Coffee beans and title

How My “Bougie” Coffee Habit Saves Me Money!

When people think of Millenials (and Gen Z-ers), certain food and drink associations come to mind: avocado toast, craft beer, and fancy coffee.

People like to make a big deal about how much money the younger generations spend on these and similar items. Some claim these expenses are the reason so many young people are behind on their retirement savings.

I like to think that our generation has simply identified that if you’re going to work hard, then the little joys in life need to be really worth your time.

What’s the use of using caffeine to perk up if its delivery system is gross? Why spend money on alcohol if you aren’t drinking something interesting and different? Why eat the same boring breakfast every day when something as delicious as avocado toast is available?

I recently had an experience that really highlighted the fact that just because you’re a little picky about what you like, it doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re wasting money. In fact, sticking to your preferences can sometimes save you cash. 

Bouge It Up or Nah?

“Bougie” habits are generally NOT considered budget-friendly or financially savvy. They include buying expensive clothes and accessories, buying “fancy” food, and embracing an overall “treat yo’self” attitude.

As a result, it’s popular, and easy, to frown on “bougie” habits as poor choices that should be given up if you ever want to retire or succeed in life. (See: avocado toast).

Here’s the thing though: these “poor choices” are fun; they give people joy; and they are sometimes overall better choices than the frugal version. Beans and rice might be cheap, but a balanced diet with lots of veggies is way better for you in the long run.

I believe there’s nothing wrong with making a few bougie choices in life. The problem comes when every choice you make falls into that category.

Paula Pant over at says it best: “You can afford anything, but not everything.”

Something I’ve come to realize, though, is that some habits that people might label as bougie can actually pay off in the long run by saving you money.

Our Love Affair with Coffee

My husband and I have morphed into admitted coffee snobs over the time we’ve been together. When my roommates and I made coffee in college, I used to use tons of sweetened creamer because the coffee just never tasted that good. I loved getting coffee at a shop because it always tasted so much better. As a result, I definitely spent too much money on delicious coffee-shop concoctions.

Then I had good, fresh, home-ground coffee.

Turns out, putting in the effort to grind your beans and make your coffee fresh is actually worth it. Now, I love coffee and usually drink my morning coffee black because it’s so smooth and actually tastes good.

Lots of people have come to this conclusion over the last decade, and it’s easier than ever to find fresh, often locally-roasted coffee at farmer’s markets, local cafes, and even grocery stores.

The scary thing about making the leap to high-quality coffee is that it comes at a high-quality price. A pound of whole beans can cost anywhere from $11 to $20 depending on the type. Considering you also probably have to buy a grinder, plus the gear to actually make your coffee, you’d think that suffering through cheap coffee is actually the better choice.

The problem is, if you don’t actually like the coffee you make at home, you don’t have any incentive to make it. It’s way more pleasant to stop by Starbucks, drop $5 to have someone else make your coffee exactly the way you want it, and have the satisfaction of that warm travel coffee mug to hold as you go about your day. (Does anyone else LOVE the feeling of carrying a travel coffee cup?? It’s so cozy-feeling!)

So, now you’ve spent $3-7 on a bag of pre-ground, cheap coffee and a drip machine you rarely use, plus you’re dropping $5 several times a week on the stuff you ACTUALLY want but want to believe you don’t need.

If you buy a $5 drink three times a week, that’s $15, or the cost of an extra-fancy bag of coffee. Those bags usually last more than a week, at least for us, so it’s already cheaper to buy the fancy stuff than to grab chain-brand drinks. Plus, every time you make a pot at home, whether it’s a drip machine, a french press, or other method, you’ll probably be making more than one serving, so you get more coffee at the same price as ordering out.

I recently got to re-learn this lesson first-hand.

The Disaster

For the past five years or so, we’ve been using a drip coffee machine that was highly recommended by The Wirecutter. It’s the red version of a Bodum-brand machine. I love it and it’s worked perfectly since we bought it.

P.S. Thermal carafes are AMAZING. The coffee stays hot for hours after brewing, which is great for those who like to have a couple cups over the course of the morning.

The one gripe I have is that part of the basket for the grounds is plastic, and we’ve seen some stress cracks form over time from constant use and cleaning. Last week, I bumped this basket off the shelf where it had been drying and the handle snapped off, taking a chunk of the basket with it.

This one missing piece rendered the whole machine useless.

My husband immediately got online to look for a replacement, but Bodum has stopped making that particular machine and didn’t have any individual parts to send us. Ebay, Amazon, and the rest of the internet didn’t either.

Would we have to buy a whole new machine because of one crappy plastic piece!?

The Solution

We decided to make a last-ditch effort to fix it, so Joe bought some food-safe sealant and patched the basket up.

Today, we crossed our fingers and made our first pot of coffee in over a week, and it worked perfectly. We’ve hopefully bought ourselves at least another year of use out of our Bodum my spending a little time and money to patch it up.

The Lesson

Great, yay us, but why bother telling you this story?

During the days our coffee maker was out of commission, I bought coffee a lot more than I do during a normal week.

I’d make an Aeropress cup in the morning, but I usually take coffee to work, and I just couldn’t be bothered to go through the steps to make a small Aeropress cup again before I left. Cue a stop at Dunkin or Starbucks.

Not only were these stops more costly, but I don’t particularly like either Dunkin or Starbucks coffee black, so they also cost me more in calorie intake!

In all, we spent about $16 for less than a week of coffee out for the two of us.

Wrap Up

If I needed reminding that our $100 coffee machine and $30 grinder were worth buying, then this week was that reminder. Our “bougie” love for fresh coffee saves us probably $60-70 a month.

If you’re trying to trim your expenses, but you’re a fellow caffeine fiend, take a second look at upping your game and joining us “fancy coffee people” on the delicious, home-ground, “bougie” side.

How I paid 2 cents for 2 items of clothing

I love Nordstrom Rack. It’s one of my top go-to places when I need to replace something in my wardrobe. It has all the brands and quality of a department store at much lower prices. I especially love the clearance section. You never quite know what you’ll find and if you’re looking for something less classic and more trendy, it’s a great place to check. We all want to be on trend, but we definitely shouldn’t be shelling out full price for clothing that’s going to out of style in a season.

So, yeah, I love the Rack, but recently I had a bizarre and funny experience that I absolutely need to share.

The story

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend, Joe, and I went shopping and stopped into the Rack near us. After a lot of poking around and hemming and hawing, we chose four items, all on clearance, and went to check out. One of the items I’d chosen was a bralette, and when the lady at checkout rang it up, she laughed.

“This only costs a penny!” she told me.

“What?” I asked, “How is that possible?”

What I learned is that when something has been marked down repeatedly in clearance, it sometimes gets dropped to a penny. Nordstrom Rack employees are supposed to regularly scan all the clearance items and remove any that show up as $0.01 from the rack entirely and send them to reject-clothing heaven (AKA the warehouse).

“But you found it before it was taken away!” she said, beaming at me.

Cool. I love a little money win. The bralette had only been about $4 anyway, but woo!

She continued to ring us up, and then gasped.

“It happened again!” she said. “I’ve never see it happen twice in one transaction!”

Joe and I exchanged confused glances. What she had just scanned was a thick wool shirt for him that had been marked at around $25.

“So…we get the shirt for a penny, too?” I asked.

The sales lady nodded excitedly at me. “Yep! You guys are so lucky!”

In the end, the four clothing items we bought that day totaled around $13. I might have done a little dance as we walked back to the car.

emma watson dancing

How to find your penny treasure

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed secret to finding those sneaky penny clearance items, but I feel like everyone should be aware that it’s a thing. I think a couple of factors helped us snag these deals.

  1. The bralette I bought had a weird top strap that I had to alter once I got home. I think most people just thought it looked silly and left it on the rack.
  2. Joe is tall and has long arms, so he often has trouble finding shirts that fit. The wool one was a bit of a unicorn for him. It’s also wool, and is thicker than a shirt but not as thick as a jacket, which might have made other people less willing to buy it.

If you decide to go hunting for a one-cent Rack bargain, I would recommend scouring the clearance section for anything with multiple red stickers on it, showing it’s been marked down repeatedly.

Keep in mind these might have been left on the rack for a reason. If you’re willing to accept a piece that is a little quirkier or might need some creativity to make it work, you’ll probably be more likely to hit gold.

Obviously, don’t buy things on the speculation that they MAY be a penny. Only buy the item if you’re sure you’ll still want it even if it rings up at its marked price. That way, whether or not you hit the penny jackpot, you’ll still be going home with something you’ll look forward to wearing.