The following is a contribution from Kendal of Hassle Free Savings. If you would like to contribute to Frugal Rules, please see our guidelines and contact us.
The recent Groupon-Starbucks drama further cements how much people love their gourmet coffee. The popular coffee chain’s deal for a $10 eCard priced at $5 was so highly coveted that Groupon’s website couldn’t handle the traffic. Over 100,000 offers were purchased within one hour, and a brief site crash led to more than a few negative tweets and Facebook rants.
Daily deals notwithstanding, buying lattes on a consistent basis can cost an average of $80 per month. Life is too short to drink bad coffee, yet brewing quality java at home can also eat into your budget. As a self-proclaimed (and third-party acknowledged) coffee snob, I’ve come up with the following ways to save on my daily habit.
Buy a Grinder
A good cup of java starts with the beans, and nothing beats freshly-ground coffee every day. Coffee grinders run anywhere from $9 to over $200, so there’s likely a device out there that fits within your budget. My husband and I were gifted a nice Cuisinart coffee grinder, and later saw it at Sam’s Club for half its normal selling price. We purchased it as a backup — yes, we’re that obsessed with good coffee — but so far we haven’t had to use it.
Brew with A Gold Filter
Paper coffee filters aren’t exactly budget killers, but they are unnecessarily wasteful when a proper metal filter costs less than $10. Plus, the flavor of coffee is richer with gold filters because not as much oil is lost to absorption during the brewing process.
When it comes to brewing gourmet coffee at home, there’s nothing worse than overestimating consumption and pouring a few cups of liquid gold down the drain. Single-serve coffee makers are a great antidote to this problem, but require an investment. Shave the cost of these devices by purchasing them with discount gift cards. Cards to JCPenney, for example, can be purchased for up to 18% off their face value through GiftCardGranny.com, and used to buy popular Keurig-brand coffee makers and supplies for less.
Store Coffee Properly
It’s a popular misconception that freezing coffee keeps it fresher longer. In fact, storing coffee this way can make your daily brew taste like the other contents of your freezer, as coffee beans are porous and can absorb flavors easily. Additionally, coffee’s distinctive flavor is due in part to the oils released during the roasting process, oils that are diminished when frozen. Instead, store your coffee in a well-sealed opaque container, preferably in whole bean form in your pantry.
Go Beyond the Gourmet Coffee Shop
Regardless of your attitude about shopping at Walmart, you can find gourmet coffee for less at your local superstore. A 12 oz. bag of Starbucks Sumatra roast sells for about $0.73 per ounce, compared to $0.83 per ounce at Starbucks. Natural or specialty food stores are another great source for gourmet coffee blends. For example, World Market has a multitude of tasty beans from around the globe for much less than coffee chains, and frequently offers 10% off coupons.
Save on Pods
Single-serve coffee maker owners lament the expense of all those coffee pods they need to feed their habit. However, you can find them just about anywhere including Bed Bath & Beyond, where you can obtain their ever-present 20% off coupon for solid savings. Additionally, you can order pods from Amazon in bulk and sign up for their “subscribe and save” program for extra savings.
Call the Manufacturer
Some friends of mine recently shared similar stories about replacing coffee makers. Each friend received a free or deeply discounted replacement to their recently deceased brew-masters by contacting the manufacturer and inquiring about options. Since this offer was extended by two different companies on separate occasions, reaching out seems like the best first step when your coffee maker bites the dust.
Become a Member
Whether it’s a rewards card or a loyalty punch pass, being part of your favorite shop’s program will likely provide free birthday coffee and other perks (pun intended). World Market Explorer members can earn free coffee with accrued credit, with purchases on Wednesdays earning double points for faster redemption. Similarly, registering your Starbucks card can earn you free refills and exclusive coupons.
Do you like to drink a good cup of joe? What are some of your favorite ways to save on making gourmet coffee at home?
Editor’s note: Mrs. Frugal Rules and I are self-proclaimed coffee snobs and learned something from Kendal’s post today. You can brew gourmet coffee at home without having to spend a lot of money in the process.
Kendal Perez is a bargain-shopping blogger for HassleFreeSavings.com where she shares personal stories about her pursuit of savings.
Photo courtesy of: Nicole S