A lot of people start off their mornings at their favorite coffee spots like Starbucks, Caribou, Dunkin Donuts, Peet’s, and others. But over time this can easily cost a small fortune. Let’s do the math, $4 a day on one latte comes out to $20 a week, and that’s over $80 a month, and a total of $1,000 in a single year. Plus, if you’ve got hungry children who insist on having a pastry or a drink of their own, that amount can easily triple. If you’re familiar with David Bach, then you know about the “latte factor” that he talks about in his books and how it can easily contribute to hindering you from building wealth. If you’ve been looking for a way to save money, whether it be for a nice vacation or just to pay down those credit card bills, you might find these 8 tricks to reduce your coffee bill helpful.
1. Resist the temptation and make your own coffee
Just make your own coffee. Even if you’re into the whole espresso culture, small home espresso machines can often be found for $20 and $30 at chain drugstores. High quality beans are readily available and all those flavored syrups are only about $5 a bottle at the local grocery store. I know that homemade coffee isn’t as glamorous as holding a fresh Starbucks cup, but honestly does it really taste all that much different?
2. Experiment at the coffee shop condiment station
Some people are coffee purists and drink the stuff black, but most others like some extra flavor adding milk, cream, and sugar. If you do end up going to a coffee shop, try getting a cheaper basic coffee and experimenting with the mix of cream, sugar, and additional powders/flavors at the condiment station. Your own creation could end up tasting just as good as a specialty latte without costing an extra $1 or $2.
3. Buy “used” gift cards to coffee shops
Let’s face it, people often default to gift cards for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, and Christmas. Recipients don’t always like or need these cards so they put them up for sale willing to accept less than what they’re really worth. You’ll find people selling all kinds of “used” gift cards at a discount on sites like Craigslist and eBay, including cards for coffee shops like Starbucks. If coffee really is making you poor and you can’t resist going in for lattes, this trick might save you some cash.
4. Flavor your own coffee at home
In many European countries, people simply brew coffee with an inexpensive flavor right in the basket. How can you do this? Simply toss a few dried cloves, a cinnamon stick, dried orange peels, or whatever strikes your fancy into the grinder with the beans. If you don’t grind your own beans, check the grocery store to get those “$1.50 a pump” syrups for only about $5 a bottle. After this, you can’t use “wanting something different” as your excuse to go to Starbucks anymore.
5. Reuse your coffee grounds
Used coffee has many applications including: a natural deodorizer in your refrigerator, a high-nitrogen additive for your garden or compost heap (especially good for tomatoes), and an effective (and safe) pesticide. Of course, you can also reuse them to make more coffee. Mixing fresh coffee half and half with used grounds is often undetectable to your taste buds, and you can save as much as 50% on your coffee using this trick. You can experiment with the percentages for optimal results.
6. Give yourself a natural boost instead of caffeine
If you’re spending money on coffee just for the caffeine fix, remember that many other things can give you the same boost. For example, eating an apple is proven to give you as much alertness and energy as a cup of coffee, if not more. Exercising in the morning is another great way to boost your energy levels (and your overall health).
7. Look for special coffee deals online
Search the web for terms like “free coffee” and “coffee sample” and you’ll find plenty of freebies. SlickDeals.net, in particular, is one of my favorite deals sites. I recently discovered the followings coffee deals through the site: $1 iced coffee from McDonald’s, 50% off Starbucks Frappucinos “Happy Hour”, and $1 off new Starbucks ice cream. Additionally, you can even look up coffee membership websites and see if they’ll send you samples before you become a member. This can get you some of the best coffee around.
8. Make coffee popsicles or ice cubes with leftovers
This one’s for the real coffee junkies. If you have leftover coffee in your pot, pour it in an ice tray and freeze it. You can even put in toothpicks to make mini popsicles. Or you can make iced coffee at home and then use the coffee ice cubes to prevent watering down your drinks. This might seem like it’s over the top, but it’s coffee that would otherwise go to waste and it’s pretty fun!
These 8 tricks to save money on coffee are simple, but over time, they add up and you could save a lot of money. If you’re looking to cut costs and maintain your coffee habit, try out some of these methods. Do you have any other coffee tricks not mentioned in this article? Please share them in the comments below!