Coffee has part of my daily routine since I was a freshman in college.
Living in New York City, there was certainly no shortage of great coffee roasters and shops serving up some of the best beans available. Although admittedly, my tastes back then were limited to whatever sweet concoction was cheapest and tastiest to pick up from the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or even the corner bodega.
Since then, my coffee preferences have matured somewhat, but so have the costs of my addiction to my morning caffeine buzz.
When I started to realize just how often I was refilling my Starbucks app, it dawned on me that I was spending way too much money on coffee and needed to find another solution, or at least try to.
So I decided to go a month without buying coffee while out even once and see where that got me — and I wound up saving $154 in one month.
My partner and I used to spend $241 a month on coffee
My partner and I, now living in London, are both avid coffee drinkers. When I totaled up our weekly Starbucks and Costa bills, I noticed we were spending an average of 40 pounds, or $52, a week. And that didn’t include the ground espresso we kept in-house for our pre-gym morning shots, which, since we used a full canister a week, was coming out to 6 pounds ($8). Totaling that up meant we were spending about 184 pounds ($241) on coffee alone.
Seeing this figure in black and white was a bit jarring. Our coffee orders aren’t even that complicated! I always get a Venti iced cold brew, black and unsweetened, while my partner opts for a Grande latte.
The fact that those trips to the Starbucks drive-thru, which we were doing roughly five days a week after the gym, were adding up to such an extreme amount really made us do a double take.
Something had to give.
We decided that we could still have our daily fix. We’d just make our coffee at home for a month and see how we felt about it.
So we bought our own coffee to make at home — and were shocked when we totaled the bill
I did some research to find the best UK-based coffee roaster and found a few with beans that had flavor profiles that seemed like something we’d like. I placed an order with York Emporium for two 200-gram bags of Australian Skybury beans for a total of $27.50 and we also continued to use our Illy ground espresso at $8 per canister.
We own a Burr grinder, so grinding fresh beans was a quick and easy affair. I decided to use our Hario cold brew pitcher to make our own iced coffees at home, and while it initially has to steep for 24 hours, I was able to create an iced Americano from hot espresso shots in between pitchers. Our De’Longhi espresso maker also has a milk steamer and frother, so creating my partner’s lattes was a pretty simple affair as well. It wasn’t quite Starbucks, but it was a start.
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Initially, not taking those morning trips to the coffee shop was a little disappointing. We always went after the gym, and getting my Starbucks order was always like a little reward for completing a hard workout. It took a couple of weeks to get out of that mindset, but I eventually began to look forward to coming home to coffee already in my fridge — and the fact that I knew it was free (or at least a lot less expensive than buying one out) also helped. Since my partner tends to leave half of her drink untouched anyway, I definitely appreciated the savings there.
Because we were making so much coffee at home — a double shot for each of us before the gym plus our post-gym refuels — I did have to re-order an additional 400-gram of our beloved Australian Skybury halfway through, adding on another $21.50 to the monthly coffee bill, but that was no big deal.
In total, I ended up spending $86 in total on coffee for the month. Compared to the $241 we were previously spending in the same period of time with our daily Starbucks trips, that’s a savings of $154.
It’s safe to say that while we’ll likely go back to having the occasional treat, we definitely won’t be going back to our old habit. Now I just have to think of what else we’ll do with all that extra money!