I have a very one sided love affair with the maiden in green. I love me some Starbucks. In high school my mother was silly enough to give me $5 a day for coffee. Every morning, we would stop at the Starbucks on Main St. in Santa Monica on the way to school. I’d order the Mocha Valencia. Mmmmmmm. Orange and chocolate goodness. Then, I made a good friend who worked there and scored most of my drinks free. I was a goner after that. I went to college and spent my study hours at coffee shops including Starbucks and didn’t see the problem with spending money on coffee every day until I started tracking my expenses with my husband. We figured out I was probably spending over $1,000 a year on coffee. Ouch.
Fast forward a few years. Have I quit my habit? Nope. But I have learned to be much, much smarter about it.
First: Always order the simple things and add flavor or milk:
Iced/Hot “Latte” Option 1: The cost of iced coffee ranges from $2-$3, a tall hot coffee is usually a little over $2. Add a shot of flavoring for $0.50 and a little milk and tell me if you can taste the difference between that and a fancy latte. I find the iced coffee tastes a little smoother than the hot… or maybe I just like iced drinks better?
Iced “Latte” Option 2: An iced espresso shot is less than $2. Add your own milk and call it an iced latte. Yes the employees know what you are doing, and no, they don’t care.
Second: Take what free things they offer to loyal folks. If you use a Starbucks card, after 30 drinks, you get free flavors, specialty milk and a free coffee after every 15. You also get little freebies for being an addict like coupons to try whatever new pasteries or seasonal items they are currently pushing.
Third: Don’t go every day silly.
I am not saying this is frugal, but hey if you are going through their doors either way, you might as well save a few dollars right? I add $20 on my card every month and usually make it last the whole month. That’s a whole lot better than $5 a day.