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Starbucks raised prices — these hacks will save you money

Thanks to a recent price hike, your daily Starbucks (SBUX) visit just got more expensive.

On July 12, the coffee giant raised prices on some of its items by as much at 30 cents. In a press release, Starbucks confirmed they were making “a small price adjustment” that would increase the cost of select brewed coffee by 10 to 20 cents. Espresso and tea lattes will see an increase of 10 to 30 cents.

The rising cost of coffee around the world is one reason Starbucks has raised its prices, but the move also has to do paying employees. Just a day before the price hike, Starbucks announced it was giving their workers in US stores a 5% to 15% raise in wages starting in October. The company is also doubling the stock option awards for people who have worked at Starbucks for at least two continuous years.

A few extra cents isn’t the end of the world, but if you buy a coffee every day, that 20 cents a day comes out to about $50 a year. While we can’t do anything about the prices, there are a few hacks consumers can use to save money when visiting Starbucks.

1. Join the Starbucks rewards program

Joining the program is free, and membership is a no brainer if you visit Starbucks on a regular basis. Customers earn two stars for every dollar they spend, and will get a free drink when they reach 125 stars. Members also get a free drink every year on their birthday, and free in-store refills on hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea or iced tea.

2. Refill for cheap

Yes, Starbucks Rewards members get free refills, but you can still snag a few perks if you don’t want to join. For example, all customers can get a refill on their coffee, during the same visit, for 50 cents.

3. Use your own cup

You can save 10 cents on your purchase if you bring in your own reusable cup or mug.

4. Downsize

Did you know that there is a coffee size called “short” that is smaller than a “tall”? Rumor has it that if you order a cappuccino in a short cup, it has the same amount of espresso as a tall…but it’s cheaper. Note that the cappuccino will have less milk, so the flavor might be slightly stronger.

Below are some creative ways to save a few cents on your favorite drinks. Last year, we shared these hacks to help you pay less for your caffeine fix. Because of the recent price hike, the prices of some of the drinks might have increased. Still, the math and the savings will be the same. Keep in mind that tax is not included. Menu prices vary by location.

1. Ice latte

Instead of ordering a “grande iced latte” priced at $3.95*, ask the barista for a double shot of espresso (a.k.a. “doppio”) over ice in a grande (medium) cup. At the condiment bar, add your own milk for free.

We tried this at two different Starbucks locations and the baristas seemed to know exactly what we were up to, but didn’t seem to care. We were only charged $2.45, saving a total of $1.50, and there was no difference in taste.

2. Iced tea hack

The iced tea blends are one of the more affordable beverages on the menu, but there is still a way to save big. For example, instead of ordering a tall passion tea for $1.95, you can ask for a passion tea bag with a cup of iced water and they’ll charge you just 30 cents for the teabag – saving you $1.65. Give it five to 10 minutes for the tea bag to do its work, and it tastes exactly the same as the pre-made blend in their pitchers.

3. Chai tea latte hack

Instead of ordering a “tall chai tea latte” priced at $3.45, ask for a tall hot tea with an Oprah Chai Tea bag for $2.75. Again, add free milk, sugar, and honey from the condiment bar. This hack will save you 71 cents and is ideal for those who love the taste of chai, but like to control the sweetness.

4. Hot latte hack

Lattes are made with espresso shots and steamed milk. An affordable alternative not listed on the menu is the “caffe misto” which is made from fresh brewed coffee and steamed milk. We were charged $3.25 for a tall latte, while a tall caffe misto was 70 cents cheaper at $2.55.

5. Hack the cup

Order a smaller size of your favorite blend in the next size up. For example, order a tall (small) Americano in a grande (medium) cup. The baristas will often pour a little more into the grande, giving you more bang for your buck. And when you go to add milk, you won’t need to dump coffee out of your cup. Once you’ve added milk, you’ll have a drink that’s closer to the next size up – and you’ll save about 70 cents.

How do you save on money at Starbucks? Email us at yfmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.