Many of you have asked us about different things we had to give up during our debt pay down. Here is one of the lighter but serious sides of that struggle. Okay, it is really not that serious. However, it is still near and dear to my heart. I don''t know what kind of coffee you drink, but I'm a coffee snob. I love Starbucks. I know some of you consider them to be a member of the evil empire along with Wal-Mart and others. However, whether you like them or not, buying premium coffee out is expensive.
Just a tall (small size at Starbucks) black coffee at Starbucks is around $1.84 in our area. If you got one every morning of the work week (Mon.-Fri.), here is how that would breakdown:
$9.20 a week
$36.80 a month
$441.60 a year
That's almost $500 a year on coffee! I hate these type of stats . . . I mean I hate them, but they're always very sobering when it comes to money for me. Did I mention that is just a black coffee. How many of you out there get one of those carmel macchiato things? Yeah those go for like $3-5 a pop. Do the math and then give it up.
This was very hard for me to give up! Again, I'm a self admitted coffee snob. We currently have in our home kitchen repertoire:
Coffee Grinder (yes, we buy whole bean . . it's the only way to go . . try it . . you won't go back)*
Standard Coffee Machine*
*I should note here that we got these units as wedding gifts. We did not purchase them during the debt pay down.
Now once we locked down our budget, there was not much room for Starbucks runs. How did I deal with this? The same way I got through a lot of this. I got resourceful.
It's amazing how resourceful you can get when you're faced with no extra money options. Whether its coffee or a weekend trip, look for the deals, coupons, friends, family, and freebies that can help you get from Point A to Point B while still paying down your debt! i.e. coffee: I found that I could get a free cup of coffee at work, at the bank, at the grocery store, my apartment complex, and even the oil change place?!?! Basically, where ever my day took me, I could stop in for a coffee. Now some were better than others in taste, but the price was always right.
Now, I'm not saying be a cheapskate! There is a difference in being cheap and frugal. Don't just walk in and rip people off for the heck of it. However, if you are going to work, a place of business, or errand for a real reason, then I don't think it's wrong to grab a cup of joe on the house.
Okay, we're back from my free coffee tangent! Back to making coffee at home. First, I had to buy whole bean coffee and make all of my coffee drinks at home. This proved to be a trial and error system. The easiest was regular morning coffee. I bargain shopped Kroger, Wal-Mart, . . for the cheapest whole bean bag of coffee I could find that would give me the closest coffee house experience. Living on a tight grocery budget we could not always just buy Starbucks in store. It usually came out to like $8.00 a pound at the grocery. It is amazing to me what high end coffee goes for. We had to suffer through several bags of cheap generic coffee.
I'm not sure what your coffee tastes are, but, for us, the best deal/taste was at Trader Joe's where we could get over a pound of their bottom shelf medium roast for about $4.00.
We basically gave up the other specialty drinks. You can make them, but it takes practice and is very time consuming!! The ones we would keep in the rotation:
*Since we're teachers, we usually got lots of homemade mix from students! This usually lasts us for a while and has a sentimental value.
That sure beats the heck out of instant-just-add-water while your paying down debt!! Tastes great too. Be sure to check back in with us later this week for a cool local feature on our debt journey.
Bryant and Emily Adler