I have something to admit: I'm having an affair with caffeine. While my boyfriend doesn't mind this romantic courtship, my wallet, on the other hand, is furious. Even though I don't buy coffee or tea every day, I've recently found some ways to help save money on my coffee habit before it got out of control. The bottom line is that buying coffee every day can get really expensive.
While it might not seem like you're spending a lot of money at that given moment, excessively purchasing a cup of joe can really add up. According to Yahoo! Finance, buying a $4 latte every day means you'll eventually be spending $1,460 by the end of the year. Think about that before you go to Starbucks so many times that they know your credit card number by heart. Even though I'm not saying you should necessarily give up your coffee addiction entirely, changing up your daily habit might be a good place to start if you're trying to save some money. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways you can still enjoy your cup of joe without having to wipe out your checking out. With a little imagination, a few tools, and couple of DIY projects, you'll be able to have your morning coffee and avoid falling asleep at your desk — without going broke.
1. Use Cash Instead Of Credit
Even though you've probably heard of this trick time and time again, I have to start with it because it's that important. According to U.S. News, studies have shown that customers spend less when they use cash instead of credit. "When you have the tangible money in your hand and you can physically feel it depleting each time you spend, you are much more likely to notice what you are buying and be careful about it, rather than if you just have the ease of swiping a card," said Elle Kaplan, CEO and founding partner of LexION Capital Management in New York.
2. Make It At Home
One of the best ways to save some money without having to get rid of your coffee habit entirely is by brewing your own cup at home. "If you get your coffee from a local coffee shop...every day, stop doing so and brew your own at home...cost is $3 - $5 or $20- 35 a week. That can be close to $2,000/year. And that doesn't include the fact that you are most likely going to buy additional items while you are there (the average consume doesn't just purchase coffee when they go into a store). So, let's at least double that cost to $4,000/year, " says Cary Siegel, author of Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By, in an interview with Bustle over email.
3. Get Creative
If you feel like your large caramel frappé drink is costing you an arm and a leg, there's another way to get the same great taste without blowing a hole in your wallet. "If you love Starbucks Frappucinos 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," said Jeff Rose, creator of Good Financial Cents, on his website.
4. Be Aware Of Your Expenses
Sometimes drinking coffee becomes such a mundane thing that you may not realize how much your cup of joe actually costs. "Biggest eye opener [was] when I asked people last night about the price of coffee (spoke to about 15 people...at my daughter's track meet) — they had no idea how much they spent on a cup of coffee when they bought it somewhere (or how much it cost at a store). It was an eye opener because it was just another example of how little people know about their expenses. While coffee is a small daily expense it adds up over time (anywhere between $1,000 - $4,000 a year). Think how that relates to other expenses," says Siegel.
5. Find An Alternative For Your Coffee Habit
While coffee does provide a good amount of caffeine, there are other ways you can get that same jolt of energy without having to buy a cup from your local shop. According to StyleCaster, exercising, eating super foods, staying hydrated, and getting sun exposure are just a few natural ways you can get the energy without spending that extra cash.
6. Make Coffee Ice Cubes
If you're like me, and tend to make too much coffee at once, fill ice cube trays with the remainder of your brew so it doesn't go to waste. This can save you money so you don't have to buy more beans, and it will allow you to have a stronger cup of coffee without it getting watery.
7. Create Your Own Creamer
If you're brewing your own cup of coffee, why not complement your drink with a tasty homemade treat? DIY creamers are not only cheaper than their counterparts, but they're healthier, too. Without all those harmful additives, you can sip your coffee without worrying about what exactly is going into your body.
8. Download Coffee Apps
If you don't plan on making coffee at home that often, but you still want to save money when you go to your local coffee shop, make sure you download a couple of apps that will save you a buck or two. Level Up and Cups are both great apps to help you save when you purchase your cup of joe. Level Up allows you to pay with your phone and gives you rewards every time you go to your coffee shop. While Cups has prepaid coffee plans for some of your favorite local go-to spots and it allows you to save up to 40 percent off.
9. Buy Whole Beans Instead Of Ground Beans
While you might be saving time by buying ground beans, you'll actually be wasting money because they don't stay fresh as long as whole beans. "The reasoning is that whole beans stay fresher, longer than ground coffee. Here’s what likely happens with ground coffee: You buy ground coffee and it’s great for a few days. And then your coffee isn’t so great. You blame the coffee grounds, thinking they’ve gone bad and toss them out. What have we done? We’ve literally thrown away money," said Tiffany, creator of the Don't Waste Crumbs blog. If you want to save more money, try buying whole beans in bulk, too.
10. Order A Cup Of Black Coffee
Instead of ordering a caramel frappe (which doesn't have that much caffeine, and can costs a fortune), go ahead and buy a black coffee. It has the most caffeine and is less expensive because it doesn't have all those fancy ingredients. According to Caffeine Informer, Starbucks' brewed black coffee has 415mg of caffeine (venti size), which is almost double to what the Frappucino has. Essentially, you're paying less for more caffeine. It's really not a bad deal at all.
11. Stop Drinking Coffee All Together
If you feel like your coffee addiction has gotten out of control, it might be time to get rid of the habit completely. "It may not only save you money but also save you time (and remember, time is money). Think about all the costs that go into making a cup of coffee — coffee, milk, sugar, sugar substitutes, and cream to name most of them. Total cost per week could be somewhere between $15 - 20 a week (just for you). That's over $1,000 a year. And that doesn't include the cost of a good coffee pot," says Siegel.
Even though you're switching things up when it comes to your coffee habit, in the long run, your wallet will thank you.