I like to go to the coffee shop to work. There’s two or three I frequent, my demands are simple and two: good coffee and free wifi. It’s a nice office-away-from-the-home-office because it gets you out around people, typically without the worry of being driven to distraction by them. (Unless, of course, you eavesdrop into a particularly riveting discussion of why we’re all doomed by the swine flu.)
And it’s a surprisingly cheap indulgence — provided I go alone. That’s because I drink coffee. I go to Caribou, for instance, and for $2 (tip included) I can work and caffeinate for as long as I want (free refills, go figure). But if, say, my daughter tags along after I pick her up from school, my daughter with an affinity for things cold, frothy and chocolate, suddenly we’re moving from change scrounged from my pockets to debit card territory. Suddenly, we’re approaching double digits. A daily habit that runs $10 over the course of a workweek suddenly balloons to a $70 habit (Did I mention the obligatory snack to accompany the cool, frothy, chocolately beverage?) Radically changes the financial attraction of the coffee shop office. Too many of those visits and I’ll be permanently relegated to my distant second favorite office-away-from-home-office.
The public library. More distracting people and the coffee isn't as good.