Are you someone who likes to study or get work done at coffee shops? Me too! When I was in college, going to a coffee shop was a nice change of environment. And when I was working at an office job, it was a great way to escape the office or work on my side hustle outside of business hours. But I needed to cut down on expenses and found out how much going to coffee shops was costing me.
Going to a coffee shop could be costing you $1,300 a year
If you go to a coffee shop every weekday, that’s about $25 per week ($5 per drink x 5 weekdays). This adds up to $1,300 a year ($25 a week * 52 weeks). And that’s not including times you buy food or the parking and gas (or bus fare) to get there.
The problem with not being able to go to coffee shops was that I wasn’t as productive when I stayed home.
Here are 10 places to study or work without spending a ton of money at coffee shops:
1. Anywhere there’s an Xfinity hotspot
If you have at least a Performance Internet package (or know someone who does), you have access to Xfinity hotspots.
Use this locator tool to find hotspots near you.
2. Public Libraries
With lots of tables and desks, outlets, and bathrooms, you’re pretty much set! As a plus, some libraries have free printing.
Before you go to a public library, call to ask if you can bring food in and to double-check that you’ll have access to free internet.
3. Hotel lobbies
This one can be tricky. And I wouldn’t recommend this as a place to set up camp, but it comes in handy for the times you have a meeting or appointment and need to get some work before or after.
Pro tip (Entrepreneurs & WFH employees):
It’s easiest if you live in a big city. Look for a hotel lobby that is big, has seating, and a busy cafe/coffee shop. Obviously, you don’t want to go to the coffee shop because that’s what we are trying to avoid. But if they have a busy coffee shop or cafe, they are probably more relaxed about who is in their lobby.
Pro tip (Students):
When I lived on campus, some friends and I would go to a nearby hotel lobby to register for classes because the internet always crashed right at midnight. So this is a great place to go if you live on campus and need to register for classes.
There tends to be a lot of seating areas, free wifi, and access to bathrooms.
The mall’s website usually indicates if they have free wifi.
5. Community areas of apartments
If you live in an apartment, use the community areas as an opportunity to change up the environment. Some community areas have access to free internet and bathrooms. If not, you’ll still be able to access your bathroom and possibly your internet too!
If you don’t live in an apartment but have a friend who does, ask them if they can give you access to the community area! Or…
6. A friend’s house
Ask if you can get some work done at their place just so you can have a change of environment.
7. Offer house-sitting services through Rover or Wag
This is a great way to earn money and get access to a new place with free internet, bathrooms, and tables or desks to get work done.
8. College Campuses
This pointer is mainly for entrepreneurs and employees who work from home. But if you are a college student, you can also check out a neighboring college campus!
College campuses have a lot of seating areas, outlets, and access to bathrooms. If you aren’t a student at the college, you’ll have to bring your own internet (you can always refer to #1 here).
9. Go to a different part of your house
I live in a one-bedroom apartment that’s 721 sq. ft. and I was surprised I could still do this. I think of my apartment living room set up in four sections: the office (a desk facing the wall), the sitting area (two chairs and a laptop table), the entertainment area (the couch in front of the TV), and the dining area (a dining table and chairs near the window).
On writing days, I work in the sitting area so I can write in my most productive writing posture (criss-cross apple-sauce). I eat lunch in the entertainment area and sometimes watch a little tv. On other days, I work in the dining area or office depending on my mood.
10. Change the environment of a room with sound and smell
When I get bored of working in my apartment, I turn to sound and smell.
For sound, I ask Google to play Spotify’s top hits when I need to get pumped up. Or I ask Siri to play Apple Music’s Water Consort for calming, focus music.
I’m not saying to go cold turkey and never go back to a coffee shop…I’ve tried and failed at that. But I am saying it’s worth it to cut it down by at least one day (that saves you at least $260 a year). I’ve been able to work my way down to going to a coffee shop once or twice a month!