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***Updated November 2017***
It seems like every personal finance or budget blog discusses how you should give up your fancy (and expensive) coffee habit. And it makes sense. If you spend $5 per workday on a latte, that adds up to $25 a week, $100 a month, and $1,200 a year. That’s some serious change. But let’s be real here. Oftentimes, you just NEED a cup of coffee. I firmly believe that we all need our treats and rewards to keep ourselves sane. If you’re used to an extra large mocha with an extra shot of espresso, a plain cup of coffee isn’t going to do it for you. Generally, I will never argue that you should completely give up something that makes you happy. What I would argue is for you to spend your money more wisely so you can still get what you want AND keep a bit more cash in your pocket.
So, what should a coffee connoisseur like yourself do? Fortunately, you have several options.
Say goodbye to Starbucks by buying your own cappuccino machine.
Cappuccino machines come in a range of price points, from entry level all the way to super-deluxe. You’ll want to do some research on what features are available and what will work best for your needs. For example, do you need a grinder, or will you be using already ground espresso? Do you want an automatic, semi-automatic, or manual? How often do you intend on using it, and how many drinks will you be making at a time? There are a lot of options, and obviously, the more features a machine has, the greater the price. Do your homework and find the machine that will be best for you.
Concerned that you won’t know what to do with your machine once you get it? Not to worry. All you need to do is type, “how do I make a (insert your favorite drink here)…” into a search engine and you’ll have a slew of recipes and instructions, often with video. And, if you’re like me and like a sweet drink, don’t forget the syrups!
Straight up espresso? Even easier.
If a plain, strong cup of espresso is what keeps you going, I highly recommend a Bialetti stovetop pot. They’re an Italian company, and the Italians know a thing or two about espresso. My very….detail oriented…husband did extensive research on espresso pots when we were getting married and he landed on the Bialetti. They come in a range of sizes, from a small two-cup pot, up to an extra large twelve-cup pot. If your morning routine is rushed, you can set up everything the night before and turn on the stove when you get up in the morning. By the time you’re done with your shower or have applied your makeup, you should have a nice, steamy pot of caffeine goodness.
Even if you’re a “regular joe” person, you can still save on your coffee.
Do you like to go out for a cup of coffee in the afternoon to combat the post-lunch slump? I hear ya. Even a $2 cup of coffee adds up though (pushing $480 a year if you go out every afternoon!). For far less than that, you can purchase a coffee pot to keep in your office if your company doesn’t provide coffee, or has terrible coffee like mine does. Oftentimes, a personal 2-4 cup machine will do the trick. Just be sure to check with your workplace to make sure having your own coffee pot isn’t against company policy.
I was lucky in that my predecessor decided to leave her Keurig when she went to her new job. But you can do what my husband’s department did and chip in for a Keurig and share it. They’re each responsible for purchasing their own coffee so everyone has what they want.
And speaking of K-cups, you don’t buy those at the grocery store, do you? Unless you have coupons or they’re on sale, generally grocery store prices are much higher than other alternatives. The overall price may be less, but the boxes are usually smaller too, often twelve or eighteen pods versus twenty-four like you’ll find online. I’ve scoured the internet for the best deals on k-cups and one of my favorites is San Francisco Bay OneCup. Not only is their coffee delicious, their pods are environmentally friendly! I wrote a whole post about it here.
You can also use your regular ground coffee in a Keurig by using a reusable filter. This kind allows you to fill the filter with loose coffee and plop it right into the Keurig like you would any other pod. Just be sure you buy a filter that is compatible with your Keurig model.
So that’s it. I hope I’ve given you some inspiration on how to save on your coffee habit. Use the tips above for every day, and reserve the coffeehouse for a day when you need a special treat.
Deal of the Day
As I was making my coffee the other day, I thought about the pounds and pounds of coffee grounds I must have thrown out over the years, and wondered if there were other ways I could use the grounds. I did a bit of reading and found that coffee makes a great deodorizer. I have two little kiddos and sometimes, my house doesn’t smell the freshest. I usually put baking soda in my little one’s diaper pail but recently started putting coffee grounds in instead. The results were immediate and surprising. Coffee grounds are now my go-to method to reduce the eau de diaper emanating from my kid’s rooms. But there are many other uses for coffee grounds too. In fact here are fourteen additional uses for those grounds.