Saving at Starbucks: Gourmet Coffee Just Got More Affordable
Starbucks. They're convenient, hip, and synonymous with coffee. Many assume they can't afford Starbucks on a regular basis. However, a recent conversation with their national communications manager Alisa Martinez introduced me to several areas of savings I never knew existed. By ordering strategically and taking full advantage of their extra services, you can still afford to enjoy Starabucks coffee while out and about. Aromatherapy included.
Starbucks can be a great value, depending on how you use it. I've never been an “out for coffee every day” type of girl. I indulge when I'm traveling, running errands or need to pull together a quick business meeting on a budget.
For under five dollars, I can snag a few minutes away from the rat race. The smell of the fresh ground beans is all the aromatherapy I need. The atmosphere, which usually comes with soothing background music, is relaxing. There's usually an electrical outlet available, along with Wi-Fi. All of these things combine for a soothing rest in the middle of a hectic day, as well an excellent backdrop to discuss all things business related.
I've developed my share of hacks to keep Starbucks trips affordable. But Alisa turned me on to several tips I didn't know about out, which is where the "just" portion of the title came into play.
Hot Tips Straight from Seattle
Tweak your latte.
Ordering a brewed coffee with steamed milk (caffe misto ) instead of a caffe latte will knock around eighty cents off the tab. Not bad, considering you won't have to clip a single coupon.
Order a French press for two.
This produces four eight-ounce cups for around three dollars, which comes in at less than what two sixteen ounce drip coffees would cost separately. So if you're looking for affordable romance (otherwise known as a cheap date), this might fit the bill. After all, they say frugality makes the heart grow fonder.
Pick up a pound for the road.
I'm sure the idea of brewing your own at home won't strike anyone as Earth shattering, but since they actually did the math I'm throwing it out there. Thirty cents a cup. Not bad, considering it's a higher priced coffee to begin with. If it's the flavor of their particular roasts you're craving, this is hands down the most frugal way to work it in to your lifestyle. If you want to jazz it up a bit, go for a DIY pumpkin pie latte or other hot coffee cocktail as an after dinner treat the next time you're having people over.
Hang around for a refill.
This one was news to me. Refills on brewed coffee are available for a mere fifty cents. Who knew? Don't forget to bring your own coffee cup.
Pick up a Starbucks reward card and register it online.
This is one of my favorites. By purchasing a prepaid Starbucks Card and using that to pay for your Starbucks purchases instead of cash or a debit card, you open up a number of seriously slammin' rewards. Free refills on brewed coffee, complimentary flavor shot upgrades, upgrades of things like soy or cream at no charge, a free beverage with the purchase of every pound of coffee and up to two free hours of AT&T Wi-Fi per day while you're there. I had no idea these kinds of rewards were available, but now that I do I'm feeling like I can have a change of pace more often.
Tips I've Been Using All Along
Add a shot.
Instead of buying two medium cups of whatever coffee drink I'm indulging in, I get only one medium (or even a small) and add a shot of espresso. I get the double kick without the double price.
Snag the free music.
Actually, this one's more my husband's gig, since he's the family music and entertainment coordinator. Every month, one or two single music downloads are available for free at Starbucks. I've seen them by where you pay as well as by where you pick up your coffee. They're like little gift cards that feature the artist and the tune. It's a great way to test drive new artists for free. Who doesn't love free entertainment, especially when it offers way more than one-time access? You get to keep the music and enjoy it for as long as you like. Score!
As I mentioned above, I'm not a “go every day” kind of girl. In addition to being a relatively inexpensive treat, it's also an affordable way to meet up with friends that costs way less than a long lunch and bar drinks. Have you noticed the new value pairings they're offering? There's at least one offered every day and they are all under five dollars. Each one features a coffee beverage and a food item. It's hard to find experiences these days with less than a five dollar price tag that still feel luxurious. Starbucks has poured enormous resources into developing a globally available network of locations with consistent quality. The result is a higher end coffee experience you can enjoy as an infrequent indulgence.
As an affordable location for on the fly business meetings.
Way less expensive than wooing a client at the hottest new bar in Manhattan, and the atmosphere is predictably upscale as I mentioned above. It's also a completely appropriate venue for elite level clients. Two examples come to mind. One took place in Los Angeles (although I stayed in Arizona while my boss and coworker went) during a script shopping session. The author I was working for at the time had already had one of his books turned into an academy award winning film and was hoping for the same to happen for the book's sequel. One of the actors interested in starring in the second film, a household name who fits anyone's definition of well to do, wanted to get back to us with the location of his choice once his schedule firmed up. His chosen meet up point? You guessed it. Starbucks.
The other example is a meeting I snagged in the Arabian Gulf with an extremely heavy hitter who had major influence over a particular oil revenue development fund. Where did he suggest we get together to discuss the details? You guessed it. I bring these examples up not to be crude and over share, but to illustrate the following point: If glitzy Hollywood celebs and elite investors from one of the wealthiest regions in the world deem this place a suitable meeting spot, then your average Joe can feel more than confident in setting up meetings with executive level clients there as well.