Cutting out that morning coffee? Congress sure isn’t!

One problem that I have never had to deal with is having to rush to make sure to get my morning coffee at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. And it’s not because I make my own coffee either, it’s because I’m really just not a coffee person at all. It’s strange as both my parents are pretty big coffee drinkers, as well as there parents. I tried it few a times and just never really saw the need for it. Even throughout college I probably only drank it one or two times, and it’s not like I even replaced it with energy drinks or tea.

I only really drink hot tea when I’m feeling sick or have a sore throat, and while I used to drink a large amount of iced tea it wasn’t for the caffiene kick. I just enjoy iced tea, though I have largely replaced that by just drinking water now.

When looking to cut personal spending, many people look towards reducing the money they spend on going out to eat, including the purchase of coffee. Unfortunately when it comes to Congress they seem to have a different idea. As you can see from this article and video, Congress spent over $2 million in 2012 on coffee and food! And I’m not a fan of either party, and not trying to get into political issues here – this crazy spending is happening on both sides of the line. As the sequester effects millions of Americans, we see more and more examples of just how wildly incompetent Congress really is.

And while you technically can control where Congress is spending your money with your power to vote, right now those efforts seem to be fruitless – every single member of Congress is spending your tax dollars. So let’s turn our focus to a more positive subject that we can control which is exactly how much money can you save by cutting out or reducing your morning coffee.

If we assume that there are 47 weeks in the year to get coffee while taking into account for days off, vacation, and the days where you are running late and don’t get coffee that gives us 235 days to get coffee.

For the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks pricing, I just used estimations. Obviously depending on the type and size of beverage you get the price may vary as well as your location. Often Starbucks will run at a slightly higher price premium. For the fast food and gas station estimates, I just went off the fact that many of these chains offer coffee of any size for 99 cents.

For the cost of K-Cups, I went with a 96 count of green mountain coffee at amazon which comes out to 47 cents per cup. Obviously with K-Cups there are brands that are cheaper but the lowest I was able to find was 33 cents per k-cup and some people will also end up buying more expensive brands as well. For the cost of drip coffee, I just went with a tub of Folgers that you you should be able to get in the store for around $10 or even less if you buy in bulk online. They claim you can get ~270 cups of coffee at 6 ounces, but lets say that you can only get around 180 cups as most people aren’t drinking a 6 ounce coffee. This comes out to around only 6 cents per cup! I added 5 cents per cup to both of these to factor in milk/cream and sugar. I also added in another cent to the drip coffee to factor in the cost of filters. You will also have to remember that both of these solutions have an additional expense of buying the coffee machine initially.

Type Of Coffee Cost Per Cup Cost Per Year (1 Cup a Day) Cost Per Year (2 Cups a Day)
Starbucks / Dunkin Donuts $2.00 $470.00 $940.00
Fast Food / Gas Station $1.00 $235.00 $470.00
K Cups $0.52 $122.20 $244.40
Drip Coffee $0.12 $28.20 $56.40

As you can see from the above analysis, it’s these really small victories in the short term that can add up to be large victories for your wallet over the long term without sacrificing too much. If you absolutely have to have that coffee, definitely consider making your own as opposed to going out to get it which will save you hundreds each year. Drip coffee is the cheapest solution, although you can find re-usable K-Cups as well that cut the costs down towards drip coffee. Maybe your work offers free coffee that you can start to take advantage of? Or maybe you can work on cutting the cost of coffee all together?

Photo Credits for this post: 
Peter Griffin [1]
ABC News [2]
Petr Kratochvil [3]

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