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Learning how to save money on coffee transformed my impulse spending. If you’re like me and want to spend more intentionally here are 7 ways to keep your caffeine fix from breaking your budget.
For me, coffee isn’t just a jolt to get me going in the morning. It’s part of my routine, it’s a tasty treat that transitions me from sleeping to functioning.
I’ve always considered myself a moderate drinker, not a bean snob but I won’t drink hot brown water just for the kick. I’m somewhere in the middle of my friends who go to Starbucks everyday and the man I live with who won’t touch a coffee beverage.
But coffee is the number one thing that ruins my personal budget. Lattes and nitro cold brew add up. I’ll easily (and gladly) spend $4-$5 on a coffee beverage in a quaint coffee shop or while running errands.
So when I committed to doing a No Spend Challenge I wanted it to teach me rather than torture me. I didn’t want to give up coffee for a month only to buy 7 takeout coffees my first week back. That meant finding a way to enjoy it so much at home I wouldn’t want to buy it out.
Here are the 7 best ways I’ve found to save money on coffee.
1. Make Better Coffee
Folgers just doesn’t have the appeal that a latte does. So instead of setting yourself up for java failure spend a little more to save big. I buy locally roasted bean from an Italian market for $9.99 p/lb. Less than two pounds will last me all month which comes out to $.67 per day. Way better than a tall cup o joe at Starbucks for $1.85.
You can go a step further by grinding your beans at home. Coffee purists say it preserves the oils longer giving a better flavor to your brew.
2. Make it Fun
You know what’s awesome? Coffee. You know what’s awesomer? A makeshift latte in a fun mug in the “coffee shop” corner of your house!
Sometimes I have to psychologically trick myself into thinking I’m where I’m not.
Seriously though, if you prefer lattes but can’t throw down the daily $3.65 for hot foamy milk, don’t fret, you can do it at home! My old roommate taught me this trick, heat up your milk in a microwave safe mug then froth it with a $10 frother. Pour it over some strongly brewed coffee and voila! Latte!
It’s even better on a comfy couch in your PJs in a really fun mug. Mine is from a friend and says “Caffeinated AF.” (But I’m obsessed with these mugs on Amazon)
3. Improve You Brew Method
I hesitate to reveal this but I have a regular old automatic coffee maker for my hot coffee. I hope this doesn’t change how you feel about me.
I can hear baristas shudder as I type. It works for me but don’t think you have to use it just to save money. For the same price as a pot brewer you can get several different types of brewers.
Huffington Post tested 9 methods of brewing coffee and found that the Chemex produced the best tasting cup. You can use the same coffee you love and get an even better taste. High five!
4. Cold Brew
Here in Florida, summers are no joke. We’re lucky to see lows in the 80’s at night. So when temperatures rise I switch to iced coffee. I used to brew a pot and stick it in the fridge but as my palette has refined so has my iced coffee
It’s actually stupid easy to make cold brew iced coffee at home. I started out using a jar and cheesecloth method then I realized the simplicity and ease of the French press method. The Kitchn has the exact recipe I use to make cold brew iced coffee.
If you’re still skeptical about making it yourself, there’s another way. I love Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. It’s $7.99 and makes 12 cups of cold brew coffee. That’s $.67 per cup, same as the nice coffee and cheaper than getting a grande cold brew at Starbucks for $3.25 (which is actually the cheapest among cold brews)
5. Make Faster Coffee
Sometimes I don’t have time to make coffee in the morning and drink it before I head to work. And I can’t help that there’s a great coffee shop literally on my way to work! So sometimes I use instant coffee as a back up.
Hey don’t stop reading just yet!
Instant coffee is just dehydrated regular coffee. I discovered it when I was working/living on the road for 3 months. When all you have access to are coffee shop, instant coffee saved my life and my bank account.
Huffington Post (God bless ‘em) also tested the best instant coffee brands and concluded that the top 5 tasted like a regular cup of coffee. So I like to keep some on hand. It makes great iced and hot coffee and I’ll add it to brownies and cakes for a little oomph in flavor.
6. Earn Gift Cards for Starbucks
It may feel as though I’ve spent a lot of time bashing Starbucks, only their prices. And in reality when you compare them with locally owned coffee shops they’re usually cheaper.
On those occasions that I need a fix and Starbucks is my only option I’ll definitely go. But I try to just use gift cards and rewards. I love buying discounted gift cards but getting them for free is much sweeter.
The easiest way to earn them is by doing surveys. You can redeem 500 Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks by watching videos and doing surveys. When you reach 1250 points on Harris Poll you can redeem them for a $10 Starbucks gift card. Survey Cool said it took him about 10ish surveys over two months to get there.
You can also get the cash equivalent of your Ibotta rebates in a Starbucks gift card. It takes a little extra work but if you take a little time every week to work on it you’ll rack in gift cards that are there when you need them.
7. Drink Less
And count the shot of espresso you added with 64 mg of caffeine or the soda you had with dinner with 29 mg and you’re dangerously close to some bad health side effects.
I know we’re all guilty of over indulging in the jitter juice (#College) but if you’re still breaking 4 cups a day it’s time to start cutting back. For your wallet and your health.
Consider breaking up your coffee intake to 200 mg in the morning and 200 mg after lunch and avoiding other drinks with caffeine. Or forgo the second cup if you want a rum and coke after work (Oh did you forget about alcoholic drinks!?)
Cutting out fancy coffee may not make you rich but it’ll definitely make a difference in how fast you reach your financial goals. Bottoms up!