The rule of thumb: if you can’t afford it, don’t get addicted.
Starbucks has a way of pulling you in. Greeted by air conditioning and the delicious smell of sweet sanity, there is no resisting the temptation when a barista greets you with a smile.
It helps that Starbucks sells legal addictive stimulants, but they also sell an experience–a joyful and euphoric experience. But the average price of a latte is $4.05 and sometimes even the baristas can’t afford Starbucks when they’re not working.
Luckily, we have some insider tips on how to save money and enjoy Starbucks even if you’re poor.
Be warned: baristas may judge.
Two for the price of one
It’s simple math. A venti is 24 ounces. A tall is 12. You can get any venti beverage split into two talls and save yourself at least $3.
Instead of ordering two teas or refreshers, you can buy one. Just ask for no ice and then order a cup of ice on the side. You can portion the drink out yourself.
The secrets of the Venti
There is actually a size difference between an iced venti (24 ounces) and a hot venti (20 ounces). An iced venti also gets an extra shot of espresso (three total). A hot venti has the same amount of caffeine as a grande (both have two shots of espresso), you’re just paying for more milk.
Be nice to your barista
This is the best hack of all time. If you are a regular, you’ll get noticed. Once the bond is formed with your barista they will hook you up with all kinds of things. Extra drinks, free syrups and sometimes even pastries. All you have to do is be nice or funny; being hilarious helps.
An Americano is espresso with water. A latte is an espresso with milk. If those two had a baby, it would be the Americano misto, which is half hot water and half milk. Americanos also come with extra shots—depending on the size. But if you get it with light water, you basically have a cheaper latte with more caffeine. You can do this with iced or cold Americanos.
Grande in a Venti
If you love your cream and you need lots of room then just order your regular size but in a bigger cup. This gives you enough room for cream without having to dump out any coffee.
The condiment bar offers cream and 2% milk. If you just get espresso shots over ice, you can fill the rest of your cup with milk from the condiment stand. Which means your very own iced latte for half the price.
Starbucks has its own rewards program. Most people are hesitant to join because you’re statistically more likely to spend money there – but the perks are endless. Not only do you get a free birthday drink and earn a reward (free drink or food) after 12 transactions, you also get special offers like 30 per cent off espresso drinks, buy one get one and promotional hours are extended for gold card members. If Happy Frappuccino Hour ends at 5, gold card members have an extra hour so they don’t have to wait in line with the “peasants.”
You also get free coffee and tea refills including iced tea (not the lemonade). The system is basically like any other place that serves coffee refills, for example IHOP, if you stay in the store you can get infinite refills.
Water with Raspberry
If you’re broke and on a budget but still want something sweet, you can get a water and ask for any flavouring like peach, raspberry or blackberry. It’s a sweet fix that will cost you less than $1.
Baristas basically fill the space between the ice with drink. So if you ask for light ice you get 50 per cent more bang for your buck.
Bring your own cup
Simple as that. If you bring in your own cup, you get $0.10 off your purchase. If you go daily, that amounts to a free pastry every couple weeks.
Get an iced coffee
An iced coffee is just iced drip coffee but it includes syrup and milk. You can actually substitute the classic syrup, which is liquid sugar, for any other syrup like vanilla, caramel, cinnamon dolce, hazelnut or toffee nut for no extra cost. You can also ask for it in a bigger cup with extra milk. It’s your own cheap latte. You save yourself at least $1.
Get a short
Short size is the secret 8oz size for hot drinks they carry for children’s drinks. But adults can also order a short. If you order a short latte, it has the same amount of caffeine as a tall. You can also shave off calories by getting a short.
Here is the size to espresso ratio:
- Short: 1 shot
- Tall: 1 shot
- Grande: 2 shots
- Venti (hot): 2 shots
- Venti (cold): 3 shots
Shots in Americanos vary.
If you’re a student who’ll be studying all day, you might as well order a french press for $4.95, which is usually eight to 12 cups of coffee vs. one tall 12 ounce coffee for $1.90.
No water in your iced teas
Iced teas as well as Refreshers are watered down; half of your drink is actually water. Next time try no water. The tea is stronger and more delicious, plus you get more caffeine.
If you’re a Refresher drinker then you can actually get lemonade or a different kind of Refresher instead of water for no extra charge.7
Cup of water
Don’t buy the bottle. Every Starbucks has a triple-filter system. The water you get from the tap is probably cleaner than the bottle of water you buy for about $2.45.