Let’s start with this: I’m not a coffee drinker. So, I certainly do not know what it’s like for coffee-holics to wake up and not have their coffee. In Dolly Parton’s dedication to the working class, “9 to 5,” the need for “a cup of ambition” to “try to come to life” is definitely understandable given today’s get-up -&-go lifestyles. Maybe I’m lucky; maybe I’m missing out. Whenever I’m having a cup of java, it needs to be dressed up so it doesn’t taste like coffee as much as whatever creamer or syrup is in it. But that doesn’t exclude me from the high costs of purchasing java drinks, wherever I may be. Let’s keep your love of coffee going, but at a more delicious savings for your budget.
Reduce trips to expensive coffee houses. Yes, I know, for some this may not only be near-impossible, but it may also be sacrilege to even suggest – until you start doing the math, that is. Take your average cost of regular coffee – not latte’d, frapp’d, or skinny’d – of roughly $2.00 per medium serving at the chain stores. By the way, if you choose latte, frap, or skinny, that average bumps up to about $3.00. If you’re visiting your neighborhood store enough for the baristas to know your name, it’s an opportunity for you to create savings. Stop going so often, and take the money you would have spent and put it in the savings jar or shoebox. Then, see how fast you need to empty it, or get another jar or shoebox!
If you just cannot be without your favorite chain coffee store coffee on a daily basis, look for specials. In a major coffee shop chain store I walked into recently, offers were posted for a 50-cent discount if you use your own mug and another 10-cent discount if you could correctly answer their trivia question. This can be viewed as a seemingly small savings, but bundle them together over ten trips, and you have some extra coffee money!
Find a locally owned & operated coffee house. There are “mom & pop” coffeehouses – small businesses – that offer a savings over the chain stores. Hidden java gems may be on the opposite side of the plaza from the chain store. It may even include a different music selection, interior design, or clientele. You won’t pay the mark-up found at the chain stores, and may even find something more creative. You may even enjoy the atmosphere better, as well as contributing to a local business entrepreneur.
Buy your morning coffee at the local gas station. That’s right, I said it: this is one item you can buy at the gas station convenience store and actually get your money’s worth comparatively. Some of these gas stations increase your savings by offering a mug club of their own – buy a mug & your refills are reduced by 20 cents per fill-up. To start, you’ll be dropping a smaller amount to help you through your day – roughly $1.20/$1.30 for 20 ounces of “ambition” at two different gas station chains in my area. And if you make the “investment” of $4 or $5 on their mug, you’ll be saving on top of that! The savings may seem paltry per individual purchase, but over a standard five-day work week, that’s $5. If we multiply out, that’s $20 per month, $240 per year. Still think it’s a small savings?! If the gas station version does the same trick as the chain store coffee, then you’ll enjoy that savings even more.
Buy a coffeemaker. You will recoup the costs in a manner of weeks by reducing trips to your chain coffee providers. Granted it’s not as romantic as slapping down your cash for someone else to pour your coffee, but makes a lot of cents. Plus, if you buy a style that can be programmed, the aroma may help motivate you to get out of bed in the morning. Again, I’m not a habitual coffee drinker, but when I visit good friends at their home in the mountains, my great friend’s wife programs the coffeemaker to start brewing at sunrise. There’s almost nothing better than that cup of coffee in the early morning hours watching the sun come in over the mountains. And, after you buy the coffeemaker, buy coffee at the grocery store. Your per pot cost will be cheaper than your per cup purchase at the coffee shop. And, if you grab a coupon, you’ll reduce some of the ever-rising coffee costs!
Changing your coffee-buying habits can help you achieve more savings. You pay heavily for the “convenience” of waiting in line & stirring up the money for your daily cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. But if you choose to cut corners, you can grind out some savings and still “survive” with alternative solutions. Dolly’s “cup of ambition” can be more attractive at a lower cost, saving you money for more adventurous pursuits than standing in line to order designer coffee.