The Cost Of My Coffee Habit

Last Updated: 25 Jun 2021

I’ve always liked the taste of coffee but never used to have it every day. That was until I started my new job about two years ago. The hours were longer in my new job and most days I start at 7:30, which means waking up at 5:30 as I don’t live in central London and have an hour commute in.

As the first few weeks went by, the early starts began to take a toll on my energy levels. Despite having to wake up an hour earlier, I hadn’t changed the time I went to bed. This sleep deprivation caught up to me pretty quickly and within the first month I was drinking coffee every morning.

Being money conscious even back then, I started my habit by first drinking the coffee from the free machine at work. However, after a few weeks of the same old taste, I was no longer a fan of the machine coffee, so moved onto buying ‘the real stuff’ from the Costa next to my office.

Only having one £2.20 for a black americano a day, when I did the maths, the numbers added up quickly over the month and I was spending between £50-£75 on coffee a month. This probably doesn’t sound like much, but times it by 12 (I understand annual numbers much better than monthly numbers as I can see them as a proportion of my annual salary) and this was £600 - £900.

In comparison to my colleagues I was still a lightweight coffee drinker and my habit was relatively cheap but being the frugal person I am, this was still too high for me.

In light of this, I immediately put together the following plan to drink less coffee:

  • Sleep at least half an hour earlier: This would mean one less episode of tv every night before bed but feeling better in the morning (a good short-term cost for a long-term payoff in my opinion)

  • Start buying espresso capsules – we have an espresso machine at work and to make it an americano I add some hot water. A pack of Nespresso 50 capsules (one of the more expensive brands in the market) costs £19.50. Drinking these at a rate of 1 a day would last me just under 2 months. In practise, as I was sleeping more, the amount of coffee I was drinking dropped to twice a week (normally on Thursday and Friday as my sleep debt accumulated; maybe I need to sleep an hour earlier…). At this rate I drink around 10 capsules a month, meaning my annual coffee expenditure is now just £3.90 a month = £50 a year!

  • Only go to the coffee shop for networking (once every two weeks)

Within a few weeks my credit card bill was much lower, I felt more awake in the morning (the extra sleep was accumulating quite well and some evenings I’d sleep an hour before my old normal time.

The final results were as follows:

  • Extra sleep a week: 2.5 hours - 3 hours (around 30 mins of sleep extra a day, 5 days a week)

  • Money saved on not going to coffee: £50-£75 a month of savings - £3.90 a month spent on capsules - £10 a month spent on networking coffees = saving £730 a year!

I’m only 6 months through this new routine but everything is going well and the changes above have now become habits as opposed to being forced actions. I will admit that was tough at the beginning to deviate from my well established routine but these changes have been worth it and I am a step closer to saving my first house!