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what about buying a coffee and then loading the exact amount back on the card?

Seems to kind of defeat the point?

Use it when you can't afford coffee, refill it when you can afford a coffee plus a little more...

I don't understand: Do people really alternate between being able to afford a coffee and not being able to, more than a couple of times in a lifetime?

Being able to afford something and having enough change in the pockets is not necessarily the same. Plus, I guess a coffee you got for free because of the kindness of a stranger might taste sweeter than your regular venti.

Seriously, many people experience that weekly. That's what it means to live paycheck to paycheck.

I'm really not trying to be critical of other people's lifestyles (and I like the idea behind Jonathan's Card), but when it comes down to it I would want to be able to educate those people that they are living outside of their means rather than enable them.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck and buying Starbucks every morning, that's definitely part of your problem. I understand and fully appreciate paying a bit more for a quality product, but when it comes down to it, being able to start a savings and plan for your future is more important than enjoying a better cup of coffee in the morning. It's directly analagous to buying a car that's out of your price range (say, a Lexus when you're only bringing in $35,000 a year pre-tax) and struggling to pay the note on it every month. You really can live with the cheaper product, and in the long run it may do you a world of good.

Am I wrong? I'd like to see some other people's input on this idea.

You're not wrong about what they should do, it just has no bearing on what they do do. Given the choice between short term pleasure or long term pleasure for a short term sacrifice, most choose the former rather than the latter. Being able to delay pleasure is a skill many people just don't have.

If you alternate between being able to afford a coffee and not being able to weekly -- then you are not able to afford a coffee, period.

You don't get to define how other people say what they can and can't afford or how they define the term afford. Many people don't use that word like you're using it. Afford to many people means do I have a few extra bucks in my pocked right this moment; it doesn't matter if they won't next week.

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