Deals Worth Waiting For: McDonald's Free Coffee
McDonald's, What's Up?
Less than 24 hours ago, McDonald's made a bold announcement that they will be, for a limited time and only at participating locations, offering free coffee from Sep. 16 to Sep. 29 during designated business hours. As a daily coffee drinker, I'm looking forward to it! Free is free and you can't beat free right?
But let's keep a few things in mind here:
- There are McDonald's locations everywhere and this essentially opens the door for millions of people to make McD's a part of the breakfast routine.
- McDonald's has done this in the past, most recently when Taco Bell unveiled their breakfast menu including the breakfast taco.
- Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have been in the news for their seasonal items including the all-important Pumpkin Spice Latte.
So, should you be marking your calendars for mid-late September? Well, that's not as clear.
McDonalds Free Coffee
McDonald's Coffee and Drinks
As a refresher to those of us that haven't been to a McDonald's in a long time, I've done some research into what drinks they offer. First, they have their $1 drinks:
- Soft drinks of any size
- Bottled water
- Small coffee
In the past, you were able to get a medium or large coffee for a dollar, but I suppose McDonald's noticed that promotion driving too much interest so they scaled back. They also offer their McCafe drinks which are espresso-based lattes for the most part, and which was started a few years back as they lost coffee market share to McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts.
The small coffee is only a $1 right now, so it's up to you whether you want to walk up or drive through for a free coffee to save a single dollar. I, for one, enjoy saving every single dollar and you'll see me at my local locations.
Drinking McDonald's Coffee
Where do you get your coffee?
Where do you get your coffee?
The Last Time They Offered Free Coffee
I'd like to tell you a story... as I mentioned earlier, McDonald's last offered free coffee a few months back with the launch of the Taco Bell breakfast menu. As much as I wanted to stuff myself with breakfast tacos and burritos, I decided that my time would be best spent getting free coffee for the 2 week stint.
I live within a 5 mile radius of 3 McDonald's locations. I generally avoid them like the plague because the idea of consuming pink goo chicken nuggets or everlasting burger patties is a turn off. But during some rough times in my past, I turned to McDonald's for a quick fix on coffee. And it's decent - light in flavor, very hot, and good with milk. So with this two week free coffee period, I made a plan of action:
- My time's worth a lot so I will only allow 15 minutes to get free coffee at each local location. If I'm efficient and lines are short I get 3 free coffees per day.
- Over 14 days, I got coffee on 10 of those days and averaged 2 coffees per day.
- On days that I got 3 cups, I would save 1 for the next morning so I have 1 less thing to worry about in the morning.
- Total value $20 of free coffee
Petty yes, but it was fun and I liked the coffee. You decide if it's worth your time and if you enjoy this kind of thing. I live for the deal.
Canadian McDonald's Coffee Taste Test
I believe that being frugal and making smart money choices is like any other exercise. As we continue to practice good habits in saving money where possible, finding deals for what we want, and having a good time at it, then we become better at dealing for a living.
I'm committed to sharing my experiences with getting the most out of using credit cards, saving and spending tips, and I might even add a slice of perspective without trying to be a psychoanalyst like some other personal finance folks out there.
Please let me know what you think and if you'd like to hear my take on a specific topic.
While You're There, Eat Something
The grand vision at McDonald's headquarters is that folks like you and me will walk up to the counter or the drive-thru every day to order a free coffee and then grab a few other items on the menu. After all, once you get their food in your system and make it a habit, then it's hard to break (because of the saturated fat, sodium, sugar, preservatives, etc). And while I don't plan on having so much as a cookie while I pick up my coffee, if you're thinking about it, here are some of the breakfast options to keep in mind.
- Fruit and yogurt parfait - So tempting as I love yogurt with strawberries and blueberries.
- McMuffins - Tons of variety here: Egg McMuffin, Egg White McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin, Steak Egg and Cheese McMuffin. These are OK.
- Biscuit Sandwiches - Sausage, Bacon Egg and Cheese, Steak Egg and Cheese, Chicken. Back in the day, I ate these and the biscuit is not worth paying for.
- McGriddles - The syrupy pancake concept sandwich. Comes in Sausage and Bacon varieties. Sweet and salty and sure to make you feel sick later in the day.
- Bagel Sandwiches - Bacon and Steak varieties. Hearty and salty.
- Hotcakes and Cinnamon Melts - Stay away from both. Please, I beg you.
If you're asking for a recommendation, go with one of the McMuffins and call it a day.
See You There!
So, for two weeks, you can get free small coffee at participating McDonald's locations. If you're surrounded by them as I am, this can be an opportunity to take care of a morning fix without so much as opening your wallet. Heck, you might even decide you want to eat breakfast for once and try one of their sandwiches. So, there's not much to lose (except your time) and a small amount to gain.
If you're a regular at McDonald's for breakfast, then congrats! You're going to love saving a $1 each day. If you're a regular coffee drinker, check it out on one of the first days offered so you can go back if it's worth it. And if you don't care about coffee, move along.
I rest my case.
About Deals Worth Waiting For
One of the ideas that lead to the birth of DealsForALiving is that navigating deals and maximizing resources makes life easier and more joyful. It spans everything that I'm passionate about in food, technology, news and media consumption, the workday and my work, and in relationships. The more I can share these things, then the more I get to see and hear people benefiting from these deals, and these snippets of wisdom (that's how I see it).
Closest to my heart are national and international deals that are offered by big brands, because they are there for the taking by thousands, even millions, of people. What comes to mind are Labor Day sales on furniture, annual food events, Black Monday, Cyber Friday, and end of the year clearance sales.
I've written a few now so feel free to check out the others.