Written By: Oriana Cuenca
Graphics By: Kimberly Reyes
Milk Tea has taken the Philippines by storm and a milk tea shop is never far from reach. Filipinos all over the country queue for hours whenever a big name tea brand makes its way to the Philippines and long waits are not unheard of even on regular days. Part of milk tea’s success in the Philippines is its (relative) affordability. With most milk teas ranging from Php 90 to 120 (with a few notable exceptions), most people don’t stop to think twice before joining the line, but maybe we should.
A Malaysian woman has been making rounds on the internet after she had a shocking realization about her boba spending. A friend had pointed out that the amount she spends on milk tea is enough for a trip to Thailand. The woman, who reportedly bought eight milk teas a month, realized that the money she spent on boba would be enough for a dream trip to Taiwan. After four months without milk tea, the woman saved enough to fly to Taiwan, the birthplace of milk tea as we know it.
While the internet is cheering for the woman’s funny and inspiring story, it does make us think about the money we spend on milk tea. It’s an old saying that little bits of spending adds up, and eight milk teas a month did not look like much until the numbers were done. Plane tickets to Taiwan are one thing, but what else can we buy if we didn’t buy that milk tea?
Milk tea shops line the exits of LRT stations. With the heat and hassle of the daily commute, it’s extremely tempting to reward yourself with something sweet and refreshing to get you through the daily grind. Before you start picking a tea shop, remember that cup of tea is four end-to-end trips on the train.
*For a bus ride, that’s roughly one milk tea for a roundtrip from Las Pinas to Manila.
If you drive a car for the daily commute, you might still want to reconsider making a stop for that fruit tea. With the gas prices now, one milk tea would get you three liters of diesel and two liters of gasoline. That’s more than enough fuel in the tank for a trip to the office to home (Consider opening a carpool! It’s great for the environment and it’ll give you a little extra income for more milk tea too).
Bills are part of the sad reality of adulting. It’s normal to miss living at home with mom and dad when you see the financial realities of independence. People need to pay bills to keep the water running, the lights on, and most importantly, to keep the internet fast and steady. If you buy milk tea a couple of times a week, that amount might just be enough to pay the bills. Seven milk teas are enough to cover a cheap internet plan, and 16 cups could get you fiber internet.
Korean barbecue has become a default celebration place ever since it hit the country. With unlimited meat and side dishes, what’s not to love? Sadly, a price tag of Php 400 and above makes KBBQ a treat reserved for special occasions. If you want to treat yourself, consider foregoing a couple of milk teas. Four to five milk teas will get you a round of Korean Barbecue. That’s four to five drinks versus one very filling meal that could last you until dinner time.
When you’re planning a vacation, half the battle is figuring out how to afford the cost. It’s going to take some clever saving to get to that dream destination, so look no farther than milk tea to figure out where to cut the costs. When you think about buying a milk tea, put that money away in a part of your wallet. 41 would-be milk teas later, you’ll have enough for a round trip ticket to Boracay or Palawan! Are you ready to trade a milk tea with pearls for coconut shake at the beach side?
Improved OLED display, more powerful camera, and better battery life, the iPhone 11 is a must-have item for many Apple fans. Like all Apple products, the latest iPhone does not come cheap. The entry-level iPhone 11 is sold for a whopping Php 47,990 with the iPhone 11 Pro Max going for as much as Php 73,990. That’s a lot of money for new hardware, but if you have your heart set on it then ways could be made. Those ways involve cutting back on milk tea. Then entry level IPhone 11 could be yours for the price of 437 milk teas. If you’re using a credit card, then a year without milk tea should be enough to pay the bill without interest.
Milk tea has become a large part of the life of many Filipinos. It’s not the healthiest or the cheapest drink around, but there’s something about the sweet tea and the chewy pearls that keep people coming back for more. It would be a nightmare to give up milk tea completely, but sometimes it’s good to stop and think about the cost of the country’s boba addiction. This article is a little food for thought.
What do you think? Let us know!