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The Case for Keurig

May 6, 2014

I tend to think of myself as a frugal person.  It’s not that I am not willing to spend money as much as it is that I demand value worthy of the funds surrendered.

Last week, I purchased a Keurig single serve coffee maker.  It wasn’t really an impulse buy, I had been considering a single serve brewer, was familiar with the various models, and had done the math on the per cup costs.  I had even sampled a number of K-cups to ensure I would not be disappointed with the quality of the product.

How expensive is single serve coffee?  Let’s do the math…

The Keurig OfficePRO Single-Cup Commercial Coffee Brewer was $92.99 at Staples – 25% for one time office supplies coupon ($69.74) – 25% rewards ($52.31) – $10 in ShopDiscover discounts ($42.31) – $25 Staples gift card or $17.31.  $17 won’t buy you a decent drip coffee maker never mind a commercial single serve brewer.  Initial investment is a good value.

I use Dunkin Donuts coffee in my drip coffee maker.  We routinely get 12 oz bags for $5.99.  A 12 oz bag makes 40 6 oz cups of coffee.  The Keurig K-cup makes a 10 oz cup of coffee.  40×6/10=24 k-kups for $5.99 or $0.25/K-cup.

To date, my best price for K-cups is 7×24 packs for $51.73 – $15 coupon ($36.73) – $5 shopdiscover discount – $1.83 Staples rewards or $29.90 ($0.18/cup).  Looking at prices at Kohls, Staples, Best Buy, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I calculate $0.42 per K-cup as a reasonable, repeatable price.

42/25= 1.68, so a K-cup costs about 70% more than a drip cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  Since I tend to have three cups of coffee per day, you could say that I’m paying $0.51 per day for this extravagance or $186.15 per year.

So, what value do I get for $186.15 per year?  For starters, I am not pouring ‘old’ coffee down the drain (or my throat).  I also have the luxury of brewing one cup of coffee after dinner.  Most importantly, I am sampling all sorts of amazing beverages.  This is surprisingly satisfying to me.  The 48 oz water reservoir is available for hot water as well.  I’m pretty happy with the value I get out of the single serve experience.  It’s less expensive to own and use than I expected.  I love the variety of beverages.  What I value most, though, is having a cup of coffee when I want it.

For this frugal person, the Keurig single server coffee maker is a good value.  I am sampling a lot of cups.  Here are the ones I recommend…

  • Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend
  • Celestial Seasonings Southern Sweet Perfect Iced Tea (just like at a restaurant in the South)
  • Coffee People Original Donut Shop Coffee
  • Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut (great iced coffee)
  • Emeril’s Big Easy Bold Blend (set to 10 oz.)
  • Starbucks House Blend Coffee (good black)
  • Tully’s Italian Roast Coffee

Best deal on K-cups…

  • Staples has 24 packs of K-cups for as little as $9.99 ($0.42/cup) which can be discounted by recurring 20% off coffee ($0.34), 25% back in rewards ($0.32), 25% off office supplies ($0.32), $25 off $75 ($0.29).  You can also use Discover Cash Back gift cards ($20 for a $25 gift card) to reduce that cost by 20% and get 5% in Shop Discover Cash Back plus 5% in Staples rewards.
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