Monday, January 12, 2015

Getting My Coffee On & Staying Budget Friendly

Coffee is one of those habits that can be fairly cheap to maintain or quite costly. (see the latte factor for personal finance perspective on this) This applies to both heavy and light coffee drinkers. Hearing this, you might be scratching your head and wondering how that can be the case. Well, let me explain it for you and see if you don't end up agreeing with me.

Scenario one - the heavy coffee drinker who only gets coffee out.

This guy loves his coffee, and he loves a lot of coffee each day. But he is also a little on the lazy side, so he is not really into the idea of actually making his own coffee each day. He happens to live near a Starbucks and there's a great indie coffee shop by his workplace. So, this guy buys all of his coffee out at coffee shops. At a minimum, he has three coffees each day. Assuming an average cost of $4.50, that is $13.50 per day or $94.50 per week for this coffee habit. Talk about pricey!

Scenario two - the heavy coffee drinker who makes coffee at home.

This guy loves coffee but is a bit of a snob about it. No coffee is good enough for him unless he makes it himself. So, he has gone all in when it comes to the perfect home coffee making setup. He's got everything from a good coffee grinder to an expensive Italian espresso machine. He takes his coffee seriously. All this coffee gear has a hefty up-front cost, but after that it's not so bad. He spends $12.99 on a bag of high quality organic coffee beans that he grinds at home. And he uses two of those bags each month. That breaks down to a cost of $6.50 per week or about $0.93 per day. Super cheap, eh?

Scenario three - the morning coffee only drinker who only gets coffee out

This coffee drinker only has one cup a day and is also near some coffee shops. Since her habit is only one cup each morning, she doesn't see the practicality in buying all the home coffee equipment. So, her daily spend is $4.50 or $31.50 per week. Not all that bad, huh?

Scenario four - the morning coffee drinking snob who only makes it at home

This one is also a coffee snob. She figures if she's only having one cup of java per day, then it damn well better be the best cup of coffee in the world. So, she's gotten all the necessary coffee gear for the kitchen so that she can take care of this morning need. She used sites like Quiet Home Lab to find the best value items since she does only use the gear once each day. She also buys that same high quality organic coffee at $12.99 per bag. But, it lasts her for two whole months! That breaks down to $1.62 per week or about $0.23 per day. Doesn't make scenario number three seem so cheap eh?

Moral of the story? It's always cheaper to make your own coffee at home, even if you are outfitting your kitchen with top of the line coffee making equipment. Ideally, you're buying gear that you can use for many years to come, which is why the cost is so freaking low over its lifetime.