by Emily Co 4/09/15
Don’t despair if store-bought coffee is your biggest spending vice. Help is on its way, in the form of these smart saving tips that will work at your local Starbucks. Don’t thank us — just drink up!
— Additional reporting by Whitney Bania
1 Get Creative
Don’t limit yourself to the standard drinks. There are plenty of options that are well under $4, such as iced coffee. If you think that spending less means boring drinks, think again. Check out some the most creative Starbucks mystery menu concoctions under $3.
And if you must go the latte route, try the caffe misto, which is made of of half coffee and half milk. It is not only cheaper, but also has less calories!
2 $2 Iced Lattes
Speaking of getting creative, you can score yourself a cheap “iced latte” if you order a triple espresso over ice in a Venti cup. Head on over to the condiment area to fill up your cup with milk.
3 Refills For 50 Cents
Sometimes one cup just doesn’t cut it. Any time throughout the day and on any size, you can refill your cup with brewed coffee for just 50 cents during the same visit. Not a bad price for an extra pick-me-up.
More specifics on refills:
They have to be either hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea, or iced tea.
You can get a refill even if your original drink was not one of the ones mentioned above.
4 Bring Your Own Cup
You’ll save 10 cents on the price of your drink when you bring in your own reusable cup, mug, or travel tumbler.
5 The Water Secret
You don’t have to reach for bottled water in Starbucks, as the water at Starbucks may even be cleaner. The ice and water used in Starbucks is triple-filtered!
6 Order in Bulk Via Coffee Press
Another way to save money is to order a coffee press pot of coffee, which serves a few cups of coffee. It will be cheaper than ordering the drinks individually. Share with friends or hoard it if you plan on staying at Starbucks for a while, and enjoy the caffeine buzz.
7 Ask For “No Water” With Your Tea
According to one barista on Quora, “Iced Teas are double-strength in pitcher and watered down for your final recipe.”
To get more a bang for a buck, request “no water” with your tea, and it won’t be watered down.
8 Take Advantage of the Birthday Treat
If you sign up for the Starbucks reward program (registration is free), you’re entitled to a free drink when your birthday comes around. Keep in mind that you’ll have to redeem it in the 30 days after your birthday.
9 Get a Starbucks Card
If you’re a frequent Starbucks customer, there’s no reason not to get a Starbucks Card. At no cost to you, a registered card will get you lots of freebies. Here’s what you can expect:
Welcome level (which you attain after using your card once)
Free drink or food on your birthday
Green level (which you attain after using your card five times)
Free refills in store
Welcome level rewards
Specialized email offers
Gold level (which you attain after using your card 30 times in 12 months)
Free drink or food reward after every 12 purchases
Welcome and green level rewards
Personalized offers and coupons
Personalized gold card
10 Order a Short
There’s an even smaller size than “tall,” and it’s called “short.” It’s smaller than a “tall,” but it’s also less expensive. The “short” cappuccino, will have the same amount of espresso as the as its “tall” version, says Slate.
11 Brew It at Home
Be your own barista at home by buying beans at Starbucks stores — they’ll even grind the beans for you. Or, you can pick a bag up at the grocery store.
There are even recipes you find online that show you how to make more of its complicated drinks like this frappuccino recipe.
12 Fido’s Freebie
Don’t forget, your furry pal gets his own freebie, too. Order a puppy latte or puppycino, and your best friend will get a sample cup full of whipped cream.
Want to save even more at your favorite stores? Here’s how to save money in Target and shopping online at Amazon.
13 Split a Venti Frappuccino
If you’re craving a Frappuccino, a Venti-size one (24 ounces) will set you back $4. A tall (12-ounce) Frappuccino costs $3, so if you split the Venti Frappuccino into two tall cups — you generally have to ask for it and do it yourself — and share one with a friend, you’ll be saving yourself $1 each.
14 Cheaper Chai Latte
DIY a cheaper chai latte by ordering hot chai tea, then ask them to fill it up with hot milk, which will cost you an extra 60 cents. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s less sweet. To make it easier, just order a chai latte misto.