If you are a coffee addict like myself you will understand the issues of having a low budget but a need for that ever so amazing wake-up call. Assuming that you have asked for advice on this type of budget issue before you most likely would have been given the most common tip which is to skip the Starbucks macchiatos and mochas and to go for something simpler like a Double-double* or even a home-brewed cup of coffee. This tip is in no way wrong but in a world that has french presses, Keurig’s, and instant coffee, there are even more ways to save then what meets the eye! So follow along as I give you some of the tips I have used to help save a few bucks!
First, decide what your budget is! If your someone who could be spending the $5-6 a cup at Starbucks but just doesn’t want to or would prefer to have a bit of extra cash for other stuff then you are not going to have to change too much. Essentially if you’re budget isn’t too tight a Keurig is something that will save money but be warned it will cost a bit more at the beginning. If I am correct right now a Keurig at Walmart** can cost anywhere from $70-200+, which is fairly expensive as a start but will pay off! Especially if you stop going to Starbucks or other specialty stores. Another plus to a Keurig is that you can still have your specialty coffee’s… to a point. If you are a fan of flavored coffees over mochas and lattes then the Keurig machine is your best choice! If you do prefer the specialty coffees your best choice is the Tassimo which has much more options for making them. And pro tip if you order in bulk online the pods are cheaper then in your local stores. Though before you rush to buy a Keriug, even if you have a bigger budget there are better options if you drink a lot of coffee like myself (even if you like it flavored) because these machines tend to only be able to make one cup at a time, so stick around for that!
So from here on out, there are two things to consider how low is your budget is and how much coffee you drink! So if you have a moderate but still tight budget or you are drinking coffee pretty constantly a drip machine is what you want. This is an option that is going to be the cheapest and most efficient for those who are drinking more than 3 mugs worth of coffee a day! So if you are wondering what a drip machine is, it is you classic electronic coffee maker. They work well for two reasons, one they come in different pot sizes so you can get one that fits your needs well, and you can get one a many different price ranges.
So when I first needed to cut back I bought a drip machine for $25 dollars at the largest pot size they had which was a 12 cup one. Side note the greatest thing I can say about that price is that it wasn’t even the cheapest for that size! You can buy some for $6 dollars or if you are looking for one full of features you can spend hundreds of dollars, varying on what features you want as well as how fast you want your coffee. So my machine takes about 10-15 minutes to brew a whole pot of coffee, which works for me cause I can feed my cat or jump in the shower while it’s brewing. The more expensive options have features like brew strength or timed brewing, so you can set it to be made at the time your alarm goes off and such. Though if you are on a budget then those features shouldn’t mean much, all you need to do is add more coffee per cup of water to make it stronger or reverse it if that’s what you want, and waiting a few minutes for a cup of coffee is common… It just sucks when you sleep in. Also Protip; if you do buy a larger pot size remember that you don’t have to make a full cup of coffee, and it’s faster to make smaller amounts as well.
Now on to the last machine choices! If you are on a strict budget and/or only drink one-two cups a day on average a manual coffee option is better for you. These include French presses and Manual drip coffee. Before you get scared by the French press label I am going to let you know that both of these “machines” can be purchased at a starting point of $10ish. The big difference between these two is the strength of coffee and taste. The French press has the coffee bean in contact with the water soaking/boiling however you want to describe it. This makes the coffee much stronger and almost have a heavier feeling from what I have been told. The Manual drip is essentially a non-electronic coffee maker, all you are really buying (at its cheapest point) is a base that you put over your mug and place a filter and your beans in. It tastes much like a machines version would though warning it takes time like a machine.
The big difference is that you personally have to keep adding hot water to the beans as it filters through, well until you have enough coffee. The more expensive ones have some more room but not too much, so this is something I would suggest if you are the only coffee person in your house cause you cannot make a lot fast. One other difference that I’m not too personally acquainted with but my friends are is that apparently the French press has more personalization to its brews, as changing the bean size and other factors can change the flavor a lot more than it would in a manual drip or a machine even.
So those are all the machines that are common enough to mention and in all honesty, even just a basic coffee maker will save you a lot of money. Plus if you do like flavored coffee’s it isn’t hard to find flavored beans or even getting a big thing of the syrups your local shops use, you might even be able to buy the beans they use as well. I currently have a giant pumpkin spice syrup (partially so I don’t have to be ashamed of myself for asking for it at a shop) and a caramel one that I can put in my coffee to add that sweetness that I sometimes crave. Lastly, don’t waste the coffee your making. If you always make too much start making smaller amounts or putting the leftovers in the fridge to reheat later. Protip: if you put ice in it and then pop it in the fridge you have an iced coffee to have later!
Happy Coffee Drinking! Don’t Forget to treat yourself every now and then!
* Canadian Slang for a coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars
** All prices are in the Canadian dollar and from Canadian stores or branches of them
P.S. Stay tuned for a post full of tips on how to save money on coffee beans themselves!