Change Your Coffee Habit and Then Keep the Change
Everyone needs a little pick-me-up in the morning, but at $4 for a medium latte, it starts to add up. If you bought one every weekday on your way to work, you would be spending more than $1,000 over the course of a year! Rather than kicking your coffee habit altogether, here are some ways to save money while still getting your caffeine fix.
Invest in the Right Coffeemaker
If you can’t resist a morning latte, invest in an espresso machine with a steamer wand for milk. Pick up a bag of dark roast (make sure to grind it finer than you would for a regular coffeemaker), a bottle of your favorite flavored syrup and your dairy (or non-dairy) product of choice, and you may like your own creation even better than what you were buying.
If you prefer flavored coffee or the convenience of the drive-through, a machine that uses coffee pods may be the right choice for you. Coffee pods cost a bit more per cup than coffee beans, but they cost less than what you pay at the coffee shop while still giving you the convenience of almost-instant brew. Some single-serving coffeemakers come with reusable pods, so you can purchase beans by the bag but still make just one mug at a time.
Coffee purists may want a French press or pour-over coffeemaker to get the freshest, highest-quality flavor. Keep it at the office if you prefer to enjoy your coffee throughout the morning rather than at home or on your commute.
Find Your Favorite Flavor
If you don’t know what kind of coffee beans you might like, take some time to try different types. Buy a few smaller bags, like you might see in a gift basket or hotel room, that vary in intensity and flavor. You can also try different brands to see if you like one better than another.
The first time you brew a new kind of coffee, you may want to taste it black—fresh from the pot—so you can begin to distinguish what different flavors of coffee taste like. If you don’t like it, try something bolder or smoother next time. As you try more varieties, you’ll get a better sense of what you like and what you don’t. Once you know what you like, you can compare the prices of different brands or stores and make an informed decision that works for your palate and your budget.
Talk to your friends, neighbors and co-workers about your experiment, and you may find others who are in the same boat. Split bags, or even start a coffee club at work. You can either collect money to purchase community bags of coffee or simply take turns buying a bag at a time. The beauty of sharing is that if you don’t like one, you know you won’t have to drink it for too long.
This may seem counterintuitive to saving money, but if you don’t enjoy drinking the coffee you’ve made, you could very well fall back on your old habits. Having the right supplies and accessories will help.
- Pick up a couple of high-quality travel mugs that keep your coffee hot for several hours.
- Purchase a grinder so you can brew coffee from freshly ground beans every morning, maximizing the flavor and freshness.
- Set up a coffee station in your kitchen so everything you need is organized and within reach.
Just because you aren’t buying coffee every morning doesn’t mean you should never buy coffee again. Consider barista-made delicacies a treat, and buy one when you have the time to sit and enjoy it. Whether it’s once a week, once a month or even less frequently, give yourself time to indulge while you read a book, do a crossword puzzle or catch up with a friend.
Buying coffee every morning is convenient and delicious, but the cost adds up fast. With a few simple adjustments, you can make a delicious cup of coffee at home and still indulge in a venti half-caf no-foam no-whip mocha every once in awhile.