This is a guest post by Raza Imam of The Coffee Maker Store… on a mission to be the coolest coffee maker site on the planet. Visit his site for the best coffee makers and a growing selection of coffee maker accessories. This is a little different than my usual style of guest post, but I couldn’t resist. First of all, most everyone I know drinks coffee – me included. I knew there had to be some good information to share on how to save money on coffee. So for all my coffee people, this one’s for you. Grab a nice hot Cup of Joe and have a read.
Beside death and taxes, there are two other things I know to be true
- 1) people love coffee and
- 2) people love money (sometimes in that exact order).
So if the first thing you look for in the morning is your beloved coffee, then listen up, because the following tidbits could save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per year.
Consider this: coffee is the second most highly traded commodity in the world, after oil.
Some studies say that Americans consume about 10 pounds of coffee beans per year. To put it simply, as $10 billion per year industry, coffee is big business.
Let’s assume you buy one large mocha per day on your way to work or school. Assuming it’s $4 per cup, you’re spending over $80 per week on coffee. Not to mention lunch, or the afternoon cup of coffee. So how can you get some of that money back in your pocket? The tips below will show you how to save money on coffee:
1) Expensive Doesn’t Mean Good:
In a blind taste test by NYMag food critic Adam PLatt, he ranked 7 cups of coffee, of which Starbucks ranked last! Their coffee is $2.11 vs. $1.79 for Dunkin Donuts. Choosing DD could save you almost $230 per year, that’s if you just have to have coffee when you’re out. The savings are even more dramatic if you’re willing to brew at home. Buying Starbucks beans and brewing them at home can save you upwards of $1200 per year, and over $1000 if you buy beans from Dunkin Donuts. That’s enough for a family vacation to Disney World! Think about that for a minute…
2) Be Creative:
If you love Starbucks Frappucino’s for example, opt for an iced latte instead, it’s pretty much the same thing. The trick is to ask for extra syrup. If you’re still feeling creative, buy black coffee and add your own combination of milk, cream, sugar, etc. Or you could ask for a double shot of espresso in a large cup, and then create your own latte by adding your own milk. You may not get the taste right the first time, but it will help you save some money in the long run. Plus, it could be fun to make your own creative combinations at the condiment station.
3) Gift Cards:
Gift cards won’t necessarily save you money, but here’s a creative twist. Look for gift cards on Craigslist and Ebay. If you work for a big company, see if they sell discounted gift cards. In most cases, you can probably find unwanted gift cards and discounts. This probably isn’t worth your time if you’re an occasional coffee drinker. But if your coffee habit is burning a hole in your pocket, this tip could save you quite a bit.
4) Re-Use Your Grounds 4 Ways:
Used coffee grounds can save you a lot of money around the house. You can use coffee grounds as a natural deodorizer in your fridge or freezer. You can use coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer in your garden or compost heap. The high nitrogen content is very good for the soil. Coffee grounds are also great for keeping neighborhood cats and ants out of your garden. Cats just don’t like the smell, and chemicals in coffee burn ants’ legs.
As if that weren’t enough, you can stretch the coffee you drink by simply adding 50% new coffee grinds to your already used coffee grounds. It’s just enough to make it taste fresh, and also stretch the beans. You may want to do this especially if you’re buying expensive coffee. Just try it out and see if you can taste a real difference. You can always tweak the ratio to match your tastes.
6) Spice It Up:
Do you like flavored coffee? Why not make your own? Here are some cool things you can add to your coffee grounds: whole cloves, dried blueberries, grated orange peels, lemon peels, cinnamon sticks, toasted walnuts, toasted almonds, cocoa, nutmeg, etc. You can even add the liquid extracts to ground coffee like vanilla.
7) Members Only:
If you buy your own coffee beans, consider membership to a coffee club. There are plenty of coffee clubs online. Typically you’ll save money by buying from them rather than buying beans here and there. Just Google “coffee club” and you’ll find tons of coffee-of-the-month clubs to cater to your taste and budget.
8) Natural Energy Fix:
Many people just drink coffee for the caffeine boost. If you just drink coffee for the caffeine induced energy fix, consider this; exercising or eating fresh fruit may give you more energy than a cup of coffee. Some studies say that eating an apple produces much more energy than a cup of coffee. Most people don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables anyway, so you can’t go wrong with this. Exercise has many known health benefits, including adding more pep in your step.
9) Buy a Coffee Maker:
Now this one is near and dear to my heart. Buy a good coffee maker! Buying a high quality coffee maker and consistently using it is the best way to save money on coffee. You’re buying the beans and grinding them at home anyways (you are, aren’t you?) Pod coffee makers are getting really popular, and while they’re great because you don’t have to make an entire pot of coffee (especially if you live alone), the price of constantly buying new coffee pods might start to get a little out of control. Still, they’re a lot cheaper than going to your favorite mega coffee chain.
10) Buy From Big Retailers?:
Some large retailers (even ones known for not treating their employees very well) are starting to offer Fair Trade coffee. This is good for coffee farmers because it helps them earn a more decent living wage for their work. But it also helps consumers because this coffee, which is typically more expensive, is more affordable now that it’s on the shelves of major retailers. It’s too early to tell if this will have a lasting and meaningful impact on coffee famers, but it’s a good start. If you can buy fair trade coffee at a slightly cheaper price, why not?
11) Buy a Mug:
Using a mug will reduce the urge to buy coffee at overpriced cafes. Having other tools of the trade like a coffee maker and thermos will help you avoid the temptation to go out.
12) Froth Your Own Milk:
Get a milk frother for $2.00 from Ikea. Just be careful not to walk out of there with an entire new living room.
13) Look for Free Coffee Deals Online:
Remember “free coffee Mondays” at McDonald’s? There are tons of free deals like this online. CoffeeNate.com has lots of giveaways too.
14) Wait for a Mistake:
This is a goldmine (if you have the patience) … WAIT FOR A MISTAKE… If you hang around long enough, chances are somebody is going to make the wrong drink. When that happens, the drink is made over, and the original drink is usually thrown out… or given away free. All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open and ask for the “mistake.”
15) Grind your Coffee Fast:
Don’t waste your money on coffee that will go stale and lose it’s flavor. Coffee loses lots of its flavor within 20 minutes of being ground.
16) Coffee Ice Cubes:
Create coffee ice cubes to throw in your iced latte. That way your drink won’t be watered down.
17) Make Your Own Creamer:
Flavored coffee creamers can be expensive. You can make your own at home for a fraction of the cost. You can Google tons of different recipes