Keep Your Coffee And Your Money By Making Coffee At Home

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Keep Your Coffee And Your Money By Making Coffee At Home
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From Suze Orman saying that your coffee habit is costing you $1 million to David Bach’s assault on premium coffee drinks in The Latte Factor Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. , it seems like everybody believes that coffee is your #1 financial problem.

Even famous venture capitalist and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary (a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful) has gotten in on the coffee hate.

We here at ChooseFI like to take more a balanced stance on coffee or any other food, drink, or experience that you enjoy. Your overall savings rate is really what counts, not necessarily the specifics of how you get there.

If you want to grab a Starbucks cappuccino every once a while, you’ll just need to make sure that it shows up in your budget. And to make room for your coffee habit in your budget, you may have to cut out other discretionary expenses.

But, on the other hand, Mr. Wonderful and all of the other “coffee haters” are right about one thing.

Making coffee at home can save you a ton of money!

But just how much can you save by filling up your travel mug with coffee made at home instead of picking up a cup from the local coffee shop?

Well, that all depends on how expensive your coffee taste is and how much work you’re willing to put in. From K-Cups or Folgers, we’ll show you how much you could save by making coffee at home.

K-Cups

K-cups are about as convenient as making coffee at home can get. You pop the K-Cup into the machine, press your desired cup size, and that’s it. Sixty seconds later you have your cup of coffee.

But that convenience comes with a cost. You’ll generally pay more per cup with K-Cups than a brewed coffee. Yet, if you’re one of those people who pull through the coffee shop drive-thru every day on your way to work, K-Cups will still save you a ton of money.

Finding The Average Cost Of A Coffee Shop Cup Of Coffee

At most coffee shops, you’re going to pay $1.50 to $2.50 for a small cup of regular brewed coffee. For instance, at my local Dunkin’, a small coffee costs $1.79. And at the local Starbucks where I’m sitting right now writing this article, they charge $2.65 for a small coffee.

Make coffee at home

Yeah, it pains me to even admit that I paid that much for a cup of coffee. But, hey, I get free refills (that’s what I tell myself to soothe my conscience).

Of course, where you live, where you buy your coffee, and what you drink will cause your “average” cup price to be different. Obviously, if you typically buy your coffee at 7-Eleven (no judging), you’re probably going to pay less. On the other hand, if you’re regularly buying specialty drinks or larger sizes, then your cost per cup will be higher.

But for the sake of comparing making coffee at home to buying it at stores, let’s say that the unofficial “official” average cost of a coffee shop cup of coffee is around $2.00. As someone who’s frequented coffee shops all around the country, I think that’s a fair number.

How Much Could K-Cups Save You?

So how much will you pay per cup if you go the K-Cup route? Expect to pay 30 to 50 cents per cup. Here are a few examples from Amazon.

  • Amazon Brand Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (100 ct) – $27.54 (.28/cup)
  • Caribou Coffee Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (12 ct, pack of 6) – $30.40 (.42/cup)
  • Green Mountain Coffee Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (12 ct, pack of 6) – $35.24 (.49/cup)

So even with the most expensive K-Cup brands, you’ll pay around 75% less than you’ll pay at a coffee shop. Let’s say that you bought a coffee every day on the way to work. That would be about 20 cups of coffee a month. At $2.00 a cup, you would be paying $40/month in coffee cost and $480 annually.

By switching to an average K-Cup brand (let’s go with 35 cents a cup), your monthly coffee cost would drop to $7/month and $84 per year. That’s a monthly savings of $33 and an annual savings of $396.

Specialty Brewed Coffee

Now let’s transition into talking about how much more you can save by brewing ground coffee vs. taking the Keurig route.

Let’s begin by talking about specialty coffees. If you’re a coffee connoisseur (some people might call you a coffee “snob,” but again, we’re in a judgment-free zone here), you may have a favorite coffee roaster in town or online that you like to buy your coffee from.

If so, your homemade coffee is probably going to taste fantastic but you’re also going to pay a premium. We have several coffee roasters in my area. I checked the prices on four of their websites and they each charge $15.00-$20.00 per pound of coffee. Depending on how strong you make your coffee, you should be able to get about 80 cups of coffee out of a 1 pound bag.

So if we took $17.50 as the “average” cost of a premium bag of coffee, you’re looking at a cost of around 22 cents a cup. So, yes, even the most expensive brewed coffee will typically be less expensive than the average K-cup.

Again, if you bought coffee every weekday, switching to brewing specialty coffee at home would net you a monthly savings of around $36 and an annual savings of $427.

Name-Brand Brewed Coffee

OK, so now let’s move to your average name-brand brewed coffee. These are your mainstream coffee brands like Starbucks, Dunkin’, 8 O’ Clock, Seattle’s Best, and others.

These brands will almost always be less expensive than bags of coffee from specialty roasters. Depending on which deals you find, you should be able to buy a bag of name-brand coffee for $6-12 per pound (things can get a bit confusing because a lot of the bags out there are 12-ounce bags). Let’s go with an average of $9 per pound. That would drop your per cup cost down to 11 cents.

Sticking with the average of 20 cups of coffee a month, making your Starbucks at home instead of getting it from the drive-thru would increase your savings to around $38/month and over $450/year.

Discount-Brand Brewed Coffee

OK, now let’s talk about discount-brand coffee. This would include brands like Folgers or Maxwell House. If you’re not picky with your coffee and you don’t mind drinking these brands, you’re probably looking at a cost per pound of $3 to $4.

Here are two examples from Amazon.

  • Folgers Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (38.4 ounces) – $8.71 (works out to about $3.60 per pound)
  • Maxwell House Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (30.6 ounces) – $5.93 (works out to about $3.10 per pound)

Using $3.50 as the average cost per pound of discount coffee, that works out to a ridiculously low per-cup cost of 4 cents.

At 20 cups of coffee a month, discount brewed coffee made at home would result in a monthly savings of over $39 and an annual savings of $470.

Other Ways to Save

If you like a certain brand of coffee but you’d like to pay less than the average cost per bag, you may be able to save by buying your coffee at a warehouse club store like Sam’s Club or Costco.

For instance, Starbucks House blend is selling at my local Starbucks for the price listed below.

Make coffee at home

It’s selling on Amazon Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. for 56 cents/oz. But when I checked my local Sam’s Club, I can get the price down to 44 cents/oz.

You may also be able to save by taking advantage of local deals. For instance, all of the Dunkins in my town have the same franchise owner. And they all offer this crazy deal 0f 4 (1 pound) bags of coffee for $20. That works out to $5 per pound! For this reason, this is our go-to spot for buying coffee. We drop $20 every few months and that covers our in-home coffee making for 2-3 months.

So, yes, you can find all kinds of creative ways to reduce your coffee expense each month. But by just deciding to make coffee at home at all, you’ll be saving a big chunk of money each month and year. That’s true even if you go with the super convenient route (K-cups) or premium coffee.

Conclusion

No matter which route you take, making coffee at home could you save a minimum of $400 this year. 

And if you’re someone who regularly buys iced coffees, lattes, and macchiatos from your local coffee shop, switching to home-brewed coffee could save you even more. I know several people who get Starbucks or Dunkin’ lattes on a daily basis. If that’s you, your annual savings could easily push closer to $1,000. Think about what else you could use that money for.

And if you invested that 1,000 for 30 years at a 10% annual return, you would have built yourself a nice $180,000 nest egg.

…OK, now I sound like Mr. Wonderful.

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Keep Your Coffee And Your Money By Making Coffee At Home

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18 thoughts on “Keep Your Coffee And Your Money By Making Coffee At Home”

    • Nice find on the roaster Kevin.

      I have used my BBQ to roast in the past. It is pretty convenient with a direct natural gas line attached to the grills vs using propane tanks. You can use cast iron pans or cookie sheets; once the grill is up to 400 – 500 degrees roasting goes pretty quickly. I use pasta strainers to knock off the chaff, then transport the beans to containers once cooled.

      I am usually finding green beans for about $5.00 – $7.00 a bag at local shops in Portland.

      I haven’t done a full cost analysis to factor in the natural gas or time, but it is a fun hobby!

  1. Well no wonder I like your blog… Fellow coffee snob here. We make one cup at a time with our DeLonghi espresso machine with exquisite very freshly roasted beans from our local roaster. We get a decent layer of crema on top and rarely do I find a cup that tastes much better. Pour over is the next frontier for us, but our current setup definitely makes us happy.

  2. Poor over is ok but IMO Aeropress is the way to go. $30 on Amazon and is one of it’s most reviewed (and best reviewed!) products. Easy to clean, maintain, and travels very well. I make coffee with this at work most days.

    No, I’m not paid by Aeropress or Amazon to spread this information. I stumbled across one in a store while overseas, looked it up, went back, bought it, and have been happily preaching it to any coffee enthusiast who’d listed. In fact I’ve converted 5 or 6 six friends in the last 2 years. Not sure how ChooseFI feels about linking to products so I’ll let anyone interested do there own googling for now.

    Anyway, FI advice and resources here are great. Gotta step up the coffee game though. I’m purchasing a roaster soon too which will further my aspiring minimalist goals as well as increase the quality and satisfaction I already derive from my DIY coffee lifestyle.

  3. Living in Portland there are dozens of excellent coffee roasters and you can get beans for $14-$28/lb sometimes its only for 12 oz. I do love great coffee and will splurge on that for a weekend or holiday, but I have found a strange source for a fair price on beans that will do the job – Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee. (It’s much better than Starbucks IMO.) If you do want to spring for some of our insane Portland coffee, check out Stumptown, Water Avenue, Heart Coffee, Coava Coffee, Nossa Familia. Nothing beats Chemex for black coffee taste.

  4. As a coffee lover these are some great tips. I can absolutely notice the difference when grinding the beans at the point of brewing rather than buying preground coffee.

  5. I didn’t know how many factors went into good coffee. I am a undergrad student and also drink a lot of coffee. I don’t pay a lot of attention to different types of coffee, but this was interesting to read and I now consider changing up my coffee.

  6. Hey Jonathan, I am a fledgling coffee snob. Thanks for this post. Quick question, how much significance do you put on the actual coffee bean? Would you “splurge” for the local craft-type roasted beans, or does a Costo-sized bag of generic beans work just as well if you use the tips you provided?

    I’m curious to hear your thoughts…or anyone else’s.

    Thanks!

    • Happy to weigh in :). No doubt that the premium local beans are the best lol. But my wife and I start every morning with a cup of coffee and that would get very pricey. So for our routine we go with the costco whole beans ( we look for a medium to light roast) and are pretty content with that (I would give it a 7/10). we treat the more expensive local beans as a splurge and get from time to time (8-9/10).

      The methods listed in the article will definitely improve the taste of the costco beans elevating their game dramatically

      Hope that helps

  7. I like to mix the Keurig and premium coffee options. I will buy locally roasted specialty coffee for around $12-13 per pound. I buy it in whole bean and then grind it myself. I then make it with either an Aeropress, or when I am heading off to work in the morning I will use a reusable K-cup. That gives me the same convenience of a K-cup, but gives me the exact, specialty coffee that I prefer.

  8. I use my favorite local brand of coffee (Kaldi’s here in St. Louis) and reusable K-cups for hot coffee and I also use it to make my own cold brew concentrate. I brew my own iced tea (iced tea bags from Sam’s club = $0.22/gallon) too. Found a recipe for copycat Starbucks refreshers but haven’t pulled the trigger on buying green tea extract. I keep that one as the occasional summer splurge.

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