We’ve definitely experienced a late spell of summer warmth, but I’m ready to bring on the fall-time beverages. Everyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that I’m a die-hard coffee lover. I love to make my own coffee, but I also like to treat myself to a trip to the coffee shop every now and then. Frequent stops, however, can get extremely pricey. This week, I’m sharing a few practical tips for making your favorite beverage fix more affordable.
Coffee: Add your own fixings
If you like to go to the coffee shop a few times a week, or even each morning, your specialty blend may nickel and dime you big time. You can’t deny the benefits of a convenient quick stop, but if you order a regular coffee and keep a personal creamer and sugar of your choice at work or home, you can enjoy your favorite beverage for much less.
I’ve found that on average, this saves about $2 per trip. A specialty drink is around $4 to $5 and a black coffee is typically $2 to $3. That doesn’t sound like a lot, until you consider that’s $24 a month if you go three times per week. It’s closer to $60 in savings if you go daily.
They sell every type of cream flavor under the sun at the store now (like salted caramel), so you can recreate the beverage from your favorite coffee shop. Is it exactly the same? Probably not, but consider the family budget.
Energy drinks: buy online
I know many people who rely on energy drinks to get through their day. This can also be a crazy expensive habit if you’re stopping at a convenience store daily. If you drink one or more energy drinks per day, buy them online through Amazon in bulk. There you can get a case of 20 for roughly $25 with free shipping. If you run gas station prices against online, you’re talking almost one dollar of savings per can, or about $30 per month.
You can also consider an off-brand. Aldi sells an energy drink that’s only about $1 per can.
Breakroom drinks: Install a mini fridge
Of course skipping your daily soda, Gatorade, or drink of choice and opting for a water instead will save you money. But if you’re prone to stop by the vending machine or work breakroom for a pick-me-up, you’re also picking up a large expense. Again, I suggest the buying in bulk method. If you work in a small office, consider installing a mini fridge (I see these often at garage sales or on swap sites for low prices. Those who work in larger offices should take advantage of a shared office refrigerator and stock up on your go-to drinks.
If you do the math, a morning coffee run, lunch-time vending machine stop and convenience store beverage adds up to nearly $10 dollars in one day. Even if you do this a few days a week, you’re spending $120 plus per month. Try these sensible tips and see for yourself how you can indulge without breaking the bank.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.