People have a lot of differing opinions on coffee. More specifically, the cost of having coffee each morning. There are some that say it’s not a big deal if getting a coffee at the local ‘Bucks is how you wake up before heading into work. Others claim that if you chose to save that money instead, it could add up to some serious cash. Let’s get to the bottom of this.
When I worked at a hotel as General Manager in my last position, I developed this mindset that I made good money (in hindsight, it was okay money). I worked hard and put in quite a few hours each week. I started finding myself swinging into the Starbucks at the light closest to my work as a reward. It was just a nice pick-me-up and I felt good starting the day that way. Buying a $5 coffee is partially for the coffee itself, but there is a certain “feel good” component knowing you can “afford” to get yourself something nice like that.
I had to cut this crap out of my life. Let’s just go over some quick math that will probably make you sick to your stomach, and then let’s talk about alternatives.
My drink of choice is the caramel macchiato. Not the manliest drink, I know. But I’ve always been a fan of some sweet in my coffee. Also, a funny side note that any coffee snob is going to roll their eyes here because Starbucks’ caramel macchiato isn’t a “real” macchiato. LOL, you can go start a blog about people’s coffee ignorance. But this is a money blog. I digress…
When I go get a coffee at SB, it comes out to $4.65. If I’m not being cheap, which I usually try not to be, I tip a dollar as well. So my per day coffee cost is $5.65.
You could set this up any way you like. But for this example, I’m going to say that the daily coffee grind (see what I did there?) is a weekday thing. So five days a week I’m getting a coffee. You see where this is going:
$5.65 per day x 5 days per week = $28.25 coffee bill per week
$28.25 per week x 52 weeks per year = $1,469.00 per year for coffee. I sh*t you not. Also if you look at that number and don’t bat an eye, this “average dude” blog probably isn’t for you. That is significant money!
Let’s just get crazy and say that you get into that coffee routine for your working life (say, from age 25 to 65.) Let’s also just be super conservative and say that the price of coffee never goes up in those 40 years (fat chance) and that you invest that money instead at a very conservative 7% rate. If you chose not to have those daily coffees, you could have a fat $313,792.46 sitting in an investment account at age 65! THAT’S ALMOST A THIRD OF A MILLION DOLLARS. HELLO.
So now that we’ve done too much math, let’s talk about alternatives. I found out that I love and need coffee in the morning. I still have coffee nearly every morning (and usually it’s seven days a week). Hard to believe, but you can actually make your own coffee at home. Yeah crazy I know. How did I find this out? Well, a couple of things:
My wife and I moved for her to start graduate school. Graduate school is not cheap. Saving money has become much more of a priority to try to mitigate the financial avalanche that we are going to find ourselves buried in when this is all said and done. So, we are trying to save where we can.
On top of that, my new job is 100% remote, so I work from home every day. This has GREATLY helped my habit modification. My NEW habit, instead of rolling into the local Starbucks, is to roll out of bed and out to the kitchen. We get the Costco Columbian roast coffee which is honestly really tasty (coffee snobs, roll your eyes again). A huge three-pound can of pre-ground coffee is only $8.99. And it lasts about 2.5 – 3 months. Probably our “biggest” coffee expense is the creamer we like to put in it, which ranges in flavor, but probably comes to about $4.00 every two weeks. More quick math for you math folks:
$8.99 for coffee for 75 days (2.5 months) = $0.12 per day
$4.00 for creamer for 14 days = $0.29 per day
Grand total coffee cost (this is for 8-10 cups of coffee per day, so I get refills!) = $0.41 per day for TWO people to have pretty darn good coffee.
Even annually, that is only $149.65, or 10% of the example above, getting coffee out each weekday.
All of these numbers are much more tolerable. You may not, and probably don’t work from home, so your answer to coffee portability is to get a nice coffee thermos or drinking cup. I bet you have one stuffed in one of your kitchen cabinets somewhere.
So what is my point here? Well, I don’t care how you make your coffee. Maybe you like nice pour-overs, cold-pressed/brewed, or however else coffee can be brewed. Make it however you like. The savings of preparing your own coffee is nuts. Don’t know how to make your favorite cup of coffee? I would encourage you to learn how to make it! Not only will this help you save money, but you will also gain a new skill in the process. Find what works for you.
You can do this! It’s all about habits. My new habit is to brew a pot of coffee each morning at 7AM. You can make a new habit, too. I know you can!