The following is guest post by Charles LaReaux. He is a partner at the Las Vegas, NV real estate firm, Hakans & LaReaux. He specializes in real estate for the entertainment industry and enjoys finding creative ways to help his clients save money.

Do you wake up in the morning looking forward to your trip to Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, or your local coffee shop on the way to work? Do you have a mortgage that you’re working to pay off?

If so, you have an amazing opportunity to make a healthy habit change and save thousands of dollars on interest on your home mortgage and pay it off sooner!

The Health Impacts of Coffee and Caffeine

The experts have trouble agreeing on whether coffee is bad or good for you.

Livestrong.com discusses the dangers of caffeine overuse in this article. Here are some of the side-effects of heavy caffeine use (500+ mg per day) mentioned by the author:

  • Restlessness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tremors
  • Insomnia

The article also addresses the concern with addiction and mood. Caffeine addiction can actually lead to anxiety and irritability – not something we need more of in our world.

On the other hand, this article from WebMD notes several health benefits associated with coffee including reduced risk for Type 2 Diabetes, certain cancers, and Parkinson’s disease.

However, the article also acknowledges some of the downsides of caffeine including the fact that it is a diuretic and can cause heartburn.

Aside from the dangers associated with caffeine, if you get one of those fancy lattes or caramel macchiatos, your coffee is also loaded with empty calories and sugar.

In fact, a “tall” (8 oz) Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks packs 180 calories and 23 grams of sugar! If you’re an average-sized woman, that’s close to 10% of your daily recommended calorie intake and close to your recommended allotment of sugar (100 calories or 6 tsp).

And coming from a slightly different angle, Lifehack contributor Tucker Cummings suggests that drinking too much coffee will sabotage your productivity!

Ultimately, you don’t need coffee. It doesn’t add any nutritional benefits that you can’t gain from other sources, and it can actually be detrimental to your health and productivity.

How to Save Thousands by Cutting Out Coffee

Here’s the kicker. Let’s say you spend $3 for your coffee, five times per week (this is not unusual!). That is $15 per week or $780 per year.

Further, let’s say you have a $200,000, 30-year mortgage with a 4% interest rate starting at the beginning of this year.

If you put your coffee money toward an annual prepayment on your principal loan, you will save over $18,000 over the course of the life of your mortgage. You will also stop making house payments more than three years sooner!! Can you say early retirement??

To see exactly how much you will save, check out this awesome mortgage amortization calculator (click on “What If I Pay More Every Month?).

How to Kick the Caffeine Habit

“That’s all fine and dandy,” you say. “But I’m addicted!”

Don’t worry, there are steps you can follow to kick your caffeine habit:

  • Start slow. Going cold turkey is not going to feel good.
  • Take a magnesium supplement (read more about why and how here).
  • When ready, switch from coffee to black tea for a week.
  • Then move from black tea to herbal teas. You’re now caffeine free!

Feeling sluggish after kicking your coffee habit? Try taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day. It’s free and it will save you a lot of health costs down the road.

Here’s to paying off that mortgage — while improving your health!

(Photo credit: Too Many Sugars via Shutterstock)

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