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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 a 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 to save money on coffee.
Be Your Own Barista
The fancy drinks like lattes and cappuccinos are the drinks that really drain your pocketbook. Save money on coffee by leaving the coffee house to the crowds and brewing your favorite drink at home!
Cappuccino machines come in a range of price points, from entry level all the way to super-deluxe. Keurig even makes a latte/cappuccino maker now! 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 like a sweet drink like I do, don’t forget the syrups!
Straight Up Espresso? Even Easier.
You don’t need a cafe if a plain, strong cup of espresso is what keeps you going. In fact, it’s really easy to save money on coffee if you buy a stovetop espresso pot. I highly recommend looking at Bialetti. 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 one-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.
Regular Joe? Easiest Yet.
Do you like to go out for a cup of coffee in the afternoon to combat the post-lunch slump? I hear ya. But even a $2 cup of coffee adds up (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. Oftentimes, an inexpensive personal 2-4 cup machine will do the trick, making it a great way to save money on coffee. 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.
Save Money on Coffee: K-Cups and Ground Coffee
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. These 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. It’s a much more environmentally friendly option too. We use these pretty much exclusively at my house anymore.
If you’re buying coffee at the grocery store, check out grocery rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout51, and SavingStar to see if you can get cash back for your coffee (to learn how grocery rebate apps work, check out my money saving resources).
Earn Gift Cards for Free Coffee
It’s all About Balance
I’m the mom of two little boys so I know a thing or two about caffeine and needing a cup of coffee. I would never suggest you give up your coffee habit. But you can still have your coffee without draining your savings.
I hope I’ve given you some inspiration on how to save money on coffee. Use the tips above for every day, and reserve the coffeehouse for a day when you need a special treat.
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. With two little boys, 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 room. But there are many other uses for coffee grounds too. In fact here are fourteen additional uses for those grounds.