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If you’re anything like me, coffee shops—and most importantly, coffee—are a daily essential. While I wish every day consisted entirely of sitting in unique and quirky shops, or even better, stopping at an outdoor-seated Parisian café after a nice stroll along the Seine… the quick, easy, and always consistent Starbucks has become a daily go to.
All of the coffee connoisseurs out there are rolling their eyes right now… but this post isn’t for you. I know that Starbucks doesn’t have the highest quality of coffee and that it happily embraces the #basic culture that we’ve given it—but that’s what’s so great! The convenience, the way everyone’s unique order rolls right off of their tongue, and the way my Starbucks cup has quickly become a never-seen-without accessory is what makes it an easy addiction.
Let's be real. We’re all addicted, obsessed, and have the habit of going there even when we’re not really even in need of coffee. Trust me, I’m one of the worst—not having a Starbucks cup on me has somehow become very off-brand, and sipping it throughout the day has become a simple pleasure. The only problem is, this has quickly become a very expensive lifestyle. So, for any of you that are right there with me, here is how I have learned to keep this beautiful habit alive without breaking the bank.
First off, you need the Starbucks app and to become a Rewards Member. I’m sure that if you are reading this, you probably completed this five seconds after it was released… but just in case… all you need to do is load a few bucks onto your card, and then rather than using your wallet to pay for your drink, you scan your phone. Easy. Now, as a Rewards Member, you ears two Stars for every $1 spent at Starbucks. Once you’ve reached 125 Stars, you get to redeem a reward for a free drink or food item. Pay attention: This is ANY drink, any size, any crazy additions, anything. Treat yourself!!!
Well, there’s more. At least once a week a new challenge will hit that is generally tailored toward your drink-style. If they see you love lattes, they’ll tailor-fit it to that. If you like Frappuccinos, there you go. Basically, a challenge will be presented on the app—for example: Buy four lattes in the next eight days; make a purchase three days in a row; buy one latte, one breakfast sandwich, and one iced tea in the next five days, etc. etc.—and if you complete it in the allotted time period, you get a whole bunch (sometimes up to 100) of bonus stars on top of the stars you’ll earn buying those products. It’s brilliant. That’s a free drink right there. Oh, did I mention you get a free birthday drink as well?
I do want to reiterate something. You’re doing this anyway. You’re buying those drinks anyway. Maybe it’ll persuade you to buy a latte one day rather than a normal iced coffee so that you can get those 100 bonus stars. But, truthfully, you’re just going about your daily Starbucks routine, and now you’re getting rewarded for it.
The rewards program is beneficial in other ways, too. Once you become a Gold Member, you get free coffee or tea refills on same-visit orders (refills for $0.50 for non-Gold Members). This changed everything for me. I only have to go into an office a few times a month, so I generally work out of coffee shops. I used to spend anywhere from $10–15 a day just on coffee because I’d be there for six or seven hours. Now, I spend under $3 a day and can get as many refills as I want. You guys, this saved me between $200–300 each month.
Another thing I do that I started fairly recently and that has worked really well to make sure my entire paycheck isn’t going to coffee is coming up with an exact money amount that you are willing to allot to Starbucks/coffee each month. At the first of every month, I take $100 of my paycheck and upload it to my Starbucks card. Once I have used up the entire $100 on the card, I am capped off for the month.
I work out of a Starbucks every day, so I still have to account for at least one drink a day… but if you’re trying to cut down, challenge yourself! Upload only $50 or $30, and then stick to it! Don’t upload any more until the next first of the month hits. This has helped me so much in tracking my spending and staying on a tight budget in the past few months.
All of this has really helped me stay on track of a budget while still indulging in the obsession. Hopefully, this helped in some way, or just gave you a moment of relatability. If you liked this article, all proceeds will go to my Starbucks fund ;) Cheers!