Don't forget to visit! Starbucks introduces holiday savings plans to keep customers in stores

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Expensive tastes are getting a little bit cheaper this holiday season. When a Starbucks regular realizes that the $3.50 he spends every morning on the way to work adds up to nearly $1,000 each year, he may decide that a good way to save money would be to brew some coffee at home. Of course, he'd be right, but the retail coffee giants don't want you to see it that way.

This year, as more of its customers take a closer look at their budgets, Starbucks is introducing some new ways to save money on coffee and gift items without skipping its stores every morning.

Savings start with new Gold Cards. Store managers will be giving out a limited number of Gold Cards to the very best customers, while others can buy the cards for $25. These cards are good for 10% off most items in the store, and the company expects to sell "millions." If you're one of the ones spending $1,000 annually on coffee, $25 buys you $100 of that back. So if you're not going to cut back on your Starbucks visits, at least you can cut the damage to about $925 this year.

In addition to selling savings with the Gold Cards, the store is cutting prices on many of its gift items in hopes of luring holiday shoppers. Coffee samplers and CD's that sold for $14.95 in 2007 will be marked down to $12.95 this holiday season, and stores will feature tables with gifts under $10 as well.

Lastly, the coffee giants have teamed up with Costco to offer savings on gift cards for the first time ever. Costco shoppers can purchase five $20 gift cards for $80. This deal has been available for just one month, and already the store has sold more than 1 million gift cards. Starbucks execs are optimistic that this will be a huge moneymaker in the holiday quarter. After all, shoppers love to save money -- but one of the best ways to save money still remains: Don't buy overpriced coffee every day.
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