Fellow Tea Addicts-How do you keep from going broke?
If I buy tea, get a sample size. Swaps are my favourite way to try new teas.
Before stumbling onto this site, I mostly traded teas with friends but honestly I always had the cooler teas. haha. I’m looking forward to trying teas via swamps here to cut back on my buying. I buy a lot of samples when available. Sometimes I split 2oz min orders with friends and split the price in half.
Mostly what everyone else has said: I spend less on other things to be able to afford tea. I swap and I get sample sizes before I commit to a more expensive amount of tea. Split orders with other people, especially to get to a free shipping minimum or if something is significantly cheaper for larger amounts. I also steep the same leaves for at least 2 cups each day, more if the tea can handle it. During the week I make myself stick to one kind of tea each day, choosing it in the morning. If I have something different in the afternoon it’s because one of my coworkers shared or the tea I had in the morning didn’t resteep well. I try to get the maximum mileage out of my teas. Makes it more cost efficient in the long run.
I don’t actually like ordering things online as I prefer to support my local economy so it is pretty easy to avoid getting more tea – but at the same it is hard to get tea! I tend to stick to companies I can access in person or the odd online company that I have had a good experience with – typically starting out with free samples.
At this point in my tea habit, I have pretty much every tea I want, and then some. I try the odd new tea but mostly I just replenish the ones I love. I found I started out loving flavoured tea but now much prefer unflavoured Chinese blacks with the odd flavoured one on the side, and I have a wide selection of those available at home already.
BEFORE I had so many teas though, I took advantage of every free sample I could get, went to every local tea store and smelled or sampled everything that I thought I might like. It took a lot of money to build my collection up as I have and I now regret it as I bought everything in large amounts, and have lots of left-overs of non favourites that I can’t bring myself to throw out and don’t have the money to swap away. When I started, I didn’t know that I don’t like green, white or green oolongs. I have a lot of those just sitting there, waiting to be drank.
Advice: Try lots of things but always purchase in small amounts, refilling ONLY if you love it. Look for deals, and buy in store frequently (some places have no in-store minimum so you can just get a bit to try). Swap, if you can afford the postage. Enter every contest for free tea, and sign up for free samples if you find them. Enjoy!
I forgot to add that I spend my money on not much else. I get all my books from the library and don’t drink, smoke or do much that costs money. I spend my money on good food and good tea. :)
My situation is a bit like Uniquity above, although 99% of my tea purchase are online (no local tea economy to support, really).
When I started out I bought most of my teas at sales or with group-buy deals, or I bought sample sizes, jumped on every free sample offer out there, and swapped like mad. Then I hit a point where I became horrified by the amount of tea I had acquired… and that put a hold on my tea-buying impulses hardcore. Also once I realized that I don’t drink my teas really quickly; 2oz of a particular tea will last me for a year, at least.
I also got picky. When I was first starting out I wanted all the teas, and I ordered and swapped indiscriminantly. After a while, I realized that I didn’t like a lot of teas all that much, and they weren’t worth my time or money. Now a tea has to blow my mind to be worthy of restocking (because I really do have that much tea), and a company has to get really impressive reviews (or be super unique) before I will make an initial order. I also rarely make new orders (certainly not once a month), but I have a long list of mind-blowing teas I do need to restock, so knowing I need to hold out for those keeps me from making lots of small orders of untried teas. I get almost all of my untested teas through swaps, now.
One thing I would suggest is to figure out how much tea you actually go through in a day/week/month, then figure out how long your current stash would last. Be aware that greens, whites and oolongs especially will start to diminish in flavor past a year (sometimes 6 months!). In many cases you might find that you already have way more tea than you can reasonably drink, and that might shock you into frugality. Of course, if you really do drink that much tea, you might just be screwed (or need to cultivate a taste for cheap tea).
Thank you this is definitely something to think about. I’m getting quite a stash and I’d hate for the delicious teas to diminish in flavor!
Calculating how much you actually drink is a great idea. When I did this I discovered I had a 5-month supply of tea, and that was if I didn’t count teas of lower quality that I didn’t really like to drink.
Agreed the whole way through. Even without buying very much new tea in the past year, I still have a huge collection that I can’t get through before it’s stale. I have made a few new tea friends to share with, but they also have me ordering more tea I definitely don’t need. :)
Another pointer – sorry if this point has already been made. Due to teas diminishing in flavor – don’t do like I did at one time and stash away your favorite and most expensive teas thinking you will savor them slowly over time. Drink them while they are at their freshest and enjoy them in all their glory!
very good tip
100% agree on that! especially the fruit flavoured ones!
gotta do this soon!
I concur, Azzrian! I had a “whoops” moment or two with some Verdant teas :/ Greens especially are sensitive to this…
I agree too. I learned my lesson after spending years hoarding fresh bath products with essential oils and by the time you allow yourself to use it, all the scent is gone. Sigh, sad how so many people do that.
I work hard to remember that Tea does not age like Wine!!!!! It is hard!
Sales MAY help. But for those of us with a real problem, sales hurt our budget and we just impulse buy with them like nuts. ‘OMG a tea company I’ve never heard of is having a sale?! Gotta try it.’
Speaking of which. From the deals thread.
^^that is the link if you are already a member
if you’re not a member, take my invite (and yes if you make a purchase I get credits, so I highly encourage it)! —> http://www.ruelala.com/invite/jthurnauer01
$35 for $70 to spend on loose leaf tea with free shipping
$37 for $75 to spend on tea gift packages with free shipping
$50 for $100 to spend on loose leaf tea with free shipping
Hope that helps.
In a slightly related question, if I made $52,000 in income last year are the following expenses acceptable?
$22,000 room & board
$18,00 on tea?! That seems like… a lot of tea. I spend $50-$100 a month on tea and I have way way more than I could ever need ^^;
It may have been a loaded question :)
How can you only spend $18,000 a year on tea when you’re on steepster? ;)
I am going to assume then that the $13,000 was on tea related products.
… Multiply this by 100000000 and you have US budget figures.. I used tea in place of health care and welfare :)
And none of you even commented that the spending was 10,000 more than income. shame on you all.
I’m here for the tea, not the math :)
Lala, I love your assumption that the $13,000 was tea related items…which actually may include gas to get to tea shops, foods that pair well with tea, and obviously without paying the electric bill…how would the kettle work?!
Marry rich! lol
Not really, I got him into tea and that’s how I justify my budget. I go over once in a while, bigger purchases are gifts and it’s my only real hobby.
I used to drink a lot of soda, but switched almost exclusively to tea. Usually the tea is cheaper than the soda, plus in the long term I’ll save on dentist and doctor bills, so I figure I’m really saving money!
As others have mentioned, when I first got started, I tried all different kinds of team but over time I’ve developed definite preferences and can target my purchases more. Also, when family asks what I want for gifts now, I have specific suggestions.