Spending less money on coffee is easy: Get less-involved drinks, join a loyalty program, etc. This post is not about how to do that (you already know how!).
This post is about how to avoid that expensive money trap that is the coffee shop in the first place. Yes, I know there are some who would argue that going out for coffee is totally worth it, but if you're trying to stop spending money on coffee, the best way to do so is just to stop going out. Here's how.
1. Prep your coffee machine at night.
The most annoying thing about my mornings (aside from the waking up part) used to be loading my coffee maker. (I haven't had a single sip of coffee, yet I'm expected to count to nine and have enough hand-eye coordination to get all nine scoops from the canister to the coffee maker without making a mess?)
Instead of making my own, I used to take the lazy way out and stumble to the deli on the corner and pay $1.50 for someone else to deal with the hassle. That $1.50 isn't all that outrageous (compared to a more expensive drink from a fancier coffee shop), but it does add up. Recently, I switched up my routine and started loading up my coffee maker each night before bed. I get everything ready to go so that in the morning I just have to hit start. This way, I'm not tempted to run out to the deli.
2. Get some equipment you're excited to use.
It sounds simple, but it really does work. If you have a coffee mug that makes you smile, you might be tempted to use it. I mean, which would you rather use: a mug that reminds of you a trip you took last summer with your bestie or a paper cup that at least 20 other people are also carrying?
This goes for your actual coffee maker, too. If you hate the machine you have, you're probably not going to want to use it very often. Spend a little money now to get a machine you like and you'll spend less on a daily basis.
3. Learn the ins and outs of your office's coffee and coffee maker.
Office coffee is usually free. Free, I say! If you're not loving what it produces, play around with the machine (and the available coffees) until you find something you like.
My last job, for example, only had this weird shelf-stable powdered milk, which I just couldn't come around to. That made a normal drip coffee a non-starter for me. But then one day I mixed a regular coffee with half a packet of hot chocolate mix and I had heaven in a cup. (Don't judge me! It was the perfect thing to get me through my Thursday afternoon meetings!)
Make Your Own Coffee
4. Talk walks instead of coffee breaks.
My work wife and I used to take twice-weekly coffee breaks to visit these adorable Australian baristas in the basement of my old office building. We'd use the time to clear our heads, and chat about office politics and weekend plans. One day, we realized neither of us really wanted the coffee — we just wanted the social aspect of it.
Instead of spending the money, we cut out the coffee part and used the time to take a walk around the block. We missed the Aussies, but we welcomed our newfound extra money with open arms.
5. Make coffee shop coffee a special treat.
Sure, you're probably going to want a professionally made caffeinated beverage once in a while. And that's okay — as long as you recognize that it's a special treat or you have a legit reason. ("It's 3:00" is probably not the best reason.) Treat yourself one day a week (or less, if you can handle it!), and try to savor every sip of it. This is not your daily coffee and you can appreciate it!
What do you do to cut out expensive trips to the coffee shop?