Drink Coffee? How I Save Hundreds Per Year On My Caffeine Habit

If you rely on mass amounts of caffeine to power through your day like I do, you’re undoubtedly already aware of the fact that buying that "daily latte" can get expensive. Quickly. You could save hundreds by reducing or eliminating (too ambitious!) this cost. Let’s run through a quick example:

Scenario 1

  • You get Starbucks (or similar) about once a week.
  • Yearly cost: $208

Yikes! But how many people avoid temptation only once per week? Let’s bump it up a notch.

Scenario 2

  • Starbucks (or similar) 2-3 times a week.
  • Yearly cost: $520

Wow, $520 on just coffee. Is it really worth it?

Scenario 3

  • You have a daily routine/habit, Starbucks (or similar) 5 times a week.
  • Yearly cost: $1040


For the above calculations, a $4 average cost-per-drink was assumed. For most Americans, my guess is that they fall somewhere between the second and third cases. For some of the more budget-conscious folks (probably you!), this number might be less.

How I’ve Managed To Save This Cost

A few months ago, a friend recommended a product to me called the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker. After reading through the reviews and doing some research, I decided to give it a shot. After all, we’re talking $25 dollars (with free 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime members!), so it essentially pays for itself after a handful of uses.

Fast-forward To The Present

I can honestly say that the return on my AeroPress might make it the smartest investment decision I’ve ever made. I literally make myself a Starbucks-quality latte every morning (sometimes multiple times per day) for a fraction of a fraction of the cost. Really, I often-times think it tastes better. If you don’t believe me, check out the reviews on Amazon (they speak for themselves). Here’s how I’ve been using it:

  • I’ve found Yuban Original Ground Coffee to be a pretty good bang-for-the-buck. Sure, there are plenty of cheaper ground coffee options, but Yuban (based on my research) hits the sweet spot for price vs quality. I’ve purchased it several times now and it tastes phenomenal. As far as a per-cup cost, it comes out to about $0.16 by my calculations.
  • Fill half of the cup/mug with the milk of your choosing. For this I’ve used both soy milk and regular skim milk, and both taste great. I usually microwave the half-full cup of (previously refrigerated) milk for 1.5 minutes before pressing the coffee. Per beverage, I estimate this costs about $0.19.

There you have it. Simply press, stir, and enjoy, for a grand total of $0.35. If you really want to get fancy, the same company also makes a frother to give it that real "latte feel". Personally I can do without it, but to each their own. You can also make an Americano or espresso depending on what you add instead of milk (water and nothing, respectively).

How Much Do I Save?

Drum roll

Consider scenario 2 above, where we’re assuming that I’d purchase Starbucks 2-3 times per week to the tune of $520 per year. Now, that same amount of lattes costs me $45.50 per year.

I save: a whopping 1142%.

But wait, there’s more!

Now I’m drinking the same quality (or honestly better) latte every day, including weekends, and multiple times per day at that, and still paying far less!

What are your experiences? Do you own an AeroPress? What creative ways have you found to save on your expensive caffeine-driven habit? Comment below!

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  • http://twitter.com/simpleislandliv simple island living

    Awesome.  We save a ton of money with our french press.  I make my husband’s coffee while i pack our son’s lunch, put it in a thermos for him and he’s good to go for the day.  

    • http://www.wealthnerd.com/ Dan Simmons

      So simple and easy isn’t it?!  And the savings it amounts to over time is tremendous!

      I tend to try to avoid Starbucks at all costs (although I’ll admit that I cave in every once in a while), except for perhaps occasional business and/or networking, which does include catching up with friends.

  • http://twitter.com/AverageJoeMoney Average Joe

    My brother in law uses this, too. I already had a Keurig (so sexy but average-or-worse coffee), so I’m stuck there.

    • http://www.wealthnerd.com/ Dan Simmons

      My parents (along with the majority of my extended family) own Keurigs as well.  I’ll admit that they are tremendously convenient, and there are certainly some decent-quality K-Cups (albeit pricey), not to mention the futuristic awesome-factor that you alluded to =D  I’d certainly consider it a viable alternative!  

      While it’s not quite *as* inexpensive, it certainly beats your average coffee-shop in price and can easily be viewed as an investment over time.  One perk of the Keurig that’s worth mentioning is the sheer variety of K-Cups that you can put through it — some of the teas are fantastic!     

  • http://twitter.com/seedebtrun See Debt Run

    Love this idea!  I only drink one cup of tea a day, but will keep this in mind for friends and family.  I really don’t like Keurig at all and think this is a great alternative.  We had a Keurig in my office at work, and I just thought it was so wasteful (I don’t even think the cups are recyclable) and I had the hardest time finding ingredients on any of the cups anyway.  Since I have food allergies, that was kind of a big deal.  Even if you don’t have food allergies, though, don’t people want to know what they’re ingesting?  Might be in the minority there.  ;)

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  • http://thewalletdoctor.com/ Leonard Carter

    The coffee habit can be a real challenge to the wallet! Its great to make it at home if you can be happy with it. I know some people who really enjoy the atmosphere of coffee shops, so they are getting something more than just the coffee for their money. But that totally depends on what you do with the purchase.

    • http://www.wealthnerd.com/ Dan Simmons

      Good point! I didn’t take into consideration the “atmosphere effect”.

      There are certainly times where that’s useful and/or desirable. But if you’re solely after your daily (or maybe even hourly) fix of caffeine, there are certainly cheaper options!