5 minute read
Trying to free up some cash and set more aside towards savings? Or maybe you’re just getting started with your savings? For the coffee drinkers out there, changing up your caffeine routine might be a firm starting point.
Here are a few key prices to give you an idea of where the cost of coffee stands and how you might be able to save on this daily (or for some, multi-daily) beverage:
*prices mentioned below are approximate.
Coffee at a name brand cafe
Cost of a medium cup of coffee: $2.10
Cost of a medium latte: $3.65
Monthly Cost: $48 / $84 or more
If you buy a cup of coffee Monday to Friday for the month of May, that’s more than $48. A latte could put you over $80 – That can be almost one week of groceries. To paint a bigger picture here, if you buy a regular cup of coffee every day in a year, that’s more than $760.
Ways to Save: If you’re someone who buys coffee by the cup almost every day, try buying it only one or two days per week. For me, those days are Mondays and Fridays.
Buying bulk coffee at a grocery store
12 oz bag price: $7.99 – $12.99
Monthly Cost: $32 / $52 or more
Let’s say you’re buying ground coffee from the grocery store and making one cup of coffee each day. To get a little technical, I’ll give you an example of how this shakes out: In my household, we use two heaping tablespoons per mug of coffee. There’s two of us so that 12 oz bag typically lasts about a week, give or take.
Total monthly cost? Around $32 a month, as long as I stick to buying the lower priced bags. If I spend on the more expensive options, then it gets pricey.
Ways to Save: Your best bet for saving with ground coffee is purchasing larger bags at a lower price (think 16 oz) or getting whatever is on sale. If you aren’t picky when it comes to your coffee brand, you could find some online for less than $6.
Roast your own beans
Cost per pound (16 oz): $5 – $7
Monthly cost: $10 / $14 or more (depending on how strong you like your coffee)
The DIY of coffee – You can buy green coffee beans and roast them yourself at home. There are some upfront costs required to do this – One of which is using a proper roasting pan or popcorn popper. The other is a grinder to use after the beans are roasted.
Ways to Save: If you don’t mind paying the upfront costs for the supplies (roasting pan and grinder) then roasting your own beans might be one of the most cost-effective options. And you can be creative with your flavors, rather than buying whichever ground coffee is the lowest sale price.
Alternatives to Coffee
I’ve noticed sometimes what I’m craving isn’t coffee or caffeine itself, but the temperature – something hot in the morning. For ways to offset some of your coffee costs, you can try once in awhile drinking other beverages.
Hot water with lemon
Cost of lemon: $.50 to $.69 per lemon
Monthly cost: $4 / $6 for 8 lemons per month (if you’re only drinking hot water and lemon)
If you use a quarter lemon per mug of hot water, two lemons should last you 8 days, for just over one dollar. While there’s no caffeine, I find I still get my “fix” with the hot water and sour taste of lemon.
I start most mornings off with a hot cup of water and lemon, which helps me to only drink one cup of coffee a day, versus drinking two cups per day and burning through my ground coffee.
Cost of tea: $4.49 – $6.99 for 20 bags
Monthly cost: $9 / $14 per month (or less, if you’re only drinking tea)
If you find yourself craving both the caffeine and the hot drink, black tea has anywhere from 25 to 48mg of caffeine. Green tea has 25 to 29mg. For perspective, a standard cup of coffee has 95 to 165mg. You can also opt for caffeine-free tea. Your grocery store will sell a large variety of tea, from traditional types like chamomile to more unique flavors with vanilla and honey. You can also order these in bulk online, most likely at a lower price.
Fun fact: Did you know that decaffeinated coffee actually does have caffeine? Around 2 to 5mg.
What It All Means
Looking at the numbers, there are a few ways you can cut costs when it comes to your daily dose of caffeine. Personally, I use a mix-and-match approach. I pick one or two days a week to buy a coffee drink. The remaining days I drink my store-bought ground coffee and / or hot water and lemon. This means I pretty much always have a bag of coffee at home, a few lemons and one box of tea. Depending on how much tea I’m consuming and the other beverage consumption ratios, I can usually stretch all of this into a month.
If you still work and your workplace provides coffee, lucky you! This can be a big cost-saver.
If you want to set aside a few minutes to roast your coffee beans, this could be a really strong option!
Does this mean we should all give up buying cups of coffee? No. There is something to be said for treating yourself, knowing where you like to spend your money and cutting out financial room for those expenses. Plus, for some people grabbing a coffee out of the house is a way to socialize. But if you’re looking for little ways to cut back on spending and set aside cash, knowing upfront the big spending picture when it comes to your caffeine can help you make slight changes over time, when necessary.
Hopefully, the above guide helps you see there are ways to cut spending on caffeine. Get creative and have fun with it!