America’s obsession with Starbucks is a symbol of our commitment to decadence and mass-consumption. I should know. Despite the dwindling numbers on my bank account statement, I visit Starbucks almost every day. Financially surviving a Starbucks addiction takes planning and skill. These four tips can end up saving you anywhere from a couple of bucks to hundreds of dollars a year, depending on your level of Starbucks addiction.
1. The Starbucks “Pairing” Option
“Pairing” is Starbucks’ answer to the “Extra Value Meal.” Starbucks is currently offering customers the Pairing options of purchasing a slice of reduced-fat cinnamon coffee cake or a cup of Starbucks “Perfect Oatmeal” and a tall latte. The perfect Pairings are a reasonable options for those mornings when you don’t have time to make breakfast, or when you just want to treat yourself without breaking your bank.
Normal price of items: Oatmeal – $2.45, Tall Latte – $2.70-$3.15 (regional), Coffee Cake – $1.95
Pairings price: $3.95
Savings: About $1.50
2. No Frappucinos
The times when your Starbucks bill can really add up are when you’re purchasing individual drinks priced as much as $4.50. Starbucks is for coffee. If you want a milkshake for a reasonable price, try going to Baskin Robbins. If you’re at Starbucks and you absolutely have to indulge in a sweet treat, consider trying the Tazo lemonade, and if you really don’t feel like you’re getting your sugar rush, have your favorite barista throw a couple of extras Splendas in there. They’re FREE.
Frappucino price: $4.50
Lemonade price: $2.45
3. Lose the Lattes
This year, Starbucks introduced a new one-dollar packet of instant coffee that tastes remarkably similar to a cup of hot stuff straight from the spout. It’s a medium-intensity delicious daily blend. If you’re someone who absolutely lives for your flavored lattes, consider buying a container of International Foods Flavored Creamer for about $2/week and adding it to your fancy Starbucks instant coffee.
Latte Price: $2.70
Regular Coffee + Creamer Price: About $1.30
4. Avoid at All Costs
These Starbucks items can push your morning breakfast bill near the double digits, and really don’t offer anything special that you can’t put together yourself with a little effort.
Fruit and Cheese Plate – $5.95 – 5 cheese cubes, 10 grapes, 3 crackers and a slice of apple for almost six bucks? This purchase will bring you nothing but heartache. Spend about $6.00 on these items at your local grocery store and your supplies will last you all week long.
Ethos Water – $1.80 – The verdict is in–bottled water is overpriced, horrible for the environment, and some experts now say that drinking out of plastic bottles can actually increase your risk for cancer. In most of America, you’re better of drinking from the tap, And does ANYONE really believe that buying this water benefits waterless African children like Starbucks advertises? In most of America, you’re better off drinking from the tap.
White Chocolate Mocha – $4.40 In Los Angeles, the Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha is a heart attack on your wallet. If you’re getting one of those every day, you’re giving $1600 to Starbucks on White Chocolate Mochas alone.
One last thing…
One of the most important rules about saving money is know that every once in a while, you need to splurge and treat yourself to exactly what you want. It’ll keep you from losing your mind and bingeing on spending later. Plus, if you don’t cheat with a white chocolate mocha and a tray of overpriced fruit and cheese every once in a while, what is life really for anyway?