I became addicted to coffee at an early age. My first full-time employer provided free coffee to their employees. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t a perk. It was merely the grease that kept the gears of the giant machine turning.

Once you’ve become addicted to coffee, it can be a difficult habit to kick. I learned early on that coffee withdrawal is a painful process. Consequently, once you’re hooked, you’re likely to remain hooked.

If you can’t start the day without a cup (or two, or three), it all adds up … especially if you buy coffee by the cup on the street. Take the time to calculate how much you’re spending on coffee every day, then multiply it out over the course of a year … or years … and you might be shocked.

It’s no wonder that Starbucks has taken a hit in these difficult economic times. A stop at WaWa, 7-11, or the local Quickie Mart might not provide the same ambiance, but their coffee can get the job done for a fraction of the price. Tank up with a pot of home-brewed coffee and you’ll save even more.

Stick to plan and your personal tip cup will overflow with hundreds upon hundreds of dollars by the end of the year …