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My love affair with coffee runs deep. There’s something special about taking a sip from a mug filled with steaming coffee that resembles a warm hug. That being said, these hugs-in-a-mug can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Over the last year or so, I’ve found a number of ways to cut down on my coffee costs without having to sacrifice the quality of my brew. Today, I’m sharing my secrets for how I save money on coffee. If you know a coffee fiend, share this post with them – they’ll thank you for all the money they’ll be saving.
Make it at Home
The number one money saving tip I have regarding most things is make it at home. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about a Keurig. We’re talking about an old-fashioned drip coffee pot, folks. These days you can pick up one of these bad boys either new or used for $10-$25 pretty much anywhere. (This is the coffee pot we have.) From there, each cup of coffee you make will cost you mere cents.
I recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself. Some stores have coffee grinding stations in the store, if that’s not the case where you shop, you can pick up an inexpensive coffee grinder wherever small appliances are sold. I’ve found that this method is the most cost effective, however, bags of ground coffee will still save you money when compared to getting coffee at a cafe or coffee shop.
Don’t Use Your Own Money
No, I’m not talking about stealing money from your roommate. What I am talking about is *insert dramatic pause* earning gift cards by taking surveys. Yes, I talk about this matter a lot – that’s because it works. (Check out my previous posts here). I use two survey websites, Opinion Outpost and Ipsos, to earn points and redeem those points for Starbucks gift cards. Using this method, I haven’t paid for Starbucks out-of-pocket in years. If you’re not a Starbucks drinker, no worries. On both platforms, you can redeem your points for cash via PayPal or a variety of gift cards (like Amazon, Visa or Walmart) in case you prefer to spend your rewards on bags of coffee or a coffee pot.
(More on the blog: How to Save Money on Books + Recommendations)
Sign Up For Rewards Programs
If your favorite coffee shop has a rewards program, you needed to sign up for it yesterday. Whether that be an app or signing up for their email list, you want to be in the know if they have special discounts or promotions. For example, when you download the Starbucks app for the first time using starbucks.com/freedrink, you are eligible right away for a free drink. Once you add money to your Starbucks card via the app (I exclusively redeem my previously earned gift cards mentioned above), you can earn points from your purchases. After you make one purchase with the app, you are eligible to redeem a free drink (any drink of your choice) on your birthday. Once you get to 300 points, you will receive extra deals throughout the year.
My favorite part about the Starbucks app is that they periodically offer opportunities to earn extra stars throughout the year. While these aren’t always the most cost-effective specials, there are some specials that are hard to pass up. About three weeks ago, there was a promotion that was for 125 bonus stars with any Teavana tea purchase. So my $3 purchase, earned me an extra 110 points – now I’m already over one third of the way to 300 points.
This was not meant to turn into a Starbucks promo by any means. I am just most familiar with Starbucks’ program #millennialproblems.
Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
There are a few ways to get the most bang for your buck when you’re getting your coffee outside the home. Depending on what you’re doing once you leave the establishment, some of these tactics may be better implemented on different days. Whenever I get iced coffee, I get the largest size possible and split it up between two days worth of coffee. If I’m going straight home after getting the coffee, I will ask for no ice and no milk/creamer and will add those at home. This same procedure also works for hot coffee, I make sure to heat up the coffee on the stove the next day (rather than the microwave). I find that gently heating it on the stove tastes significantly better.
Also another Starbucks app hack I learned incredibly recently is if you plan on staying in the store for a while after your coffee purchase, you can get free refills on a hot or iced coffee as long as the original purchase was made within the app. All you have to do in order to get your refill is to present the Starbucks card again that you used to make the purchase and their computer will do the rest. There is a caveat: you have to remain in the store in order to redeem the refill. That being said, once you get your refill, save it for later in the fridge and you have coffee for the next day. For the complete Starbucks refill policy, check out their website.
- Bring your own mug/cup and most places will knock of a bit of the price of your coffee.
- If you have Amazon Prime (Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial), sign up for Amazon pantry and get your coffee delivered to your house at a discounted purchase price.
Calling all coffee drinkers – how do you take your cup of Joe?