Every morning, from as far back as I can remember until I left for college, my parents would have a cup of coffee in the morning. Occasionally they would have a cup in the evening as well, and I can only imagine how many cups they drank at work (My mother is a fourth-grade teacher, my father occasionally deals with insane criminals).
I hate the smell of coffee. I’ve never had a cup in my life. Out of the four sips I’ve ever taken, I’ve wanted to vomit after each one. I don’t support Starbucks. In fact, I boycott Starbucks as much as possible. It’s not hard considering that I don’t drink coffee, but it gave me a great excuse when my mother asked me to go out and get her a cup.
Dropping the Habit
I tried everything to get my parents to get rid of the awful stench at home. I told them it would ruin their teeth, I told them it was a gateway to opium, and I told them they wouldn’t be able to retire because of it.
Clearly none of my efforts worked, but recently my mother started drinking instant coffee exclusively and it made me think about that third excuse I gave them: how much drinking coffee really cost them.
Calculating it Out
My conservative estimate was two cups of coffee a day. Every single day. For 20 years. I’m sure they drank more than two cups sometimes, and I know they did it for more than 20 years. But we have to start somewhere, and I don’t want to be the guy who completely blows things out of proportion to try and prove a point. This is not a scientific study. Actually, I haven’t done the calculations yet, but here we go:
A few more assumptions:
- Each week consisted of 11 home-brewed cups and 3 cups at Starbucks (or Dunkin Donuts, or wherever).
- The average cost of a pound of coffee is $10 and provides 32 cups of coffee.
- The average cost of a cup of coffee is $2. My parents would laugh at people who got the “tall.”
So the average week was 22 cups of home-brewed coffee and 6 cups of store-bought coffee. That comes out to $6.87 for home brewed per week and $12 for store bought, for a total of $18.87.
My first thoughts are WOW, that’s a lot of money for 6 cups of coffee. The home-brewed stuff was a bargain!
Their coffee habit was costing them about over $75 a month, or about $985 per year, or $19,683 over 20 years. Damn.
But how much would it have been for the instant stuff? It costs about $7 for a can, which makes 21 cups. So $0.33 per cup. Slightly more than home brewed. Still, it comes out to $486 per year, or $9,733 over 20 years.
After all of this, it looks like $486 per year for coffee is rather insignificant. If you do anything for 20 years, the costs are going to look high, but I honestly expected the costs to be higher.
Early Retirement? Not Quite
My conclusion is that my parents’ drinking habit didn’t cost them an early retirement. My focus should have been on them brewing their own coffee instead of buying it 3 times a week, but the trade-off of having that stench in the house more often may have been too much for me.
The main takeaway is that people are getting ripped off every morning when they drink coffee. There is barely any difference between home-brewed and instant coffee (home-brewed is actually cheaper!), but there’s a HUGE difference between home-brewed and store-bought!
Brew it yourself! Why pay $2 per cup when you could pay $0.33? Is the convenience worth the 500% markup?