Et tu, Starbucks?
Beginning this week, everyone’s favorite coffee shop is raising prices on lattes, brewed coffee and ground coffee, due in part to a lingering drought in Brazil. Grande and venti brewed coffee will increase by 10 to 15 cents, while tall and venti lattes will see price increases of 15 to 20 cents. After July 21, bags of ground coffee sold in stores will increase by 8 percent, or over $1 per bag.
Since Starbucks is considered a splurge by most personal finance experts, this price increase is especially tough on those trying to watch their spending. However, there are ways to get around this unpleasant reality and still feed your addiction frugally. Consider these 12 ways to save at Starbucks.
1. Enjoy rewards.
The My Starbucks Rewards card provides loyal customers with such, well, perks as free drinks, free food, free refills and more. Cardholders also receive a free beverage of any kind or size on their birthday, as demonstrated by this gentleman who ordered a 60-shot espresso concoction. Stars are earned whenever the Starbucks Card or Starbucks mobile app is used at checkout.
2. Buy discount Starbucks gift cards.
At GiftCardGranny.com, you can buy discount gift cards to Starbucks for as much to 20-percent off. For instance, pick up a $100 Starbucks gift card for just $84.54 and save over $25! In addition to saving on coffee, buying discount Starbucks gift cards is a great way to save on gifts for birthdays, holidays and graduations.
3. Print or redeem coupons.
Even Starbucks issues coupons from time to time. Keep track of these coveted offers by searching sites like CouponSherpa.com, where you can find both printable and online offers for savings. Also, check out Starbucks’ website periodically as they advertise special offers like their current “summer surprises” texting campaign.
4. Keep eyes peeled for daily deals.
Ever notice how your Facebook feed explodes when Groupon or LivingSocial issues a daily deal to Starbucks? Once or twice per year, you can score a $10 digital gift card to Starbucks for just $5. You must have an account with daily deal providers to get the deal, but you can personalize your settings to only receive emails weekly. That way, you’re not bombarded with daily offers but can be notified about the Starbucks deal.
5. Join the mailing list.
By joining the Starbucks Mailing List, you’ll get a coupon for 10-percent off your next order. Plus, you’ll find out about special promotions like seasonal offers, member-only benefits and discounts on speciality drinks. You can sign up here, or hold off until you have time to create a separate email account just for promotional offers!
6. Get social.
Follow Starbucks on Facebook or Twitter to get notified when they release special promotions, coupons or daily discounts. Last summer, followers could enjoy the “Starbucks treat receipt” which awarded customers to a $2 grande cold beverage after 2 p.m. simply by showing the morning receipt. Finding out about these saving promos early is easy when you follow the brand on social media.
7. Choose coffee over espresso.
To keep costs down while fulfilling my Starbucks addiction, I sometimes opt for brewed coffee over an espresso beverage to kick start my day. When I’m really in the mood for a latte or Americano, then I satisfy the craving for less by sticking to a tall or grande size over the venti.
8. Look for sale or clearance tags.
When it comes to shopping Starbucks goods, never buy at full price! That cute coffee mug or trendy eco-tumbler will inevitably go on sale, so make a note of what you like and hold off until sale time. Save even more when you buy your clearance good with those discount gift cards I mentioned!
9. Ask for “light” ice.
Iced coffees are just the ticket on warm summer days, but you often end up getting less latte than if you ordered the hot version. That’s because ice takes up more than half the cup most of the time. Avoid this issue by requesting “light ice” when you order your chilled beverage.
10. Go halfsies with a friend.
If you and your friend like the same drink, order a venti and ask for an extra cup. Starbucks doesn’t charge for the extra cup and you can often save an average of $1.50 by splitting up their biggest size. It’s a cheapskate move, but you’re probably doing both your systems a solid by not downing a venti of caffeine!
11. Bring your own cup.
As an eco-friendly company, Starbucks is all about promoting sustainable practices and limiting its impact on the environment. As such, it rewards its customers who bring in their own tumblers and cups with a 10-cent discount. Just bringing in your own mug will cancel out the price increase on grande and venti brewed coffee – score!
12. Earn stars with coffee bags.
True coffee aficionados drink the good stuff at home, too, which makes the $1 increase on ground coffee all the more painful. However, you can earn more Stars on your My Starbucks Reward card when you buy specially-marked bags of Starbucks coffee from grocery stores and other retailers. Earning Stars helps you score discounts and freebies!
Written by Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.