How to Lower Your Monthly Coffee Expense

If you all are anything like me you drink coffee. Once a day about eight times a day. If you are drinking coffee out and ordering drinks such as frappes, macchiatos and lattes then this adds up quickly. I helped my friend with her budgeting over the weekend and she has been spending $200/month on coffee out! She had no idea!

I thought I’d give you a few tips I’ve learned over the years on how to enjoy delicious coffee on a budget while not making a single sacrifice.

Invest in a quality espresso machine.

If you LOVE lattes, going to Starbucks, Dutchbros, or your local coffee shop, then buying your own espresso machine is a must. There are many espresso machines for an affordable price. This website has some great budget options. I ended up buying an $80 espresso machine off of Amazon and make at least two breves a day with it. This has helped reduced the trips to Starbucks and has lowered my monthly coffee budget.

Buy quality coffee beans.

If you don’t like coffee brewed at home then chances are you are using poor quality coffee beans. Don’t go Folgers here… ask your local coffee shop for a recommendation or try some different coffee beans freshly ground from the store. I like to go organic when possible. This process has helped me to find a coffee so good that I no longer crave coffee out of the house as much because nothing is good as what I make in my own kitchen!

Buy fun ingredients to make your coffee exciting.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE those sugar-laden lattes from the local coffee stand. I figure I’m going to drink them anyways so I might as well make them myself for a fraction of the cost. We have a full stash of peanut butter for peanut butter blended mochas, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, and even peppermint extract. We get very creative with our coffee making. Using our own ingredients also means that we are staying away from things like high fructose corn syrup which can take a toll on your health.

Use those punch cards.

Our local coffee stands hand out punch cards. Since we lead very busy lives we still end up grabbing coffee out but we always make sure to keep it frugal and use our punch card. You can often get every 10th coffee free this way!

Be aware of special coffee deals.

Our local coffee shops and stands always have special deals going on. Once we’ve had a 9-punch day which is basically equivalent to a free coffee. We also have happy hours all over town where coffee drinks are 50% off or buy one get one free. Some coffee stands also have seasonal drinks which can help you save a buck here and there.

By using these coffee tips I hope that you can continue your addiction love of coffee in a more affordable and even healthier way!

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toaster and jam toast

Why $7 Deserves the Same Care as $7,000

This is a guest post from Gip Plaster at So Much More Life. (

On July 7, finallygettingtoeven’s writer was featured as the second-ever guest poster on my blog. She told my readers a story about saving $7,000 on a vehicle purchase by doing her research and being willing to drive for hours to a faraway dealer for the best deal.

But I recently made a $7 purchase, and I put in some serious thought before I made it. Here’s why!

I blog at So Much More Life about living a “simple, deliberate life”. That means I try to eliminate useless things, processes and spending from my life. Making deliberate choices rather than spending, working and consuming without thought is my path to a life better than I ever imagined possible.

Among my efforts to simplify my life this year, I’ve been decluttering my home. I started in the kitchen, and one of the things I threw away was a damaged toaster.

Who needs a toaster? I had rarely used the old one, then it got wet and was useless, so it needed to be thrown away.

But every now and then, a guy wants a piece of toast.

A simple toaster costs less than $7 at Walmart, and — I hypothesized — it would be good enough for me. But did I really need it?

The part of my decluttering efforts that I’ve enjoyed most are the now totally clean countertops in the kitchen. But I could keep the toaster underneath and bring it out only when I want to use it.

Still, wasteful spending is something else I’m eliminating. I haven’t bought anything for the house this year and very little in the months before that. I haven’t even had any new clothes. (Three shirts bought from a clearance rack at Macy’s last week went straight back when the first one shrunk in the dryer.)

Toast, I finally decided, is part of a simple life. Nothing is simpler than toasted bread with butter or jelly.

You see, living a simple, deliberate life doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of anything. It means you don’t clutter your life with things that don’t contribute to your happiness. And it means that whatever you do, you do it mindfully. That is, you think about the things you’re doing and their implications.

So make deliberate choices — whether you’re trying to save $7,000 or spend $7 for something that will make your life better.

Choosing carefully will always serve you well.

Gip Plaster writes So Much More Life ( because he thought about it awhile, then decided to do it. The growing blog features posts on simple living, very small one-person businesses and so much more. His readers often sign up to get email or RSS updates from him because they’re good people. There are no other kind.

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I fell off the ‘consumer wagon’.

And yes, I bruised my butt when I landed squarely on it.

The wagon stopped, backed up and came to retrieve me. I jumped to my feet, threw my arms in the air and started running the other direction, screaming all the way.

And guess what, I outran the wagon. Yes, yes I did. When it was no longer in sight I hid. I hid in the bushes. Because I knew if the wagon found me, being all vulnerable at the time I could have been persuaded to climb aboard once again.

And that wagon was relentless, it searched high and low for me, it did. But I crouched lower and lower until I was at one with the ground, feeling the stench of the soil in my nostrils. I stayed like this for what seemed to be an eternity. Darkness fell, then light again, over and over, day after day. I slowly drifted in and out of consciousness. The wagon searched on, pacing back and forth like a hungry tiger looking for its prey. But I would not give up, give in, I would not falter. I was finally free of its grip and I would go down fighting if the need be.

Then just like that, it was gone, the wagon. One morning I awoke to sunny blue skies, the birds singing in chorus, the shadow of the wagon no more. It had given up, I was victorious.

I noticed at once that things looked different to me today. Sights were sharper, smells were sweeter, feelings were ‘lighter’, and I realized then that not only had I fallen from the wagon but that I had left all my luggage aboard. All that useless ’stuff’ that I had been carting from place to place. Now my hands were free, my head was clear, there seemed to be a skip in my step.

And so today, when the wagon goes on down the road I stand to the side and let it pass. It no longer attempts to stop and offer me a ride. It knows, what I know, all the offers of a free ride come with a heavy price tag, a very heavy price tag indeed.

Beware the consumer wagon

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How to Know When You Are Financially Ready for a Baby

The decision to have a child is complicated by all kinds of things, from family matters to work, but few things affect how people feel about having children more than their finances. You’ll hear things like,

“We don’t have the money to have a kid!”

“Babies are so expensive! Who can afford one?”

“Have you SEEN how much diapers cost?”

While money is certainly not the most important thing in the world, couples are right to think about how they will provide for their new baby. Financial matters can put extra strain on a relationship, and can make it harder to give a baby the life it deserves. However, too many couples worry about money long after they need to, and it can keep them from starting their family.

We’ve compiled some tips on how to know if you’re financially ready for a baby, so you and your loved one can stop worrying so much and start thinking about baby names (Although we all know you probably have a few picked out already, even if it is secretly!):

1. You’ve set aside an emergency fund.

Most people know that you’re supposed to have an emergency fund, but they haven’t quite put this plan into action. Most experts suggest putting at least 3 months of your total expenses, although others suggest being truly well-prepared requires at least six. When you think about your total expenses, think about everything. That includes rent (or mortgage), food, all utilities, gas, personal items like soap and shampoo, and anything else you spend money on in the average month.

If you’re not sure how much you spend, total up everything, from checks written to credit card swipes, in a month. Then, multiply that number by whatever you want to set aside. This fund will help in case you or your partner lose a job, or if you have unexpected medical insurance.

2. You’re working your way out of debt, if you have any.

This one is not easy, and if you wait to have a child until you’re debt-free, you probably won’t ever have one! Instead, start increasing your monthly payments a little bit at a time on credit card debt, student loan debt, or a car payment. If you have a clear plan to pay the debt off and stick with it, and you know you can still provide for your child, you will be okay. However, if you have thousands of dollars hanging over your head, and no way to pay it off, it is probably not the right time for a child.

3. You’ve planned for mom and baby.

Everyone talks about buying things for baby, but nobody talks about buying things for mom. The truth is, maternity clothes from reputable retailers like are as much of a need as diapers, and as you prepare financially, you should budget for them. Skinny jeans rarely fit after the first couple of months.

You should also make sure you’re discussing what you do and don’t need for your child. If there’s a gadget you really want but can’t afford, consider asking for it as a shower gift. Remember, parenting is less about spending money on the baby and more about spending time with them, and they don’t need every new toy on the market to think you’re amazing.

4. You have a little money left over every month.

By the time you decide to have a child, you should have your budget down to a science, and know what money is coming in and out of the house. You should also, ideally, have money left over each month that could go to the baby, for diapers and formula and other day to day needs. If not, look at your other expenses and decide if there are things you can cut. You might consider pricey cable packages or a few nights out a month.

Remember, nobody ever has the perfect financial situation to have a baby, but if you plan it right, you can buy diapers, set money aside, and still pay all your household bills. Ultimately, the only one who can tell you when you’re ready for your new bundle of joy is you, but hopefully thinking about these financial tips will prepare you to make that day a reality sooner than you think!

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