Coffee. It’s love – love relationship.
There’s no hate when it comes down to this deliciously dark beverage, infused with a teaspoon of milk. Only love.
While we’re a pretty frugal household (most of the time), there is no frugality, no compromising when it comes to coffee. In fact, my husband and I once got into an argument when I suggested we drink up a small container of instant coffee when we ran out of fresh beans a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, you can still pinch pennies and drink quality brew.
10 Ways to Save $390 on Coffee Every Year Without Compromising Quality
(1) Buy beans in bulk.
For the freshest cup of coffee, you shouldn’t buy 50 pounds of beans and store them in your basement. Rather I’m talking about about buying 2-5 pounds of coffee from Costco or Sams instead of one pound from the local grocery store.
We really like the rainforest blend from Costco, and have seen it as low as $9.99 for 3lbs! Compare this to the bags in grocery stores that only have 12 ounces and run $8.99 each!
(2) Grind your own beans.
This may sound redundant. “Everyone” knows that freshly ground coffee tastes better, right?
The reasoning is that whole beans stay fresher, longer than ground coffee. Here’s what likely happens with ground coffee:
- You buy ground coffee and it’s great for a few days.
- And then your coffee isn’t so great.
- You blame the coffee grounds, thinking they’ve gone bad and toss them out.
What have we done? We’ve literally thrown away money!
Preserve the freshness of your coffee and buy whole beans (in bulk). Grind them yourself with a simple grinder – you don’t have to get all fancy and expensive. (This was our very first grinder, but I bet you could find one similar to this one at Walmart or Target for $10 or so.)
(3) Grind the coffee grounds… again.
Whether you buy whole beans (which I hope you’ve decided to do) or pre-ground, grind the coffee yourself (again). The best cup of coffee will come from super fine coffee granules.
I owe this tip to a friend of ours. My husband went to visit him a while back and was offered a cup of coffee, to which he said yes. The friend served and my husband tasted. Being a self-proclaimed coffee snob, my husband evaluated the coffee and thought it was smooth and clean… so much so that he had to ask what kind it was! Do you want to know what the answer was?
Yep! Nothing fancy, regular pre-ground Folger’s coffee. My husband was so sure it was a higher-end, “fancy” coffee, but not so! His friend had merely taken those grinds and ground them again himself, resulting in a superfine granule that brewed an great cup of coffee.
(4) Measure the coffee grounds yourself.
Some coffee grinders have a setting that allow you to choose how many cups of coffee you’re making and in turn, the grinder will grind enough beans for those cups.
When I turn my coffee grinder to 10 cups (the maximum), it grinds roughly 15 tablespoons of coffee. However, when we make coffee, we typically use one level tablespoon per cup of water. 10 cups of coffee (according to the coffee pot, not our mugs) means 10 scoops – not 15!
Think 5 tablespoons doesn’t really matter?
Think of it in terms of one month. For the sake of argument (and easy math), say one pound of coffee beans typically lasts you one month when using the coffee grinder’s measurements. That means every day you’re brewing 10 cups of coffee with 15 tablespoons of grinds.
By measuring it out yourself, you get an extra pot of coffee every two days. Instead of the one bag of coffee lasting 30 days, it now lasts 45.
(5) Don’t grind coffee every day.
This more of a practical tip for the homemaker than anything, but you’re going to love me for it anyway because guess what? You can’t tell the difference whether you grind beans the day of or three days prior!
Save some time and grind enough beans to cover about three days. For me, that would be two rounds of my coffee grinder at 10 cups (15 tbsp + 15 tbsp = 3 days of 10 scoops). When the grinder is done, I measure the grounds into an old sour cream container and then scoop them out from there.
(6) Clean out the grinder often.
We used to have a grinder through put ground coffee through a chute before it ended up in the cup. Thanks to moisture in the air and from the heat used to grind the beans, that chute would get clogged with coffee grounds almost daily.
It wasn’t until I cleaned it out one day and found all these extra grounds!
Plus keeping your grinder clean means a more efficient machine that will last you longer, and give you a better cup of coffee.
(7) Make just enough.
For some reason, we seem to be drawn to making a full pot of coffee… just in case. But how often do we actually drink it all?
We hardly ever pour a third cup of coffee in our house, and to be honest, I’m lucky to be able finish the second cup while it’s still lukewarm. What’s the point of making more than we’ll really drink?
Figure out how much coffee you actually consume and then make just that amount. If by some strange chance you want a third cup, you can always make more!
(8) Drink yesterday’s coffee.
The idea that today’s freshly brewed cup of coffee tastes better than yesterday’s is not always true. The only difference is today’s coffee is hot! So what’s the solution? Keep yesterday’s coffee and reheat it. It’s as simple as that!
Imagine now how many cups of coffee you’ve thrown away… I myself used to throw away anywhere from 1/2 to a full cup of coffee each day. It never dawned on me to make less coffee (tip #6) or to save it for the next day. 1/4 cup of grinds each day adds up to almost 8 cups of coffee each month!
Just to prove that yesterday’s coffee passes the taste test, I’ve been sending “old” coffee with Mr. Crumbs to work lately. Not only has he not noticed, but he even made a point to tell me one day that the coffee was good!
Think this doesn’t apply to you? Take the challenge and find out for sure: Make coffee like usual and drink like usual… whether in two travel mugs, two mugs at home…. however you normally drink your coffee. Then at the end of the day, pour the remaining coffee into a measuring cup to see how much you didn’t drink. Don’t cheat and make it a point to drink the whole pot one day. 😉
(9) Refrigerate Leftover Coffee
If reheating yesterday’s coffee doesn’t sound appealing, consider putting it in the refrigerator instead. Then when you’re craving a cup of iced coffee in the afternoon, it’s already cold and ready for you (and MUCH cheaper than the coffee shop).
(10) Freeze Leftover Coffee
There’s cold coffee in the fridge, but there’s a way to keep it colder LONGER without watering down our homemade iced coffee – coffee ice cubs! Pour the leftover coffee into ice cube trays, freeze and voila! You’ll have delicious iced coffee that won’t water down as the hours pass by.
How Much Can We Save?
Let’s assume we’re paying $9 per pound of coffee and drinking one pound per month. Here’s a simple breakdown of how much each tip above can save:
- Buying beans in bulk = Up to $103.88 per year.
- Grinding your own beans = Up to $27 per year when you throw away the last 1/4 of the bag.
- Grinding coffee grounds again. Perhaps nothing, but you could save up to $36 each year if you find less expensive coffee ground again tastes just as good as the expensive coffee!
- Measuring coffee grounds = Up to $54 per year.
- Not grinding daily. Nothing in monetary value, but it sure does save time!
- Cleaning the grinder = Up to $25 per year.
- Making just enough = Up to $86 per year.
- Drinking yesterday’s coffee = Up to $12 per year.
- Refrigerating/freezing leftover coffee. Nothing off the grocery budget, but up to $4 every time you stop for an iced coffee.
One pound of coffee equals 75 tablespoons, and if you’re spending $9 per pound of coffee, employing all of these tips above would be saving over $390 of coffee each year. And this is merely from shopping smarter and not wasting food!