"Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it way rather than to drink it, all right. I think it's good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging."
Katie says this early in the book when her sister Evy chastises her for allowing Francie to throw away her coffee. Again, this quote addresses the book's class theme. The Nolans cannot afford to throw anything at all away, and yet, Katie allows this one exception. This quote demonstrates Katie's pride, and the pride she wishes to pass on to her children. Katie is almost always depicted as practical rather than romantic. She would never be one to waste bread, milk, or heat. This philosophical reasoning seems an anomaly in her character, and yet, in the long run, she is doing what is best for her children. She wishes that her children should have dignity as well as practicality. Katie has figured out meticulously exactly how much money this system wastes—and that it is almost nothing, even for the Nolans. Wasting almost nothing is worth it, if it means that her children feel one luxury.