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You may have read that indulging in your Starbucks addiction is a no-no when you’re on a debt-free journey, and yes you may save more money cutting off your trips, but I’m keeping my coffee. Sorry, not sorry.
Of course, ordering a $5 drink every single day isn’t exactly the smartest move when you’ve got debt hanging over your head so I’m sharing a few tips to help you save during your Starbucks trips.
Join the rewards program
If you’ve been buying items from Starbucks without using the rewards program then slap yourself.
*DON’T do that*
But seriously, for every single dollar spent you earn 2 stars.
What are stars? Basically, your dollars working towards getting you a free food or drink reward. Once you get to 125 stars you can use your reward to get a free drink no matter the size.
Order the secret size
I discovered this *secret* size when I was trying to figure out what drink I could buy my 5-year-old to make her feel included during my Saturday morning Starbucks run. The size short is 8 ounces versus the 12-ounce tall, but it can save you a buck or two especially if you’re someone that likes to drink coffee throughout the day. Even though it is not on the menu the baristas will know exactly what you mean when you place your order in this size.
Bring your own cup
Did you know when you bring your own cup you get a $.10 discount? Yeah, me neither until recently. Now, this doesn’t mean bring in a styrofoam cup and expect to be rewarded. You must actually have a Starbucks cup for this tip.
Get a free refill
If you’re someone who likes to sip your drink in the store then you’re in luck. Starbucks offers free refills when you use your registered Starbucks Card or the app to buy a drink. When you’re done throwing back the first round, simply present that same method of payment to get another round on the house.
Of course, every good thing comes with a few limitations. Refills are only offered on brewed coffee (hot or iced), and tea (hot or iced). Once you leave the store then your visit is considered done.
The GOOD thing is that you can get a refill regardless of the drink that was originally purchased.
Order a larger cup size
When you order a drink with milk/cream you’re actually getting less coffee which kind of defeats the purpose of ordering a large size. It’s like you have to order a venti to get a good half cup of coffee. On your next visit, try ordering a tall in a grande cup or a grande in a venti. This way you don’t have to compromise the amount of coffee you get while still benefiting from the price of the smaller drink.
E-Z on the ice!
Have you ever watched the barista make your drink and discovered that it only consists of a small portion of coffee and like 40% ice? Yep, me too.
This tip may not necessarily save you money, but it does ensure you get the most out of your purchase. Asking for light ice allows more room for coffee and reduces the chance of your drink being watered down.
Sometimes I opt for no ice at all if I want to save some for a later time during the day. I pour out a portion in a cup and add my own ice from home.
Use gift cards
The next time you’re on you’re way to the check-out line take a look at the Starbucks gift card prices when you pass by. Sometimes you will find the price of the card to be less than the amount loaded. Discounted cards can also be found online through sites like Gift Card Granny.
You can also earn free Starbucks gift cards which is ultimately a win-win situation if you’re registered for the rewards program. Even though didn’t pay a dime for the gift card, you still get rewarded stars for your purchase.
Where can I get free gift cards?
Swagbucks is a popular rewards program where you earn points called SB by shopping, doing surveys, watching videos, surfing the web, and more. When you get to a certain number of points you can cash out your SB in exchange for gift cards.
Ibotta is a cashback app that supports 273 stores such as Walgreens, Kroger, and Walmart. Find offers before you shop and redeem your offers by taking a picture of your receipt. It’s that easy! Once your account balance gets to $20 you can cash out via Paypal, Venmo, or get a Starbucks gift card. You’ll get your first $10 when you sign up.
When you’re on a budget but you still want to drink your coffee then it’s time to get a little creative. If you like lattes, there’s a little trick to working around the latte price. Order a venti cup with about 2-4 shots of espresso over ice, then head over to the condiment bar to add your milk, sugar, chocolate powder, etc.
If you’re favorite drink is a little on the pricey side then it’s time to rethink the menu. Switch to a less expensive drink or downsize your cup size to maximize savings.
Grab a girlfriend
Consider having a little coffee get together and split the cost of a venti. The venti size is pretty much two grande’s in one so bring your own cup to pour out your portion and let the gossip session begin.
Taking a trip to Starbucks is the highlight of my day and I won’t apologize for indulging every now and then. How do you save at Starbucks?