Making coffee at home rather than stopping at a neighbourhood shop can save you a significant amount of money.
It’s amazing to see how saving that little bit each day can add up over a year. Check out some interest calculators, like this one, to see what happens over time. Saving for a big purchase becomes easier when you can see how your money is multiplying itself.
Stopping for coffee on our way to work every day is a luxury, but we tell ourselves that it’s not that expensive.
We should be making coffee at home, but it’s not always convenient.
We should stop making excuses, because it’s costing more than we think.
Have you ever done the math? Crunched the numbers? Proven that it’s not impacting your budget? Let’s do that together and stop wasting money!
Before we go ahead with the numbers, please know that I am not showing you this so you feel bad about yourself! The intent is to open your eyes to what a seemingly small expense can do over time. You should know the exact cost of that cup of coffee so you can make an informed decision. What you do after reading this article is up to you, though I am hoping you’ll see it my way.
I also want you to know that you are not alone: 71% of Canadian adults(1) and 62% of American adults(2) drink coffee. That makes coffee a very popular drink indeed! Definitely more than just with you and me! According to both countries’ coffee associations, there is a shift towards gourmet coffee in both countries. That means we’re drinking more expensive coffee than ever.
You can save lots of money!
Did you know you could save more than $30,000 over 25 years?
Even if you’re meeting all of your financial goals and the coffee money isn’t eating into your savings or cash flow, I’d like you to reconsider buying that coffee on your way to work. Because no matter how much in control of your finances you think you are, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re struggling to pay the bills or to save for a big expense and you think that a few dollars a day won’t make a difference, please read on!
The numbers don’t lie!
The cost of Buying coffee at a shop
Let’s assume a couple of things:
- You work 5 days a week.
- You treat yourself to a cup of coffee on your way to work every workday.
- You enjoy 3 weeks of vacation, which means you work 49 weeks out of every year.
- Each cup of coffee costs you $3.00 (somewhere between run-of-the-mill and fancy; between small and XL).
Let’s have a little fun with the numbers:
One (coffee) each (work)day: $3.00 x 5 = $15 per week. 49 weeks per year: $15 x 49 = $735 per year.
All because of one cup of coffee on your way to work.
Seem pricey to you?
Hey, you say, it also costs money to make coffee at home. It sure does so let’s see how much.
The cost of Making coffee at home
- One bag of coffee costs me $10 and makes about 34 cups, so that works out to $0.29 per cup
- Let’s assume that:
- I have a coffee maker that cost me $40 and I use it to make one cup of coffee each workday for 5 years. 5 years = 245 work weeks = 1225 work days. $40 over that many days = $0.03 per cup! We all know that I’m still drinking coffee on the weekend and I usually have a cup when I get home from work, so it actually costs me less than that, but let’s use those numbers for arguments’ sake.
- I have a $25 travel mug that I need to replace every 5 years. This adds $0.10 to my cost.
My work-day cuppa coffee costs me: $0.42 x 5 = $2.10 per week. $2.10 x 49 weeks = $102.90 per year.
By making coffee at home, I’m spending over $100.
I’m also saving $632.10 per year!
What’s that, you say?
That’s right, because I’m making coffee at home rather than buying it on my way to work, I’m saving money!
The money you can save by making vs buying coffee
$735 – $102.90 equals $632.10 in your pocket. Every year!!
What could you do with an extra $632??? You could…
- Buy an e-reader.
- Bring the whole family to an amusement park.
- Buy a gym membership.
- Fly across the country. Unless you’re a fellow Canadian, in which case you can go partway across the country.
- Go skiing every weekend.
- Try out skydiving or … let’s agree that you and I would have no trouble spending the money!
Here’s an article I wrote about the importance of having financial goals: How to Create a Financial Plan (and why you need one)
Imagine you put that money aside instead, that you deposited it at the bank. If you invested that $632 every year for 25 years and earned 5% interest of interest per year, you’d save over $30,000!
That is quite the retirement present to yourself!
- You could afford to travel, or to buy that golf membership.
- You could buy a car (though you should really consider buying a used car rather than a new one).
- You could go South in the winter, or go visit the grand-children.
Here’s how it works:
The “magic” of compound interest
After 25 years of saving money by making coffee at home, you will have put $15,800 in the bank. The bank pays you interest for doing that: $14,363.53 of interest, to be exact! This adds up to $30,163.53
If you can’t imagine setting that much aside; if saving $632 per year sounds like too much of a chunk to handle, break it into smaller chunks. Think of it this way: it is also $52.67 per month or $12.90 each work week, or $2.58 each time you go to work.
Try it. Try paying yourself (into your savings so you’re not tempted to spend it) $2.58 each day you go in to work. Now don’t touch it for 25 years….
So, rather than suggesting you give up drinking coffee altogether (that would be CRAZY!), I propose that you invest in a travel mug and make coffee at home.
Don’t want to stop cold-turkey? At first, put some money aside into savings, just $10 a week. Then try one of these methods:
- Set aside an amount each week for “treats”. When the money runs out, you’re done.
- Chose to buy a coffee on the way to work once per week. On here-we-go-again Monday, or on hey-we-made-it-through-the-week Friday.
- Buy yourself a $20 gift card once a month on the 1st of the month. When the money runs out, no topping-up until the 1st of the next month.
Do you think you can do it?
I KNOW you can!
Just because I made you think of it, if you were to (crazily) stop drinking coffee altogether: saving $735 every year adds up to $35,079.42 at 5% a year for 25 years.
What if you don’t want to wait 25 years?
My teenager just told me that 25 years is a loooong time. It is, and so for those interested in knowing the savings over different periods of time, here you go:
Now that you’ve seen how much money you can save by making coffee at home, you can make an informed decision! Go ahead and enjoy the occasional treat, as long as all your obligations are met and your savings goals achieved. Think about what else you could do with the cash!
(1) According to the Coffee Association of Canada’s 2017 survey (2) According to the National Coffee Association’s 2017 survey
I used the interest calculator found at GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca