Since I am not a morning person, I need my daily intake of caffeine. So like lots of my fellow commuters, buying coffee at a station kiosk used to be part of my daily routine. This changed when I realised how much money I could actually save using a simple thermos flask.

Coffee around the world

Let‘s first decide on the price of coffee. This obviously depends on where you are, and the type of coffee you drink. A Frappuccino in Oslo will set you back more than a caffe in Naples. According to the coffee economist (yes that website exists), the average cappuccino sets you back $3.62 in Australia, which is what I’ll be using a reference.

For those of you not from down under, an overview of the costs of a cup of Starbucks in USD is shown below. Yes this is Starbucks and Starbucks is expensive, but it’s a good benchmark to help you run the numbers.


The price of Starbucks around the world. Source: Wallstreet Journal.

So how much can we save?

Let’s assume you are like me. You drink three cups a day, one of which is bought at a train station. This means you spend at least $3,62  * 5 =  $18 a week , or $941 per year on coffee. Whoops. 

A thermos flask will cost you around $10. Homebrew will cost you around $0.50 per cup, which translates to a total cost of $140 for the year. That’s a yearly savings of ($941-$140)=$801. Nice!

But that’s not all. Let’s invest our savings once a month ($801/12 = $67 per month) at a conservative average annual return of 5% for 10 years. As we’ve done before, we plug these numbers into ASIC Moneysmart’s Compound Interest Calculator. The result? Buying a thermos flask has just saved you $10,104 over a 10 year period. More than 1% of your first million.

We just saved $10,404 by buying a thermos flash

We just saved $10,404 by buying a thermos flash

Note: this article was written and submitted by guest author Christiaan Heyting.