(Updated 1/10/17) Here is the only tip you need to know…brew your own coffee at home, for pennies on the dollar, and stay out of Starbucks. Thanks for coming everyone, drive home safely. No, but seriously, no matter how hard we try, a quick drive-thru at your local Starbucks is gonna happen. Either as a little reward for yourself or when the need for a little caffeine pick-me-up hits you. But believe it or not, there are a some easy ways to save at Starbucks. Here are eight of my favorite (and easy) ways how to save money at Starbucks…
Always use a Starbucks Reward Card
If you buy coffee from Starbucks at least three time a year, you should get yourself a free Starbucks rewards card or download their mobile app. By doing so you’ll earn cool rewards like free drinks, free flavor shots, and free tasty treats. Totally worth the effort. Also, you’ll always get a free drink on your birthday.
Half-Price Happy Hours
Many times during the year Starbucks offers certain beverages for half price from 2-5 pm. If you’re getting your caffeine fix at that time of the day (like me), always ask about any specials they might have going on.
I took advantage of this just the other day when driving home from San Francisco, I got a Venti Coffee Frappuccino for a cool $2.
Tote your Own Mug
Were you aware that your local S-bucks will give you a cup of joe for 10 cents cheaper if you bring in your own mug? And it doesn’t have to be a Starbucks mug, it can be your “World’s Best Dad” mug if you want.
While not a huge savings, it’ll add up to a free drink quickly if you’re a regular Starbucks customer.
Split’r Up Baby
So the biggest size you can order at Starbucks is called a “Venti” and it’s pretty much a gas can with a straw sticking out the top. So the next time you walk in with a friend, get the Venti size and just split the dang thing.
Starbucks will always give you a free empty cup which I appreciate, so splitting a beverage couldn’t be easier…or cheaper.
Free or Cheap Refills
The next time you’re sitting in your local Starbucks enjoying a cup of regular coffee, hit up the barista for a 50 cent refill on your way out. If you don’t want to drink it right away just stick it in your fridge and make an iced coffee later on.
If you have a Starbucks reward card and have used it at least 5 times, which gets you to the “Green” level, you’ll get a completely FREE refill as long as you don’t leave and come back before asking for it.
Easy on the Frozen Water
I love this tip. The next time you are ordering an iced coffee, tea, or specialty drink, order it with only half or very little ice. You’ll essentially end up getting the next sized drink for the price of a smaller size. Winning.
Order a “Short”
Were you aware that there is a size smaller than the Starbucks 12oz “Tall”? I wasn’t. But according to Slate.com, you can order an 8oz “Short” and in many cases get the same amount of caffeine, with more flavor, at a reduced cost.
For example, the short cappuccino has the same amount of espresso as the tall size. Not a bad way to save some money and get the your caffeine fix.
Get Creative at Home
Do you find yourself visiting Starbucks more than you should because you can’t replicated their drinks at home? If so, those days are over as I found an amazing resource at a website called Yummly.com which lists a bunch of amazing (and detailed) Starbucks recipes that you can easily make at home.
Popular recipes include the Starbucks Mocha, Frappuccino, Peppermint Mocha, Eggnog Latte, and Caramel Macchiato.
Bonus Tip: Buy Discounted Gift Cards
This tip was too good not to include. From reader Mel: “I buy discounted Starbucks gift cards on Raise.com – usually the $100 card for like $71-73 dollars (wait for the extra 5% off weekends). Then I link the Starbucks gift card to my rewards card.
It’s like 6 free coffees between the initial savings and the free coffee rewards and it lasts me 3-6 months.” Love it!
Ask the Reader: What tips or advice do you have on how to save money at Starbucks? Or are you stronger willed than I and just stay out altogether and brew at home?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Piutus.