You Pay More for Coffee in the Morning Than the Afternoon

There's no scam, but it is true: If you're one of the millions of Americans who needs to start the day with coffee, your caffeine fix could be costing you more than you think.

An industry analyst this week warned that one retailer in particular might be overcharging customers. This almost-ubiquitous coffee shop tends to have prices nearly 40 percent higher than its competitors'. You guessed it — your Starbucks habit is draining your wallet. Coffee drinkers tend to notice this in the afternoon and choose other options, but first thing in the morning, cost isn't so much of a barrier. That's also why you're seeing so many more add-on purchases as you make your way toward checkout. Starbucks can't keep up profits on beans alone.

Coffee is a favorite scapegoat among finger-wagging personal finance writers. It's ravaging your budget and holding you back at work. Millennials would rather buy coffee than save for retirement. We should give java more credit, though: It might just bring about world peace.

With that in mind, this news is simply more information for the smart consumer. If a finely tuned jolt of juice is the best thing to get you through the day, treat yourself. If you want to put that coffee change to good use, try setting aside a few dollars in a savings account each day. But mostly, if you want to keep yourself awake and focused through the afternoon, time your next hit for maximum effectiveness. Your circadian rhythm can do a lot more heavy lifting than you think.