Friday, November 06, 2015

Frugal Fridays: Stop Buying Coffee!

I know. . . sometimes you're running out the door with two kids, a backpack, a briefcase and you realize you haven't even brushed your teeth, let alone had anywhere near enough caffeine to face the day.  (What? Just me?) And these are the days when the allure of the drive through coffee shop is almost impossible to resist.

But, have you ever stopped to ponder just how much your daily cup is costing you?  And if there is an easy way to avoid this cost to begin with? No? Well, it's your lucky day because I, apparently, have nothing better to do than conduct a little coffee comparison shop just for you :)

Seriously, I think this might shock you. . . I didn't expect these results to be so dynamic!


The Big Guys:

So, how much does it really cost to purchase coffee?

The Tim Horton's pricing is courtesy of my husband who just walked in with a Tim's.  The McDonald's pricing is courtesy of me since I picked one up after dropping my son off at preschool.  The Starbucks pricing is from www.fastfoodmenuprices.com since we're not made of money (and also Starbucks is about a 1/2 hour drive from where we live) - if you have a more accurate price for me, please share it in the comments and I'll update this.  Apparently prices can vary from region to region, store to store so let's work with these even if they're a little different than your location.  These are also all the prices for a regular / medium / grande size even though I know they're not all exactly the same in terms of volume.  If you're anything like me, you usually just order the "regular" size (unless you really, really need lots of caffeine, stat) regardless of how much is actually in that cup compared to other stores. . . if not, well, work with me here :)



One Day
One Month
One Year
Tim Horton's
$1.70
$34.00
$442.00
McDonald's
$1.73
$31.14
(including 2 “free” cups)
$394.44
(including 32 “free” cups)
Starbucks
$2.10
$42.00
$546.00

FYI, the monthly cost is based on purchasing a coffee 5 days a week for 4 weeks and the yearly cost is based on purchasing a coffee 5 days a week for 52 weeks.  I also factored in McDonald's loyalty program with their stickers allowing you to buy 7, get 1 free.

So, buying coffee every day definitely adds up to anywhere from $400 - $550 over the course of a year.  That's enough for a mortgage payment, car payment, or a little splurge (like an annual sub to FabFitFun and a nice dinner, or 5 months of Fabletics. . .). But how does it compare to the DIY ways of getting your java fix?

DIY - "Bare Bones" and "Snooty Bean Snob" Styles

So let's go shopping at Walmart.ca - not because I'm a huge fan of that store but because I can buy everything I need to make coffee at home on the cheap (plus they offer ebates, if you didn't know! and if you don't do ebates, here's why you should) .  But just how cheap?

First, we need to buy a coffee maker.  If I'm actually going to make this work on a busy morning, it needs to be programmable (that means I can set it the night before and it will automatically have the coffee ready for me when I wake up - no excuses!).  This one costs only $24.88 and includes a reusable filter (so I don't have to include the cost of those in my calculations) - let's call it "Bare Bones".  It uses ground coffee.  For the coffee snobs out there, I'll also cost out using this fancy one that grinds your beans for you before it brews (it's $79.98) - we'll call this one "Snooty Bean Snob".

I also need a travel mug if I'm going to take this brew on the road.  I actually own this one from well.ca and love it so let's go with that - $29.99.  It holds 12oz of coffee which seems like a good amount for my math. (Oh, and well.ca also offers ebates - you're welcome!)

I'll also use a variety of coffees just in case you have a preference - Folgers Classic Roast, McCafe, and Tim Hortons Fine Grind for my ground coffees; Lavazza Gran Selezione Dark Roast and Bean Head Premium Grade Organic Coffee for my whole beans.

But how much coffee can I make with one bag of beans / ground coffee? What's Cooking America says to use 2 tbsp (or 7-9g) per 6oz of water for the best brew so that's what I'm going to use here. . . except I'll double it because who drinks 6oz of coffee?  According to Leverhead Coffee, 1lb of coffee beans will make about 100 tbsp of ground so I will also use that in my calculations.  This means:



Volume
Price
Approximate # of Cups per Bag/Tub
Approximate Cost per 12 oz Cup
Folgers
920g
$10.97
57.5
$0.19
McCafe
950g
$18.97
59
$0.32
Tim Horton's
930g
$17.98
58
$0.31
Lavazza
340g (0.75lb)
$6.97
37.5
$0.19
Bean Head
340g (0.75lb)
$11.48
37.5
$0.31

For the sake of argument, I will disregard electricity and water costs because. . . really? And also, I didn't include the cost of gas in my car to go pick up a coffee earlier.  Or the cost of owning a car.  Some things are just negligible. . . and including every little thing will take me way longer.  This also assumes you take your coffee black. . . if you don't, then, you know, add the cost of cream and sugar.  I also didn't include taxes or the amount of cashback from Ebates.  Deal with it :)
 
And so?

All of the below calculations include the cost of one travel mug.  Those listed as BB also include the cost of the "Bare Bones" coffee maker while those listed as SBS include the "Snooty Bean Snob" machine.



One Day
One Month
One Year
BB + Folgers
$55.06
$58.67
$104.27
BB + McCafe
$55.19
$61.27
$138.07
BB + Tim's
$55.18
$61.07
$135.47
SBS + Lavazza
$110.16
$113.77
$159.37
SBS + Bean Head
$110.28
$116.17
$190.57

Now clearly no one's going to purchase the equipment and only make one cup ever but this does show that the longer you use the coffee maker and mug, the less the initial cost matters.  Sometimes buying a higher quality machine that will last you longer, works out cheaper in the end.  Just sayin'.

Wow! Clearly making your own coffee at home - even if you buy a fancy pants travel mug, a snooty bean-grinding machine and organic beans - will run you less than $200 a year!  That's a savings of $200-350 per year vs buying coffee daily!  Just think of all the online shopping you could do with that ;)

Until next week, happy shopping!

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