10 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks that Your Barista Won’t Hate

As you know, I’ve been working on cutting my spending and sticking to a budget this year. One of the first things to go was my daily Starbucks drink. After my no-spend month was over, I have occasionally treated myself to Starbucks, but I am happy to still be free of my $4 a day habit!

There are a lot of articles out there about how to save money at Starbucks, but a lot of them contain a lot of sketchy ways to order drinks in different ways to shave off cost. I am all about saving money, but I don’t support being a huge annoyance to your barista, or stealing a bunch of milk to make the drink you actually wanted. Don’t be THAT person.

Luckily, there are still quite a few ways to get deals at Starbucks that are perfectly reasonable!

  1. Join the Rewards Program: you’ll get a free drink for joining, a free birthday drink, and earn stars every time you purchase something that can be used for future discounts and free drinks. Right now their rewards program is that you receive 2 stars for every dollar you spend. You can redeem stars for:
    • 25 stars: Free extra shot of espresso, dairy substitute or extra splash of syrup
    • 50 stars: Free brewed hot coffee, tea or bakery item
    • 150 stars: Free handcrafted drink (latte, mocha, etc.), hot breakfast or parfait
    • 200 stars: Free lunch sandwich, protein box or salad
    • 400 stars: Select merchandise or at-home coffee
  1. Hack Your Free Drinks: When you earn a free drink, you can get whatever size you would like. In the summer, I do an iced venti latte with no ice, and then save half of it for the next day!
  2. Free Refills in Store: If you are a Starbucks rewards member, you also get free refills of coffee and tea while you are in the store. It’s a great deal if you plan on hanging out for a while– you might want to switch to decaf after a few refills though.
  3. Starbucks Deals: Starbucks has various deals throughout the year, like BOGO in the afternoons and double star day, where you earn twice as many stars for your purchases. I follow them on social media in order to stay in the know when they have promotions!
  4. Target Deals: There is sometimes extra deals on the drinks at the Target Store Starbucks if you use the Target Circle app. This week there was 20% off drinks (which inspired me to write this post!). You can also get your 5% redcard discount if you pay with your Target redcard, but then you don’t get your Starbucks rewards for those purchases.
  5. Use a Reusable Cup: You get $0.10 off every time you use a reusable cup. While this isn’t a huge discount, it’s a great thing to do (and something I need to be better about). Its gross to think about how much trash comes from a daily starbucks trip over the course of a year!
  6. Free Reusable Cup Day: During the last couple of holiday seasons, Starbucks has done a giveaway when they introduce their holiday cups. On a certain day, you get a free reusable cup when you purchase one of their holiday drinks! And then you can keep using it to continue to get $0.10 off each time.
  7. Drink Smaller Sizes: My default used to always be a grande size drink, but I realized that I was often throwing away 1/4 of the drink because it got cold before I could finish it. If you can, switch to a smaller sized drink and save some cash each day!
  8. Opt for Less Expensive Drinks: Some drinks, like lattes are much more expensive than things like dripped coffee. If you can get used to a less expensive drink, it’s a good way to save money each day! One of the easiest swaps is getting iced coffee and adding a flavor shot and splash of milk instead of an iced latte. I also started drinking chai with coconut milk instead of coconut milk lattes, and it’s almost $1 cheaper.
  9. Free Water: A cup of water is free at Starbucks. Starbucks uses filtered water (so their coffee tastes consistent) and the water is SO GOOD. I always buy something else if I’m going to ask for water, and I don’t do it every time I go to Starbucks. But on a hot day after a long workout, there is nothing better than a giant iced tea alongside a giant cup of water!

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