Connect with us

Published

on

By now you know that spending $5-6 every day on blended coffee drinks at the nearest branch of the nation’s largest coffee chain isn’t the most financially-sound life decision. What if I told you that you could make amazing, delicious coffee in your own home for a fraction of the cost? You can!

Here are a few tips to save money on coffee by brewing it at home that are sure to help you keep a few of those dollars from leaving your wallet:

1) Use a French Press


The French Press is one of the easiest ways to have good control over your coffee in the comfort of your no-doubt-impeccably-clean apartment kitchen. Since a French press can extract coffee quickly, you’ll want a courser grind. You can grind coffee at your local grocery store, or if you buy coffee from a local coffee shop, they can often grind it for you, saving you money on your own grinder. All you need to do is add hot water to the ground coffee in the French press and plunge. Add just a little water at first and stir to let the coffee bloom, then add the rest and wait a few minutes for it to steep, just like tea! A French press can make very dense coffee, so this is a great method for those who like their coffee strong. French presses are cheap and easy to get. I got mine for only about $15.

2) Use the Pourover Method


Pourovers are personally my favorite way to make coffee. There are many different pieces of equipment you can use to make it, from a metal funnel called a Kolita to a glass hourglass called a Chemex. The idea with pourover coffee is that you are brewing a cup of coffee with precision. You can place your Kolita funnel directly over a mug or pitcher. Place your grounds in a coffee filter (just like regular drip coffee) and use a tea kettle to slowly pour water over the top. You can adjust the cup of coffee based on your taste. For instance, if you like your coffee weaker, pour the water quickly to underextract the coffee. If you like it stronger, pour slower to give the water more time to extract the full body of the coffee grounds. This will give you a cup of coffee that showcases the nuances of the coffee bean you’ve chosen!

3) Roast it Yourself at Home


Many people don’t know that coffee isn’t brown when it grows. It starts out green, as the seed of a coffee “cherry.” If you can get your hands on some green coffee beans, you can make some seriously phenomenal coffee. You can roast your beans on the stovetop, in the oven, or even over a grill! This is another point where you can control the taste of your coffee. Love that “bold” coffee taste? Roast your beans super dark. Like your coffee a little more on the delicate side? Go easy on the roasting. From some suppliers, you can get a pound of green coffee for $6, which lets you end up with amazing coffee for a good, long time!

4) Don’t Buy the Most Expensive Coffee


If roasting your own coffee isn’t so much your style and you want to let the pros handle the beans until they get to you, remember that more expensive doesn’t necessarily equal better coffee. Coffee roasters will offer coffee in a range of prices, depending on what the cost was to them when they bought green beans. You might be able to get a fantastic pound of Ethiopian Yergacheffe if the roaster was able to buy the beans for cheap! Look at a roaster’s entire inventory before buying coffee beans. Talk to them about where you can get the most bang for your buck. You’ll find that most coffee nerds are just as eager as you to get a great coffee on the cheap.

5) Join a Coffee Club


Subscribing to a service that sends you coffee every so often can be a fun way to both learn about new kinds of coffee and save money. Sometimes, the club will throw in a premium bag of coffee, which will give you even more value for your money! It can be a gamble, but hey, I’ve never had a coffee from a coffee club that has been just straight-up awful. By having coffee sent to you every week or two, you can build up a decent palette for not a lot of cash.

6) Get Yourself a Fancy Mug


Having an awesome mug to drink out of can make you more excited about your morning cup o’ joe, and less apt to go for that $6 frappe-latte-cino! There are all kinds of wild mugs out there, from designs that change with the heat of the coffee to mugs in the shape of your favorite cartoon characters. Brighten up your morning and drink your coffee in style.

7) Learn to Steam Your Own Milk


If you’re more of an espresso drink fan, the key to an enjoyable cup of coffee is often well-steamed milk. Milk with the same silky texture as your local coffee shop can be achieved at home, however! You can actually heat milk on your stove and use a French press to aerate it by pumping the plunger. Good steamed milk should have the consistency of a can of paint when you swirl it around in a cup. Just pour into your espresso and you’ve got a cup of coffee that would make corporate coffee jealous!

8) Enjoy Mind-blowing Coffee


That’s it! Keep those dollars in your pockets and still enjoy the world’s favorite caffeinated drink when you’ve followed these tips. Saving money doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice some of life’s little pleasures, like great coffee! Bottoms up!

Have another tip to save money on coffee that you’d like to share? Leave me a comment to let me know!

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dropping Digm (How-to)

11 Ways to Save During the Holiday Season

Published

on

The holiday season is upon us, which means significantly more spending—and more potential to encounter financial trouble. Because of the emotional play many retailers use to get you to buy from their stores, it’s important to be overly vigilant with your spending during this time. Below are 11 ways you can save (instead of spend) during the holiday season.

1. Decide how much you can spend and make a plan.

Many people don’t like to use the word “budget” because it seems restrictive. However, creating a holiday budget or “making a plan,” as we’ll call it here for all intents and purposes, is imperative during the holiday season. By making a plan, you’re avoiding overspending and essentially telling your money what to do—rather than allowing it to be in control.

2. Open a holiday spending account.

Using your main checking account to do your holiday shopping is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holidays. Doing so allows you to tap into money allocated for other important things like bills and groceries. By opening a separate checking account for holiday spending, you’ll help yourself stay on budget. And once the money is gone, you have a clear stop on holiday shopping. Make sure it’s a free checking account, opening an account that charges fees would defeat the purpose of doing so.

3. Account for splurges.

Let’s be honest: you’re going to splurge this month. A dress for your office Christmas party? A sale at your favorite retail store? The jeans you’ve been eyeing for months are suddenly 40 percent off? We could go on and on, but you get the drift. Set aside a dollar amount that you’re willing to spend on yourself this month. Knowing how much you can afford will keep you from being swept up by “can’t-miss” deals.

4. Cut back on expenses.

Cutting back on expenses during the holiday season—or even before—will give you more money to allocate towards the holidays. Small changes like cutting your cable (you’ll be visiting family and friends most of the month anyway!) or avoiding takeout meals will save extra cash and make a big difference in your budget.

5. Track your spending.

Using a spending log is essential this time of year. Gifts aren’t the only thing affecting your budget—more social occasions means more spending. From extra Ubers to hostess gifts, your expenses can add up quick. This usually forces people to make decisions that they may not want to make, like tapping into credit or using money that is not allocated for holiday shopping. Using a spending log will keep your spending in check.

6. Narrow down your list.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of the season and want to gift something to everyone you’re close to. Let us remind you (as corny as it sounds) that presents are not what the holiday season is about. Take a look at your holiday list and be honest about what you can afford. It’s not fun, but your loved ones don’t want you hindering your financial future for them.

7. Set gift-giving expectations.

Setting gift-giving expectations is really important: If your love ones assume you’re going to spend a lot of money on them, they may feel obligated to do the same in return. Having a conversation early on about gift limits will allow both parties to avoid overspending, not to mention it will sidestep any ensuing embarrassment or guilt that comes with one party not giving an equally as lavish gift.

8. Take advantage of store offers and coupons.

Taking advantage of store offers and coupons should be a given, but you’d be surprised at how many people pay full price for things during the holiday season. Many people feel like they are competing against other shoppers to get the best gifts, so they don’t spend the necessary time finding the best deals. Don’t believe the hype! Make a shopping plan for each individual on your list. Research where you can find the best deals on the product and then sign up for company email lists. Follow sales and make purchases at the right time. Ordering presents in advance (or price shopping with ample time) not only assures that you get the best deals, but also that you don’t spend excess cash on things like rush shipping.

9. Be creative.

Being creative is about understanding that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg in order to show your love ones you care. There are many people who are more appreciative of the thought that goes into a handcrafted gift than a purchased item from a big box store. Being thoughtful can have a lasting and more memorable effect than breaking the bank. Spending quality time with an elderly relative, helping a friend clean her home the day after a big party, or offering to babysit for a couple are just a few ideas.

10. Reduce decoration costs.

You may feel inclined to go all out when it comes to decorations, but if you’re crafty enough, you can save a lot of money by creating your own. If you really love holiday decor, wait until the season is over and purchase for next year. Prices for decorations are inflated during the holidays, so buying them during the off-season can save you a lot of money.

11. Remember the reason for the season.

We cannot repeat this enough: remember the reason for the season. The holiday season is not all about gift giving. Sometimes your presence is better than your present! The holiday season is about family and friends, and should be cherished in that way.

Do you have a holiday season savings hack that you swear by? ‘Tis the season to share!

11 Ways to Save During the Holiday Season was originally published on TheEverygirl.com.

Continue Reading

Dropping Digm (How-to)

5 Tips for Holiday Break

Published

on

Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Like most students, you’re probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holiday break. But before you relax, take a little time first to size up your finances for next semester. Here are a few tips to get you started: 

Review Your Spending from Last Semester

Not sure where all your money went? Now is a good time to examine your spending from last semester by reviewing your bank account statements, check register, credit card statements and receipts (if you saved them). One way to do this is to make two lists: one with all your unavoidable expenses, such as tuition, rent, basic food costs and insurance payments, and another with everything else—in other words, purchases you wanted at the time but did not necessarily need. Now take a look at that second list. Bet you’re surprised at how many things you spent money on that you could have done without, or don’t remember why you purchased in the first place! Make a pledge to cut back on some of those items and watch your savings grow.

Save Your Cash Gifts

Did you get some cash in your stocking? You might be tempted to blow it on those irresistible post-holiday sales, but take a moment to think about your needs for next semester. Will you have enough money for books, school supplies, gas and other school-related needs? At the very least, plan to save 10-20 percent of your extra cash for unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical emergencies. Knowing that you have a little nest egg set aside will give you some peace of mind and allow you to focus on your studies.

Budget Your Anticipated Financial Aid Refunds

If you will be receiving a refund from your financial aid award next term, keep in mind that a good portion, if not all, of these funds may be from student loans that you signed up for. These funds will have to be repaid when you graduate or leave school, so it is important to budget and spend them wisely, and make sure you have enough money to last the entire semester.

Re-apply for Financial Aid

Remember, you must re-apply for financial aid every year. You can submit the federal FAFSA form beginning January 1, 2015 for the 2015-16 academic year. Your state and school may also require you to re-apply or update your information, so be sure to visit with your school’s website or contact the financial aid office for information on deadlines and other requirements. Also, check out Mary’s article in the Huffington Post for more information and tips on applying.

Look for Part-time Job Opportunities

If you think you’ll be running low on money next semester, start looking for some part-time job opportunities or increasing your hours at your current job. The best place to start your job search is right on campus. There are lots of jobs available, from library clerk to food service worker—check with the employment office or website. You might also want to consider capitalizing on your own talents to make some extra cash by offering services such as tutoring, babysitting, dog walking, or repairing cars or electronics.

Following these tips will allow you to enjoy your much-needed break and put you on a path to financial peace of mind for next semester—so start today!

Continue Reading

Dropping Digm (How-to)

The Perfect Traveler: 10 Ways to Plan a Trip Like a Boss!

Published

on

Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is true in anything that you do in life. When the weather is nice, travel is an activity that experiences an immediate uptick. Whether it’s travel for business, pleasure, or both—know how to travel like a boss! Having the right travel plan will not only save you time, but also save you money as well. The following are 10 ways to become the perfect traveler:

1. Book online.

Many airlines charge fees for booking in person or on the phone, so avoid those costs by booking online. Be careful, though—even websites sometimes charge booking fees, often for certain types of tickets, such as those that include more than one carrier. Read the fine print before you click “Purchase.”

2. Choose your website.

All the airlines have their own websites for booking, and there are dozens of independent sites that let you check fares across all airlines (or almost all—Southwest doesn’t participate in third-party booking sites, so if you want to fly on Southwest, you have to go to Southwest.com). Good options for searching across multiple airlines are Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, Hipmunk, Routehappy and Momondo. They all have their own feel and features, so shop around to see which one you like best. Once you have an idea of what your preferred flight costs on the aggregator sites, check the airline site to make sure you can’t get it cheaper.

3. Avoid high-traffic travel times.

The busiest (and most expensive) days to travel are Friday and Sunday, so consider flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. If you have a choice of flight time, pick the first flight of the morning (it’s usually the cheapest and least likely to be delayed), or the red-eye.

4. Book at the right time.

When you book makes a difference. There’s no magic formula and airline ticket prices are notoriously unpredictable, but good air travel deals are likely to appear in the morning, so set your alarm. Also, be sure to book well in advance of your trip—in general, the more last-minute the ticket, the more it’ll cost you. Again, there’s no one right answer, but those in the know say a good time to book is six weeks before your trip (or, if you believe the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which is owned by nine major airlines—57 days). Experts say you’ll find the best deals when you book on a Tuesday or Sunday.

5. Be spontaneous.

Several airlines let you sign up for last-minute deals that can save you a bundle. You’ll get an email early each week listing the available destinations for the coming weekend—all you have to do is book, pack a bag and go.

6. Be careful about baggage.

Airlines are increasingly adding fees for things that used to be free, including baggage. Each airline has their own charges and rules, so make sure you check with the airline before you book, because those charges (typically $25 for the first bag) add up fast.

7. Make friends with the airlines.

Some of them are experimenting with targeting Twitter followers or Facebook friends for special deals, so it’s worth adding them to your social circle. Not to mention, it takes two seconds to click that “Like” or “Follow” button.

8. Sign up for fare notifications.

Several sites, including Airfarewatchdog, FareCompare and Kayak will let you sign up to receive an alert if the fare for a flight you’re considering drops, so you don’t have to keep checking.

9. Be flexible.

Many travel booking sites let you search for fares over a range of dates rather than exact dates. Often, you’ll find that changing your travel dates by even one day can save you hundreds. Also, be sure to check alternate airports—Baltimore Washington instead of Washington Dulles or Reagan National, Long Beach or Burbank instead of LAX, Love Field instead of Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, etc. A few extra minutes of driving could mean significant savings.

10. Don’t make changes.

We know, things happen—but try to avoid making changes to your tickets once they’re booked. Most airlines charge at least $75 to change your flight, and some charge up to $450 for changes to international flights. But here’s a hot tip: If you must cancel your ticket, airlines are now required by the Department of Transportation to issue a full refund if you request it within 24 days of making your purchase, provided your departure date is more than a week away.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 PARADIGM.MONEY, All Rights Reserved. PARADIGM.MONEY is owned/operated by BankMobile, a Division of Customers Bank. The opinions/Views expressed on PARADIGM.MONEY are not considered opinions/Views of BankMobile, a Division of Customers Bank.