It is no secret that I go to Starbucks (a.k.a STBX) kind of a lot. It is something I enjoy. It is something I need most days. I can understand how the casual observer of my life may think I have a problem, and that I am spending a fortune of money (and calories) at Starbucks, but I'm not!
Like most things in life, you can have what you want and not get out of control with it, as long as you have a system.
1. Get a Starbucks Gold Card
The next time someone gives you a gift card to Starbucks (or just buy yourself one!) go to starbucks.com and register it. When your gift card balance runs out, add more value to it, and use this card every time you go to Starbucks. Before you know it, you will earn "gold" status, and Starbucks will send you your Gold Card with your name on it in the mail. Every time you buy a drink with your Gold Card, they track it, and your 16th drink is always free.
Here's how I save money with this: Every time I go to Starbucks, I get just a regular little tall coffee (I always get bold because I prefer my coffee STRONG), which costs about $2.00. Every drink you buy, you earn a star. After you earn 15 stars, you will get a postcard in the mail for your free 16th drink. I always use this postcard to buy a Venti Latte or something else that if I bought it, it would cost $4.00 plus. I almost never order something like that out of pocket.
2. Take Your Own Travel Mug
On Earth Day, you can get a free cup of coffee if you bring in your own tumbler, which is awesome. But, get used to bringing it yourself, and you will save an extra 10 cents every time. That may not sound like a lot, but if you go often, it pays off. For me, I think of it as every 20th visit to Starbucks, I'm getting a free cup of coffee.
3. Take Your Empty Bag of Starbucks Coffee in to the Store
Look at the bag of Starbucks Coffee that you bought at the grocery store closely, most bags will say somewhere that they are good for one free tall coffee. That's true! All you have to do is hand the empty bag to the cashier, and you will get a free cup of coffee. A little tip: If you are doing tip number 2 and bringing in your own mug and it just so happens to be bigger than a "tall," chances are your Barista will fill it up, thus hooking you up.
4. Be Very Open About Your Love of Starbucks
I do this without even trying, and people notice. Last Christmas, I think I got a grand total of $60.00 in Starbucks gift cards from friends and family, because they know I love it, so it's always the perfect gift for me. Make sure, if and when you do get a new gift card that you register that card online, then transfer it to the balance of your original card, so you can use that balance toward earning your gold card. If you have a gold card, transfer the balance of the gift card to your gold card so you an use it to reap rewards.
5. Don't Buy Food at Starbucks
I'm not going to lie, this is hard because they design the line to form right in front of that dreaded baked goods case. But, if you buy a muffin every time you get coffee you will not only be poor, you will be huge and poor. Same principle applies if you get a Venti Mocha every time you go to Starbucks. Once you have a gold card, every now and then you will get a coupon for a free food item, those are a nice little treat.