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Last Updated on January 23, 2021 by Daniella
If you follow me regularly, you know I urge folks on a budget to make their own coffee to save money. But I know that DIY coffee isn’t for everyone, so I wanted to share some tips for how to save at your favorite coffee chain, be it Starbucks or Dunkin’.
1. Earn Stars
Join the Starbucks Rewards program to earn free drinks, food and upgrades. You can also get limited edition Starbucks merch and free brewed coffee and tea refills anytime. Use the Starbucks app for the best experience.
Note: You used to be able to earn stars only if you reloaded the funds on your app, but now you can scan your app, pay with any method and still earn stars!
2. Save with Gift Cards
Buy discounted Starbucks gift cards from a gift card site, like GiftCard Granny, and then use them at Starbucks. As an example, if you buy a card that is discounted 8%, you automatically save 8% when you use the card!
3. Use a Savings Site
Use a savings site, like Slickdeals.net, to look for available savings. At the time of this writing, there are several deals available at both Starbucks and Dunkin’, particularly on K-cups and bagged coffee. You can also use cash back apps and snag free gift cards to help with savings.
4. Birthday Rewards
As a Starbucks Rewards member, you’ll receive a free drink or food item of your choice on your birthday. There’s no limit to the size of the drink, and anything goes. The only exclusions are loaves, sets of bars and Starbucks Evening menu items. Sign up with the rewards program at least 30 days before your birthday to qualify.
5. Get Secret Starbucks Sizes
We all know the three common drink sizes: tall (12 oz.), grande (16 oz.) and venti (20 oz.). But there are two sizes at either end of the spectrum that aren’t advertised: xhort (10 oz.) and trenta (31 oz.). The Trenta size is only available for Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, iced coffee, cold brew and Starbucks Refreshers.
6. Go Green
You can save 10 cents if you bring a reusable cup from home. It’s not a huge discount, but it’s a nice perk if you’re trying to be eco-friendly. Plus, that small discount can really add up if you’re a daily Starbucks drinker. That’s $36.50 saved per year!
7. Promotional Events
Starbucks has promotional offers and events like treat receipts, Happy Hour (usually between 3-5 p.m. on weekdays) and holiday-specific promotions throughout the year. Be sure to follow Starbucks on Facebook and Twitter to get a heads up on these. If you frequent Target, check the Circle App for BOGO drink offer coupons redeemable at the in-store Starbucks.
8. Free Refills
If you’re a rewards member, you can get a refill on brewed coffee (hot, iced or cold brew) or tea (hot or iced). You need to remain in the store to get the refill, and you’ll want to keep your receipt handy. The coolest part is that you can order any drink the first time around (not just coffee and tea) and still get your free refill of coffee or tea.
9. Free Puppuccino
Treat your pup with a free Puppuccino! It’s an espresso cup filled with whipped cream. It’s not a great idea to do on the regular, but it sure is a great treat on a special day!
10. Free Water
Order a complimentary filtered ice water (in any size cup and with a lid) instead of shelling out for pricey bottled water. All you have to do is ask.
11. Verizon Perks
If you’re a Verizon customer, download their app and take advantage of the free $3 Starbucks gift card each month via their VerizonUP rewards program.
12. Starbucks at Home
If you’re open to DIY and love Starbucks, buy their coffee beans at Starbucks, on Amazon or at many grocery stores, and brew at home for a fraction of the price.
13. Hack Your Order
There are plenty of ways you can “hack” your order:
- Make your own iced latte: Order a triple espresso over ice in a venti cup and fill the rest up with milk at the condiment bar and save $1-2.
- Order one Venti Frappuccino to split instead of two tall frappuccinos. Just request two tall cups and split them yourself for a portion of the price.
- If you order a French press coffee (32 oz.) to split among a group, you’ll be paying about half-price compared to ordering individual cups.
- If you like leaving room for cream but don’t want to skimp on the amount of coffee in your cup, just request that the barista pour your order into a cup one size bigger.
- Order iced tea with no water. The iced tea in pitchers at Starbucks is double-strength, but it’s watered down when you order it. If you like strong tea or want to make two drinks out of your tea, order it without water.
- Make your own chai tea latte: Rather than ordering the sugary chai tea latte from the menu, order hot water with a Tazo chai tea bag. Steep the teabag yourself and add milk and sugar from the condiment bar. If you want it “dirty,” order an espresso shot or two on the side and add it in.
- Order an iced coffee with a caramel drizzle and/or a few pumps of caramel syrup for what is essentially a half-priced Caramel Macchiato.
- Check out these 41 drinks on the Starbucks secret menu from Glamour.com!
Sign up to get my free Monthly Budget Planner
Grab my brand new revamped Budget Planner! This FREE Monthly Budget Planner printable allows you to pay your self first and budget for what you want to save rather than saving what is left over. But of course, you can do that too.
How to Save Money at Dunkin’
Below are some tips for Dunkin’ fans to save money on their favorite orders!
14. Sign up for the DD Perks rewards program
The DD Perks rewards program is a great way to rack up points, especially if you’re a frequent Dunkin’ customer. Get a free beverage for every 200 points you earn (earn 5 points for every $1 you spend), plus exclusive offers and bonus points all year.
15. Birthday Rewards
DD Perks members get a birthday drink on the house!
16. Take the Survey
Score a free donut with the purchase of any medium or larger beverage just for taking a short survey at TellDunkin.com. You’ll find a survey code on your most recent receipt.
17. National Donut Day
June 1 is National Donut Day! Dunkin’ likes to get in on the action by offering a free donut with the purchase of any beverage.
18. National Hot Tea Month
Get a free cup of hot tea with any purchase during National Hot Tea Month.
19. Happy Hour
From 2 to 6 p.m., coffee is half-priced.
20. BYO Cup
Get hot or iced coffee refills for just 99 cents if you bring your reusable cup or mug with you.
More ways to save money:
- How to Save Money on Self-Care
- How To Save Money On Healthcare
- How To Save Money On Pet Care
- The Best Grocery Delivery Services to Save Time and Money
- Money Saving Challenge: Save $1,000 in 10 Weeks
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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, parenting, and retail. Trae has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn and a top personal finance expert by GoBankingRates and Flexjobs. She is a contributor at Millie Magazine and CNN Underscored, and her writing and expert commentary have appeared in Newsweek, Woman’s Day, Forbes, USNews.com, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, MSN.com, Yahoo Finance and numerous others. She has also appeared on TV hundreds of times; including Good Morning America’s GMA3: What You Need to Know, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Inside Edition, CNBC and local network affiliates nationwide.