5 great ways to save more bucks at Starbucks

5 Hacks to Save Money at Starbucks

Starbucks is America's favorite coffeehouse, with U.S. sales placing it in the nation's top 50 retailers of 2014, according to the National Retail Federation. In fact, the Seattle-based corporation has become almost synonymous with java.

Without a doubt, Starbucks' popularity is a result of its quality. Millions of Americans cannot imagine starting their daily grind without their Frappuccino, Iced Caramel Macchiato or White Chocolate Mocha.

However, that cherished routine comes at a rather steep price. In fact, a cup of joe at Starbucks costs so much more than its home-kitchen-brewed counterpart that many personal finance gurus now cite the daily "latte factor" as an obstacle to riches.

Just give up those trips to Starbucks and other coffeehouses, they say, and you will soon be flush with green.

While that may be an oversimplification, it is true that daily trips to the coffee giant can put a dent in your savings. But rather than giving up a ritual that you love and cherish, we've uncovered five ways to save at Starbucks.

1. Bring your own cup (BYOC)

Hand the barista a personal tumbler or reusable cup and you'll receive a 10-cent discount every time. According to the company:

Any personal cup qualifies for the discount. If you bring in a competitor's paper cup, we'll offer to replace it and apply the discount when we pour your drink in a new Starbucks paper cup.

You can also shop for Starbucks tumblers and travel mugs at the company website. Or, if you want to save even more cash, purchase a reusable cup for just $1.

2. Take advantage of free refills

Some people love Starbucks so much that they occasionally stop there before and after work (talk about déjà brew!). Such a routine can really put a hit on your wallet.

An alternative is to buy your drink in the morning, then get a free refill. You qualify if you join Starbucks Rewards. (More on that below.) This refill offer applies to brewed hot or iced coffee or tea.

When you need to scratch that coffee itch in the afternoon, simply reheat your favorite Starbucks drink in the office microwave. If your refill was iced coffee or tea, it can wait for you in the company fridge.

One caveat: You'll have to drink your original cup in the store before requesting a refill. According to Starbucks:

Once you leave the store, your visit has ended and any subsequent coffee or tea refill thereafter would be considered a new purchase.

It's a good thing the leading coffee chain offers free unlimited Wi-Fi at all its company-owned U.S. locations!

See photos of Starbucks cups through the years:

Starbucks cups, different looks through the years
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5 great ways to save more bucks at Starbucks
CHENGDU, SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA - 2015/09/13: Coffee cup on table in a Starbucks cafe. Starbucks is streamlining the ordering process so customers are able to get that cup of coffee faster than usual. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A cappuccino coffee sits in a Starbucks Corp. Reserve cup, used for specialist coffee, on the counter at a Starbucks coffee shop in London, U.K., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Coffee futures fell the most in seven months after Colombia announced measures that will increase exports, spurred by the plight of farmers in the country who are dealing with drought conditions linked to the El Nino weather pattern. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - 2014/12/24: A paper coffee cup and Starbucks logo. Starbucks will continue its expansion in China in 2015 and double its China store count to 3,000 by 2019. In its first-quarter fiscal report, the coffee giant shows optimistic expectation for its robust expansion plans in 2015. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Starbucks employee writes a message on a cup of freshly brewed coffee at a local store in Washington, DC on December 26, 2012. Starbucks stirred the political pot Wednesday by urging its baristas to write 'come together' on its cups as a way to pressure US lawmakers to compromise on a deal to avert a year-end fiscal crisis. Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said the American coffee giant was recommending its first-ever message on the side of tall, grande and venti (small, medium and large) drinks sold at its Washington stores as a way to help break the capital's gridlock on the so-called 'fiscal cliff.' Lawmakers and the White House have less than a week to work out a deal aimed at preventing tax hikes from hitting all Americans and a series of deep, mandated spending cuts from kicking in beginning January 1. AFP PHOTO/Eva HAMBACH (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
A Starbucks coffee cup is seen in this photo taken August 12, 2009. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI - JANUARY 18: In this photo illustration, the new Starbucks 31-ounce Trenta size ice coffee is seen on the right next to a tall cup of Starbucks coffee on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Starbucks rolled out the newest member of its lineup of drinks which is available only for Tazo shaken iced teas, iced tea lemonades and iced coffees. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMEBR 26: Starbucks Coffe Company's news product 'Starbucks Discoveries'(Espressso (L), Latte (R)) are seen during a preview party on September 26, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan. 'Starbucks Discoveries' is the company's first chilled cup coffee product which will be available at convenience stores on September 27 in Japan with the same coffee beans used at Starbucks stores. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

3. Join the Starbucks Rewards Program

As a member of this rewards program, you will earn stars that can be redeemed for free food and beverages.

Membership includes the following perks:

  • Two stars per $1 spent
  • Free drink on your birthday
  • Free refills
  • Option to pay by phone
  • Option to order ahead
  • Special offers

Once you reach gold status — after you earn 300 stars in 12 months — you will be eligible for monthly double-star days and a star reward free drink for every 125 stars you collect.

The program was revamped earlier this year, and a lot of customers are not happy about the changes, with many complaining that the new program is less generous.

That may be true. But if you love Starbucks, participating in the company's rewards program will still save you cash.

You can sign up via the Starbucks app, a Starbucks gift card or a Star code found on a Starbucks product purchased at a grocery retailer. Think of it as a whole latte savings.

4. Think before you order — and be creative

The internet is full of little hacks that can help you get more for your buck at Starbucks. For example, this Business Insider video suggests ordering two shots of espresso in a venti cup over ice. Then, walk over to the condiment bar, fill the cup with milk and shake it up.

Voila! You've just shaved a couple of dollars off the price of a regular venti iced latte.

Other hacks include asking for the ice for an iced drink in a separate cup – which means more coffee in the original cup — and asking for an extra cup and splitting your drink with a friend.

5. Get discounted Starbucks gift cards

A Starbucks gift card is one way to get access to the rewards program. And you can save a little on that gift card if you purchase it from a discount gift card site.

For example, Cardpool recently was selling Starbucks cards for up to 9 percent off. And Raise was selling them for a little over 1 percent off.

Although such savings may seem small, they can definitely add up over time.

Do you have more tips for saving at Starbucks? Share them in our Forums. It's a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

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RELATED: See the price of a cup of coffee at 10 fast food chains:

Price of coffee at 10 fast-food places
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5 great ways to save more bucks at Starbucks


McCafe premium roast coffee, small: $1.00

Burger King

Smooth roast coffee, small: $1.00

Krispy Kreme

Coffee (smooth, rich, or decaf), small: $1.59

Dunkin' Donuts

Hot coffee, small: $1.59

Tim Hortons

Coffee (original blend, dark roast or decaf): $1.59

Caribou Coffee

Coffee of the day, small: $1.69

Panera Bread

Hot coffee, small: $1.89


Freshly brewed coffee, tall: $1.85

Bruegger's Bagels 

House blend coffee, small: $1.99


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