Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cheap Joe

I knew a gal who drank Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. She purchased it a pound or two at the time, brewed it at home and brought it to work in a thermos. When co-workers commented more than once regarding her champagne tastes vs. her beer budget, she'd ask, "How much do you think you're paying a pound for that cup of Starbucks?"

Do the math. At 5 bucks for a cuppa Starbucks Joe, the others were paying the equivalent of a hundred dollars or more a pound (32 cups x 5 bucks a cup less cost of the milk or flavoring or whatever).

Okay, I'm guessing re: how much the milk, etc costs. Let's just say that it's way more than the $35/or so a pound you'll pay for a good quality Jamaican Blue.

This is baby stuff, I know it. That's the first item listed in any 'How to be more frugal' article.

1) Brew coffee at home and take to work in thermos.

(Number 2 is usually something like: "Bring your lunch instead of buying it." Followed by, "Group your errands so you aren't using as much gas.")

Frugal is all in how one looks at it.

I used to buy the flavored sugar-free syrup. It's a frugal solution to what could be an expensive habit. If you use coupons, you can get those International Creamers for a song. But have you looked at the typical list of ingredients?

Da Vinci Gourmet Syrups - Water, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gum, Sucralose (Splenda® Brand), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Caramel Color.

Coffeemate International Creamers -
Water, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative) (Not a Source of Lactose), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polysorbate 60, Natural and Artificial Flavors Carrageenan, Beta-Carotene Color.

I'm sure Dipotassium Phosphate isn't in the least harmful, but I have to wonder why I need it in my coffee.

So one morning, I'm searching my cabinets for something to make the morning coffee extra special and my gaze falls on the obvious: cinnamon and vanilla extract.


Cinnamon sprinkled in with the coffee grounds, a tsp of vanilla extract added to the brewed pot. Add half and half or milk and Splenda and I've got a frugal solution that makes the frugal solution look expensive.

All my epiphanies should be so obvious.

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