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Frugal Coffee

Do you know how much you spend on coffee in a year?

I don’t know too many people who don’t enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning. For those of us who have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work, a cup of coffee is as crucial as the gas in the car. The question is, how much money are we spending on that morning cup of coffee? And how much can we save?

My husband and I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts for a couple of hot coffees last Wednesday evening on our way to a function. We don’t generally go to Dunkin' Donuts, but we were feeling a little worn out and, what do you know, there was a store right there on the highway.  Let’s face it, between the constant “America Runs on Dunkin'” ads aired on the radio and the fact that there seems to be a Dunkin' Donuts on every corner, unless we consciously steer clear of this shop, we’re bound to wind up consumers at some point. At any rate, when the cashier stated how much we owed for two small coffees, we were flabbergasted: almost $3.50! After we had paid we asked the gentlemen if we could have a side of ice. (My daughter, who was in the backseat, had been sick with a respiratory infection and was suffering from a mild cough.) He looked reluctant, and informed us that he couldn’t do it, it was against policy. We would have had to pay for either the cup or an additional drink. I suppose this is due to inventory control.

At any rate, the amount we paid seemed inordinately high to me, so I decided to do a little research. After comparing and researching the prices of coffee throughout Woonsocket, I’m convinced that many of us are spending double or more the amount of money necessary to get that morning caffeine fix.

Now certainly, there are those folks who insist that only one sort of coffee satisfies them. I happen to know several people who won’t drink anything but Starbucks, and I’m certain there are others who feel the same way about Dunkin' Donuts. But for those of you who really don’t care (like myself) as long as the coffee taste good, fresh and hot, I’ve gathered a few facts.

First, are you aware that coffee shops charge not only the 7% sales tax but also an additional 7% sugar tax? At Dunkin' Donuts, for example, when you purchase a small coffee for $1.59, you wind up paying $1.72? That’s because you’re paying two taxes. At D & D’s a medium coffee cost $1.89 and a large $2.09, and that’s without the 14% tax! At most Starbucks, the cost is even higher.

Where else are you paying this extra tax? Apparently, the donut shops are required to charge it, but not the convenience stores. Nevertheless, some donut shops charge less than others.

If you do have to have your coffee from a donut shop, you can save a few pennies by visiting either , where a small hot coffee is 14 cents less than Dunkin'; or at  Donut Xpress, located at 17 Front St, where the same is  22 cents less. on Bernon Street has a huge selection of flavored coffee and can also save you a dime with a small coffee at $1.50 before tax.

If you don’t care where your coffee comes from as long as it’s good…McDonalds and Burger King, while not known for their coffee, make a pretty good cup of java. At these two places you’re in and out of the drive thru, and you pay only $1.08 total for any size coffee! Where do I sign up?

Cumberland Farms offers fresh Farmhouse Blend coffee – just as yummy as any I’ve tried—for only $1.06 total -any size; a significant difference in price and size. Lastly, many local convenience stores now sell fresh, hot brewed coffee and usually it’s any size for about a buck. , located at 805 Park Ave., is one such store. A small coffee is one dollar even, and the manager, Sultan Ali, not only keeps the coffee fresh and hot throughout the day, but he is also very friendly and helpful.  

I may not be a coffee expert, but having been a coffee drinker for over twenty years, I think I know a good cup of java when I taste it, and in my opinion the coffee that sells for a buck tastes just as good as the coffee that sells for nearly two bucks….and with that savings, maybe even better!

If you're curious how much you spend on coffee in a year, check out the coffee calculator to see how that java adds up.

Growing more concerned by the day! October 01, 2011 at 11:46 AM
If you follow Michelle's articles over time, you get the sense she feels she is "Entitled" to all goods and services for free..... everyone owes her, she owes nobody. She crafts articles to help sway public opinion against small and large business she feels do not meet her goal of entitlement. Read her Patch history of articles regarding Terry's, CVS and her own personal article and dra your own conclusion.
STEPHEN WEBER October 01, 2011 at 01:06 PM
@ RogerD I dunno about the entitled feeling but I detect a personal bias or personal opinions or partiality in her articles which may differ from many others in the public ... It's my opinion that when one is reporting on something , they should strive just give the substantiated facts and truths and then let the reader form their own opinion. Other than that I find the word "FRUGAL" in the title of the writers articles totally inappropriate as was the case in the Produce article where the most expensive sources of Local produce were featured ... As for this article Make your coffee at home like I do ...wait for a sale & use a coupon .... That's the "Frugal Way"
RonW October 01, 2011 at 11:18 PM
I guess I'm really frugal. I buy a 8oz jar of Maxwell House instant coffee for a little over $6. That last me over six months. To me, coffee is coffee it all taste the same. But, that's just me.
Gary Mercure October 02, 2011 at 08:18 PM
That's gross.
Gary Mercure October 02, 2011 at 08:29 PM
A little investment can save you a ton of money. Get an air popcorn popper, a coffee grinder, a brewer with a timer, and a thermos. Buy coffee online, green, and roast it yourself: it's dirt cheap green, and doesn't start getting stale until you roast it, which is where the popcorn popper comes in. You can roast beans right in your kitchen with an air popper, grind them in your grinder, and use the timer function on your brewer (most automatic drip brewers come with timers these days) to have your coffee ready when you get up in the morning. Fill the thermos and go. Bonus: this freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee will taste better than any coffee you can get north of Providence. Maybe not for everyone (I'm a card-carrying coffee snob), but it demonstrates that there are many ways to save money on nearly everything. Here's another tip: Chemex and plunger brewers can also save you money on electricity. (But you can't use a timer.)

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