Monday, June 20, 2011

{ How to Milk Your Coffee Budget }

I love coffee. I really love my Starbucks. And I’m a little snobby about it too. I don’t really go anywhere else. And what do we brew at home? None other than, you guessed it, Starbucks. Back when I was working, frequenting my favorite Starbucks three to four times a week was no big deal, but now that we’re a single income family, I limit myself to a more restrictive coffee budget. Here are some tips and tricks that I use to stretch my coffee dollar, and treat myself more often.

Until recently, Starbucks didn’t have a punch card system that allowed customers to earn free drinks, but this is no longer the case. Procure a Starbucks gift card, then go here to register it. Automatically, you are signed up to receive a free drink on your birthday. In addition, every time you use the card, you earn a star. After you earn 5 stars, you can get:
*Free select syrups and milk
*Free refills on brewed coffee or tea
*Buy a bag of whole bean coffee and get a tall handcrafted beverage, free
Once you have earned 30 stars, you get:
*Everything that’s listed above
*A free drink after every 15 stars
*Personalized offers and coupons

Okay – so that program is totally awesome, and it’s totally free to join. But wait, there’s more! You are able to reload your card right from the Starbucks website, but I do something a little different. Many grocery store chains these days also have fuel stations (Safeway, Fred Meyer, etcetera). My local grocer offers $.10 off per gallon of gas for every $100 I spend on groceries. This grocer also sells gift cards to dozens of retailers, including Starbucks. Buying a gift card counts towards earning my fuel discount…so I am saving money when I buy my coffee card! When I buy a new gift card, I simply login to my Starbucks account, and transfer the balance to my Gold Card.

Finally, save money when you order your beverage. Order brewed coffee or tea for under $2 and creamers and sugars are free (and so are refills once you earn 5 stars!). Love your latte? Try an Americano (espresso and water) instead. Once you’ve earned 5 stars, you can order a Grande Americano with syrup (free!) and room for cream for about $2.75.  You’ll save $.75 to $1 off of the cost of a latte of the same size. Soy drinker? A registered card with 5 earned stars and you can upgrade to soy for free!

You’re welcome. Happy sipping.
Startin' her young. Me and my girl at Starbys.
Big Bear Lake, CA

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