Who doesn't like Starbucks? I'm sure there's a few out there. But the habit can bankrupt you or drive you into caffeine rehab.
How to Save at Starbucks
#1 (The Golden Rule). Never ever pay with cash or a credit card.Use a REGISTERED Starbucks Card! Starbucks Cards are free. It takes 10 seconds to register one online. A registered Starbucks card can save you up to $1.20 on a drink by giving you free flavor shots, like vanilla or hazelnut, and also giving you free modifiers, like milk, which would otherwise cost you 60 cents. The Starbucks Card, which works the same as cash, also gets you every 15th drink free.
#2 Easy on the ice, please. Starbucks will overload every drink you order with Ice. In fact, a "light ice" medium size beverage is almost equal to a large iced drink. Order the smaller drink, but ask your barista for light ice. It's just as cold, but you're not wasting your cash on cube filler.
#3 "Make friends with the free condiments!" You can easily save yourself a dollar almost every time by doing a few seconds of dirty work yourself. Instead of getting a latté, order two shots of espresso and then pour in your own milk. It's waiting for you right there on the condiment stand and cheaper if you do it yourself. Also, the Starbucks condiment bar has free cinnamon, vanilla and mocha powder. Save yourself the cash -- and calories -- and flavor the drink yourself rather than paying for a Starbucks flavor shot.
#4 Ask for a Grande in a Venti cup! This trick works mostly on the Frappucino blended beverages and smoothies. If you're ordering a smoothie or Frappucino, order a medium beverage, but ask them to put it in a large cup. Nine out of 10 times, you'll see the barista has extra Frappucino or smoothie left-over at the bottom of the blender. You can save yourself well over a dollar by asking them to put the Grande beverage into a Venti cup. You get more beverage and you're not paying for it.
#5 Get the short cappuccino. It's not listed on the menu, but you can order a short-sized cappuccino instead of the tall. Yes, it's a little smaller, but chances are, it will satisfy you and for the folks going to Starbucks twice a day, this is a way to save on at least one of your visits.
#6 Bring your own cup! It will save you 10 cents, which may seem like nothing, but in addition to benefitting the environment, there are savings. For the folks that go twice a day, you'll be saving at least $72 a year, which does add up.
#7 Split a Venti. Starbucks does not charge for cups. If you go with a friend and you both want banana-chocolate smoothies, order a Venti and split it into two tall cups or two cups of your own. You'll be saving $2.50 a visit, which adds up quickly if you car pool with someone or have a regular Starbucks partner that appreciates the same drink you do.
#8 Stay in the store! A customer comes into the store, buys a cup of coffee with cash and then leaves, comes back an hour later and buys another cup. Considering you can enjoy free net access at Starbucks, just sit there for the hour and work on your laptop or smartphone. Register your Starbucks Card, stay in-store and the refills are free.
#9 Consider a Misto. For many of the regular latté drinkers that can't live without a latté, expand your horizons. Although a Café Misto has a little more milk than a latté, it is $2.85 for a Venti, while a latte is $3.90. Considering the drink might taste almost the same to you, or you might like it better, the $1.05 savings per beverage is significant, especially every day.
#10 Don't buy Starbucks Cards from Starbucks. Look at sites like Cardpool.com and PlasticJungle.com. They often have Starbucks Cards at 15% - 30% less. Considering you can register and unregister as many cards to your account as you want, sign up for the lists and buy cards at discounts when they're in stock. Up to 30% off is quite a break if you're buying a $100 worth of Starbucks dollars.
I know I'm an enabler and I hope that helps you coffee addicts out there!