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How Much Do You Spend on Coffee?

how much do you spend on coffeeIf you don’t drink coffee you are not excused from reading this article. You can simply fill in the blank with whatever applies to you:
“How much do you spend on __________?”

Vending machines, cigarettes, pop/soda, lottery tickets … pick your poison. The reason I chose coffee for this discussion is because I’ve been working at Starbucks for the past 2 months (read more about going from a dietitian to a barista here) and my store sees about 90 people per half hour during peak time (7am-10am). That’s a lot of people, a lot of coffee, and a lot of money spent.

How Much Do You Spend on Coffee?

My Starbucks is located in a 40+ floor corporate building with multiple companies. There are so many regulars that come through our coffee shop I can go without a watch from 6 am until 10 am and still know what time it is based on what customer I’m serving. We see regulars coming around the corner, start making their drink, and have it ready by the time they get to the register. This is great for Starbucks revenue, but I decided to add up the daily spending habits of some of my regulars to see what kind of damage it did to their wallet.

Customer #1: Grande Americano x 2 ($3.10 each), Grande Green Tea ($2.05)
Customer #2: Grande Nonfat Latte ($4.10) x 2 and a Blueberry Scone ($2.25)

The Calculations: How Much Do You Spend on Coffee?

Customer #1:
$8.25 per day
$41.25 per week
$2,062 per year (50 weeks)

Customer #2:
$10.45 per day
$52.25 per week
$2,612.50 per year (50 weeks)

If Customer #2 simply brought her own breakfast or ate before leaving for work (hard boiled egg + banana + peanut butter= ~$0.55 per day), she would be saving $562.50 per year from NOT getting the blueberry scone that, despite having blueberries in it, is not even a healthy choice and is unlikely to hold her over until lunch. If this customer simply cut back and made this purchase 3 days each week instead of 5, she’d save $1,045 per year. When you consider how much more could be saved by brewing your own strong coffee a few times per week, the savings become significant.

Other Factors

I know time is a big factor for some of my customers. If you have no line to wait in, it takes less time to get a drink and snack than to prepare your own breakfast. However, I don’t think that’s a valid enough excuse. Tossing a scoop of oatmeal and nuts in a container before you head to bed takes seconds and you can heat it up in the microwave at work while you follow up on emails. As for hardboiled eggs- making a dozen ahead of time makes mornings even easier as you grab one on your way out the door.

So what is it for you?

It’s amazing how a few bucks a day can add up to thousands each year. Can you imagine what that yearly chunk of money would do if it was put toward something useful like a Roth IRA or your non-existing emergency fund? I challenge you to keep track of your monthly expenses if you already don’t and see if there are areas where you can “trim the fat” and put it toward something with a better return rate than a temporary caffeine kick.

What do you tend to spend a few dollars here and there on?
If you’ve made changes, what have you done with the money you save?

This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Yikes, I had no idea coffee could add up to so much in just one year!

    • Tell me about it! I can think of a lot more useful ways to spend that kind of money!

  2. I can’t really think of anything that I regularly spend money on. Luckily any type of caffeine makes me sick, so I have to avoid most sodas and drinks at Starbucks.

    • Thats good to hear; starbucks is expensive! I find that it make it easier to not spend a little here and there having hubs around. We hold each other accountable and track our finances together.

  3. I don’t buy coffee anymore but great article! We all have those small items that we “need” daily. But those small costs really add up. Thanks for the examples and cost savings.

    • You’re right; everyone had their own version of “Coffee.” Thanks for sharing, Monica!

  4. We do virtually all our coffee at home. We go through a $10-15 bag from Costco once every month or so. Save for maybe getting coffee while out on a date night every once in a while, all our coffee is made at home.

    • I’d say that’s the wise route for an everyday coffee drinker. I like the idea of spending money on coffee for date nights 🙂

  5. I am not a coffee drinker, but I indulge in a mocha drink at Starbucks once a month. I usually have a cookie with it so the total comes to $5.85. The Starbucks is within a Barnes & Noble store, so I do a lot of reading while I am there. Would that cancel out the cost?

    • We do the same when we go to B&N! The number of times/month of buying coffee seems relative to each person but once a month seems reasonable to me.

  6. Believe it or not, I’ve never bought a cup of coffee. I hate the stuff! I don’t think there is one thing I spend money on regularly, but I do think that my wife and I could cut out grocery bill down by 25% if we put our minds to it. The good news is that we rarely eat out, so maybe we come out ahead?

    • I bet that’s true about coming out ahead. I wrote an article on my site about saving $2-3k/year just by packing a lunch instead of eating out! As for coffee- I used to hate it too. I told people it was like lotion: it smells great but I don’t want to eat it!!

  7. I use to buy coffee from various places all the time but as you have shown above it can be a real costly ordeal. Now I buy Starbucks coffee at my grocery store and make it at home and one bag will last me a month usually cost me around $9.

    • Smart thinking! You still get to enjoy Starbucks coffee for a fraction of the cost!

  8. Coffee is extremely expensive and addictive. I drank so much Starbucks at college that all the baristas new my name and my coffee preferences. I know. That’s sad. Lol

  9. It was about $1/day for soda, but I’ve backed off of that for a bit and moving back to sweetened tea more frequently (I make it at home to save even more, by putting the tea bags in a pitcher with warm household water and let it sit for a few hours, then sweeten after taking the tea bags out).
    So, now I’d say it’s about 50¢/day at the most, if not as low as 25¢/day since I’m trying to drink less liquids than I was.

    • My first thought was “oh $1/day isn’t bad” but that’s still $365/year. You made an easy change that cut that cost in half. Well done. If you want a healthy alternative to sugar, I recommend pure stevia 🙂 sweet leaf is a good brand.

  10. I make coffee at home! Haha. But seriously, we all have a latte factor. I denied that I had one for years, but then I realized that my latte factor is my house; I’m always buying little things for it to fix this or that, that it really adds up.

    • Very true. I’ve noticed many comments from this article about coffee but as I wrote, everyone has their “latte factor.” Thanks for sharing, Tushar!

  11. Over a year ago, I cut back from going to Starbucks every day and spending $2.85 to only going on the weekends or for a “treat”. Using I realized I was spending over $1,000 annually on my coffee alone. Now, I make it at home most days (saving on average $57/month) – it’s about 1/2 as much once I factor in purchasing coffee beans, vanilla syrup and half and half for home use.

    • That’s awesome you made that simple changed that saved you a lot of money! I have never heard of Spendster but I assume it’s like Either way, budget tools are a great tool to keep you in check!

  12. I just drink green tea for BigLots. I get a pack of 100 tea bags for like $3.50… So, I spend about $0.04 per cup 🙂

  13. That is crazy! It’s fascinating that you have specific examples that you can use.
    One summer when I was a student, I was in a (medium big) tower like that. One of the companies had a deal with the coffee shop in the lobby, where their employees got a free drink each day. I don’t know the particulars, but I’m sure it was a huge, huge employee perk! The company probably negotiated a bulk deal, but that would still be a big win for the coffee shop! (and not the waistlines of the computer programmers, that’s for sure)

    • WOW! I could see a free plain coffee but you’re right- I’m sure their waistlines went up with all the caramel macchiatos they were ordering!

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