We're not huge fans of Starbucks, but it's taken over the world. There's even one downstairs from our office--where else are we supposed to go? There are dozens of people in line every day, but somehow we end up there, too.
We don’t want to encourage your coffee addiction, but the vast majority of us start our day with a fresh brew (or two…or three, by the time we hit that 2 pm slump). Buying one basic coffee at Starbucks every day can really add up. Here's the sad math: $2.18 x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = $567. If you got a latte every day instead, you'd be facing $845. That's almost $850 you spent at Starbucks... Really?
If you’re going to drink that coffee anyway, we want to help you save on it. Here's how we save money on Starbucks:
We Got With The Program (Starbucks, That Is).
Who knew that Starbucks had an incredible rewards program? We seem to find ourselves there anyway, so we might as well get back a piece from corporate America. Seriously, though, Starbucks' free rewards program can easily save you $50 per month! You get: free refills, free wi-fi, free soymilk, free flavor shots. Our favorite drink: A regular brewed coffee with soymilk and a shot of hazelnut (for the price of a simple regular coffee...and the whole thing is FREE—no joke—if it's a refill). All you have to do is buy a $5 gift card for yourself and register it online, which takes less than two minutes. If you got a free refill of our specialty drink every day of the year, you'd save close to $1,000.
We Bring Our Own Cups.
If you bring your own cup, Starbucks will slice 10 cents off the cost of your drink. And, if you buy your first cup of joe in the store and bring up the same cup for a refill, you can get your cup brimming again for 50 cents (instead of $2.18)! And, remember, refills are entirely free if you're part of the rewards program.
A latte by any other name… Just ask for a double shot of espresso in a large cup full of ice, and then add your own milk and sugar from the condiment stand. Swirl it around, and you’ve got an iced latte for about $2 instead of $3.25 or more.
Costs/Benefits Of A Coffee Maker.
Really, though, we're all about alternatives to the ever-present Starbucks, which is why we've started making our own coffee at work. You can buy a coffeemaker for as little as $17; a one-pound bag of Sumatra Lake Tawar coffee from Batdorf & Bronson (top-rated by CoffeeReview.com) costs $14.50. One bag makes about 30 twelve-ounce cups, so you’ll only need to buy ten or eleven bags per year to fuel that daily caffeine habit. If you drink enough coffee (we really think you should stop when you hit that third cup, by the way), getting your own machine can literally save you hundreds of dollars per year. About $280, to be exact.
Are You All About The Caffeine (And Not The Experience)?
If what you really want is to buy the most caffeine per dollar, check out this slightly comical list of exactly how much caffeine is in various types of coffee, tea, and soft drinks.