Do you have a tea budget?

Let me qualify (I hate that I feel the need to do this), yes I know that if I did a discussion search I would find a thread that already discusses this. I did in fact do the search, found said thread, read the entire thing and low and behold I’m starting a new one anyways. I even copied the previous thread title word for word, can you believe the nerve I must have?!? However that thread is also over a year old and most all the people involved in it don’t seem to be active on the boards anymore. And since new people are more likely to contribute to a new thread than an old one I am here starting a new thread. AHHH THE HUMANITY OF IT ALL!!!

Finally on the the post. So I committed the unforgivable sin, I added up how much money I have spent on tea in the past month. It totaled a little over five hundred USD, I had a mini heart attack, followed by a cup of tea. This is by no means the norm and really shouldn’t happen again. But it begs the question, how do you calculate how much you will spend for tea? Do you have a budget? Do you plan your purchases or impulse buy? Inquiring minds want to know.

(And yes I too noticed that my qualifier was longer than the post itself.)

62 Replies
Angrboda said

Thumbs up on the qualifier, although like you I wish it wasn’t necessary.

I don’t have a budget as such, but I tend to buy in bursts. Then I’ll have two or three orders from different companies coming in in relatively quick succession because the thing about shopping is that it’s harder to stop than one realises. When these bursts happen there’s usually also an amazon order of books involved.

And then afterwards months go by with no new acquisitions at all until I run out of books to read or a sufficient number of favourite types of tea. At this point I start considering when there’s air in the budget for shopping, where I want to shop and not until visiting their site do I decide what to actually get. Only with the Standard Panel teas do I go shopping for something specific.

With this way of shopping there is the disadvantage, however, that I rarely remember to try out new places, unless I discover them at that particular time. Any other time, I’ll think ‘hey cool, they’re shipping rates are within my limits, I’ll bookmark them’ and then I forget all about them and end up just shopping from the tried and true.

I have promised myself that the next time I do shopping for tea in order to try new things (ie not Standard Panel), it will only be at shops I have never used before.

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Uniquity said

I don’t have a budget in the sense that I am allowed a certain amount per week or month but I do try to keep track of how much I’m spending on tea (among other things). If I know I’ve already splurged on tea once or twice in the last few weeks, I will hold off on another big tea buy until a more appropriate time. I still have a wonderful Upton order that I would like to make, but it is so big that I want to wait until I haven’t bought tea in a while. That never happens, unfortunately. When there is a higher household income, I am more likely to splash out and buy more, and when times are tighter (such as now with my beau’s contract having ended), I try to drink what I have. But then LiberTeas offers a wonderful deal on Teatra.de and restraint goes out the window…

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I don’t really have a budget, but I’ve had to start a ‘one in, one out’ sort of policy on buying more tea, because otherwise my tea cupboard would get out of control :) So I’m only allowed to buy a new tea when I run out of one from my cupboard.

That said, I do tend to splurge in the post-Christmas sales and usually end up with five to ten new teas in January :)

chaijeeyah said

I support your effort. I’m trying to behave the same. So I decide which tea at the moment I like the least and for a stretch of time I’m making this tea very often so as to finish it soon. I also blend it when I’m making other teas.

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Dorothy said

I usually spend about $50 CAD every 2 months. It depends if I have too much tea/too little tea. If I dip below 15 teas I’ll make a purchase, if I’m over 25 I’ll wait a while. I’ll only splurge during the spring harvest, because there are a lot of teas I want then. :)

This just ensures that I drink fresh tea all the time. I don’t always have company over that wants tea, so it’s just my hubby and myself that drinks it.

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I used to only spend about 200USD 2x a year on big tea purchases. But then Teavana opened up in my town in the past 7 day period of time I have spent 35$ on tea. O_O. I’ll just write off this extremeness to being excited about a new store. While I understand that’s not bad THIS week. But think about that number x52 weeks a year. Yup steepsters. If I continue my current tea habit, that is somewhere around 1800. Which is a lot for a college girl.

So I think since School is starting back for me in two weeks, this is a fabulous thread to post in! Budgets are fun!

I feel like my Tea habit is a cheaper habit than some of my friend’s Starbuck’s habits. After all, I usually brew up about a quart of tea a day and split it into a couple thermoses to drink throughout the day while I’m out and about. Say you buy 1oz of a tea. You’ll probably get anywhere from 15-20 cups out of that oz. If that oz is expensive? Its still a number that you can divide by the number of cups you get. So if my tea is 7.20 for 2oz, that’s about 25 cups on the low side. That’s .28USD per cup of tea. Compared to buying a hot drink in a disposable cup from a cafe, that’s a pretty good justification for being a tea addict.

But we all have to have our limits. Budget wise, I try and spend less than 10 dollars a week on take out food and cafe drinks. Just…a general guideline. However if I am planning a purchase, I usually have been thinking about which ones I want AND been using up a tea to make room for a new tea.

As for impulse buys…I am guilty. But it isn’t an impulse as in, “Its Tuesday, I think I’ll get something from T2 today!” but more like, “I know I said I’d just get the Oolong set from T2…but let’s toss in the Herbal samplers too!”

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I tend to buy in bursts a few times a year. Meaning an order from DAVIDsTEA, Adagio, and perhaps a store run to gasp Teavana will occur in the same week. BUT now that I am starting my own business I have put a bit of a moratorium on my tea buying for my own drinking. However, I do make my self a test cup out of the teas/herbs I’m buying to make my own teas.

But I have a feeling I might have to have a celebratory splurge from a new tea place I recently heard about. THAT and if Frank reblends the Cinnamon Bun!

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MegWesley said

I don’t have a tea budget yet. But I know that I will probably have one when I move out of my parent’s house. Along with an ink budget for my fountain pens and a yarn/fiber budget.

I do try to keep down to at least four boxes of my own tea in the house. Of course, that doesn’t apply to teabags that I steal from other people. My parents are more accepting of my tea drinking than anything else because of my mom. If we ever run out of tea in this house, then it will be the end of the world.

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OolongLily said

Ooo… $500! Was it a lot of tea or crazy high quality tea?

My tea buying depends on:
– What’s in my cupboard
– What I have to review (I try for at least one new tea a week)
– Store sales and promotions

Keeping my cupboard stocked is fairly straightforward. My blog reviews just make sure I keep exploring new teas, and I figure one tea a week is pretty reasonable. Sales and promotions are probably the only factor influencing an impulse buy. Most recently I decided to try out Utopia Tea because they had a weekend promotion. I also recently bought the pu’er samplers from Verdant Tea because they had free shipping. Less recently, I picked up on Samovar’s Herbal Set promotion, with the Moorish Mint and Wabi Sabi teapot combo. Originally I set out to only pick up the Orange Ginger blend, but saw the little promotion (it was a pretty minor discount), and thought, “well, if I only get the ginger I have to pay $7 shipping. If I get the ginger and the set, I get free shipping (free if over $50 purchase), and $2 off on the mint herbal/teapot combo.” And thus I ended up spending $54 instead of $26. If I’m already in the buying mood I usually figure that promotions are a good excuse to add on another good/promising tea. There’s no real budget for me. Yet, anyway. I suppose after I have my first $500/month tea splurge I’ll make a budget.

I should have qualified there was some teaware in those purchases as well, another yixing pot a few strainers, and another variable kettle which I am very excited about, review to come soon.

As far as the tea goes I like to buy quality but I try not to go overboard. As discerning as I like to think my palette is I am also very well aware that there becomes a point when your paying for something that isn’t going to be noticed or for a novelty.

That being said I did pick up a few exciting things, among others I got an Indonesian purple oolong, it can be an acquired taste but I’m rather partial to it. Also picked picked up a late 90s sheng, took a gamble with it hopefully it wasn’t a mistake. And then a bunch of miscellaneous stuff about 1000 grams into total I reckon.

I’m going to have to look at your reviews for the pu erh sampler from verdant, been thinking about sticking an order in with them for a while.

OolongLily said

Psh. Teaware doesn’t count. That’s an investment. I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least one $500+ month when I bought my first cast iron set. I hope the kettle works out well. Been looking for one myself.

I haven’t had a purple oolong yet. What do you recommend for a great introductory purple oolong?

Yeah I’m super excited about trying the sampler but I’ve been waiting for a good, quiet rainy day. As soon as the samples arrived it’s been all 70s, 80s, and sunshine. Not that I’m complaining…

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Ian Krouth said

I keep my prices down by having a finite number of tins and doing my best to never have un-tinned teas. It does happen every once in awhile; currently I have 3 small bags of teas that I intend to use for single pitchers of iced tea, and 1 mini pu-erh cake that I bought on impulse. Having the small number of tins means that I have to carefully weigh and consider my purchases, and make elaborate lists cross-referencing different flavors/uses/types (but such lists are totally my thing, so it’s not so horrible).

As far as the budget itself, I just take it out of my General Leisure fund. I estimate that when I haven’t been working for a tea shop, I spend about 20 to 30 dollars a month. I try to make my purchases in bulk to avoid multiple trips, so it’s probably closer to 40 or 50 some months and much much less in others.

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I haven’t set a specific budget amount so far, but I generally try to keep it below $100 or so a month. I really just valance it with my other purchases. If I spend less on other stuff I can buy more tea and vice versa.

If I keep it up, though, I will have to actually assign myself a budget amount. It’s already a little out of control.

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