If the Starbucks barista knows exactly how you like your caramel lattes, then Starbucks is likely costing you a latte. If one of the first things you think about each morning is the excuse you plan to give your manager as you wait in line for your coffee, then it is likely costing you a whole latte and possibly your job. Yes, the loss of a job thing was a bit of a stretch, but when you are obsessed with Starbucks and fantasize about premium coffee-is it really that much of a stretch?
It was once easy for me to waste money on daily trips to the coffee shop. With very little expenses and a decent income, I fell hard for the local coffee shop money trap. If you have the means to indulge in a caramel latte daily, then go for it. Unfortunately, I no longer have the means. Once my income declined and my household expenses grew, I knew it was time to make a change. Here are some tips and tricks I used to reduce my coffee cost:
1. Froth It Yourself
When I’m in the mood for a latte, instead of spending almost $4.00 at Starbucks, I simply warm up my milk in the microwave and froth it. Then I pour it over my coffee for the perfect latte. It’s easy to reduce coffee cost by frothing your own milk. Also, buying a $12.00 frother shouldn’t be that big of a deal. In fact, it’s a good investment.
2. Prepare Instant Coffee
If you want to save money, running short on time is no excuse to stop by your local coffee shop on the way to work. Having instant coffee on hand will save you from going over budget. I always keep a box of Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals on hand for emergencies. The box contains 7 single serve packets, and I picked up a box yesterday for $1.19 at Kroger’s. That’s 17 cents a cup. Think about how much more you would actually save if you gave up your $4.00 to $5.00 weekday coffee shop drinks, and made it at home. Awesome right, just fill your favorite travel mug for your commute into work, as you strive to keep more of your funds in your pocket. Whether making instant coffee or brewing your coffee at home, both are good for the soul, your savings, and is a good value for your money.
3. Check for Coffee Deals Online
International Coffee Day is celebrated all over the world, and the holiday is coming up on September 29th (*corrected date). So check online for new deals and freebies to turn up. For many years I benefited from coffee freebies, and other online deals. There is no denying that it was a delicious gourmet premium coffee indulgence that I felt was a necessity to jump start my day. But, life comes at you fast, and it was necessary for me to cut costs and to take a look at my wants versus my needs. So, today I consider Starbucks an indulgence, but I will always view coffee and caffeine filled drinks as a necessity- until the FDA approves a caffeine patch…haha. There will come a time when only Starbucks will do. When that time comes, do not beat yourself up. Simply check online for the best deal or digital coupon available before heading out the door.
4. Buy Coffee from Large Retailers
Reduce coffee cost by buying coffee from a larger retailer like Amazon, Walmart, Costco or Target. Currently, Walmart sells 12 ounces of Seattle’s Best Oganic Fair-trade Coffee for just $4.94. According to their website, this is less expensive than anything you can find from your local retailer.
5. Stop & Count the Coffee Cost
The coffee cost of brewing your coffee at home is between 16-18 cents per cup. According to the Chicago Tribune article published 06/07/2018, Starbucks raised prices of their brewed coffee in most of the U.S. stores, and the small brewed coffee is now $1.95 to $2.15. There are 365 days in the year, so buying just one small brewed coffee drink every morning can cost up to $785.00 per year versus $65.70 if you were to brew your coffee at home. That’s a savings of about $719 per year when we look at just one cup per day of the basic brew. You could purchase a nice, new dishwasher with the savings.
6. Make Coffee Ice Cubes
Concerned about watered down coffee drinks. Well, make your own coffee ice cubes and use them in your home-made iced latte and enjoy the coffee cost savings.
7. Drink ½ a Serving
Cut your serving in half. For me, caffeine in general makes my world go round, and has made the world go round for some time. Who remembers the iconic short jingle from the Folgers coffee commercial “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup”? For coffee drinkers, even half a cup is better than no coffee at all, and of course cutting your serving of coffee in half, will save your bank account, and possibly your health from the effects of too much caffeine. Can you believe the Folgers jingle has been around since 1984? Yep, coffee has made the world go round for some time now.
8. Never Pay Full Price
There is seldom a good reason to pay full price at Starbucks. So, use these 5 tips to cut your coffee cost if you find yourself in the coffee shop:
· Have an iced drink such as a macchiato or mocha instead of a Frappuccino.
· Sign up for the free Starbucks Rewards Program
· Don’t buy the bottled water
· Use your Starbucks discount gift card online and in store
· Use your rewards card to get a free refill
The less expensive option of home-brewed coffee is what I can afford now to energize me, keep me alert, help me to function, cut coffee cost and help me stay within my budget. Most would agree that your first cup of coffee sets the tone for the rest of your morning. How likely are you to prepare your own Venti half caf soy caramel macchiato INCORRECTLY? Not very likely… right? So, why not make it yourself at a fraction of the cost with plenty left to fill your favorite travel mug before your daily commute. One of the greatest savings you can make is to brew your coffee at home, and reserve your visits to Starbucks for special occasions.