Spending A Little More On Coffee

In March, I got assigned to a temporary assignment at work.  Instead of working at my office, which is only two and a half miles from my home, I was doing site assessments all over the Metro Detroit area.  It was good work, it was on a high visibility project,  and it let me see up front what we actually do, versus the back-end support we provide in the office, so it was a pretty positive experience.

One of the things I had to adjust was my morning coffee.  My standard routine at the office was that I would drink from the ‘free coffee’ provided, but would add in my own half-and-half.  When I started the assignment, I started making my own coffee at home to take with me every morning.  Typically I would only make coffee at home on the weekends or on days when I’m off.  I buy pre-ground Colombian Coffee from Costco.  It’s $15 for a really big can.  It would typically last about four months, meaning I would spend about $45 per year on coffee.

After finishing up my assignment, I went back to work and the first day, went back to my old routine, and realized something.

The coffee is horrible.

It’s not the worst I’ve ever had for free work coffee, but even so, it’s just not…good.

Six weeks away from the ‘free stuff’ turned me into a bit of a coffee snob.  I realized I could have re-adjusted and probably gotten used to the free stuff, but I realized something.

I didn’t want to.

So, I have started bringing some coffee from home.  When I pack my lunch, I scoop out enough for the next day, and  I make some coffee from home once I get to work.  I only make enough for me to drink my two mugs per day.   Work has filters (or I have some left over from an old coffee machine) and they have the coffee maker, so all that’s different is that I’m providing the coffee.  Since I get to work really early, I don’t have to worry about anybody stealing my coffee while it’s being made.

I estimate that this will require me to buy two additional cans per year.  That’s $30, working out to an extra $2.50 per month.

Some people spend that every day on a cup of coffee from Starbucks, so adding that to my budget for the sake of having coffee I truly enjoy is worth it to me.  I still think I’m being frugal in that I’m only making a partial pot per day to make only what I need, and I’m still using the company supplies and electricity.

Have you ever justified spending a little more on a small indulgence? 

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21 thoughts on “Spending A Little More On Coffee

  1. I also hate the “free” coffee at work. But here is what I have done for years: I bought a $20 thermos that holds 16 oz. (2 mugs a day), make my coffee at home and bring the coffee to work. I still keep my half-and-half at the office because the coffee keeps better when I don’t put that in until I am ready to drink it.

    • Pretty much the same routine I go through. I have a thermal mug so I fill that (my second mug) and the mug I actually use (my first mug). I keep some half and half on hand and it works well.

  2. That’s nothing!!! 🙂 I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those Starbucks goers, but probably once or twice a week if I’m feeling ambitious. I use the Keurig at work and order my favorite k-cups, and I just bring my own creamer. So usually I spent the $3.50 on a huge jug of creamer which will last a couple months. Work provides sugar too so I’m set.

    Coffee can make me or break me in the mornings, so I think it is worth it for you to bring your own coffee. And you’re still saving a ton by not going to Starbucks.

    • They just installed a Keurig machine so you can buy cups here or bring your own. So far I’ve avoided the entire thing 🙂

  3. I think it’s all about what you value. It that one little thing makes you happy, how much of a real difference does it make on your finances. I think people sometimes try to split hairs. As long as you don’t have tons of “coffee type splurges” I think you’re probably doing fine! 🙂

    • Exactly. I think I made an upgrade but in a very frugal way. Good to see that most of my readers seem to agree with my approach.

  4. I hate office coffee too, I buy Starbuck and brew it at home and bring it to work. The office coffee tastes like watery crap to me, and I always remind people of that when they make fun of me for bringing my own coffee.

    • So far nobody has seemed to catch on but I think that’s largely because I get there and get it made before most people come in.

  5. I agree that you should do that if thats what you want. Once you have your priorities in order you should definitely spend some money on the things that make you happy. Just be glad you didn’t get addicted to Starbucks in those few weeks 🙂 I don’t drink coffee and have sworn it off because I don’t like it and don’t see the point in acquiring the taste.

    • Definitely don’t touch Starbucks or any of the ‘out’ coffees simply because I don’t want to even get into the possibility of favoring it.

  6. When I first started working at my current employer 9 years ago, they supplied coffee for free for employees and members. However a few months after I started, that’s one of the areas they decided to cut costs (they still supply a pot of coffee to members in the lobbies). That’s when us coffee drinkers decided to form a coffee club here at work. Way back then it was $5/month. Since we were paying for it, we decided to pick a nice dark, French Roast from a local supplier (cuz we were “snobs”!). Even this many years later, it’s now only 1.50 per week for us and we’re still drinking the same roast. If anyone else wants coffee, they put $.50/cup in the change cup. We use any extra money we receive to offset our costs and by nice creamers. 🙂 I still occasionally go to the local non-Starbuck coffee places, but usually with a coupon or BOGO free deal. I have one of those out-dated Senseo machines at home, but still can get pods and use that at home when I want some good quality coffee.

    • Teaming up on something like is definitely a good approach. Glad it has worked out for so long.

  7. I can totally relate. I used to drink the free coffee at work in manufacturing they gave us just to keep us up at night. Fast forward a few years and I got used to cafe mochas and my own french press coffee. I became a snob. it’s definitely an indulgence I’m used to and it costs a heck of a lot more than free. no doubt.

    • I think I’m doing mine in a way to minimize cost. Sounds like you got more into the higher end stuff, which I refuse to try for the reasons that I don’t want to deal with it if I liked it too much!

  8. We are provided free coffee at work. Ironically, it’s Starbucks and I don’t like it. I will only buy flavored lattes from Starbucks if I go.

    I drink the free coffee but bring in my own creamer when I can get it almost free with sales. When I can’t, I settle for the free flavored teas the office provides.

    • Free Starbucks? Tell people where you are and I’m sure resumes will start flowing in! LOL

  9. If I drank coffee every day, I’d pay extra for something that I liked. It would also make me not feel guilty for being the one to drink the last cup of coffee and not make another one. Instead, I pay extra for Diet Coke as opposed to generic cola or whatever. Hurray for legal stimulants!

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