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The 5 Best and Worst Deals at Starbucks

bethaney_wallace profile picture
May 17, 2016 · 6k Views

There are many of us who love our morning coffee. Whether it's plain and black or whipped up with extra sugar, hot milk, and all the fixings, coffee – or some form of it – is often part of our daily routine. It can be flat hard to get out of bed without it … or at least hard to make it to the office, few have their beloved drink delivered straight to their bed. As a society we simply rely heavily on coffee, and considering how delicious it is, and how many combinations it can be mixed into, it's hard to blame us.

No matter how much love we might have for the brand, however, that doesn't mean we don't still love saving cash. Check out this list of top money saving (and budget ruining) options so you can get the biggest bang from your 'bucks every time you stop in. And if you love Starbucks deals, check out all the latest and greatest Starbucks coupons at DealsPlus


5 Best Starbucks Deals

1. Starbucks Rewards

With the brand's free app, you can be earning all types of discounted goodies. Reward tiers are based on how often you buy, which means the more you sip, the more you save. Rewards start at the green level, which gets you free refills, then on up into gold status you can earn free snacks, birthday rewards, and a complementary beverage for every 12 visits you make. Not bad at all – especially when you're a frequent Starbucks stopper.


2. DIY Drink Doctoring

It might be convenient to order a drink that's flavor-ready, but it can also be expensive. Consider taking on a small amount of drink responsibility in order to save considerably. You can add your own milk, flavor yourself with add-ins that are available at the coffee bar, or even order your drink in a larger glass (for instance, a small coffee in a medium glass) to avoid having to "leave room" for your creamer. 


3. Seasonal Sales

This past holiday season, Starbucks offered its customers a BOGO deal, allowing them to treat a friend (at no additional cost), or to start off the day with two caffeinated drinks instead of one. 'Twas the season, after all. In the summer, the brand often offers return savings – keep your receipt and get a discount, or save on a certain item when returning the same day. These sales are often specific, but allow regulars to save some cash without missing out on their daily (or twice daily) fix.


4. Discounted or Free (!) Refills

cheap starbucks refills

If you're a big coffee or tea drinker, consider staying put until drink number two. So long as you don't leave the store, you're eligible for a $.50 refill, no matter what drink you ordered. All that's required is your original cup so be sure to hang onto it once you've finished your beverage. (Starbucks' website does say that restrictions apply, but does not list what those restrictions are). Reward members can also get free refills on their iced tea or iced coffee beverages. Everyone else can show up with their own mug for a 10% discount. 


5. Good Timing

If you have to wait for your coffee (say, if you showed up right as they emptied a pot), oftentimes it's free. Others have told tales of getting entire meals handed to them, without charge – when sandwiches or pastries don't sell, it's company policy to throw them out. While some baristas would rather share the love than to be so wasteful. If time is on your side, you might be able to get away with more than you bargained for…but in a good way.


5 Worst Starbucks Deals

1. Coffee to Make at Home

There's no arguing that it's cheaper to make your own coffee at home. But when you're buying your grounds (or K-cups) at Starbucks, it's still not as affordable as it could be. The brand notoriously hikes up fees on their unmade coffee – even if you think their stuff tastes better, you can find it at the grocery store, often for dollars cheaper than buying from the source.


2. Third-Party Gift Cards

For some unknown marketing reason, Starbucks sells gift cards to outside stores for much higher than their actual dollar value. Generally, when you buy a gift card, you get that exact same dollar amount to spend in-store, right? Not always the case here – some cards cost more than four-times what they're actually worth. It makes no sense, and we're not really sure how they're getting people to buy, either.


3. Bistro Boxes

Sometimes eating healthy comes with a price. Starbucks' bistro lunch boxes might come full of healthy fruits and energy-boasted foods, but they're also pushing $5 a box … for some snacks. When purchased from the grocery store, a similar bento-style snack can be created, but at about half the price.


4. Bottled Water

Why pay $3 a bottle when you can get a cup for free? Better yet, the brand ensures its water tastes great so they can make delicious coffee. Even if you're on the go, you can ask for a cup of water to take with you – the biggest downside here is they might charge you for the cup, which is still way cheaper than multiple dollars.


5. Mugs

Both Starbucks' travel and at-home mugs are incredibly pricey. Yet they hold no specialized powers. They might be branded (and therefore show your ever-growing love for the company), but they don't insulate any better, and they don't make your drink taste any better, either. Opt for your own mug instead to save. And yes, you'll still get your refill discount when using it.


bethaney_wallace profile picture
Bethaney Wallace is a full-time freelance writer and avid deal finder located in the Midwest. When she's not reading or writing, she can be found looking for a new project, including anything knitted or DIY, which she outlines in her humorous personal blog, Earl & Other Greys. (bethaneywallace.com)
susie178May 18, 2016
very nice
MatiasclockMay 18, 2016
Nice top 5