Do you buy lattes at your favorite coffee shop because they're infinitely more delicious than crappy Folgers at home? I used to. In retrospect... What was I thinking?!
Let's say you're spending $4 per day on coffee out somewhere. My experience is that a drink can range from $3-$5, so $4 is an average.
Or you could invest in:
$50 espresso maker (I love my Mr. Coffee!)
$16 coffee grinder (any cheap one on sale does great)
$10 bag of delicious coffee (organic, fair trade, even—and lasts about 20 days)
$3 half-gallon of organic milk (I get about 6 days out of this)
The coffee and milk average out, then, to $1 per day.
Let's do the math! (I'm definitely an anomaly for a journalist, here.)
4x = money spent per day on coffee out
66 = espresso maker + coffee grinder
1x = money spent per day on at-home coffee
4x = 66 + x
Subtract an x from each side.
3x = 66
You with me? Now, divide each side by 3.
x = 22
So in 22 days—less than a month—you'd break even making your own lattes at home. It takes me about 10 minutes start-to-finish in the mornings by the time I prep, grind, brew, steam and clean. But it would take me that long to stop by a coffee house, wait in line, order, get my drink, and get out the door.
Once you've broken even, let's say you were spending $4 per day during the week on coffee. So $4 times 22 workdays per month. You were spending $88 per month on coffee. At $1 per day on high-quality coffee beans and organic milk, you're only spending $22 per month. Mega-score!