19 Sneaky Ways To Save Money At Starbucks

Getty Images | Stephen Chernin

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When it comes to Starbucks, I am unapologetically basic. I love it. While I am usually a drip coffee girl, this time of year the pumpkin spice lattes calls to me like an old friend.

In fact, the only thing that stands between me and a straight-up addiction to Starbucks is the high price. All those Pike Places and PSLs with almond milk and no whip can really add up. So, what’s a girl to do?

Turns out, there are some easy ways to feed my caffeine addiction without going broke.

Check out these 19 clever tricks to save money on your next Starbucks run.

1. Download the App

While the Starbucks app has gotten a bit of heat, the end result is the same. If you use it, you get free coffee. Download the app, add money, order coffee, scan for stars. Get 125 stars, get free coffee.

Getty Images | Stephen Brashear

2. Play the In-App Game

The Starbucks app always features bonus opportunities in the form of a game, so make sure you take advantage. For example, right now if you order three macchiatos by September 25 you get 60 bonus stars.

Starbucks App

3. Grab a Groupon

Just this morning I had a Groupon offer in my inbox for half off Starbucks gift cards.


4. Go Halfsies

One venti equals two tall drinks. So if you and a buddy are craving a pricey Frappuccino, just order a venti and an extra cup. You can split it down the middle and save over $1 each. But make sure you split it yourself — some Reddit users say baristas will charge for two talls if asked to split it for you.

Getty Images | Melanie Conner

5. Treat Your Pup

Did you know baristas love dogs? Ok, well maybe not all of them, but you can get a special treat for your pup — you just need to ask! The Puppuccino is a sweet cup of whipped cream. Consider it a free dog treat.

Flickr | kevinforesman

6. Bring Your Own Cup

The quickest way to save 10 cents? Bring your own cup.

7. Go Light On The Ice

It’s all about maximizing your caffeine, and it’s no secret baristas fill up your cup with ice and milk before topping it off with espresso. By ordering light ice, milk and cream, you can ensure your cup is packing a punch with the greatest amount of good stuff.

8. Go Up A Size

Huh? Yes, you can order your grande drip coffee in a venti cup at no extra charge. This is a great option if you are someone who leaves room for cream. By going up a size, you will get the full cup of actual coffee and then can add the cream on top.

9. Order Drip

Drip coffee is cheaper (and less calories). If you crave flavor, you can ask for added syrup. While the flavor will cost you, it’s not nearly as expensive as an espresso drink.

Flickr | VasenkaPhotography

10. Make Your Own Latte

This one makes me feel all kinds of secondhand awkwardness, so I’m not sure I could do it. But if you have no shame, you can order 2 or 3 shots of espresso in a cup with ice. Then head to the free condiments bar and use the cream and sugar to make your own latte.

11. Skip The Bottle

Ask for a glass of water from your barista instead of purchasing bottled water.  They’ll happily give you any size ice water your thirst desires.

12. Short Order

There are several items off the official Starbucks menu, including the elusive short size. It’s only 8 oz. but if you just need a small jolt, go short and save.

Flickr | jacopast

13. Grande Is The New Venti

Other than drip coffee, most of the Starbucks specialty drinks offer the same amount of caffeine in both the grande and venti sizes.  So, while the venti gives you more cream and sugar, it doesn’t actually give you more caffeine. Check out this chart and when in doubt, go for grande.

14. Hold The Water

When ordering iced tea, ask for it straight up. Baristas are trained to automatically add water to their extra strong tea brew. When you skip the water you get a more concentrated tea that can double your order simply by adding your own water later.

Getty Images | Alex Wong

15. Birthday Beverage

In addition to all of the other perks, Starbucks app users get a free birthday drink, too. Think big and fancy because you can order any beverage in any size on your special day.

Flickr | Global X

16. Group Discount

Did you know most Starbucks locations have French presses available? Me neither. But they do and they hold 32 oz. of liquid magic. So, if you and a few friends are meeting for coffee this can be a great way to save.

17. Refill ‘er Up

If you are hanging out in-store for awhile, make sure you take advantage of refills while you are there. Starbucks app users enjoy free drip coffee and tea refills. Sorry, drive-thru customers, this deal only works in-store.

18. Target Savings

If you shop at Target and you drink Starbucks (duh), take advantage of special Target savings. Starbucks is often featured on Target’s Cartwheel.  I’ve also had Starbucks coupons pop out with my Target purchase receipts.


19. Follow The Leader

Follow Starbucks on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The company posts about all kinds of promotions and this is really the best way to stay on top of special offers, like buy-one-get-one-free deals.

Happy caffienating!

About the Author

Kate Desmond

Kate is a freelance writer, mommy blogger, safe sleep crusader, and wannabe inventor in search of her next great idea. She lives in Bentonville, Arkansas with her husband and two little girls. They are the loves of her life, but also drive her to insanity. She writes about living on that brink on her blog, The Tiny Fashionista. More.