Coffee and pints

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Did
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Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:34 am

So, does anyone have any war stories about giving up coffee out and pints out. I think they are my 2 big weaknesses. Both offer an escape from home, and, in the case of pints, an enjoyable way of meeting the locals and finding out what's going on (I'm in Ireland).

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Ego
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Ego » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:38 am

I've got an old Stanley vacuum bottle that I fill with boiling water and make tea/coffee in public places for free.

This is our favorite place and we go at least once a week but usually more.

Image

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ebast
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by ebast » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:48 pm

Ego wrote:I've got an old Stanley vacuum bottle that I fill with boiling water and make tea/coffee in public places for free.
said by a sun-blessed soul who obviously lives somewhere it doesn't rain six days a week and weekends too.

oh wait..

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C40
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by C40 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:28 pm

ahhh, I remember that square. Wonderful place :-D

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:18 pm

You could be the person who goes out but doesn't buy anything. Prepare to be made fun of but it can be done. Or you could buy one drink and nurse it. Or have a reason for not drinking, like you're trying to lose weight or get in shape. Or try to get people to meet where you can bring your own.

If the drinks are the only way to socialize I don't think I'd eliminate seeing other people to save money, but it depends how much it costs. How much do you go out and how much does it cost?

If you drink one beer three nights a week at $5 per beer that's $60 per month. Coffee is probably cheaper, maybe $2 per cup, so if you again go out three days a week it's only $24 a month. From an ERE standpoint the problem is that $84 per month requires $84 * 12 months * 25 = $25,200 in investments to support it. That's probably a year of saving for the average person.

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bryan
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by bryan » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:08 pm

If you live in a van like C40 you can afford all the coffees and pints you could want ;)

One thing I do when ducking in to a spot is (unabashedly) taking my time to get a feel for the place before ordering, to make sure I want to actually spend my time (and money) there. Sometimes this even means being seated at a restaurant and then leaving once the waiter comes around.. or trying alternative places or exhausting your options and giving up! Not a great tip, I guess, but it works better than the default behaviour of just committing after walking in. I suppose it reminds me of the secretary problem.

If you (don't live in a van and really do) want to pinch the pennies, I reckon being more deliberate with your going out would work. So instead of popping in randomly, like one might watch TV or surf the internet, you can set specific days/nights (or an allotment of them) that you go out (which would then lead you to some optimizing of those sessions).

I usually ask folks if they see themselves enjoying the coffee/pints during RE less/more/the same than they are during accumulation.. I don't view it as delaying retirement if they fully intend to continue going out for such things (except, perhaps, a DIY hobby taking up that time allocation, like brewing, distilling, etc).

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:59 am

Thanks all.

We don't live in a van, although we have. Our place is paid off, and taxes on the place are almost nothing.

But.... yes I could drink less or not at all when out. One way, I guess, is to drive.

I'm not in a routine with the pints, as such, but am with the coffee. I have started brewing, and so that is somewhat of a pint distraction, but I am still drawn to Irish pubs for the craic and to meet people (being an immigrant here).

To be honest if I had unlimited money pints and coffee would be something I wouldn't cut out. But I don't, and so I'm looking to optimize a little more.

@ego Looks lovely. Ireland is less set up for outdoor coffees, but I like it.

Any other war stories from those who have weaned themselves successfully?

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vexed87
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by vexed87 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:52 am

Did, same problem here. Not sure what point there is giving up though, unless you have an addiction which cannot be moderated!

I went cold turkey on beer, for 2-3 months, but soon back to enjoying it again after that. I can moderate my consumption to 2-3 pints a week if health is on the list of things I'm applying my willpower to that week! :D

I have 2 servings of coffee a day, usually just 1 on weekends. Not sure what the point would be on cutting back on that? It's hardly a destructive habit :)

If it's about the expense, homebrewing real quality ale's is one way to cut back on expenses whilst keeping up the enjoyment, it need not impact your socialising if you have established good relationships and have a place to share it. Buying your coffee in 1-2kg sacks, sealing it into smaller packs or freezing it and hand grinding daily as you need it is another way to cut back on waste and expense and is a soothing ritual.

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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:06 am

I went off the drink for 5 years. I'm not trying to cut back the drink so much as buying out. One problem travelling to new places, and not working, is that you don't have an established or forced social network. Fine if you like living in your brain/by yourself/just with your partner. But if you want to get out and about.... We wouldn't know anyone in our village if it wasn't for my time down the local. It really is a hub in rural Ireland. Completely different to my suburban Brisbane life.

I'm working on the quality ales. Done a couple of all grains which worked out. Working on refining the process. Also joined local brew club to learn and meet people, which helps.

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ebast
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by ebast » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:15 pm

Ok, listen all you home-brewing bean-grinding single-efficiency surrender monkeys,

Taleb is quite clear that the chief benefit to cocktail parties is convexity (although his secret benefit is a venue to be insufferable), and bars are just cocktail parties for people who don't get invited.

(ERE calls it all "maximizing serendipity".)

Sure it'd be nice to live in a sun-drenched californian seaside paradise or greek city-state where you can just loaf about for free in the agora with an open-bar but as it is in the fallen world most "third places" are privately owned and require a token purchase.

So following Taleb, as far as coffees & pints go, if you're single, the convexity's off the charts. Off the charts. Probably one or two people reading this owe their existence on this planet originally to a little cocktail-party/pub "optionality".

I spend too little time at cafes, pubs & parties these days, but a quick sample of other forms of optionality I've enjoyed from them:
  • 2 serious job offers. (one goofy one was bumping into an otherwise highly-functioning acquaintance and consulting on his CRM work. any of the systems-savvy people here reading this here could have helped him. And would likewise be too smart to take a CIO job involving CRM). The other was more ridiculous.
  • a two-month vacation on a yacht in the Sea of Cortez. (friend of a friend showed up for a drink. option accepted.)
  • the best book I'd never have read all year
  • a kitten
Sure, most days out for a pint these days consist of staring at everyone staring at their phone, and you may already have all the work & optionality you need with family, work, targeted forums, or just checking out "casual encounters" on Craigslist..

I'll also reiterate that bars and cafes are much worse convexity than cocktail or dinner parties and maybe even Facebook, but those require having friends.

So, it's long-tail stuff, like Empirica Capital, most days you bleed a little with nothing to show, but when it pays off, jackpot.

(and remember, level 32 of ERE is managing convexity flows. or something.)


also I should explain to my fellow Americans here that for what Did's talking about, pubs in Ireland are nothing like Irish pubs: they're strangely well-lit and look a little like your living room or at least your grandparents', they don't hang harps and leprechauns on the wall, (well, ok, leprechauns), they've got kids and things running around and whole families in there, there'll be nine on the same street that all look the same but you're only supposed to go to one, people stay there like all day, I'm pretty sure they serve in some counties as seats of local government, if a lady invites you to a snug it's not necessarily dirty, if you decide to watch football, don't worry: you're not drunk; it's not rugby, it's just really, really weird, and under absolutely no circumstances should you order a car-bomb. I don't really understand them.

but they're very social places. not to mention two or three of the finest novels of literature in english have been written in (and despite) them.

or take cafes. readers of this blog are well aware of the Personal Finance Latte-a-day fallacy, but the secret tragedy underlying that is the false equivalence between a take-out (ok, "take-away" for you plastic paddies) polyethylene-coated paper cup of sweetened coffee milk and a expertly-pulled cappucino or latte in a proper cup or bowl enjoyed in a pleasing & convivial atmosphere.

Part of that is due I'm sure to Starbucks dependency on a brisk take-out business to maintain margins so that some guy in the corner can spend three hours on photoshop ordering nothing more than a Tazo. So, yes, I agree that 10cents of home-brewed coffee is a far better deal than four dollars of that swill and waiting in line with commuters. but all you home-brewers: what are you optimizing?

Monetary outlay. Possibly quality. But remember all that renaissance-man, "web of goals", systems-thinking claptrap we deploy so we don't have to admit we are just cheap bastards? Let me give an example: What is more web-of-goals for my situation where I have the following requirements for life:

Desiderata:
  1. Internet
  2. Caffeine
  3. Ok, I should probably spend less time on the internet
  4. And maybe I should get at some exercise
  5. Convexity
Option 1:
1.1 Paying Verizon-Yahoo 60 bucks a month for broadband. (I.)
1.2 Hook up the wireless. (V?)
1.3 make & drink a coffee (II.)
1.4 avoid going on a run (IV.) because I'd have to wear shoes and instead I am:
1.5 clicking on clickbait & downloading Tinder (V.)

(note, III is impossible in this scenario)

Option 2:
2.1 Go for a walk down to the local cafe (IV.)
2.2 Enjoy internet for $2 bucks during which you can download more than you can consume in a week (I.)
2.3 Receive a free coffee (II.)
2.4 Enjoy cafe/pub convexity (V.)
2.5 Eventually they kick you out (III.)

Note they cost about the same! And seriously speaking, when I was living without electricity, I used cafes exactly in this manner and enjoyed those benefits at a monthly outlay equivalent to about what I'd spend for broadband. Side benefit, it encourages more focused and less compulsive internet use. Seriously, though, expense it that way for attaining all those diverse desiderata, it could be a real deal.

I don't think cafes/bars are a particularly high-density source of convexity by any stretch, and at this point my chit-chat abilities have atrophied to the point that at any pub in Ireland I'd be considered severely autistic, but let's at least include serendipity/optionality and some webs of goals in our systems thinking here.

Anyway, in the spirit of things I've been writing this out over a coffee at a local bar and the woman down the way appears to be lofting the plans for a New Bedford-style whaling boat(!). I better find out what that's for...

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bryan
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by bryan » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:11 pm

:clap:

Thought I saw someone link to the Pubs' (origins) wiki page but I suppose not..

Do third places become second places for retirees (and how does that fit into their psychology? should they seek to always have a work place and maintain the purity of the third place?). Observing the evolution of such spaces in the current day is interesting.

So is the recommendation for OP to just.. nurse his single purchase? Or go to a (coffee) place w/ free/cheap refills?

> 10cents of home-brewed coffee

My own rough estimates show it's closer to ~15c for fresh from the roaster (suppose it could get to 10c if you don't care about freshness). If you roast your own you can get it to ~6c. Just wanted to verify..

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:04 am

@ebast Re home brew optimization.... for me it's partially cost inspired and partially social. The Irish as you may well know are largely superficially friendly. Lots of banter down the local, if you can understand them (not a given in rural areas). But becoming friends? It takes at least a few generations to fit in. Sorry, don't have that much time. And I can't talk about an under 21 hurling game from 15 years ago two nights in a row while it is replayed 2 nights in a row (I'm not joking). Or farming.

Frankly, the home brew club has smarter guys in it with whom I have more in common and we have a common interest to talk about. Doesn't mean I've made any friends, but I have some brew buddies.

Home brewing beer isn't much of a cost saver - at least up front.

But kit wine is if you like that.

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ebast
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by ebast » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:18 am

@Did - appreciate the recommendation - I have been managing a fair amount of country wine (cider etc) at home, but have been thinking around biting the bullet & make the step up to beer. had a landlord who turned out some pretty respectable darker lagers (bocks & such) and I was impressed enough I thought someday that'd be worth a shot.

Agree it's better to find a group of like-minded souls or what have you. I've never kept friends from some random pub. Seems to me lasting friends really works best on a solid foundation of some degree of shared suffering (and all the better if you're 20 at the time).

As to coffee, let me just not admit to what I've been making at home lately.

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:41 am

BIAB is the ERE of beer making I would wager. I made 2 decent all grain beers that way. But I must admit to investing (??) some serious coin in a Grainfather to make the process smoother. As I said to my wife, by my calculations we will be ahead in about 16 years of solid drinking.

As for the kit wine, we save about 90 euro per kit compared with buying the cheapest wine available here. Better on the head the next day too.

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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by jacob » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:16 am

Back in my undergrad days, I lived on a dorm (co-ed) that had 40 people living there. These were arranged in 10 quads that each shared a kitchen. A few months after I moved in, someone hung up a flyer asking if anyone wanted to start a chess club. On the first day, me and some other guy showed up; and we played a few games in the kitchen. We did that weekly in new quad kitchens and began to accrete other people who saw what we were doing. First other chess players ... then spectators. Once we had 5-10 regular people we added other games ... and shortly thereafter beer. Aside from every Thursday (I think it was), it also began to occur on weekends with informal parties. People began to hang out it in each other's quads too because they already knew each other and would randomly meet when parking their bikes or some such.

I'm pretty sure that many people stopped going out for $7 (1995 prices) pints. In my time, it was common for Danish students to go out and blow 1/4 of their stipend on beer and taxi rides in the beginning of the month while whining about never having enough to eat at the end of the month. Coffee wasn't a thing back then.

Anyhoo, ... that "chess club" was BYOB and so effective that out of the 40 people living there, we usually had 10-15 people showing up. Socially, we eventually ended up with 7 intra-dorm couples at one point involving all the key people and early initiators. Unfortunately, this level of "social success" eventually caused the demise of the "chess club", as couples mostly stayed at home pursuing extracurricular activities or subsequently moved out and into studio dorms elsewhere. AFAIR, nobody else ever rebooted the club or anything similar.

I think in order for third places to work, they have to be located very very closely to where the people using them live. If one has to drive, ride a bike, etc. to the meeting place, then social structure is only built in connection with that place. Pub culture works because the pub is located right on the block where people live. Also, people have to be able to "accrete" or walk in. Like the quad kitchens we had. Our neighbor's garage function in that way---however, it's only a third place for the in-group. IOW, you can't just show up.

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Fish
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Fish » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:58 am

ebast wrote:Taleb is quite clear that the chief benefit to cocktail parties is convexity
Wow, what an insight. And all this time I thought the sole purpose was entertainment! :shock: Now, instead of asking myself, "would I enjoy this?" I will consider, "do I need more serendipity in my life?"

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:03 am

I hope to organise some social events at my home once the beer production is in full swing. The marginal cost will be minimal. My little Irish goal is to have a regular music session including trad etc. That would be some craic.

I think I have pointed out before that people love homemade alcohol as gifts. I think we have given our coffee guy about maybe 4 euro worth of alcohol, and, although it was not our plan, he has given maybe 30 euro or more in free stuff and discounts since (when the boss isn't looking). I guess, in a friendly Irish way, he is on the take. Others would call it social capital procured through homemade grog?

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FBeyer
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by FBeyer » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:24 pm

Did wrote:... by my calculations we will be ahead in about 16 years of solid drinking.
Quoted, because I needed to quote someone saying that to get it off my bucket list.
Thank you.

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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Solvent » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:37 pm

@ebast -
Thanks for that, I enjoyed it. Especially:
...although his secret benefit is a venue to be insufferable...
@Did

I can only say that, being in Ireland, giving up pints on your part would seem to be "Deprivation mode: hard."

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:45 am

FBeyer wrote:
Did wrote:... by my calculations we will be ahead in about 16 years of solid drinking.
Quoted, because I needed to quote someone saying that to get it off my bucket list.
Thank you.
Not sure if that is a closed loop, systems method or other ERE speak (have to ask jenny), but I just wanted the damn thing and bought it.

Here's a fun video showing it in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQ708PsSXE

On the pints/coffee, we are off to Poland for a couple of weeks, but then on my return I'm thinking about doing a month long experiment with no pints or coffee out.

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FBeyer
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by FBeyer » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:19 am

Did wrote:
FBeyer wrote:
Did wrote:... by my calculations we will be ahead in about 16 years of solid drinking.
Quoted, because I needed to quote someone saying that to get it off my bucket list.
Thank you.
Not sure if that is a closed loop, systems method or other ERE speak (have to ask jenny), but I just wanted the damn thing and bought it...
I just pictured the dinner table discussion, flipcharts, laser pointers and suit 'n tie are you are doing a presentation where you are trying to convince your wife that you both need to start drinking an obscene amount of alcohol to mitigate the purchase costs of your brewing equipment.

In those very rare circumstances where it's actually possible to buy happiness: Buy happiness. You seem to enjoy your brewing adventures.

Did
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Re: Coffee and pints

Post by Did » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:53 am

I either need to drink an obscene amount of alcohol, or lay off the coffee and pints for a year.

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