, but then I feel like I need to quit drinking pop and need some energy, and BOOM! I’m right back on the energy drinks. I tell myself that I’ll just have one on a certain day because I’m tired and need it, but then, as I’m sure you can imagine, I find that I “need” to drink another one the next day.

Image: "Rockstar Sparkling Energy Drink, 9/2014 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube" by Mike Mozart on, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added
Image: “Rockstar Sparkling Energy Drink, 9/2014 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube” by Mike Mozart on, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added

Part of my motivation for giving them up again comes from wanting to protect my teeth. I cannot stand having cavities (specifically getting them filled), and I am looking into getting Invisalign. I had braces in junior high and into high school, but I hated wearing the retainer because I had thought I had done my time. Now, my teeth are starting to shift and I want to have a straight smile. Since you get Invisalign from dental care professionals, I figure they will want a mouth free of cavities, and so I want to make sure that the energy drinks do not destroy my teeth.

I’ve tried to quit “cold turkey” before, but that usually leads to massive headaches that interfere with my ability to function, and I simply do not have time to put life on hold in order to nurse a pounding migraine. Hopefully, slowly backing off the energy drinks will help eliminate them completely, and maybe even rid me of a few more pounds.

Wish me luck, everyone, I’m going to need it.


O’ Money Tree, O’ Money Tree, I Wish I Could Live Frugally

Wouldn’t it be great if money really did grow on trees? How much easier would life seem? I guess we would be more likely to take what we already have for granted if it did, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, being able to go out in the yard and pick up a few more dollars when they need it would be a true blessing.

For those who are trying to live frugally and save up some money while barely scraping by, I’ve gathered a few tips to help put away money here and there in order to build up some savings:

  • Keep track of your spending: I know this seems like a weird way to save money, but if you keep a close eye on what you are spending and why, you may notice that the $5 you spend twice a week on coffee adds up to $520 per year. Just cutting down to one cup of coffee per week would save you $260 per year. All those little purchases you make throughout the week ($2 here, $5 there, $3.25 there) may seem small, but they really start to add up. Keeping track of these small purchases (or even cutting them out) will help you manage your money better. Instead of making those random small purchases, add what you would spend to your savings!
  • Cut back on the take out: Do you buy your lunch at work every day, or even a couple days per week? Stop eating out as much as you do and you’ll save tons of money. The same idea from the previous point applies here: if you work five days per week and spend $5 on lunch every day, then you’re spending $1,300 per year on lunch. Take your lunch to work a few times a week and save the cash you would usually spend and watch your savings increase! (And you may even drop a few pounds by taking a healthier lunch to work with you!)
  • save-your-loose-change
    Image used with CC license: text added

    Save your loose change: If you are anything like me, you probably don’t like to pay with change, let alone carry it around with you everywhere. I hate digging in my purse to find it (I have a change purse yet the change never seems to make it in there), and it just takes up more time than I find necessary at the register. I’ll find tons of change in my car, my purse, the bottom of the washing machine, and random other places. I’ve started putting all the change I find into a jar, and, at the end of a few months, I have quite a bit of money to add to my savings.

  • Do it yourself: Not only will you save money by doing things on your own, but you can build and learn new skills! Instead of going out for dinner, cook yourself a gourmet meal at home. Instead of going to a seamstress to have your clothes hemmed, learn to sew yourself. Instead of buying expensive wooden signs for your home or abstract pieces of art, buy some supplies on sale and try your hand at being creative. Not only will you have a truly one-of-a-kind piece for your space, but you can customize it to fit your décor perfectly.
  • Entertain yourself at home: Do you go to the movies every weekend? Do you like watching the game in person? Try cutting back on the out-on-the-town nights once in a while and entertain yourself at home. Try renting a movie and cuddling up on the couch with some popcorn and enjoy the glow of your own tv. Replacing a few nights out with a few nights in will boost your savings.
  • too-much-on-coffee
    Drink water and stop spending so much on coffee.

    Drink water: Get a water filter and drink tap water to save the most money possible. You can also buy large packs of bottled water at the store for under $3, and they will last you longer than that 12-pack of pop that costs $4.50. Not only will drinking water help you save some money, but it will allow you to drop a few pounds, too! There’s nothing like looking your best and saving money while doing so!

  • Don’t miss payments: Really, do NOT miss any payments on any of your bills. Pay up as soon as you have the money to do so instead of waiting until the last minute and realizing the payment won’t go through on time. Making payments on time will keep you from getting hit with late fees and save you from the credit card company raising your interest rate. As a bonus, pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and loans to pay down your debt a little faster.

Hopefully you can put a few of these tips to use and bolster your savings. While the tips may not help you grow your own money tree, hopefully they will help you put a few extra bucks in your pocket. And, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift, check out these money trees: Tall money tree, money topiary, and money tree with a star.

Image sources:

loose change CC image: Linus Bohman,

coffee beans: Daniel Ruswick,