Everyone always asks how I can afford to go to Starbucks so often. Truth be told, I probably shouldn’t go at all. But once or twice a week I will go in, request a somewhat annoying drink order, and pay just $2.91. Here’s how:
The next time you go to Starbucks, grab a Starbucks card and put any amount you can afford on it; seriously, $2 is fine. Then visit Starbucks’ website and register your card. I know, I know, the idea of registering for another online account is annoying! But if you don’t lose your card, you’ll never have to do this again.
On top of receiving free coffee refills and a free drink on your birthday, your registered card will offer you one of the most incredible benefits that any Starbucks lover (and personal finance blogger) could ask for: free add-ons. That’s right. Dairy, soy, syrup, etc. are all free, as long as you pay with your registered card. And you don’t have to have the total amount on your card; as long as there is a penny on it, you will get this benefit.
So, how can this save you money? One of the most common drink orders at Starbucks is a skinny vanilla latte, so I’ll use that as an example. Instead of ordering a skinny vanilla latte, order a skinny vanilla Americano misto. An Americano misto is just espresso shots + water filled up halfway + steamed milk on top. At the till, this order is punched in as an Americano + dairy + syrup. But when you pay with your registered card, guess what’s free? :)
In the end, you will only pay for the Americano. A grande Americano = $2.91, which is why that number shows up so often on my weekly spending reports. So just remember: Americano misto, Americano misto, Americano misto… and with a little less milk in your cup, you’ll save a few calories, too!
PS – I should add that an Americano will have more espresso shots than your latte would have. Short = 1 shot, Tall = 2, Grande = 3, Venti = 4.
Note: As of October 16, 2012, Starbucks is no longer offering free soy milk or syrup to drink orders, making this entire post basically obsolete. I’m sorry. :(