10 Best Starbucks Deals
Despite Starbucks’ reputation for being overpriced, these deals can save you money without curbing your daily or weekly visits. From discount refills to drink hacks, here’s how you can get the most bang for your buck at Starbucks.
1. Starbucks Rewards Program
If you frequent Starbucks, sign up for its rewards program. For every dollar spent on coffee, drinks, food and merchandise with your Starbucks Card, you earn Stars.
The Starbucks Rewards Program includes two levels: Green and Gold. Green members get free birthday rewards, free in-store refills and more. Gold members get the same perks, plus a personalized gold card and Star Rewards for every 125 Stars.
2. Free Refills
If you need another pick-me-up even after you’ve finished your coffee, get another at Starbucks and avoid paying full price. Here’s how it works: Use your registered Starbucks Card or the mobile app to buy a handcrafted beverage. After you’re done with your drink, show them your same Starbucks Card or app to get free refills of brewed coffee — hot, iced or even Cold Brew — or tea.
Keep in mind this has to occur during the same store visit. If you leave the store, your visit has technically ended. And, you can’t get refills in the drive-thru.
3. Starbucks Email List
Joining Starbucks’ email list can save you money. When you sign up for the email, you get 10 percent off your next order, though some exclusions might apply. Plus, you’ll be in the know for exclusive Starbucks offers and discounts.
4. Seasonal Deals
Pay attention to Starbucks’ deals and promotions during the holidays to save money on seasonal favorites. For example, this past holiday season Starbucks announced that from Nov. 10 to Nov. 14, customers who bought one holiday beverage could get another one free.
This deal was only available during certain hours, but, it included some of the most popular Starbucks holiday drinks, including the Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte and Eggnog Latte.
5. Free Add-ons
It might seem trivial, but you can save money by skipping the flavor at the counter and opting for the free flavor add-ons that Starbucks offers, said Kerry Sherin of Offers.com. This can include cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla.
“Starbucks offers free half-and-half, cream, sugar and several spices, making it easy to spice up an inexpensive brewed coffee into a cinnamon-cream coffee for free,” added Kendall Perez of CouponSherpa.com.
6. Birthday Freebie
Like at other stores and restaurants, you can get a free birthday reward at Starbucks. For example, you can get a free drink, food item or ready-to-drink bottled beverage. Just remember to register your Starbucks Card.
7. Splitting a Venti
One of the better Starbucks deals is to go big — then split. When visiting Starbucks with a friend, order a Venti and split it between the both of you. Ask the barista for two small cups. With the two cups, split the large drink and then modify your coffee as you see fit.
“In the end, you’ll pay about $5 for the Venti Frappuccino instead of $8 to $9 for two talls,” said Kyle James of Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
James also said ordering an Americano is one of the best ways to get your caffeine fix on the cheap. “It’s simply hot water poured over two freshly pulled espresso shots,” he said. And, it costs only around $2.50 for a tall and $3.25 for a Venti.
9. Free Samples
The next time you go to Starbucks, see if you can get a free sample.
“They’ll probably tell you to go ahead and take a seat, and they will bring it to you first, as they will make a tray of tasters for everyone in the store when they cut into that muffin,” said Teri Gault, a savings expert and author “Shop Smart, Save More.”
10. Starbucks Online Sales
Have you always wanted a nice Starbucks tumbler but didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for one? Check out Starbucks’ “Sale” section online to see discounted tumblers, coffee mugs and more. Just remember to keep an eye out for coupon codes to get an even bigger discount.
10 Worst Starbucks Deals
Starbucks coffee might be your daily delight, but there are some deals you should skip. From Starbucks merchandise to Starbucks gift cards, here are some of the more notorious things you shouldn’t buy at the coffee shop.
1. Coffee Beans and Grounds
If you’re looking to brew some Starbucks coffee on your own, don’t buy from the brick-and-mortar store.
“Starbucks sells 16-ounce packages of whole bean and ground coffee for $11.95 to $14.95, depending on the blend,” said Perez. However, 12-ounce bags of similar blends can be found at Target for around $7.99.
2. Starbucks K-Cups
Like Starbucks coffee beans and grounds, Starbucks K-Cups at Starbucks are generally not worth the purchase. K-Cups are the small plastic pods your Keurig might use to make a serving of coffee.
“Never buy these from an actual Starbucks location,” said James. “You can always find them for much cheaper at Costco.”
3. Travel Mugs and Drinkware
Starbucks-brand drinkware is another “deal” that isn’t a smart choice for your wallet. “Impressive displays of coffee mugs, tea kettles, French presses, and other coffee and tea accessories are tempting for those waiting in line for drinks, but are best skipped,” said Perez.
If you want to buy Starbucks drinkware, approach it like buying Starbucks coffee beans, said Sherin. “Shop other online retailers like Amazon, or find a coupon for the Starbucks store online to save even more,” she said.
4. Starbucks Gift Cards
Starbucks gift cards stare you in the face every time you reach the cashier. Although they are a great gift to receive, you can find discount gift cards online.
“Buying gift cards can be a big mistake if you purchase through a retailer,” said Sherin. “Use sites like Raise.com or Cardpool.com, and you can find discounts as much as 10 percent off.”
5. Goodies Located Near the Register
As tempting as it might be to grab a cookie, granola bar or even mints, ignore these impulse buys at the register. Chances are you don’t really need these times. And, you can usually find better deals at your grocery store.
6. Bottled Water
Bottled water is definitely not a Starbucks deal. Instead of paying $2 or more for one water, you can probably get a whole case for just a few dollars more at your grocery store — especially if there’s a sale or if you have coupons.
7. Bistro Boxes
Need a quick lunch? You likely won’t find a good deal at Starbucks. If you’re in a hurry, stop by your favorite fast food joint for a value meal that will save you money. Even better: Make your own boxed lunches at home.
“Five dollars for a few crackers, cheese cubes, grapes and a hard-boiled egg is not a good deal, given how inexpensively these items are at your local grocery store,” said Perez.
8. Pre-wrapped Sandwiches
Along with Starbucks bistro boxes, the cafe’s expensive pre-wrapped sandwiches are another item to avoid.
“They display these nicely wrapped sandwiches that look nice and have quality ingredients as you wait in line to hook you,” said Mark Mazza, co-founder of PromoCodeWatch.com. “Coffee is relatively cheap, so selling you an overpriced sandwich that costs as much, or more, than your drink order is an obvious score for them.”
9. Breakfast Sandwiches
Continuing on the sandwich theme, Starbucks breakfast sandwiches shouldn’t be on your list of things to buy. They look fresh in the display, but these sandwiches — as well as many other food items — are simply overpriced. You’re better off making your own breakfast sandwich at home.
10. Blended Crème Frappuccino
Unless you’re a child or watching your caffeine intake, blended crème Frappuccinos don’t make sense for your money. “It’s basically a $5 vanilla milkshake — and not a very good one at that. Way too much ice in this thing and not enough thickness,” said James.
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