9 Simple Tricks to Save $1000 Per Year on Coffee

by A Guest Writer · 11 comments

in Guest Posts

This guest post is from Raza of TheCoffeeMakerStore.com.

It’s hard to argue against these two facts: 1) people love coffee and 2) people love money (sometimes it’s hard to tell which one they love more). So if the first thing you look for in the morning is coffee, then listen up, because the following tidbits could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars per year.

Sound outlandish? Well think about this; coffee is the second most highly traded commodity in the world, after oil. According to some research, Americans consume about 10 pounds of coffee beans per year. Coffee is big, big business. And you’re a big part of it.

Let’s assume you buy two large specialty coffee drinks per day. Assuming it’s $4 per cup, you’re spending over $150 per month on coffee. Not to mention lunch, muffins, or other snacks. Living it up like this might not be much of a strain on your pocket book, but most people could definitely afford to pinch some of those pennies. So how can you get some of that money back in your pocket? Check out these 9 simple tricks to help you save over $1000 per year on coffee:

Expensive Isn’t Always Best

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 cruise to the Bahamas. Let that sink in for a while…

Alternate Your 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,s o you can’t go wrong with this. Exercise has many known health benefits, including adding more pep in your step.

4 Ways To Re-Use Your Grounds

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.

Buy From Walmart?

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?

Mix It Yourself

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.

Look for 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.

Get Spicy!

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.

Membership Has It Benefits

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.

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.

So here are 9 little tricks that will help you save lots of money on your coffee habit. Following this simple advice could you tons of money without having to completely give up your favorite indulgence.

TheCoffeeMakerStore.com is a daily blog and e-commerce store about coffee, coffee makers, and coffee culture. Check it out for the latest coffee tips, tricks and news.

Kelly says: as a complete slave to my morning (and mid-morning and afternoon and snack time) cup o’ joe, I’m always looking for ways to save money yet still drink delicious coffee.

How do you save money on your hot drinks?

{ 11 comments }

1 Emily April 2, 2010

I could never afford a lifestyle that includes Fourbucks – it's almost as bad as a nicotine habit! We rough-grind cardamom seeds and put some in the drip basket of the coffeemaker when we're feeling frou-frou. DH says it tastes pretty close to what they serve company back in the Middle East. And also, if you have leftover brewed coffee, put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. That way, when you whip out your blender to make an iced latte, you're not watering it down.

Now I'm off to make my AM cuppa. :) Thanks for the great post!

2 Kelly April 2, 2010

Sometimes (when I’m feeling flush!) I put a stick of cinnamon in the grounds before brewing. It makes it taste so nice!

3 GC April 2, 2010

I try to grind my own coffee and make it as often as possible. I couldn’t possibly spend $4-8 a day.
I like half -caf anyway. No need to bounce all over the place.
Sometimes a person just needs a nap though. I took one just the other day right after lunch and I felt great!
.-= GC´s last blog ..enough =-.

4 jlyn April 2, 2010

great tips! we LOVE our coffee…& recently invested in a Keurig coffee maker–we were wasting SO MUCH coffee each day because we never could get just the right amount. BUT…the downside is that we no longer have mass grounds to make ELIXIR (which is something you didn’t mention). you do have to buy a special “decanter” of sorts to make the elixir, but it is essentially the last bit of actual coffee from the grounds. it forms the most delicious sweet syrup that we put in the fridge & use in everything from water (like tea/americano with the syrup) to frapaccino’s to cinnamon roll frosting. YUM!
.-= jlyn´s last blog ..lies. =-.

5 Simple in France April 2, 2010

Well, I’m a total coffee fiend, so this speaks to me. However, coffee is kind of my one little luxury . . .so I treat myself. There is a local coffee/tea shop that roasts and sells it’s own beans ground to your specifications. It’s not that expensive really, but I truly enjoy the taste, so that’s where I get my coffee. I’d prefer not to drink coffee at all than to drink coffee I don’t really enjoy–I know from trying a few brands of stuff I don’t really like. . .

I figure that home made coffee is cheaper than going out–although I do occasionally have coffee in a café. . .Just because I enjoy it. But it’s a habit that adds up quickly!
.-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Have you ever felt poor? =-.

6 SimplyMe April 3, 2010

I love how you compared coffee to oil in terms of value – it’s crazy to think about it like that. As a huge lover of all coffee bold, I was a Starbucks Komodo Dragon drinker exclusively, but at more than $13 a pound, it was worth rethinking. I now buy Organic French Roast from Fresh & Easy and (gasp!) enjoy it even more. It’s half the price and can be purchased at the grocery store where I shop weekly. So I save some cash and an extra trip – perfect!

7 MP April 3, 2010

I have yet to find a good coffee maker not made in China that doesn’t cost a fortune…fortunately, my coffee fix gets satisfied by the free coffee at work…so I only have to worry about coffee on the weekend, and holidays, and vacation….

8 Paula April 3, 2010

I use a French Press and purchase custom mixed beans from my local coffee house (J&S Coffee in St. Paul, MN). I save money and support a small business.

9 Raza - TheCoffeeMakerStore April 5, 2010

Thanks for the great comments guys!

@Emily: Thanks for the tip about the ice cube. I’ll be sure to add that to my list

@Jlyn: Can you please tell me more about the elixir/decanter? I’d love to know more about it.

Thanks,
Raza
.-= Raza – TheCoffeeMakerStore´s last blog ..Concept Car That Runs on Coffee =-.

10 Jaime G April 9, 2010

We love coffee around here! We used to be coffee snobs, but then we discovered that Costco sells awesome *organic* coffee, roasted by Starbucks, and it’s only $9.99 for a large 32 oz bag. That’s a great savings over what we used to spend!
.-= Jaime G´s last blog ..A Better-For-You, "Transitional" Cinnamon Apple Dumpling Cake =-.

11 Christy April 16, 2010

I roast my own coffee. I’ve been home roasting for 6 years now. I have a FreshRoast Plus 8 roaster. You can roast coffee in other ways, too. Green coffee beans are available all over the internet. The link I’m posting is for a great site that gives many home roasting options. I can’t even begin to describe how good home roasted coffee is. My husband drinks 12 cups a day (a full pot). One drink of Folgers gives him terrible heartburn. That’s not a problem any more!

http://www.sweetmarias.com/instructions.php

Try it and you’ll fall in love!

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