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17 Genius Hacks That’ll Save You Money At Starbucks

While Starbucks drinks might as well be part of our bodies at this point, making that daily coffee run can get pretty expensive over time. And while you could always cut back on coffee to save some money, who actually wants to do that? Thankfully, there are hacks for cheaper Starbucks drinks that'll help you make sure you're fueling your coffee cravings but not your credit card bills.

Americans spend an average of about $718 a year on coffee, according to GoBankingRates.com. But that's just the average overall. Millennials spend about $848 a year, and those ages 35-44 spend about $886 a year on coffee, which is pretty crazy if you think about it. So, as an added bonus, I’ve reached out to an expert in the matter. Meet Josie Santi, holistic nutrition coach and founder of Wellness By Josie, who is about to contribute some of her go-to hacks that will change the way you forever order your favorite Starbucks drinks. “Coffee is an everyday indulgence that everyone deserves, but it’s also one that adds up. Since there are so many tips and tricks to cut down the price without sacrificing taste, using these money-saving hacks is an easy way to help you indulge,” says Santi. “Since coffee is typically a daily habit, even $1 saved really adds up,” she says.

Considering the fact that Starbucks plans to raise prices on some drinks by up to 30 cents starting July 12, 2021, that just means more money out of your pocket. But you shouldn't have to sacrifice your favorite morning pick-me-up because of the price. Where there's a will — there's a latte macchiato— and a way!

Check out these Starbucks hacks to make your next drink cost a little less.

Save money and the environment by bringing your own reusable coffee cup or mug the next time you get coffee. Whenever you bring your own cup (and it doesn't have to be a Starbucks cup!), the chain takes 10 cents off your drink. It may not seem like much, but that 10 cents can sometimes be the reason your drink ends up being under $2 — and it can definitely add up over time.

Sure, it's easy to order one of Starbucks' cleverly-named, pre-created drinks, but it's cheaper (and more fun) to make one of your own. This way, you're sure to get exactly what you want in a drink and you're likely to save a few cents. For example, instead of asking for an iced latte, you can order a double shot of espresso over ice, and just add milk. This gives you a "latte" with two shots of espresso for either $2.75 or $3.55 (depending on what size you get). A regular latte with only one shot will cost you $3.45.

If you thought a Tall was the smallest option at Starbucks, then you're in for a surprise. The "Short" is the 8-ounce Starbucks drink option that makes for the perfect-sized cappuccino. The Short size is about 30 cents cheaper but still packs a mean caffeine punch since baristas add less milk to Short drinks.

Starbucks has plenty of deals and savings for their most loyal customers that they give out often as part of the Starbucks Rewards program. You sign up for the rewards and get stars every time that you buy something. There are days that stars are doubled and other days when you get free stars. Eventually, these stars can be used to cash in drinks or deals on drinks.

If you ever need a sip of water in between your coffee, don't buy bottled water. Instead, ask for a cup of water with or without ice. The baristas will always give it to you and you'll save a little over $2. You'll have your thirst quenched and you won't even have to pay a single cent. Bring in your own water bottle, and you'll also be saving some plastic! “You can order a venti ice water for a huge amount of water for free,” Santi says. She explains that she likes likes to do this at airports instead of buying overpriced water bottles. “Or, you can bring your own water bottle and ask them to fill it up. Their water is filtered, so it’s the same as drinking a water bottle but totally free,” she says.

If you and your friends are in the mood for coffee (and have the same general taste), order a French Press Pot of your favorite mutual coffee instead of buying separate drinks. This way, you'll all get a drink, and you can share the costs, making it cheaper. Plus, it might just start a new tradition with you and your friends. Don't see it on the menu? Ask your barista.

If you and a friend want to buy some drinks, try ordering a Venti of the drink instead of two separate Tall ones. You'll still get a good amount of coffee, and you'll be able to split the price of just one drink. Just make sure you both can agree on a drink. For example, if you both want a Caffe Mocha, instead of ordering two $3.45 Tall orders, you can split one $4.65 Venti for about $2.32 each.

If you think your drink won't be sweet enough but don't want to throw more money down for syrup or splash, just ask to add whipped cream as NBC News suggests. It's totally free and will be just the added sweetness you need. Plus, who doesn't love whipped cream?

Starbucks often hosts different "Happy Hours" throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. On some Thursdays in November and December 2019, for instance, the company offered a buy-one-get-one-free deal on any handcrafted drink, grande or bigger as part of its Happy Hour promotion. By constantly checking Starbucks social media accounts and the Starbucks app, you'll be notified of when the Happy Hour days are going on.

Starbucks cold brews are often super strong. So if you order one grande cold brew, you can actually turn it into two separate iced lattes, according to NBC News. Just split the 16-ounce cold brew into two separate cups of the same size, and then pour milk over each one. You now have two grande iced lattes (normally priced at $2.65 each) for just $3.25 total.

“A Mocha Frappucino is an iced mocha, with finer ice. If the consistency doesn’t bother you, just ask the barista to blend your grande iced mocha ($4.65) and skip the Mocha Frappuccino altogether ($4.95),” says The Krazy Coupon Lady. Disclaimer: This hack may make your drink slightly more icey, but the change will add up, so if you can save here and there, why not?

Like the drink hack above, your mileage may vary, as well as the amount that you irritate your barista. As you may have seen on TikTok, if you order a Tall drink without ice, you can pour that into a Venti cup of just ice and fill it to the brim. So, in theory, you’re getting a Venti drink for the size of a Tall. Of course, that relies on your barista filling your Tall drink up to the brim.

Another hack people tend to overlook? Starbucks offers refills of coffee and tea for free if you’re a Starbucks Rewards member. If you use your Starbucks Card, or the mobile app to pay for your purchase, you can get a free refill! However, once you exit the store, this hack will no longer apply, and therefore be considered a new purchase. And it only applies to brewed coffee and tea.

If you are not a Rewards member, it is only a $.50 purchase to refill. “If you’re working at Starbucks or meeting a friend for a coffee date, order a refill of coffee or tea before you leave for $.50,” says Santi, who also notes that this hack counts for Starbucks in Targets and grocery stores as well.

Whether you decide to take your dog on a nice car ride straight to the Starbucks drive-thru, or on a nice walk, again, straight to the front step of Starbucks, use one of the hacks listed for yourself and order a Puppucino for your little guy. Starbucks will give you a small cup of whipped cream that is totally safe for your pup and totally yummy.

“A Mocha Frappucino is an iced mocha, with finer ice. If the consistency doesn’t bother you, just ask the barista to blend your grande iced mocha ($4.65) and skip the Mocha Frappuccino altogether ($4.95),” says The Krazy Coupon Lady. Disclaimer: This hack may make your drink slightly more icey, but the change will add up, so if you can save here and there, why not?

Need another reason to become a Starbucks Rewards member? Each purchase adds points to your account. For as little as 25 points, you’re able to add a free customization onto one of your drinks. You’re buying the drink anyway, so you might as well take advantage of this little secret.

You’ve likely seen different iterations of this Starbucks hack all over TikTok. If you order a Venti drink with no ice and then two Grande cups with just ice, you can distribute the Venti drink into the two Grande cups with a little to spare. (This isn’t magic. Just math.) In theory, you’re getting two drinks for the price of one (plus 50 cents), ultimately saving yourself about $2.75. This relies on your Venti drink with no ice being filled to the brim and poses some questions about how potent or watered down your drinks will end up tasting. Also, be forewarned, you might piss your barista off a little. But if saving $2.75 is worth the angry glare, it’s a hack you can give a shot. “I always order light ice or ice on the side — ice takes up so much space, a regular tall or grande drink is half or more than half of the space,” Santi says. “Reducing ice gives you more of the drink for the same price.”

You don't have to break the bank every time you want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. So next time you find yourself in line at Starbucks (probably tomorrow morning), remember these few tricks and you might be able to bring your tab down.

And don't forget to thank your barista profusely and tip generously. Cheers to caffeinating!