They say that a good day starts with a good cup of coffee. Well, at least I’m saying so today because for me it’s part of my morning ritual, every day. I am not alone here. When I used to commute to work for years and years, I’d always have a cup at home before I left for the office and then of course just had to have another one when I arrived and settled into my routine each morning at the office, too.
There are a lot of “golden rules” when it comes to saving money that tipsters often cite in personal finance blogs. I am guilty here too of stressing that skipping your morning coffee and bagel as you drive into work every day will save you some big bucks. It does. Simply said, if you don’t make your coffee at home, you are probably wasting a lot of hard earned money that you can easily save and put toward a far better use. Like maybe buying that small island in the Caribbean you sometimes dream about? OK, it’s good to dream anyway. But free coffee…it tastes so much better, I promise you.
As I have grown into my retirement, I don’t usually indulge in more than one cup a day, but I do still have my morning cup when I roll out of bed, even if it’s at the crack of noon these days.
I Don’t Want to Judge You Here
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a coffee connoisseur or snob in any way whatsoever. I want to be honest upfront here. I am not the guy who cruises into the Starbucks and must spend time perusing the coffee menu for minutes (or hours on end) to find “just the right” coffee offering and a perfect treat to consume along with it while I sit and browse the internet on my laptop…ever! It may be the thing to do and it may be you (and God bless ya if it is, I mean no harm here), but it’s not me. Having said that, I do still like my coffee.
How I Like My Coffee Every Day
Yes, my morning coffee does need to have a few qualifications and the bottom line is it does have to taste pretty good, but still be relatively cost effective. Inexpensive, a bargain, low price, discounted, cheap—ok, let me just say it—free is just how I like my coffee every day!
Let’s face it here. If you’re watching your expenses, coffee can really and I mean really, make a dent in your daily spend. Some people are so into the thing that they are willing to spend up to five, six, even seven bucks or more for a cup of coffee! Every day!
Look, I get that if someone else is making it, you like the atmosphere, it’s a social event and all the other reasons you can think of to justify it once in a while. It may be just a guilty pleasure and so go ahead and enjoy. But once in a while is not $50 a week, $200 a month, or $2,400 a year on a “morning hot beverage” that you can do literally at home for about 1/12 the price (or less…yes, I am getting to free if you just wait a few more seconds here) and accomplish pretty much the same goal! If you’re a “Super Saving Tips fool” like me, you can get your cup for pennies a day and even free coffee!
The War Between Instant and Brewed Coffee
If you are a “real” coffee lover, you probably want to flip over all the cards and declare a winner in this war, brewed—though a lot more expensive—does seem to taste better, so deal done. But it’s not just about the taste being a 9.5 rather than an 8.0 on a scale of 10 which makes for the supreme victor for me.
Maxwell House, the brand I use when it’s a deal, has been around since 1892 and that’s even longer than I have been around! Instant coffee goes back even further than that. The earliest version of instant coffee is said to have been invented around 1771 in Britain and the first American product was developed in 1853 as an experimental version (albeit in cake form). It was even field tested during the Civil War.
It became mass produced in America in 1910. At first, instant coffee powder was perceived by most to be a novelty with a disagreeable taste. But, eventually, by 1938, Nescafe became the most popular brand by co-drying coffee extract along with an equal amount of soluble carbohydrate to vastly improve the taste.
By World War II, instant coffee was incredibly popular with the soldiers and brands like Washington Coffee, Nescafe, and others had all emerged to meet the demand. During one year, the entire production from the U.S. Nescafe plant (in excess of one million cases) went solely to the military.
Eventually, the best process for retaining the taste of coffee came from freeze drying, which was developed in the 1960’s and sells well still today.
Ok, Here It Is, Here’s How I Get My Free Coffee
I am not actually brewing a custom roast batch of coffee for the perfect balance of strength and flavor in my kitchen each morning. I decided a long time ago I would let someone else do that and I decided that the good folks at places like Maxwell House and their instant coffee can do the job for me and that’s perfectly ok. You remember Maxwell House, right? The one that says good morning with the coffee that’s “good to the last drop”!
I’m not trying to sell you on Maxwell House particularly, and no, they aren’t paying me to write this. There are lots of other brands out there that are competitive, I just personally happen to like them because they meet all of my prime requirements in coffee. Prime reasons one through five: they are cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, and they taste like coffee! And oh yeah, sometimes it’s even free!
Whether you’re in the mood for dark coffee, light coffee, medium roast or even decaf coffee, you can enjoy a good cup with Maxwell House instantly, I mean almost instantly after you boil some water, that is.
Where to Get Such a Bargain
If you are buying your instant coffee at the supermarket, you are probably not getting the “top of the pop” deal. Ok, you are getting a pretty good deal if you are getting your favorite brand on sale and using your loyalty card, coupons, BOGO’s etc. and that’s pretty cool. But would you believe me when I tell you that I can do even better, like free coffee?
I buy all my coffee these days at my local Walgreens or CVS stores! Why? Well, it seems that these two entities are having their own coffee war and almost every week one of them features an instant coffee brand on a special super low price sale. Sometimes it’s Sanka and sometimes it’s Nescafe or Taster’s Choice or Folgers, but a lot of times it’s my Maxwell House!
The best parts of the deal are these: you get all the pluses of the supermarket like loyalty cards, store coupons, sale prices, BOGO’s and—and wait for it—even better prices plus bonuses! Here’s my latest “killer deal” which I got and it’s out there just waiting for all of you.
I just purchased two Maxwell House jars that are regularly priced at Walgreens for $6.49 each* and were advertised for just $2.99 each on sale! That’s a 54% savings off their regular price and it produces about 120 6 oz. cups each jar.
*FYI: The regular price can be even higher at other stores. Even my recent trip to Walmart had their regular price at $9.66 for an 8 oz. jar!
Even better, I used a $1.00 manufacturers coupon on my purchase and believe it or not, I was able to get their every-so-often “bonus” jar with an extra 15% (9 oz. instead of 8) for just $1.99 a jar! That brought the price down and that translates to each cup costing just 0.0143 cents per cup!
Can It Get Any Better Than That?
Yes, it can! Walgreens, where I do a lot of my bargain hunting (along with CVS which I also love with their deals and rewards programs) has a free Balance Rewards Program (click here and then on Balance Rewards to get the details and join!) that gives you points when you shop and you can convert those points into dollars off when you have 1,000 of them (you get points on every dollar you spend, plus numerous bonus offers for points on certain products every week).
I used my points to purchase these two jars (4,000 point equals $4.00) and then walked away with my two $6.49 jars of Maxwell House for free! Free, nada, zilch and $0.00 per cup for the next 270 days!
That’s nine months of free coffee! I did it and you can, too!
Yes, I do know you can still find your coffee out on the road at places like McDonalds or 7-Eleven and get it at “reasonable prices”, sometimes for under a buck for a cup. But, whether you call it joe, java, mud, brew, morning jolt, caffeine infusion, or rocket fuel, if you like a cup of coffee to start your day, why not enjoy it for free! It really does make it taste so much better that way.
Are you a coffee aficionado? Are you a coffee “snob”? Does it matter to you at all? If you’re looking for your morning cup each day, why not save money while you’re at it? Doesn’t free make it sound even better tasting? Exactly how do you feel about your morning coffee?