OK, the obvious way you can save money is not to go. I'm on board with that most of the time, but sometimes I like to meet a friend there, or take my laptop and pretend I'm busy and important. I've had some people at Starbucks ask me what I've ordered, so I wanted to share my sneaky little strategies of how I save a little money with you.
First You Have to Register a Starbucks card If you remember my wallet post, maybe you remember all the Starbucks cards I had in there. I always wondered why they didn't have a card to punch and every 10 coffees, I get one free. I was accustomed to that feature at all my previous coffee shop hang outs and I really missed it!
All you have to do is buy a gift card, register the number online and use it. You can even have your credit card linked to it, so it automatically refills when it goes below a certain limit. I don't do that because we are phasing out credit cards in our life, but I used to do it when I was working. You can see all the rewards options at the Starbucks website.
Free Refills One of the main rewards that I enjoy are free refills while you are at Starbucks. I usually take my refill and heat it up the next day because I can't handle that much caffeine in one day. I just stick in the frig and look forward to it tomorrow!
Free Coffee Sometimes I also buy the decaf whole bean coffee for at home. I time my purchase so that I can hang out and get my free tall coffee, technically it says "any handcrafted tall beverage of your choice", but you may have to fight for that because I usually just get a plain old coffee.
Free Syrup & Milk Upgrades At first I was feeling guilty for having these extra calories in the form of syrup, but it tastes so much better that I decided to ignore that guilt. Besides, this is another great way that I save money because if you like one of the frou-frou expensive drinks, I can't tell the difference.
Order a Misto That leads me to the next way that I save money. The strangely named "Misto" is on the menu under Caffe Misto, but is often overlooked. Basically it's a Cafe au Lait, coffee with steamed milk, which is my favorite. I am extra naughty and get whole milk because it tastes so much better, and always order it extra hot, with vanilla syrup. It's costs $2.00 instead of $3.25 for a tall Caramel Macchiato.
Free Birthday Coffee Yep, you get a coffee on your birthday. Order the biggest, most expensive one they have just because you can!
Cumulative Rewards Just like any rewards program, this is the one where you have to keep yourself in check. I think it's human nature to want to complete things and get free stuff. I still try to only do Starbucks once in awhile because it is an expensive habit that can get out of control really fast. I wrote about the luxury of the poor issue a little bit here.
At first you will be at the Green Level, and then the Gold Level. They send you a cool Gold card just to make you feel super special and exclusive. Once you get to the Gold level, you get a free drink, every 15 stars. I don't know exactly what stars are the equivalent of in dollar amounts, but just know that eventually you get a free drink.
So I'm not going to go into the financial drain that IS Starbucks, but I do feel like it's a treat for me sometimes. Now they have free wi-fi for everyone who goes which is an extra incentive to stay for awhile. I divide the price that I pay for my tall Misto in half and I'm paying $1.00 per cup of coffee which is not bad for a morning out.
What's your favorite way to treat yourself on the cheap? I also like to go try on lipstick and perfume and not buy anything. It just makes me happy and no buyer's remorse either! Do you like Starbucks?
I'm a Caffe Misto Whole Milk Vanilla Syrup Extra Hot. What are you?
Just for fun I put some pictures of our wedding day. I had a major caffeine withdrawal headache and my new hubby knew just what I needed!
Coffee cup image from here.