Do you have a tea budget?

62 Replies

Great question. I really like the responses, as it gives me an idea of how I measure up. I do a detailed quantitative analysis of needs using a bi-variant model of aggregate present goods and then plug the data into the Schroendiger-Mason T-graph, and then…

Gotcha! No seriously, I buy tea in bursts as some of the rest of you do. I can also get caught up in sales/promotions/clearance deals more often than I like to admit (I also bought lots of year-end tea that we are still using up! :( ) Since our budget is tight, I do have to manage how much we spend. I justify how much to spend compared to how much we spent on soda/crystal light/RoT tea bags/Sweet and Low sweetener before we converted to loose leaf. Including the cost of sweetener (currently Stevia) and miscellaneous items (like tea balls or other tea accessories) I like to keep it to less than $45USD a month. But that’s the goal. It’s not always the reality.

Since we’re pretty steady in how much we drink, my biggest/easiest way to control cost is to keep track of the price per ounce. I try to keep our average at or below $2/ounce. That way, there’s a good chance we will be below $45/month (as we use a little more than a pound a month).

Many of you gave me some good ideas I will consider using myself. I like the tea-out before tea-in, approach. I also like having a fixed number of containers to keep track of how much I have. Right now I re-use containers (jars, mostly), and the number of jars we have is starting to get a little out of control.

Qualification of topic not necessary but I agree with your statements (and I appreciate your humor). Thanks for asking.

(ADDITION) btw, I love the phrase, “lo and behold!” I looked it up on the web and evidently ‘lo’ is short for ‘look’

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Yes, I do!! I try to keep it around $50/mo but the concept of not buying a tea omw to work in the AM seems beyond my still sleep infested brain. My true monthly expenditure is likely closer to $85. Eeek!
I’ve tried not going to the shop, and heading straight into work (usually because there is no time) but then end up with such a craving that I cave and duck over at lunch! Either that, or I decide to “browse” the other tea shop nearby- intending to not buy anything, but then make a spontaneous decision and whattaya know, I have a knew tea.
Then there is my tea-things budget! I’m still collecting some of the basics, and so have limited that to one item per month- Whether it’s an expensive item or not!
Also, if I’ve purchased a tea item, I do manage to not buy any loose tea to take home.

On occasion, I find myself ordering the same tea more than once or twice… or have a craving for it. In those cases, I do make an exception and purchase said tea, because then I know I’ll avoid buying a cuppa to go in the future, which in my messed up world is “saving” me money! ha.
Despite all of this, I really do need to reign in the tea budget. My monthly savings are going into tea(partially), and unless I’m buying futures in it, well… it isn’t a profitable investment sighs

oh and I cannot stop thinking about Jungle Ju Ju!! Man, I really do need that tea. I require the caffeine jolt on occasion, and since it doesn’t shock the system in the same manner as coffee… well, I’d say that’s a worthy tea investment. (do I sound desperate here? I kinda am. It doesn’t help that my last two attempts to visit a David’s have been thwarted by transit and weather!)

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K S said

I am such a slacker. My yearly budget is about what most of you are spending a month. Funny thing is my family and coworkers think I am a fanatic. Not sure what that makes y’all ;^)


ssajami said


clinically insane? or maybe that’s just me :)

all of the above :)

ssajami said

No, Seattle Tea Snob, it’s not just you. I think a good many of us are just the same when it comes to tea.
Besides since we aren’t hurting anyone (my wallet doesn’t count), I say, clinically insane…and proud :)

When I’m positive about my relationship with tea (or looking at my ‘gold’): Tea enthusiast, passionate about tea. And when I’m looking more critically at myself (shadow): sometimes a wee bit obsessive about it. But like you said, ssajami, I’m not hurting anyone with my obsession . And my wife gets yet another thing to tease me about (not that it’s hard to find anything about me to laugh at).

Helena said

Just remember it’s healthier than pop/soda or coffee and you’ll feel better about being tea crazy :D

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MaddHatter said

Humm, I have not thought about my budget until now…. Probably a bad thing…

I know with the exception of a couple of pricey bills ($80, in tea and gifts) I think I am down to $20 each pay period, and that includes a “take away” tea each week. I think once I really get into teas and start to understand their nuances and flavours and become “snobby-ish” the bill will go up a lot. I also know that if I were to buy all the oolongs I want to try I’d be spending a LOT MORE than what I have.

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DukeGus said

I should write and maybe introduce myself to in this post.

I’m a university student from Greece and have quite a low budget.
My budget is like 20$ max every 2 months. I’m kind-of new to tea, I drink for about 6 months.

From my first try of tea(some [email protected] TGY from ebay) I got hooked with tea. I even now have 3 baby camellia sinensis plants, I grew them from seed :D
I always try new teas but try to get good quality and so I always buy samples like 10-20 gr :) It’s not worth buying like 50gr or more if you don’t know the tea. I mainly try Chinese but lately I’m totally into Taiwanese which is very similar. I have been trying for ages to get a good darjeeling but I can’t find a cheap with low shippings and nice quality.

I have tried amazing samples from Teamasters(Stephane) but he is too expensive for me and I can’t buy. I have tried very good tea from JK teashop, which has amazing prices and very very good quality and also some amazing tea from a girl from Taiwan with the ebay name zen8tea.

Because I always order from China/Taiwan, I have to wait at least 2 weeks for the tea to come, so I always have nothing left till then and when the new parcel arrives I drink like for 2 days straight :)

Nice to meet you and I really like steepster, though I’m not very familiar with it yet.

Welcome Dukegus! So you are studying in Greece? that must be lovely!!

Welcome, dukegus!

Thank you for introducing yourself.

I can relate to the budget restrictions.

I loved hearing that you are growing two camellia sinensis plants! I have a desire to do that someday too (I love getting as close to the source as possible. And you can’t any closer than growing your own tea!). I would love to hear how it turns out (I believe that will be years down the road).

I have two suggestions on where to buy Darjeeling based on what I believe is a good price (shipping may not be so good, though).
1) Assam tea company
I have not ordered from them, but I hope to sometime in the near future as they come highly recommended (Tea Trekker), and the prices are good (I believe you can’t get much better than about $2/ounce for a good Darjeeling)
You can also check out the: Why Us page: They claim they are both farmer and blender. I don’t believe there are many of those around (again, I could be mistaken).
2) Tea Trekker( I am no expert on Darjeelings, but I have bought a few from them (as well as many green teas I have enjoyed), and have liked the one I have tried so far (and a Celon). I believe Tea Trekker sells great tea at reasonable prices. Their shipping policy is kind of unique though.

Of course, you can also search by selecting the Teas tab in Steepster, then search in the upper-right hand window for Darjeeling, and then look through the reviews.

Happy hunting!

Let us know if you find any Darjeelings you like!

DukeGus said

Thx for the welcome guys!
SimpliciTEA thx second time for the info :)

Studying in Greece is nice but time consuming…and with this economic situation I don’t see myself getting job anytime soon…

The camellia plants are going well but it’s a difficult cultivation because it needs time and care when growing from seed. I know that I can’t just stay with 2 plants if I want to produce some tea but I hope cloning will help… I had to cultivate from seed because noone sells a plant like that here, hopefully if there is a shop there you could get a 1year plant or even older and clone it yourself.

I will write about the teas I have tasted till now but I’m not still accustomed to Steepster!

Ciao and thx for the welcome!!!

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Well I was going to post my tea fiscal habits but after hearing all ya’ll and reviewing my own history I’m, well .. kinda embarrassed so I’m not telling! And you can’t make me :P

Interesting to see the trends though, seems most agree 50 USD is fairly reasonable and college students are a bit under that. Hrmm as trendy as tea is among college students I’m surprised it hasn’t been marketed that way more. Such as in inexpensive college tea club or what not.

Dorothy said

If you have a lot of money to spend on tea, there’s nothing wrong with that. ;)

I agrees. If I had more monies, I would create a tea wall in my house with about 100 different tea pots and infusers and water kettles and teas and there would be music that played on a timer for each tea as it brewed separately in its own personal infuser. Unfortunately…can’t. But would LOVE to!

TeaNerdette: I like the description of your tea wall! Sometimes it’s fun to dream big and wonder, If I could have WHATEVER I wanted, what would it be (I call it, my 100%)? Personally, I like the challenge (most of the time, at least) of a having a limited budget as it forces me to be creative in finding ways to get good deals on tea, and I get LOTS of joy in getting the deals (if I had more money to spend on tea, that joy would be gone). Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people. :)

The Seattle Tea Snob : I judge there is no shame in having a larger budget than that of others (even if you’re unique in that). Anyway, any judgments I have about how much you spend on tea is about me (an opportunity to learn about myself), and consequently has little (or nothing) to do with you. :-d

I like your humorous response. You’re right: we can’t make you tell us!

DukeGus said

If I could have whatever I wanted(teawise)? Nice name for new thread :)

Nice comment on the forced creativity because of low budget, but creativity, I guess, is mostly in you. Or maybe after so many years on low budget it’s totally curved into me :D, so even if I had more money I would be quite creative when buying tea.

Generally I have a philosophy that I want to try all the different kinds of tea(good quality if possible) so I usually order very small amounts of many different teas. And I hate to spend money on [email protected] tea that I won’t drink, like having 100gr of tea that are going to be drank like…never.
Of course if I had money I would be some amazing pu er and store for aging…that’s totally different thing though.

VeryPisces said

Oh, so what if this thread is 7 months old? That tea wall grabbed my attention. Since childhood I’ve wanted a den of my own, and I envisioned it filled with wooden bookcases and all kinds of books. Now I want to add a “tea case”! I want a tall, handsome wooden tea case for my various teas, Buddha head statue, mugs and the teapot I’ll eventually buy (I’m still new to teas). Nice fantasy for now!!

Helena said

Everyone is going to have a different budget according to how much they make, what they spend it on…etc… a lot of factors make up a budget. I’m glad I’m not the only one spending $$ on tea. They should market it to all schools as it is much healthier than those evil vending machines…

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SimplyJenW said

I kind of have a budget. My DH is a craft beer drinker, so I am always trying to stay well below his budget for beer (which really is not difficult). It really is still too large of a volume of tea for any one person. I am thinking it is time to implement using some up before obtaining more as my cupboard is full…..

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Love, love, love the qualifier. LOL’d and nearly spat tea over my screen.

I don’t have a tea budget per se, but I do have a budget I work tea in to? I don’t have a set amount I can spend on tea each week/month/year. My wife brings the only paycheck into the home (I need a job so bad), and it’s retail, so our budget changes from week to week. With every paycheck, we sit down and figure out what needs to be paid, what can wait until next paycheck, etc, etc. How badly do we really need to eat this week XD. Then, once everything is paid, we see if we have the money to stick our head in DavidsTea or if we should run the other way and avoid the mall completely. When we get a bit of a windfall (tax return, anniversary gift, birthday, etc), we look to the online retailers we’ve been wanting to try. We recently came in to a bit of money and despite Murphy trying to take it from us, we were able to place an order with Red Leaf Teas, a retailer we’ve been eying for about a year now.

If you are on a budget, I cannot recommend the swaps thread enough. If you have teas you regret purchasing, that is a great way to get rid of them and try some new teas in the process. I have tons of samples yet to go through…of course, I also have a total of about 180 teas in my cupboard. >.>. But what I like about living near a DavidsTea is the ability to walk in and just purchase 10g of a tea to try before investing in 50 or 100. They’ve never once tried to pressure me into buying more or upsell. They’re great for my budget. Now, if only I had self control!

lol bad Murphy!!
Red Leaf… omg I am so jealous! I can’t wait to see your reviews on that :)
—I’ve asked to grab 10g before and they tell me it’s not a normal practice for them every time! except for the first time I did that. Usually if I’m getting a larger amount of tea in something else, I can get them to add a 10g sample but on it’s own? they say no *sighs
Maybe your location is the one I need to hit up!!!

Murphy’s a jerk. >.<

XD You are always more than welcome to stop by and sample! I should open my own teashop LOL

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I suspect I’m somewhere around you The Seattle Tea Snob. I’m not going to post it, either, but I will say that if I see something I really want, I’ll buy it. I haven’t purchased anything in the past few weeks, mostly because I need to consume some of my purchases before adding to the overwhelming collection I’ve accumulated. I have found that my rather haphazard way of buying teas has allowed me to really learn about the different varieties that are out there.

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kuanyin said

How sad that you have to grovel over a post because of one nasty person. There, I said it. Who is the ONLY one that cares if there is more than one thread. Geez. I stay away sometimes because I get tired of reading it over and over.

Anyway, I don’t have a budget. I can’t afford what I spend and I do it anyway. I hold off as long as I can and than I’m off and spending. But, sometimes I make it a couple of months without ordering! I’m as bad about teaware as I am about tea. I just spent $227 this weekend on tea & teapots. I try to use up the old teas that I used to like and I don’t anymore, or I never really did care for, but I don’t seem to often. It is another reason not to experiment with any more tea of the month stuff, I have an entire dresser full of tea and covered with tea.

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