Money Saving Monday: Coffee

By Stew


If our financial situation ever worsened to the point where had to cut every single unnecessary expense, coffee would be the last thing to go. There is something about that black, bitter brew that just keeps me coming back for more. And I am not picky about my java, if I listed all of the places and formats and temperatures at which I had consumed the beverage, this post would start to sound like a Dr. Seuss poem. I drink gas station coffee, truck stop coffee, bank lobby coffee . . . I would drink it in a box, I would drink it with a fox, I would drink it in a house, I would drink it with a mouse . . . As a result, I am always on the lookout for a cheaper way to get coffee for less.

Here are just a few ways that I keep my coffee expenses low:

  1. Never waste a drop. If we brew a pot of coffee and we do not happen to drink it all, I never pour out the excess. I have learned that coffee will keep for several days in the refridgerator and will drink it cold or rewarmed. Mrs. Stew makes iced coffee for a refreshing drink later in the day. I know, I know, most of you like your coffee fresh. Me too, but sometimes beggars cannot be choosy.
  2. Mix higher-priced, gourmet grinds with cheaper brands. You will have to experiment to find the right combination, but blended coffee will stretch your java dollar. Our favorite low-priced coffee is the 8 ‘O Clock  brand. Our favorite gourmet coffee is from a roasting company in a small town in Wisconsin. Email me glblstew (at) if you want to know specifics.
  3. Add cinnamon. Sounded crazy to me too, but if you want to make cheaper, bitter coffee taste more like a smooth, expensive brew, throw a little cinnamon into the grounds before brewing. It really works!
  4. Look for deals. Mrs. Stew and I find free coffee all the time on the internet or in newspaper ads. Even big chains like Starbucks give away free coffee from time to time – you just have to pay attention and make an effort.
  5. Find alternatives to coffee filters. One coffee money drain is the materials used to filter coffee. There are reusable coffee filters on the market and sometimes we just use part of a clean paper towel . . .
  6. Collect coffee in hotel rooms. This will not work if you do not travel much, but I often travel with larger groups who stay in hotel rooms for several days. Call me a skinflint if you like, but I collect any unused coffee packets every morning and take them home. If you take the two or four packets that are in every room, the maid service always replenishes the stock for the next day. I think I brought home close to forty packets a couple of months ago. The nice thing is that we occasionally like to share a decaf pot of coffee in the evenings – hotel coffee works great for this. We never have to buy decaf.
  7. Don’t be a snob. For some of you, this will be hard. Mrs. Stew suffers from this affliction, she will often look a gift cup of coffee in the mouth. Me? I just pour it down the hatch. I’ve learned that almost all coffee can be enjoyed once you get past the first couple of sips. Cream and sugar can do wonders as well. If you are picky about coffee, you will find it difficult to go cheap.

Hopefully some of you have some more tips to add to the list!

Article by Stew.

Photo by [ jRa7]

12 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Money Saving Monday: Coffee”

  1. Traciatim Says:

    “There is something about that black, bitter brew that just keeps me coming back for more.”

    It’s called stimulant addiction.

  2. cat Says:

    I literally bellowed with laughter when I read this. The 1st time I was even aware of “coffee snobs” was when I saw episodes of Nigel odering his brews on Frazier. I thought it was just a joke to make the show funny but I now know far too many people who are just like his character. I loved getting this article this morning–thanks SO much!!

  3. Mike Says:

    I push the idea of hunting for deals to a maximum: When a coffee brand is very cheap, I buy 10 cans of them. It hurt on the wallet on that day, but you drink good coffee for the price of cheap coffee during several months!

    I also mix cheaper brand with nice coffee. It helps the budget and doesn’t upset my mouth ;-)

  4. Monroe on a Budget Says:

    Another tip: Don’t spend too much money on the coffee maker!

    I have a really cheap 4 cup coffee pot. I don’t remember the price, but was certainly under $20. No timer needed because a little pot brews so fast. No paper liners needed because the liner is washable (I rinse it out every day).

  5. Erika Says:

    I’ve never purchased the 8 o’clock brand but may need to give it a try now!

  6. dramon Says:

    I personally like the 3 lbs of whole beans at costco.
    Also, we put any left over coffee in a thermos for use later in the day.
    Permanent filters are an option as well.
    We have played with reducing the amount of coffee grounds used per pot, which is of course personal perference.

  7. Jose Paclibare | Christian business Says:

    Stew you’re asking for “some more tips to add to the list”. I do not know if what am going to say would qualify.

    Unless insistently offered by friends, I never drink coffee!

    That’s part of my “Simplification”. Simplification, I understand, is one of the net worth factors which go hand in hand with Income, Savings, and Investments.

    Jose O. Paclibare

  8. Financial Samurai Says:

    Stew – U know it’s funny. I had my first peppermint mocha in 10 months today b/c I was with a client. 1 hour later, I got to know the rest room so well b/c coffee and whipped cream just wrecks my system.

    Never again! Hence, I will never spend a single penny on this evil drug! :p

  9. Gary Says:

    We use the 8 O’clock 100% columbian whole bean from Sam’s. We find it to be much cheaper. However, we make strong coffee, so we use more beans. We also use a perculator pot, and we find that we REALLY enjoy our daily pot of coffee. We never buy coffee at a store or resturant. It is never that good, and we refuse to pay coffee house prices.

  10. Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog Says:

    I think I have most of these tips covered. I found I really like the dark roast Kirkland brand at Costco, big cheap can of that last for awhile!

    I’ve also collected the hotel coffees each day, when I get home I empty them all into a coffee tin.

  11. Melissa Says:

    It’s good to know I’m not the ony one who hoards the coffee packets at a hotel!

  12. Buford Weatherholt Says:

    Just goes to show how much the tickets are marked up, when they become available so cheap online.