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Here are 8 insider tips how to save money at Starbucks. These are easy hacks anyone can use to stretch your coffee budget a wee bit further!
How To Save Money at Starbucks – 8 EASY Tips!
I haven't been a coffee drinker until recently (love my Nespresso or give me hot chocolate any day), but I know so many folks love Starbucks. So, I did a little digging around for tips on how to save money at Starbucks!
I visited my local Starbucks recently and talked with the manager about the Starbucks Rewards program (which is changing in February!).
While we were talking, a couple Starbucks mega-customers (no kidding, they said they stop by in the morning AND again after work every. single. day.) came by to share a few of their favorite ways that they like to save money at Starbucks.
How to Save at Starbucks
1. Get FREE Refills at Starbucks (and Target Starbucks, too!)
This was the biggest surprise to me when I was asking questions at the store – I actually said, “Really!?!” when the barista told me this one!
ALL Starbucks Rewards members get Free Refills as long as they remain in-store on brewed items. That includes hot or iced brewed coffee or tea (excludes Iced Tea Lemonade and Teavana Shaken Iced Teas Infusions). Just remember that you'll need to use 1) your registered Starbucks card or 2) your mobile app to pay.
So if you're planning to be there for awhile working on your laptop – you can just about drink your weight in free coffee or tea!
HOT TIP: This also works at the Target Starbucks – so if you spend a while in the store, grab yourself a free refill on your way out!
2. Watch for Circle Offers at Target!
Speaking of Target, every few weeks, Target Circle releases a new offer to help you save on your favorite beverage at the Target Starbucks Cafe ~ usually it's for 20% off.
Plus, occasionally there will be exclusive Target promotions like $5 off your $20 purchase of beverages (usually around the holidays). What a fun way to save on yummy seasonal drinks!
*And be sure to take advantage of Tip #1 while you're shopping at Target!
3. Earn 2 Starbucks Stars per $1 Spent = BIG Savings!
Every time you spend money at Starbucks as a member, you'll earn Starbucks Stars. (You can even earn stars buying Starbucks coffee at the grocery store – just be sure to enter the Starbucks code found on the product!)
Once you reach 25 Stars, you can start redeeming them for rewards!
They start at a drink customization for 25 Stars (like an extra espresso shot, a special dairy request, or extra flavoring) and go all the way up to redeeming free drinks and merchandise.
And this would even include something like a large Frappuccino with 8 extra shots! (I looked at the menu to check the math for that one – and let me tell you, so expensive!) You can also order sandwiches with your reward, so keep that in mind for an inexpensive lunch.
Once you hit 400 stars, you can now buy select merchandise items in the lobby. So keep that in mind if you need to grab a gift for a Birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas…. everyone loves a good mug or some fancy coffee!
I was pretty impressed.
One thing to keep in mind that is that Starbucks stars expire 6 months after you receive them.
4. Get a FREE Starbucks Drink on your Birthday!
Starbucks Rewards Members get a FREE Drink on their birthdays. This freebie will come to your phone if you have the app, or your email, and is good on your birthday ONLY. You'll receive the freebie offer on your birthday and it expires at midnight on that same day.
5. Starbucks Rewards Members earn Stars TWICE as Fast!
As a Rewards member, you'll earn Stars twice as fast! Here's how:
- Earn 2 Stars per $1 spent (instead of 1 Star) when you load funds to your digital Starbucks Card using any payment option.
- Earn 2 Stars per $1 spent (instead of 1 Star) when you pay with your registered Starbucks Gift Card either in-person or on the mobile app.
Also, there are Double-Star Days where you can earn 2x Stars per $1 spent, rather than 2 Stars.
6. Play Starbucks Games to earn Rewards!
A couple times a year, Starbucks comes out with Sweepstakes and Games where you can earn fun loot and even Stars ~ and you can play TWO times a day without making a purchase! The Starbucks Summer Game and Starbucks For Life Giveaways are a couple examples.
This past Summer, a PPP Reader even won a $100 Starbucks Gift Card ~ which is AWESOME!
7. Split a Drink in a Venti Cup and get TWO Talls!
This has got to be one of my favorite little Starbucks hack EVER – because it's totally something I would do!
If you just want a *little* pick me up – split a Venti size with a friend and ask for two tall cups. A Venti will fill up two Tall cups for half the price.
Let's do the math:
- A Venti While Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino (24 ounces) costs a whopping $5.49. (vs. the Tall 12 oz that costs $4.29.)
- If you ordered two Tall drinks, you'd pay $4.29 each, whereas a Venti divided into a two cups will come out to $2.74 each.
Another tip on saving money at Starbucks – order a more “plain” drink and jazz it up at the condiment bar.
8. Bring your Own Starbucks Reusable Cup to Save $0.10 per visit
If you really want to pinch those pennies – here are a couple more ways to whittle down the cost of your coffee. (Though a Keurig Machine might be the way to go if you're really trying to save on your daily cup of joe.)
Here are two way how to save money at Starbucks (while it's just $0.10, that can really add up over time!)
Bring Your Own Cup: Save 10¢ on your drink when you bring your own cup
Order a Short: Although you won't see it on the menu – you can order the 8 oz “Short” coffee for $2.03 and it will have the same shot of espresso in it that a 12 oz “Tall” does for $2.14. If you're wanting to add creamer, order a “Short” in a “Tall” cup so there's room leftover.
A few more Starbucks tips ….
Starbucks Happy Hours & Double Star Days
And if you love BOGO Drinks – make sure to plan your coffee meet-ups with friends on Thursdays, as that's usually the day that Starbucks does their Happy Hour promotions. They will often offer BOGO Drinks or 50% OFF Drinks on Thursdays from 2-7 pm! Read more about Happy Hour here.
They also have Double Star Days where members can earn twice as many stars on all qualifying in-store purchases!
Every so often, PayPal or even Starbucks has offers where you can get a discount whenever you buy a certain amount Starbucks Gift Card. A recent promotion was for $4 off a $20 Starbucks Gift Card when you pay with PayPal, which is a nice discount!
Every month, Verizon Rewards Members often have the option to trade their monthly credit in for a FREE $5 Starbucks Gift Card – and sometimes there is an offer that needs no credit whatsoever!
(Also, there was a Starbucks Freebie for Microsoft 360 users recently, too!)
If you have a Safeway or Affiliate store, be sure to check your Just for U app for various offers from time to time – including $5 off, completely FREE drinks, discounted pastries, and more!
Get Free Water vs. $$ Bottled Water
This seems like a silly little tip because you don't really need to spend money on water anyway… but if you're in Starbucks for a lunch date and you're wanting something nice cold to drink – this could save you a couple bucks. Plus, their water is TRIPLE FILTERED so it tastes great, too!
Don't waste your money on a bottled water, because you can ask for a “water cup” totally free. 🙂
And last but not least – another way how to save money at Starbucks is to keep an eye out for the Starbucks Groupon deal (it's SUPER rare and usually for select users, but hopefully it will come back soon)!
What is the cheapest thing at Starbucks?
If you're just looking to get a drink the cheapest way possible, go for the short hot brewed coffee or Teavana tea. Or you can grab a single shot of espresso for around the same price.
You could also grab one of these GORGEOUS cups in store too. They always have really fun ones – right now they have new winter and Valentine's Cups at Starbucks locations.
They change seasonally too! Starbucks Summer cups are always SO colorful, the Fall Starbucks cups had some neat glow in the dark options this past year, and of course the Holiday Starbucks Cups are always SO PRETTY!
Do you know any other ways how to save money at Starbucks? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment to share. 🙂
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