There is no doubt that for many of us, coffee is the main energy booster to start the day or perk us up through the afternoon. Americans consume 2.7 cups of coffee on average a day and spend $3.28 on average per cup. That is $8.86 spent on coffee alone every day or $3,232.44 in a year.
And if you earn $28,930 (the 2015 per capita income in the US), or $13.91per hour ($28,930 / (52 weeks * 40 hrs), you’re likely to spend 11.17% of your annual income on coffee alone. That’s a staggering amount of money!
We often never realize that every penny we spend on little things, most of which are unnecessary, could be costing us a fortune in the long run. Our coffee habit is one example. Instead of spending $3,232.44 a year on buying your daily cup of joe, this money can be saved for your next vacation or contributed to your retirement savings.
What can you do instead of purchasing a cup of coffee at Starbucks or your favorite cafe?
Let’s take a look at 2 alternatives: making coffee from (ground) beans or single serve cups.
The cheapest thing to do in the long run is to buy a coffee maker and coffee beans.
A quick search on Amazon shows that a single coffee maker can cost between $17 and $181. Let’s assume you get the most popular model (4.1 stars and 5,667 reviews), the Black+Decker DCM18S Brew ‘n Go Personal Coffeemaker with Travel Mug, for $17.
Coffee bean prices can be tricky as your local store may sell it at a lower price than the ones you can find at Amazon. However, these beans may not be to your liking or you’re limited to only a few options. The most highly rated roasted coffee beans (5 stars and 194 reviews) on Amazon is the Kaffeine Koffee Organic Brazilian Bourbon Santos Dark Roast Ground Coffee, which costs $25 for a 2 lb bag.
How long can 2 lb of ground coffee last? Starbuck’s has a recipe for a great cup of coffee: “measure 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water”. According to them, a 1 lb bag of coffee should brew about 64 5-ounce cups. So at a rate of 2.7 cups consumed per day, that 1 lb bag would last for 64 / 2.7 = 23.7 days. A 2 lb bag would last for 47.4 days.
You would need to buy 7.7 bags of that coffee in a year, spending $192.51 annually. Add on the $17 for the coffee maker (assuming it lasts for just 1 year) and the total cost is $209.50.
Compared to buying all your coffee prepared from stores, you would save about $3,024.94, or 93.5%!
The cheapest solution really is to make your own coffee at home, put the liquid in an insulated bottle, and carry it with you when you go out.
Single Serve K-Cup Pods
Compared with using beans, a single serve pod coffee maker is much more convenient, taking less time to prepare and clean up.
Of course you also need K-Cup coffee pods with your coffee maker. I found the San Francisco Bay brand to be a good deal. The 80-pod variety pack is only $26.59, which is spending only $0.33 for one cup of coffee vs the $3.28 average.
As the average coffee consumption a day is 2.7, you would need to purchase 985.5 pods a year or 12.32 packs of 80 pods a year. That totals to $327.60. Add on a $90 coffee maker every year, and the total annual cost would be $417.60.
By using a single serve K-Cup pods, your annual savings is about $2,816.84, or 87% less than buying from coffee shops.
The Best Solution
Ground beans are approximately $200 (or 50%) cheaper than using single serve K-cups.
However, I personally use a combination of single serve K-cup pods for the convenience (compared to ground beans) and occasionally buy coffee outside when I don’t remember to bring it with me.
Sometimes, there are also deals like buy 1 get 1 free that make it less costly to splurge. While spending less is great, sometimes it is worth it to go with a slightly more expensive solution. Besides, I don’t drink nearly the 2.7 cups a day that is supposedly the average, so my overall coffee expenditure is far lower.
How many cups of coffee do you drink every day? Do you always buy from a store or make your own? Let us know your coffee drinking habits below, and how much you could save!