Monday, June 20, 2011

A Year of Living Frugally-Giving up the Vanilla Latte Habit

Right now, things are a little tight, in our household. We are down to one income, but we are making the best of it. Last week, I was feeling a little sad because I realized that it was no longer in the budget, to buy my daily Grande Vanilla Latte, at the coffee house down the street. When I did the math, $3.50 a day times 5 (and sometimes 6 or 7) times a week. Well, in a month that is at minimum $70.00 I was spending. That's roughly the same as our electric bill. So, I had to suck it up, and make the sacrifice. I decided I could make it at home. I checked to see how much a bottle of vanilla coffee flavoring was, and was shocked to find it for $8.00. That was still more than I wanted to pay. I looked at the ingredients on the back, which were basically corn syrup, vanilla and water. I decided to make my own vanilla coffee syrup. Here is the recipe I came up with:

Vanilla Syrup

1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 TBSP vanilla extract

In a pan, mix the first three ingredients and bring to a boil on medium/high heat on the stove. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk for about 5 minutes until it is slightly thickened. Cool completely, and add the vanilla (vanilla will loose its potency if you add it while mixture is still hot.) Store in a closed bottle in the refrigerator. Add to coffee to your own taste.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the syrup I made actually tasted better than the one used by my favorite coffee house! I figure the cost of a weeks worth of vanilla syrup for my home brewed vanilla latte is about $0.50. This is do-able. I buy my French Roast Coffee from Trader Joes, and that is $6.99, and normally lasts me about a month. Instead of steamed milk, I went with a dollop of generic creamer-another $3.00 for a months supply. So, from $70.00 a month, for my latte habit, I am down to right around $10-11.00 a month. And now we can pay the electric bill on time. It's all good.

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