How My Starbucks Addiction Fed a Community

After 30 days of tracking my spending, I realized that I had fallen back into an unhealthy relationship…with Starbucks.

We have this very strange relationship where we might not see each other for months, and then, one innocent meeting and I am head over heels, and can’t get enough.

In the spirit of developing habits, once I form one with Starbucks, I’m committed.

What I love about our relationship?

  • Starbucks never lets me down.
  • They always give me exactly what I ask for.
  • They know what kind of music I like.
  • They are always there when I need them.

From the music, to the atmosphere, and most importantly, the amazing consistency of a simple soy dry cappuccino, does me in every time.

Things were moving along just fine, until I analyzed my spending habits last month and saw that I spent $225 in 30 days at Starbucks. I included buying drinks for other people too, but I’m not gonna lie…it was mostly for me.

Being debt free gives me certain freedoms, like spending an obscene amount of money on coffee, but something about this really bothered me. How is it that I had all this money to spend on coffee, but sometimes didn’t have a single dollar bill available to give freely?

My mindless spending at Starbucks wasn’t very “life on purpose” and it wasn’t supporting anything I really cared about.

3 Steps to Start Living Life on Purpose

  1. Plan Ahead. I’m not suggesting you put your life on a rigorous schedule, but outline the things that are most important to you, and make sure you have the tools to accomplish them.
  2. Dream about others. Your dreams and desires don’t have to revolve around you. What do you want to do for the world?
  3. Dump the guilt. Just because your life hasn’t been purposeful doesn’t mean you need an extra month to wallow in guilt before moving forward. Focus on what you are doing right now, not what you did yesterday or three years ago. Close the gap between action and awareness.

After analyzing my spending, I had a few choices. I could ignore it and continue throwing money at baristas. I could feel like crap for spending so much and having nothing to show for it, or I could make a change and do something important.

This month, when I did my budget, I took $225, exactly what I spent at Starbucks, and budgeted it to give away. I spent $80 buying brown paper bags, snacks and juice boxes. With $145 left over, I added $5.00 to make an even $150 and added 3 dollar bills to each of the 50 bags I made. I am going to hand deliver these bags to anyone I see in my daily travels that needs a little pick me up within the next 30 days.

Each bag contains 4 snacks, a juice box and $3.00. There is not enough money or nutrition in each bag to change someone’s life, but maybe there will be enough love and hope to change someone’s day.

For at least the next 30 days, my focus will be on satisfying someone else’s thirst instead of my own. Could you do this or something else that you care about in your community with the money you spend on coffee, fast food or other little purchases? I’d love to hear your ideas.



  1. says

    Hi Courtney, what a great idea and tangible consequences! Will you post some of your experiences on the blog? Would love to read them.
    (P.S. Not that I love picking nits :-) but maybe you mean “addiction” in the title?
    Cheers and keep ’em koming!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Catrien, I have a follow up post scheduled mid summer. I did mean addiction! Thanks for catching. I just updated the typo. Grrrrr!

  2. says

    Awesome project Courtney!

    I feel like a few guilty pleasures are necessary but understand that 225 is a bit much for coffee.

    I try to “reward” myself on weekends with Starbucks and it is fun to look forward to. Maybe that is something you could implement going forward.

    Well wishes-
    David Damron
    Life Excursion

    • Courtney Carver says

      David, Great suggestion. After the 30 day binge, I just stopped going, until last Friday and it really was a treat instead of a habit!

  3. says

    What a simply beautiful, heartfelt, meaningful gesture of love. My eyes are a little damp here and I am inspired by your action. Thank you for that. :)

  4. Chickadee says

    This project must make you feel good, but it in actual fact, is producing a lot of (probably) unrecycled garbage. It is unsustainable and doesn’t deal with your coffee issue. What I do is make my organic, Fair Trade coffee or green tea at home, fill a thermos for the day, pack my canvas bag with a snack and/or lunch of whole, unprocessed foods, fill another thermos with my own filtered water and I’m set! No need to rely or fast foods or coffee shops and no garbage. Respectfully, I think you should deal with your problem not merely assuage your guilt.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Hello Chickadee,

      It’s interesting that you mentioned the sustainability of this project, because I did give that some thought. In the end, I decided that feeding people was more important. I couldn’t think of more eco-friendly way to do it, but would love your suggestions.

      My problem was mindless spending, and I think I came up with a great solution.

      I love all of the great things you are doing to be eco-friendly!

      • says

        I’m not sure which way generates more waste – the Starbucks (assuming you get a cup from them and don’t use a mug) or the paper bags.

        But if you want to do something meaningful in your community, here are a few ways you could go:

        Volunteer at a soup kitchen, and put the $225 toward a meal that’s much nicer than the usual fare.

        Save the $225 per month until closer to Christmas, and then walk into a children’s charity and ask them if any kids need warm clothes, Christmas presents, etc. If you started now you could have $1500 to donate by Christmas – which would be *huge*.

        Find a battered women’s shelter and buy each of the women staying there something nice. Or buy some toys or clothes for their kids.

        If you’re involved with a church, ask the pastor if they know of anybody in the church that’s having a rough time paying their bills. Donate the $225 to that person for one month.

        Just some thoughts. $225 can go a long way if you focus it just a tiny bit.

        You’ll have to let us know the creative ideas you come up with if you continue doing this in future months. Great post Courtney!

        • Karen T. says

          Great ideas, Robert. I don’t spend $225 a month at Starbucks, but I spend too much, and I like your ideas for what to do with the money instead. I thought of allowing myself $5/wk for a once-a-week Starbucks visit, and then using the rest for some other charitable endeavor. This gives me a lot of ideas to work with!

        • Judith says

          My thoughts exactly! This site discusses “voting with your dollars” and your suggestions do exactly that.

          • says

            Hi Courtney,
            Simply another sustainable option. I have purchased a dozen or so apples extra when I go shopping with my family and when I use the car I will have the apples available to hand out to anyone who comes to the car window in stopped traffic.

            I also carry the apples in my backpack when I walk in town. If I am with the children they will pass the apple on to someone in need.

            Typically, the person who receives the gift is delighted. Sometimes they refuse the apple and I keep it for the next person.

            Maybe others will disagree with this idea but there is no waste in packaging involved and good fresh fruit can do us all good.

            Like Robert mentioned I have also volunteered at soup kitchens etc. It is always great to help out other in need.

            As Sir Francis Bacon said “There but for the grace of God go I”

            Enjoy a wonderful day,


      • Missie says

        Just making sure I understood: Was Chickadee basically bashing your choice of charitable donations? Was your paper bag generosity really a problem for her? I am astonished that someone really has the gall to demean your choice of how to spend your money and assist those in need. I applaud your composure in your response and will continue to cheer you on as you reach out to help those in your community.

        Her “solution” was to pack HER OWN snack and water, not in any way share with others. Wow, so honorable.

        Keep up the good work. Your personal reflections and public sharing have been beneficial to me in a multitude of ways. Ignore the judgement. Ignore the haters.
        Blessings to you and yours.

  5. says

    How inspirational! It can be easier to make a personal sacrifice if you can see a concrete purpose. Good for you!

  6. anne says

    Brilliant idea. You inspired me to give freely to a young man on the side of the road. Some of my children were with me, and they were so happy to assist a fellow human being. I hope it goes well this month.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Way to go Anne. It sounds like you taught your children something special.

  7. says

    I think this is a great idea, spreading the love… and while yes, many of the bags likely won’t be recycled, the change in the outlook of just one recipient might affect more than recycling a hundred bags. Your heart is in the right place, I love it!

  8. hattie_plu says

    What a wonderful way to give to others and warm your heart. Random acts of kindness and the kindness of strangers is relatively uncommon these days but I think kindness should come back into fashion!

    Continue to love your work


  9. says

    Chickadee: fair trade coffee is a tricky issue. it is not regulated very well and in fact some specialty non-fair trade coffees offer more sustainable growing practices and better lives for their workers. It has been proven that fair trade practices are no better than practices committed to producing good coffee, such as shade grown.

    Courtney: this is a wonderful and inspiring idea! I usually carry a snack with me, but give it away to a homeless person if I see one.

    • Chickadee says

      That’s why I’ve research my coffee and buy organic, shade-grown, bird-friendly! It would be better if I just drank the herbal tea leaves that I grow in my garden though!!!!

    • says

      Hi Mel,
      I read your comment. “It has been proven Fair Trade practices are no better than practices committed to producing good coffee, such as shade grown”

      I would love to know the journal citation if you can pass it along or post it here. Simply because Fair Trade is a growing concept to help farmers and if it is proven to be no good I would like to see the research.

      I have never seen the research you mentioned.

      Thank you for responding.


  10. Jesinalbuqeurque says

    This is certainly an imaginative idea, and I’m sure very rewarding. But I can’t help but weigh the benefits of $250 spent this way versus $250 given to a food bank (ours can parlay $1 into $10 worth of food) for healthy and sustaining food. Bread and roses? in any case, good for you.

    • Courtney Carver says

      I understand that my dollar would go further through a food bank, but what about the homeless people that don’t utilize those services? There is a segment of the homeless and marginally housed population that does not take advantage of Food banks, soup kitchens and other programs.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Dawn says

    Just wanted to say that the money is enough for a meal for three, actually. Not a grand meal nor is it considered highly nutritious but it is a meal. For about 88 cents you can buy a box of mac n cheese, for 78 cents an eight pack of hot dogs, and viola, a meal! Get two boxes mac n cheese (or for the even thriftier you can buy a pack of ramen for about 68 cents and just not use the seasonings) and the hot dogs. Cook and mix for a meal with protein and carbs. All you’d need to make it more nutritious would be some broccoli to mix in or some other veggie that is good to mix.

    Just wanted to let you know that the money you are giving away is more than you thought! :) Awesome idea and thank you for all who recieve your wonderous gift.

  12. says

    Great idea, Courtney. I became a regular at Panera aka St. Louis Bread Co. After I was going there 5 days a week, i estimated my year in hot chocolate/coffee to be $700! Needless to say, I cut back. The real treat to me is being recognized by name, staff knowing what I want and how I want it and the other regulars there – sorta like a Cheers but with caffeine.
    Re: the food bank idea – the personal touch is so important to people on the edge. Yes, food banks do a lot of good but handing a treat bag to someone, giving them eye contact and wishing them a good day is AWESOME.

  13. says

    That is such a great idea! I would love to hear about some of the people who cross your path that will receive these bags.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Natasha, I am planning a follow up post in July and will let you know how it goes.

  14. says

    Hey Cortney…I did leave a comment on your previous post about “giving freely” and linked up my blog posts about my “Bags of Hope” as I call them. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and it is “managable” as some of your commenters here have asked. I simply budget to give out 10-12 bags a month. Here’s my blog links again if anyone wants another list of things to give. thanks, Roberta

  15. Megan says

    What a lovely idea! I need to find a way to work something like this into my life.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Michelle B says

    I have to say, I can’t believe the number of posts suggesting you do something else! And yes, the juice boxes may not be recyclable, but I think people missed the whole point of your idea. I also can’t believe you had to defend your beautiful idea. You are giving out a bag with a snack, juice and a bit of money – that is what you are physically handing out. What you are actually giving someone a moment when they are being treated like a person. Believe me, I do street outreach in downtown Nashville and we hand out socks, snacks, weather appropriate clothing. I know I’m not changing anyones life, but I change a small moment. I always try to make time to chat with the folks that want to, I learn peoples names, I treat them as if they were housed people, not people down on their luck. Sometimes, it’s the only kindness they receive in a day. So I applaud you for doing something so worthwhile. And you are right, not all of the folks you run into would use a food bank. But they will appreciate the meal they get with the money. It gives them a “legitimate” reason to be in a restaurant where they can enjoy the ac/heat, use the restroom, get off their feet without being chased out. You, my friend, ROCK!

    • says

      This comment makes me feel like I need to clarify what I said above – I think the paper bags are a neat idea.

      I *also* think, however, that there are other things she could do in the future if she wanted to keep spending the money each month.

      Sometimes you accomplish a lot, sometimes you accomplish a little, but (hopefully) you always leave somebody better off than when you found them. :)

      • Courtney Carver says

        Robert, I appreciate your creative ideas. Thanks for sharing them. There are so many ways we can contribute!

    • Ashley says

      I agree! (sorry, I know this is much later than your original post). This is a beautiful idea – I always think it interesting how quick the world is to critique. Whether you are helping people, pets, the environment, you name it, the important thing is to make the change your heart encourages. That’s the best way to ensure you will remain committed! Keep up the good work Courtney!

    • Missie says

      Bravo, Michelle!!! I agree. She shouldn’t have to DEFEND her charity choice. I know this post is from ages ago…I’m just reading them and I’m offended FOR her. Sheesh, people. She’s flowing with generosity via juice boxes, snacks, cash, a friendly face, and someone with SKIN on. Sometimes people just need to see the humanity behind the charity.

      And Michelle, you are changing lives. Maybe just a small moment, but you are.
      God bless both of you!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Yippee Kendall! Let me know if you move forward and email a bit about your experience if you don’t mind. I’d love to include it in my follow up post in July.

  17. says

    I read this post as I am sitting at Starbucks, lol! I actually don’t end up here but onece or twice a month and I make my coffee at home. I love the concept of what you have done! I have heard of this before and love that it gives something useul to people, although I have heard it said not to give any money at all, but that would be a personal choice. Good for you!
    Can’t wait to hear the follow up!
    Why I love Twitter

    • Courtney Carver says


      The weird thing is that I have a coffee machine. I just don’t crave coffee every day. My addiction to Starbucks wasn’t the coffee, it was how the coffee was delivered. 😉

  18. Susan says

    Courtney…you never cease to amaze and INSPIRE me! Amazingly enough, I had just thought of EMailing you with my latest resolve. After a thorough and complete evaluation of all my clothing, shoes, etc….and an equally honest assessment of my lifestyle and personal style…I came to an important conclusion and have given myself a challenge.

    NO CLOTHING…NO SHOES….NO HANDBAGS, etc…for THREE MONTHS…No exceptions…no good deals at Goodwill…no funky peasant blouse for 50 cents at a yard sale….

    I have not as yet begun the thought process for what I shall do with the money that I am NOT spending on clothing….but my guess it will involve making donations to the humane society in our county…as that is where our passions lie.

    Best to you and KUDOS!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Susan, Congrats! I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I think you will be surprised how much you don’t miss shopping. Will you keep me posted please?

      • Susan says

        I will be happy to share my 90-day clothing-free journey….including any slip-ups or a complete and devastating falling off the wagon. I feel better just having made the decision and marking in big red letters on my calendar….NO CLOTHING MONTH….up until August 15th.

  19. says

    I love this. I often think that people should quit smoking and use the money they would have spent on cigarettes for something good. I bet it would be so much money. It almost makes me wish I smoked or drank coffee!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Leah, It would be cool if there was an organization that matched funds you donated from giving up cigarettes or other bad habits.

      I know – getting a little dreamy here, but it’s a good idea.

  20. Cath says

    Courtney, thank you. You have made me think. You have made me hope. It reinforces what we all know deep down, that everyone, in some small way can change the world. I love your idea and now aim to do something similar here in my hometown in Australia.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Cath, Please email me when you decide what you are going to do. I love the creative ideas that people are suggesting.

  21. Jen says

    My church does this and calls it ‘Bags of Grace’. We include a roll of breath mints, some vienna sausages in a can, cheese/crackers, a bag of pretzels, a cup of applesauce, a bottle of water, a card with addresses/phone numbers of local social service agencies and (the best part)a hand-drawn crayon note from one of the grade school kids with encouraging words of love and hope.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Jen, I thought about including resources for local organizations. I think that is a great idea and love the idea of the hand drawn notes.

  22. Jen says

    We give out bags (from our church) to people at street corners in Houston. I used to struggle with the fact that the person I saw might not ‘merit’ a bag because I saw them there everyday, or maybe they smelled like alcohol, or didn’t look like they were ‘trying’ to not be homeless.

    Then a friend told me that what the homeless person does, whether they try to better themselves or stay an addict or whatever, that is between the person and their Maker.

    What I do, however, and how I treat my fellow human beings is between me and my Maker.

    So I don’t think twice about whether a person ‘deserves’ my bag or not, I just give freely and without guilt.

  23. Judit says

    I think Starbucks can feel really happy about this publicity. And I quote: “From the music, to the atmosphere, and most importantly, the amazing consistency of a simple soy dry cappuccino, does me in every time.”
    Are you being honest with all this story about Starbucks? Isn’t is this masked publicity?
    Do you agree with this kind of places? With all the containers, plastic, paper, etc which is wasted every day?

    • Susan says

      Judit, how ridiculous you make yourself appear by the mere suggestion that this is in any way publicity for Starbucks. Obviously you are not familiar with the character of the author of this blog or you would not have publicly shown your ignorance.
      May I respectfully suggest that you spend your time finding ways to improve your own attitude…thereby making life for those around you more pleasant????

    • says

      There’s a difference between vivid description for purposes of illustration and vivid description for the purpose of hooking a buyer. They start the same, but then they take different directions.

      Courtney’s use of the descriptive terms above is useful to identify her as part of a group of people that genuinely enjoys the atmosphere that places like Starbucks go out of their way to create. Once she’s identified herself as part of that group, she’s in a good position to make an emotional appeal to them to do something better with their money.

      The article wouldn’t have the same effect if she said “Starbucks sucks, their coffee is garbage, and I was wasting $225 a month there.”

      Given that the entire rest of the article talks about how she’s not spending any money there this month (in favor of helping the community) I find it very doubtful (even not knowing Courtney that well) that there’s any intentional publicity being conveyed.

      Her argument is “Starbucks is great, but helping people is even better.” That’s not corporate publicity; it’s a call to grass-roots action.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Judit, Please read some of my other posts or get to know me a little bit better. I can promise you I have no PR/Marketing ties to Starbucks.

  24. says

    Wow–who knew a post about Starbucks could get so heated? (I think Starbucks is doing okay without any free publicity anyway :) )
    I think this is an incredibly inspiring idea–to take something that was solely about yourself and turn it into something that is completely about other people. It’s moving and inspiring!
    I think I will make up some bags, too. There was a big campaign where I live not to give people money on the street (to encourage them to use the city services that are available). I see the city’s point, but it’s hard when I drive by other human beings with my children and have to try to explain why we help some people and not others.
    I am excited to get started!!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Amy good point. If you don’t understand a situation, how can your children possibly get it. Please let me know if you make bags. Feel free to email me and share your experience.

      PS…I don’t think Starbucks would use a blog about living with less for their PR campaign. I am sure there are better avenues for them. 😉

  25. DanaK says

    Great post, Courtney. Chris & I made some startling revelations the first time we looked at our spending habits. Pre-kid, we were spending an obscene amount of money on food, beer & wine…money that we reallocated to get out of debt.

    Now that we are debt-free, it’s such a blessing to be able to give freely (we tithe). I think the bags are a great idea. It’s currently too hot for me to keep bags in my car w/ food or drink, but I hope to remember this idea come fall. With a toddler who has a medical condition, volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen is not really an option for me, but I can buy a sandwich or a drink when I see someone who could use it.

    Lots of great ideas have been listed in the comments.

  26. says

    Courtney, a very inspirational post! I’ve linked it on my facebook page as I know lots of people don’t realize how these little habits really add up to a lot and that one individual CAN do something to make a difference. Keep on inspiring us!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks for sharing Cherie! It is really important to recognize that even the small stuff matters. Especially the small stuff when it comes to giving.

  27. Scotty says

    I love this post. And yes, there is a million ideas of how we can all donate to better others’ lives. None are any better than yours. You were inspired with the idea of random kindnesses. You not only thought to bless others but you were inspired to consider others all the time!! You are being challenged to be aware of those around you at all times, looking for those that God may tap you on the shoulder and say, “That one needs a touch right now.” That beats handing a charity a one-time only check all to pieces, in my books. If only we could all get outside of ourselves so often!

  28. says

    LOVE this, Courtney! What an awesome idea. Especially about not letting the guilt get you down. So many times I find myself stuck in my own guilt rather than practicing “radical acceptance” and moving on. I wish I were crossing your path some time soon – next time I need a pick-me-up I’ll surely re-visit this post.

    Sian/panfreak/and now livingwithless on twitter due to harassment issues :(

  29. tordis says

    wow, 200$ just for coffee! – that’s more than i spend for feeding myself a whole month!
    (btw. these bags are a lovely idea!)

    • Courtney Carver says

      I know! My favorite drink is just shy of $5.00 add a treat, tip or a guest and the number goes up fast.

  30. Linda says

    The idea of handing out bags to the homeless is beautiful and thoughtful but not constructive. It could also be against the law in your city. Those on the street are more often than not mentally ill and/or addicted. Small gifts and change enable the person to avoid getting help. Sadly, it takes tough love to see someone on the sidewalk and pass by. But the other choice is to enable.

    • says

      Linda, you’re making the (frequently incorrect) assumption that homeless people *could* otherwise get help.

      If you aren’t in a certain class of people that we as a society have decided to care about specifically (women with kids are a good example of this), it’s entirely possible help isn’t really even available.

      The laws that may prohibit you from helping the homeless usually aren’t passed out of compassion for the plight of the homeless – they’re passed because they’re hoping the homeless will go someplace else and hassle the people in a different town.

      The city I live in actually buys bus tickets and ships homeless people to large cities. No joke. The idea is to make them somebody else’s problem.

      “Tough love” applies *only* when you’re actively solving the problem. Telling an addict that you have a job for him, but he has to show up every day at 8 o’clock, take a drug test before work, work until 5 pm, and then go back to a halfway house/rehab facility (where they monitor him to ensure he doesn’t take drugs, and severely restrict his activity) might be tough love.

      What you’re talking about isn’t “tough love”. Your suggestion is to presuppose that all homeless people could just get help if only they’d ask, and to therefore ignore them. There are words that describe that behavior, but I don’t think “love” is part of the definition of any of them.

      In general, what you’re talking about boils down to “letting people starve”.

      Sure, they might be addicted. I don’t know if you’ve shopped for illegal drugs lately, but $3 doesn’t buy much. Most drug dealers don’t take brown bags full of snacks as payment either.

      All this was is Courtney trying to do something nice for people that are less fortunate than her – lighten up!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Linda, I just checked and it doesn’t look like I am doing anything illegal. In response to your tough love remark, I respectfully disagree. Many homeless people don’t have the mental capacity to ask for help. Sure some may, but it’s not my job to judge.

      • says

        Wow…as I said early I’ve been doing this for over a year and I modeled by bags out of a church in Nashville (after the floods last year 😉 who gives bags full of snacks and toiletries to the homeless in their communities. I have blogged about doing this many times and have never received so much heat…wow…it just blows my mind. Thanks to Robert for his strong support and remarks. I also choose not to judge and to help in any way possible. That is why I tuck a note with my $3.00 dollars in the bag and call them “Bags of Hope”. I don’t know what else to say…I’m just a little stunned right now.
        Fondly, Roberta

  31. Courtney Carver says

    Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments. I love that a blog post can spark a great conversation. While I’m glad that many of you agree with me and support what I’m doing, I also respect that we are not going to each have the same opinion.

    All opinions and comments are welcome as long as they are civil and respectful.

    We are doing good work here!

  32. says

    Hi Courtney.

    I just wanted to say that I admire how well you defend your own ideas. Regardless whether I agree or disagree with your idea, the way you have made clear to all those people where you stand and what you believe in is amazing. I really hope I can gain that sort of strength and self-belief soon. xx

    • Courtney Carver says

      You will Maria! Let me know if I can help. I have a feeling you are stronger than you think.

  33. says

    WOW! That’s $7.50 a day! $225 a month is more than my telephone, internet, and electricity bills combined. Heck, I think $225 is about my ANNUAL budget for coffee (good, whole-bean coffee, even) brewed at home.

    I’m happy for you that you have so much disposable income, but even happier that you’ve chosen to do something more meaningful with it than further enriching an already wealthy corporation,

    • Courtney Carver says

      Mike, I know, it’s crazy. Of course, that is not my typical monthly coffee budget. In fact, this month I might only spend $10 and next month nothing. This is an extreme example of how a daily routine can get a bit out of control.

      Because I rarely shop for anything but groceries, and am debt free, I do have disposable income, but glad I noticed that I need to spend it more mindfully. terms of your wealthy corporation comment, I think it’s great that people make money, save money and then bless their family and the world with what they have.

  34. says

    Courtney, I love how you describe your courtship with Starbucks. And, I can’t wait to hear more about your thoughts after 30 days of giving your bags of love.

    Our budget is pretty tight, so I don’t splurge much. Instead of money, my kids & I have been giving our time each month for a different need/charity. I plan on writing about it when we’ve completed 12 months of giving.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Marci, I can’t wait to hear about it. What a great gift for you and your children.

  35. says

    Simply wonderful and encouraging way to break the consumerism habit while sharing with others. An inspiration for all of us readers here to find our own ways to do something along this line in our own individual ways. Good for you! Looking forward to the update to see how it goes.

  36. says

    This post has generated a lot of thought and debate! While I can understand the perspective of those who have environmenal or enabling concerns, I think that it is a very creative, caring way to contribute to your community. A small act of kindness that could make a big difference to someone who may feel invisible. Together with my husband, I’ve volunteered at a cold-weather shelter for the last few years. One of the things I remember hearing many homeless people say is that it’s painful to be passed by without a glance, over and over. Courtney, please let us know what comes from this project!

  37. says


    This was a stunning revelation. When you consider how much money is spent when we function on automatic like this, it’s probably enough to feed the world. Thanks for your honesty and sharing your creative counter-approach. You are awesome.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Sandra, I don’t think we understand how powerful our spare change, and mindless spending can be.

  38. says

    I found this entry through Kind Over Matter’s weekly roundup… I love your idea – what a wonderful way to spread kindness! I just may copy off you for my own community.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Amanda, I would LOVE if you brought this project to your area. Let me know if you do and how it goes please.

  39. says

    This is a beautiful idea! Thanks for sharing. I often wonder what I can possibly give, and hesitate to dig through my wallet for change or bills on a busy street. Armed with a bag like yours, I could feel so generous and powerful. Who needs those lattes?!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Sarah, I never thought of it as feeling powerful, but you are right. There are so many times when I think “I wish there was something I could do”, and now I can. Let me know if you give it a try. So far it has been a great experience.

  40. says

    i saw where Sammy Hagar is now involved to help feed the hungry in various ways and one is thru a food bank.

    this is FANTASTIC and since he got a TV blurb about it, and he highly touted it (without hype), …

    i hope that many other high profile celeb’s will follow his lead to also invlove theirself to help !

    this ” trending ” thingy is just “one” of the major trends i have started or at least helped to propagate in the past 10-12 years.

  41. says

    yet again, I’ve wandered far afield by clicking on links and reading. this post really made me dig deep within and the result of it is feeling VERY much more aware that it’s NOT just ME who has, while keeping very good track of every cent I spend and receive for the 3rd year Now, still so long a way to go to truly wake up and smell the coffee!!

    [ha-ha, though honestly, I didn’t mean to make a pun ;~D]

    it is hard to understand the mindsets of those who simply don’t see the forests for the trees. [again, I don’t mean to pun] living in an area where at present there are way too many people on the street for a tennis tournament, art festival, and people simply on holidays in February, I think what you did as well how you approached DOing it and WHY is really the heart of this post.

    I’m sadly NOT debt-free, and yet I have been “using” a $3/day “allowance” for getting myself a green tea in a local coffee place in town. it’s part of making a more mindful and simple Life, and it’s also given me people to see each day when I go out for Morning Adventure with my dog Gracie.

    But it’s NOT about the tea or the $3. In fact, just this past week we stopped going into town, for a variety of reasons, and only this morning returned, quite a bit later than our usual time. I realised how much JOY Gracie brings people who we see every morning, how much she LOVES her “go to town Mrs. Brown” work of spreading love and her goofy smiles.

    BEcause of the late time and the overly busy-ness, as well a sudden shower, we cut our walk short of the place where said green tea is bought and enJOYed, by us both, though in Gracie’s case it is the cup of water we share. tomorrow we will go in, earlier, and whether there is a tea, there will BE love given and shared. we have several “regulars” amongst our homeless who Gracie loves on and who just light up when they see her. sometimes we’ve got them a bagel, and other times given them a few dollars, but for the most part, we’re both BEing mindful of the “costs” involved and the underlying intent of the Morning Adventure itself.

    I am glad for the time I’ve spent here, reading you and the comments. It’s a breath of fresh air and a good pause. Thanks!!

  42. cj says

    I think it is a wonderful idea and there is another benefit that you might not be aware of yet. By not buying Starbucks, you are not helping/contributing to the the systematic assassinations and targeting of unarmed Palestinian men, women and children. Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks actively incites hate and war on Capitol Hill. Kudos for joining the boycott.

  43. Donna says

    Starbucks and I officially broke up 2 months ago! I now buy bagged cat food weekly to be distributed by a feral cat resue organization in home my town with the money no longer spent there. Warm, full, and happy “Keeety” tummies beats SB every time!!

  44. Amy says

    Fantastic post. Not too long ago my husband and I packed up 10 bagged lunches to hand out to the homeless. I wanted a super-special treat in there and got beautiful and delicious cupcakes as an add-on option. I realize it’s not a healthy choice but wanted to give something a little indulgent to let the recipients know they were thought of with love. We had some extraordinary experiences that day and your post reminds me that it’s time to do it again. Thank you for the inspiration.

  45. says

    Hi Courtney! I never saw this post before now but it is great. I agree that the advantage of living debt free is that we do have disposable income that can sometimes be spent in ways that are habitual. I think I will have to search your blog to find the follow up to this post because I’m betting that the good feelings you got from being generous and kind to others probably give you a better “lift” than any caffeine! Thank you for such an awesome idea! ~Kathy