It's not called The Latte Factor™ for nothing. A daily coffee shop habit (once or even twice a day) can put a $1,000+ dent in your wallet each and every year.
Aside from kicking the caffeine habit completely (sacrilege!) there are a number of ways to cut down the cost of a coffee habit. Some are more palatable than others, so not all of them might be for you, but they all end up being cheaper than a trip to Starbucks. Here are five alternatives for that caffeine fix, with the breakeven point expressed conveniently in units of Starbucks® Brewed Coffee Venti drinks (1 SBCV = $2):
- Instant coffee (Breakeven: 2.5 SBCVs). After drinking brewed coffee for so long, I was a little loathe to go back to instant coffee, but it's really not all that bad to my taste! It does the trick, and the only equipment that's needed is something to heat up water. So let's say you have a microwave available, and get one 8-ounce package of Folgers instant coffee for about $5 in the grocery store. That's good for up to 120 6-oz cups of coffee, or over 40 Ventis. By the time you've hit ten regular cups of instant coffee, you're already ahead.
- Ground coffee with an inexpensive coffeemaker (Breakeven: 11 SBCVs). Get a cheap coffeemaker for $10 and a package of ground coffee like Eight O'Clock coffee for maybe $8, and a package of coffee filters for $4, and you're good to go.
- French press coffee maker with ground coffee (Breakeven: 20 SBCVs). This isn't a method I've used at all but I've heard people claim that the coffee is very good when done this way. French presses are in the range of $30.
- Whole bean coffee with a thermal carafe (Breakeven: 50 SBCVs). The oils in the coffee evaporate with time, so getting a grinder like a Krups grinder for $20 will allow the coffee to stay fresher for longer. Additionally, a thermal carafe coffee maker for around $70 won't heat the pot directly, scorching the coffee with time.
- Keurig with double K-cups (Breakeven: 70-120 SBCVs). This is the most expensive way out, but it's still cheaper in the long run than an equivalent Starbucks habit. The Keurig Elite retails for $120 and K-cups go for about $0.50 apiece, so doubling those up to a 20-ounce drink is about a buck just in the (disposable) K-cups. We're got reusable K-cups for $20, which cuts out the need for filters and lets us use our own grinds.
What are your alternatives?