Whether you're living the studio apartment life — waking up, working and going to sleep in the same space — or you're loving the work from home life in your high rise's guest bedroom turned home office, odds are coffee, or of some sort caffeine, plays a major role in your daily life. While that role is important for your energy levels, it's also impactful on your bottom line. And with the state of rent prices today, it's important to eliminate unnecessary costs and find ways to save for when rent comes due each month.
If you no longer want your morning brew to be your sole source of pep and you want to cut back on your coffee intake, give these expert tips a quick read and find the cost-effective caffeine alternative that works best for you.
“There are a few things that help boost energy," says Toronto-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist Glenda Britton.
Glenda explains, “Generally, giving up caffeine is a process that could bring about improved sleep, balanced blood sugar and boosted nutrient status in the body, among other effects."
With that in mind, the prospect of denying yourself that morning cup of joe may not seem as difficult. Not only will you be saving money by avoiding the cost of a deceptively sugary Starbucks drink or a pack of overpriced Keurig pods, but you'll also be investing in your future health.
“Caffeine is great to an extent," explains Hayley Miller, MS, RDN of Persona Nutrition. This is “because it's a natural stimulant that can give your body a burst of energy to help power you through your day. But it also comes with drawbacks. Too much caffeine may cause headaches, irritability or even insomnia."
“If you're looking to cut back on coffee, there are a few supplements that can help fill the gap:
You can buy these supplements in bulk and easily act as a cheaper alternative to your go-to morning beverage."
Leah goes on to explain that “Supplements aren't your only option. Next time you feel like you need to hit the hay, reach for a nutritious snack like an apple and peanut butter. The carbs in the apple will give your brain fuel to focus. The fat and protein in the peanut butter will help satisfy you until the clock strikes five!"
Leah also explains one more option for finding energy without caffeine. “If there's nothing substantial and nutritious around, a quick walk outside can also help. Sunshine isn't just good for the soul, it also boosts serotonin — your body's feel-good hormone — which can improve your mood and in turn support your energy levels."
It doesn't matter if you're in Providence, RI, or Phoenix, AZ, popping on some shoes and taking a walk outside is totally free. If you find that Mother Nature is capable of providing all the energy you need, you're looking at a pretty serious bump in your bank account for when you make that monthly rent payment.
“Food is where we get our energy," explains Janette De Vries the Registered Holistic Nutritionist behind YouNique Holistic Nutrition.
In this sense, “Caffeine is like having high-speed internet because we seem to have a fast-paced lifestyle, where we want it now."
“Eating three meals with snacks will provide a constant flow of energy. If you think you need caffeine to function in the morning, then maybe you're not getting a proper, eight-hour, undisturbed night of sleep."
Be patient and meal plan effectively. You can get your much-needed energy fix without having to fork over cash for coffee, tea or energy drinks each morning.
To promote a higher quality of sleep, “Exert your stored energy during the day by exercising, so your body can detox properly during the night. Remember, your brain is in repair mode between the seventh and eighth hours of sleep."
If you're lucky enough to live in an apartment with an on-site gym, you won't pay extra for this. Just another simple way you can save for rent without having to drastically change your daily life.
Janette summed up her two cents by reminding everyone, "Waking up refreshed from sleep is the key to maintaining daily energy levels."
"If you're trying to avoid caffeine but always feel tired, there are some natural remedies to improve your energy levels," explains Carrie Forrest, the blogger, photographer and cookbook author from Clean Eating Kitchen.
According to Carrie a good place to start is to “Eat more calories overall, improve your sleep hygiene, reduce intense exercise and get your thyroid and iron levels tested. You may also want to check for food sensitivities to make sure you aren't eating foods that trigger an immune response."
If you're working out of a small apartment kitchen, don't be alarmed. Carrie isn't suggesting that you block off hours of your day to prepare gourmet meals. She's simply suggesting an adjustment to a more nutrient-dense diet. This approach will boost your natural energy and maybe even improve your home chef skills a bit.
Carrie talks more about the relationship between food choices and daily energy in her article: Why Am I Alway Tired? 10 Natural Fixes. Give it a read and find some more ways to boost your mood without your morning brew.
“I love coffee if it's organically grown and brewed without aluminum contamination. But I don't drink it to get my energy," explains Stephanie Anderson from Selen River Press, a publishing company specializing in holistic nutrition education. "I drink very small amounts of it because I drink just to enjoy the flavor and aroma."
Stephanie says that “Looking for energy from outside the body is not the first step to energizing. The first step to finding your natural energy is unlocking the life energy that is innate in everyone who is alive."
Make locating your inner energy a part of your daily routine. Do this by finding a spot in your apartment that's conducive to relaxation. Take the time it would normally take you to make your morning cup of coffee. Instead, spend that time reflecting on the day, yourself, your surroundings or anything else on your mind.
“Drinking cacao tea provides a delicate boost in energy and increased mental focus without the harsh effects of caffeine," says Jessica from the Cacao Tea Co.
She goes on to say, “Studies have shown that cacao husks have a high concentration of a natural substance called theobromine, which is a valuable bioactive compound that helps keep the brain and heart active and stimulated. Theobromine is a natural stimulant with a gentle slow-release effect. Studies have found that individuals consuming cacao rich in theobromine enjoyed increased brain stimulation, concentration and interest in study activities."
Another advantage of consuming theobromine-rich foods, explains Jessica, is that “Patients also experienced improved performance with mental tasks and reduced mental fatigue."
Jessica made sure to note that “Cacao Tea Co. cacao husk tea is 100 percent sugar-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free with no artificial additives, preservatives or flavors."
With the average cost of black coffee at $2.70 a cup and most people not drinking their morning brew black, Cacao Tea is a frugal alternative at just 87 cents a cup.
“In our experience," says Ryan from the healthy lifestyle blog, Ryan + Alex Duo Life, "maca powder is the best energy source for those trying to avoid caffeine."
“When you need a boost, we recommend adding maca to your smoothie or making a maca latte. Maca is known as the 'Inca's Viagra.' That should give you an idea of how powerful the punch of this caffeine-free superfood is."
You can get a pound of maca powder for less than $30. That fact makes it yet another cost-effective and healthy alternative to the average cup of coffee. These small savings may not seem like much week-to-week. But they add up over time. That can ultimately amount to a pretty serious sum at the end of the month or year.
“Caffeine, for many athletes, is one of the few approved stimulates to drive performance. Yet many prefer to reduce caffeine intake. Especially during cleanse periods or for other health reasons," says health and wellness expert, Tosca Reno.
“I've found Dandy Blend is a delicious caffeine-free alternative and recommend it in my Spring Cleanse."
Tosca praises this blend by saying, “I can enjoy the coffee-like flavor while not ingesting additional caffeine. I choose to make a Dandy Blend bulletproof coffee."
You can create this simple and healthy brew in even the most bare-bones of small apartment kitchens. As long as you have a stove a blender and a mug, you're all set.
Enjoy this drink while it's hot and take on the day with a newfound feeling of energy.
You can do more without your daily dose of caffeine. You can also have more by cutting back on coffee. More energy at the end of each day. More money at the end of each month. So long as you're deliberate in your approach, that is.
If you follow one or more of the tips above and live intentionally with the goal of finding energy in more sustainable and cost-effective ways, you can cut back on coffee and take full control of the way you feel each day.