Simplify. That’s our family’s mantra for 2013.
At the end of last year, we decided to spend less money in 2013 and make some adjustments in our lifestyle. In practical terms, that meant eliminating some of the excesses in our lives. For example, instead of going to dinner and a movie, my wife will cook dinners at home and find low-cost date options. My children are learning that they will not get something every time we go to Wal-Mart or any other store. And I’ve had to cut back on a few of my vices such as wine, cheese, and coffee.
Cutting back on coffee is perhaps the hardest thing for me to do (yes, I know I’m addicted.). I love the delicious, dark elixir. It has been my constant companion for decades and has helped me to meet many deadlines. I’ve enjoyed coffee in 12 countries, and I love the different styles of preparation. Before I started working from home, I would purchase at least two drinks per day at coffee shops. One day I sat down and figured out how much I actually spent on coffee annually. After doing the math, I was shocked to learn that I was spending over $2,000 per year on coffee. YIKES!
That exercise was sobering. I knew that I couldn’t expect the rest of my family to make sacrifices unless I modeled the behavior. Therefore, I decided to stop going to expensive coffee houses and start making my own coffee at home.
The first thing I did was pull out my old coffee maker and place it on the counter. I hadn’t used it in years and it was dusty and out-dated. As I wiped down the coffee-maker and situated it on the countertop next to our stainless-steel appliances, my wife grew concerned.
“Why is that coffee-maker sitting there?” She asked with a hint of displeasure in her voice.
“This coffee maker is going to save us $2000 per year,” I said with a smile.
“But it doesn’t match anything in the kitchen,” she said as she tapped her foot and scowled at me.
“Um,” I said trying to search for an explanation. “You are pretty.”
She rolled her eyes and walked away. I had won this round, but I knew it would be a bittersweet victory.
Over the next few days, I experimented with some coffee recipes. I went to Wal-Mart and bought my favorite brand of coffee and two flavors of Coffee-mate creamer – French Vanilla and Hazelnut (1 bag of coffee $6 and coffee Mate Creamer $2. I figured that I could make drinks for around .75 to $1.00 each).
After several failed attempts to create the perfect coffee drink, I finally settled on the following creations (note: I never measure anything when I cook. Therefore, you will have to adjust the ingredients to your taste):
HOT SPICED HAZELNUT CAFE
- Brewed coffee
- Coffee-mate Hazelnut Creamer
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- Dash Allspice
- Dash Nutmeg
Brew coffee and pour into a small saucepan. Turn heat to low. Add creamer and spices. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon to allow the flavors to blend well. Pour into mugs. Enjoy the spicy goodness.
- Brewed coffee, chilled
- Coffee-Mate French Vanilla Creamer
Pour coffee, creamer and sugar into blender. Blend at low speed for about 30 seconds. Fill a glass about halfway with ice. Pour coffee over ice. Drink. Revel in the cool refreshment. Word to your mother.
P.S. – My wife still hates the coffee maker.You can see a photo of it in my Google+ album.
P.S.S. – Use this coupon to save money on Coffee-mate creamer