Low-cost caffeine fix

Java, cup of Joe, mocha, espresso — no matter the preference of flavors, if taken black or with cream, caffeine addicts everywhere rejoice at the site, smell and taste of coffee.

I can’t start my day without a cup of hot, fresh coffee. Each day at 6 a.m., the programmable pot begins to brew before I even get out of bed, casting the sweetest smells into our house. I love making the most of money when it comes to this, my favorite beverage.

Plus, coffee is useful in more ways than one and you can use it to improve your home while keeping you awake.

Lose the pods

Individual serving pod-styled brewing systems have grown by leaps and bounds in popularity over the last few years. While incredibly convenient, these pods are expensive as are the one-time use single serving coffee “cups.” Opt instead for a more traditional coffee pot and brew smaller portions for yourself.Clean out your potIf you use your coffee pot on a daily basis, more than likely, you need to show it a little love. Run one part white vinegar and three parts water through a regular brewing cycle and wait 15 minutes. Pour the solution down your drain (bonus, it will more than likely clear the drain, too) and then run a second course through with just water. Again, allow to stand for 15 minutes and then discard.

You might see the remains — scaly deposits in the water — which if allowed to clog the brewing system both affect taste and efficiency. Make this practice a monthly routine to extend the life of the machine and increase the quality of your coffee.

Freeze the leftovers

Don’t waste the last little bit of coffee that remains in the pot each morning. You can freeze the remainder in a regular ice cube tray. Whether you choose to make an iced coffee drink or even a smoothie (Dark Chocolate banana coffee smoothies with protein powder are my favorite), you’ll have a quick and easy beverage option later in the day or week.

Use the grounds

Be sure you aren’t just tossing the leftover grounds in the trash. We typically toss our coffee grounds into our open-air compost bin but you can also add them straight to the soil of your garden or flowerbeds. Over time, the coffee grounds add nitrogen to the soil, repel pests and attract earthworms. If you have a large plot to tend, check with your local coffee shop to see if you can collect their mass quantity of leftovers. Even large chains often allow customers to have the grounds for free.

Freshen the air

Struggling with a musty smell in your car or home? Coffee beans and dried out coffee grounds can also make a fantastic air freshener, neutralizing and absorbing unwanted aromas. Simply open a can in an enclosed space over night and allow the java to work its non-brewing magic. Or, add beans or completely dried out grounds (if they have any moisture, they might mold and create a new odor) to a cut-off pair of pantyhose, creating caffeine-infused potpourri.

Buy in bulk, roast your own

Love a high quality of coffee but don’t want to pay top dollar? You might want to try buying in bulk and then roasting your own. It’s not as complicated as you might think and sweetmarias.com lines out the process for you. Dig out or purchase a used air popper typically used for popcorn, purchase unroasted beans, and then follow the straightforward instructions on the site. You’ll be an aficionado before you know it!From the steam rising from my mug to pleasantly bitter flavor, I’ll be a lover of coffee until the end of my life. New research proves that taken black, coffee can fight diabetes, Parkinson’s and liver disease, making it both a healthy and affordable beverage choice. Make the most of your money and coffee to keep your wallet and your mornings happy.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net.