Rolling for Wheels


Personal finance author David Bach is perhaps best known for his trademark phrase “The Latte Factor.”  In short, Bach suggests that by cutting out some of the small extravagances in our lives, like fancy coffees or lattes, people can save money for their futures, and with the power of compound interest, these savings can add up to some really big money over time. While this sounds like good advice, and the math is undeniable, I think that most Canadians would be less than thrilled about the prospect of giving up their morning caffeine fix, especially this time of year when Tim Hortons’ annual Roll Up the Rim Contest is rolling along. I mean, why would Buddy give up his morning coffee to save for a car when buying the coffee could actually WIN HIM A CAR?

However, all good things must come to an end, and this year’s edition of Roll Up the Rim will be over on April 17th, or whenever your local Timmy’s runs out of contest cups, whichever comes first. This begs the question: What’s the Latte Factor here? Or better yet, what’s the Large Double Double Factor? How many coffees would Buddy need to forego in order to buy the major prizes offered in this year’s contest? Inquiring minds want to know, and at MPMS, we’re here to help.

The price of coffee at most Tim Hortons stores (there are regional discrepancies) are as follows: Small — $1.49, Medium — $1.69, Large — $1.89, and Extra Large — $2.09. Based on those prices, check out how many drive thrus Buddy would need to drive past in order to save enough money to purchase one of the prizes.

Small Medium Large X-Large
2018 Honda Civic EXT Sedan


17,040 15,023 13,433 12,148
Prepaid $5,000 CIBC Visa Card


3,355 2,959 2,645 2,392
$50 Tims Gift Card 34 30 27 24

*Approximate retail value, taxes not included.

So, in order to “Large Double Double Factor” his way to a $5000 gift card, Buddy would need to give up (and save the money from) approximately 2,645 large coffees. Or, if Buddy and his wife Buddy-Lou want a new car, they would have to sacrifice their daily java stops for almost 15 years (based on two large coffees each on the way to work, two mediums going home, five days a week for 48 weeks every year). Vacation coffees and doughnuts will have to be calculated manually. (Please don’t comment that the price of coffee can’t remain stable for the next 15 years or that I haven’t factored interest into the savings numbers; we’re just having a little fun here.)

As someone who takes his morning coffee extremely seriously, I won’t be giving up my caffeination ritual anytime soon, despite losing on nearly every rim roll. I guess I’ll just have to stick to my old Accord or wait until next year’s contest to “Please Play Again.”

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