Coffee, Tea or More Money in your Wallet?


by Liz

Convenience, it is something that comes with a price tag. We have all seen it and we have all, at one time or another, indulged in this luxury.

Whether it be a meal from a drive thru window, buying a cooked rotisserie chicken for a quick dinner entree or stopping for that favorite cup of gourmet java.

Life is busy, and sometimes these conveniences are a godsend.  This article is not about cutting them out of your life, but how to maximize them. Let’s take a look at one in particular and most everyone’s favorite,(especially mine) that cup of coffee or tea that gets our engines running for the day or mid day in my case.

Have you noticed that the lengthier or more fruity the name of the beverage, the heftier the price tag? Ridiculous when you think about it, especially when you consider that the main ingredient in these beverages is water, and if you are a frequent consumer to these kinds of establishments on a regular basis, this cost adds up.  The last time I frequented one of these establishments, the average price for a medium , regular, straight up cup of coffee was around $2.00 and one of those high falutin beverages hovered around $5.00 (and don’t even get me started on the calorie count).  Using some simple math; $5.00 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks in the year = $1,300.00. I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least 10 things off of the top of my head that I would rather spend $1,300.00 on.

Ask yourself, if you were in your own home, would you be making this kind of drink on a regular basis? Or, like most people, would you be making just a regular cup of tea or coffee?  My guess is that most people would answer the latter of the two.  Nowadays, with gourmet flavored, teas, coffees and creamers available at your local grocery store, not to mention the invention of the commuter cups, why is a stop at one of these establishments even on anyone’s radar?

A few Christmases ago, my loving husband gave me one of the best gifts ever. It was a Keurig machine.  Sure, a traditional automatic drip coffee maker with its large filter system is less expensive, but I enjoy fresh, hot coffee and with the auto drip coffee maker, I would find that after about 30 minutes of the coffee sitting on the warmer, it would tend to start tasting bitter, and I would toss out about half a carafe full.

Yes, there is the argument that the pod inserts for these machines are costly as well, however, over the years; there have been many alternatives to the brand specific beverages made for this machine.  Many bulk warehouse stores sell  pods by the case, discount stores sell generic as well as some name brand, discounted pods; it is up to you which of these lower priced alternatives your wallet and your flavor palate can agree upon.

Personally, I have gone one extra step in frugality, and I will get two servings of coffee from just one pod. My first cup of coffee, I always choose the largest cup selection my machine offers, for my second cup, I go down to the second to largest selection. Since these coffees are well concentrated in this little container, I hardly taste a huge difference between the two cups and my average cost is a whopping 22 cents per cup…..much easier to swallow, isn’t it?

Another option is the mesh; reusable coffee pods available in usually a two or three pack at most stores.  With these pods, you fill it with your choice of ground coffee or tea, thereby cutting your expense dramatically. Here is when you can take a little creative license because nowadays you can get coffees and teas in bulk in all sorts of strengths and flavors from almost anywhere and you will still beat the hefty price tag of a convenience purchased $2.00 regular cup of coffee.

Try giving these methods a try for a couple of weeks and see what comfort and compatibility level you can live with. Stop making the beverage conglomerates of the world richer and start putting your hard earned cash back in your pocket.