Now that the cold weather is here, it’s really tempting to stop on your way to work to grab a hot coffee, or to spend part of your day in the warm ambiance of a little shop with a fireplace, comfortable seating, and tasty beverages. Unfortunately, the cost of coffee in your favorite coffee shop can easily add up to $50 or more over the course of a month, and $600 in a year. Here are some tips on how to get your caffeine fix and stay within your budget.
Skip the stop
Okay, so this isn’t really a way to save at coffee shops, but it is probably the cheapest way to enjoy your coffee!
First, consider skipping the coffee shop most mornings of the week. You really will save a lot of money if you just make the coffee at home and bring it with you in a reusable to-go mug*, and some of the flavored creamers are really good. This time of year, you can even get specialty flavors like egg nog and cinnamon at your local grocery stores. It’s also nice to know you won’t be late for work because you’re standing in line.
Don’t buy the grande-vente-double-extra-sized coffee. By the time you get to the bottom, it’s likely to be cold anyway and you’ll probably end up throwing half of it out.
Bring a refill mug
Bring your own mug. Some places will give you a little discount if you bring your own mug, because it’s one less cup they have to provide. Many coffee shops will even sell a mug for around ten or fifteen dollars and then once you buy the mug you get discounted or free refills every time you use it.
Skip the toppings
Try to stay away from fancy toppings. Adding whipped cream, foam, shots of espresso, extra sugar and anything else you can fill your cup with will cost you in most places.
Get it to-go
Don’t hang out there all day. It’s great to be able to sit down with your laptop and get some work done while sipping your mocha, but once it’s gone, you’ll be tempted to buy another one. Do this three times in a day and you’re already out fifteen dollars.
Consider getting your coffee at a convenience store instead of a specialty coffee shop. Many times it’s just as good, but you save money by preparing your own instead of having someone make it for you. Some convenience stores have all of the fancy toppings too – I’ve even seen little shots of espresso that you can add for extra zing. Lots of convenience stores offer seating as well. It’s not quite the same atmosphere, but the wi-fi is just as good and the coffee is sometimes better.
Try some apps
There are many smartphone apps and websites that allow you to save money on your coffee if you go to popular national chains. For example, if you go to Dunkin Donuts, you can use ibotta to get cash back, and Plink to get points towards gift card purchases. You can also get the Dunkin Mobile app and receive coupons and discounts.
You don’t have to give up the coffee shops altogether, but if you’re smart about it, you may find that you like some of the alternatives even more than standing in line and paying a bundle of money in hopes that they get your order right.
What are your favorite ways to save on coffee?
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