There’s nothing like starting the workday with a cup of coffee. I’m by no means one of those people who can’t function without hot caffeine – to me it’s more about the ritual. Plus, I enjoy the taste – always a good reason to indulge in something. I enjoy an occasional cappuccino or something fancy with foam or whip cream, but for the most part, I’m pretty satisfied with just a regular cup of joe. My work has a single-serve coffee maker, with a variety of sachets to choose from. When I first started working at the office, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the selection. Soon after, I realized the coffees tasted more like over-roasted cigarette ashes than anything.
I gave up on these coffees and started buying it from the fast-food restaurants in the area. A cup ran me about $2 to $2.50, depending on which coffee shop I went to and which size I chose. Not a lot of money, but after a 4-day week (I get to work from home one day a week), I could end up spending about $10 on drinks. After a month … well, you can do the math. It’s a fair amount of money spent on such a basic drink.
What really irritated me about buying coffee was that more often than not, it just didn’t taste right. Either the barista put in milk when I asked for cream, the coffee was tasted like it was barbequed, or the barista just didn’t understand the idiosyncrasies of my fixatives - I mean, what’s so difficult about 1-and-a-half creams and 1-and-a-half sugars? I just found myself not enjoying the product I was paying for, and that was fundamentally wrong. If I wanted offensive-tasting coffee, I could make it myself. This got me thinking … I should start making my own coffee and taking it to work.
I bought myself a sexy coffee maker (on sale) several years ago … and I hadn’t used it for several years! So I cleaned off the film of dust that had formed on it, washed out the carafe and got it back and ready for action. I knew I wasn’t organized enough to drink my coffee at home before work. I also knew that carrying coffee on the subway during rush hour was a recipe for disaster – with the rocking back and forth and everyone basically on top of each other, someone would end up smelling like they bought their cologne at Starbucks. I somehow would have to transport my coffee to work. I got myself to Canadian Tire and bought myself a thermal vacuum flask – a Themos, if you will. More pertinent than that, I needed to buy the actual coffee. I love me some McDonald’s coffee, so when they came out with the to-go bags, I knew I’d be buying.
Every morning, I brew my coffee while I fix my hair. I pour the coffee in my flask and I head out the door. My work has sugar packets and creamers in the kitchenette, so I grab some from there, head to my desk and fix up my morning fix. I’ve been taking my own coffee to work since October and it’s really been working out for me. I get to have coffee made just the way I like it, I avoid standing in line with half of Toronto, and I don’t have to forage my wallet for change.
I’m lucky that my work supplies me with coffee accoutrements, but even if you don’t, taking your own coffee and fixings will definitely cost you less cash. If I had to pay for all of my coffee-related expenses, this is what it would run me for a month:
- Coffee: $7
- Cream: $2
- Filters: $1
- Sugar: $1.5 (probably even less, but let’s be liberal)
- Grand total – $11.50
My coffee expense would have otherwise been almost $40 a month. “Brown bagging” my coffee has kept more money in my wallet and saved me from annoyance. It’s super easy to make, you can’t really go wrong. I suggest you give it a try.