Don't Skimp on Your Starbucks
Coffee Means a Lot to Me
It's true, my favorite drink in all this world is a cup of coffee. I take it hot or iced, preferably black and unsweetened. But I've been known to venture outside my comfort zone with a shot of Syrup, a dab of whipped cream or *gasp* a Frappucino! So you can only imagine the pain I feel when I see my brethren of personal finance come down so hard on the elixir derived from the coffee bean.
The titans of the industry on TV and radio look at someone like myself: a hard worker who doesn't make enough to spray money here and there and they see waste. It's the standard story lines:
-Someone who bought too much house at the wrong time in the wrong market because he/she/they weren't smart enough to know that they couldn't afford the place
-Someone who can't control themselves when they have a line of credit or 2 or 3 or 4
-Someone who buys news clothes at an upscale retailer
-Someone who, after watching 100s of commercials on TV, succumbs to the charms of a new car with the new car scent
-And someone who goes to the anti-coffee shop, Starbucks
Just Because I Pay For Coffee Doesn't Mean I'm Wasteful
And my pet peeve comes back to coffee and waste. I get that I can buy a pound of coffee on clearance at the grocery store and brew coffee at home for a quarter a cup. And I also get that with a Keurig, while that price goes up to about 50 cents a cup, I get the convenience of wasteful little pods and the ease of buying variety packs on Amazon.
But I swear on this Hub that nothing does it for me like a $2 cup of java at Starbucks. So how do I justify paying 8x what I could be paying?
- The coffee tastes really good. The blond roast especially is phenomenal, and every now and then they'll have a good dark roast on tap that I'll try.
- My local Starbucks plays good music. I swear it's a Spotify soundtrack and that's fine. I'm not paying for the pleasure to hear my barista hand-select tracks.
- I can get work done there. I can pull up a chair, tap into the Wifi and I don't skip a beat. And when I travel, I can enjoy this reliability anywhere in the country.
- I get good customer service. In stark contrast to the Vietnamese restaurant I tried last weekend, I get a "Hello," a smile and a "Thank you".
And don't forget all the reasons that you/we drink coffee in the first place
- Caffeine - the best legal drug out there
- The bitterness that is so in sync with how some awful mornings are
- Walking around with a coffee cup is cool
Maximizing Your Starbucks Power
Yes, we have the power! Not only do we pay for good coffee, good service and a pleasant environment, but we can actually do more to get more out of our Starbucks budget.
- Go to Dunkin' Donuts, Au Bon Pain, 7-11 when they have a great deal. - $0.99 medium iced coffees at Dunkin' Donuts beat anything that Starbucks had, so I'm saving a $1 a day right there!
- Starbucks Rewards Green - Sign up and don't look back. Once you get to the Green level with 5 drinks, you get free refills on basic beverages. No more ordering Grande and Venti when you can stay in store and have 2 talls. You just saved another $.50-$1.00 a day!
- Starbucks Rewards Gold - So you've slain the Green Rewards monster at 5 drinks, and now the next target is the Gold Rewards level. After 30 drinks, you tap into the really good...stuff... Once you've unlocked Gold, every 12 drinks or pastries gets you a free drink or pastry.
- Buy 12, Get 1 Free - After 12 days of drinking $2 coffee or $2.25 iced coffee, you've finally unlocked your first free reward. Go nuts! My go-to is a Venti Quadruple (fill in the seasonal syrup) Latte which would normally cost me $6. Not only do I get to treat myself to something special, it's enough caffeine for 2 days.
- Gift Card Sites - Whether it's Raise.com or Cardpool.com you can get discounted Starbucks cards from 5% to 13% or even 22%. Every little bit helps!
Starbucks Rewards Level
Free basic refills
Free drink every 12
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.
Be a Starbucks Master
You now have everything you need to be a true Starbucks master. You can laugh at the idiots that chastise you for going to the mega-conglomerate coffee shop, and keep laughing all the way to the bank. Enjoy your personal finance journey. Savor every drop!