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10 Ways to Save Money at Starbucks

Don't go. Plus nine other ways to save money at the barista.

You hear it time and again from the personal finance gurus: Cut out the daily trip to Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report and save yourself a bundle of money.

The problem is that you like your coffee and aren't sure you are ready to give it up. If that is the case, here are 10 ways to reduce the costs of your daily Starbucks fix:

1. Don't go:

Let's begin with the obvious. By far the best way to save on those overpriced coffee products is to simply not go. While the thought may seem impossible as you read this, if you can make it through the first two weeks, you are well on your way to breaking the habit. Doing so could place about $1,000 into your bank account in a year's time if you currently visit on a daily basis. Not an option?Here are nine more ways to save money.

2. Buy retail:

If it truly is the coffee and nothing else that makes you want to go, purchase Starbucks coffee at a retail store and brew it yourself at home for a fraction of the price. While the Starbucks brand coffee isn't the cheapest, it's still a lot less expensive if you brew it yourself rather than picking it up at a shop.

3. Make friends:

An alternative way to get Starbucks coffee is to befriend a Starbucks employee. Employees receive free coffee as part of their job, and if you have something to trade, you may be able to get your Starbucks coffee at below retail.

If going to the actual Starbucks shop is part of your coffee equation:

4. Use a gift card:

If you know you're going to be going to Starbucks on a regular basis, there is an easy way to take some money right off the top. All you need to do is pick up Starbucks gift cards on


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. Starbucks gift cards regularly sell at a 5% to 15% discount (including shipping costs), which can mean a savings of over $100 a year if you buy on a daily basis.

5. Choose Your Location:

Where you purchase your Starbucks coffee can get you a discount. Some Starbucks offer promotional discounts that you can take advantage of to save money. For example, Vons grocery stores have been running a promotion where if you purchase your coffee at a Starbucks inside one of their stores and you have a Vons club card, you get every 8th drink free. That's nearly a 15% discount.

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6. Take your own cup:

Not only do you help the environment by reducing waste, you can take 10 cents off the price of your coffee.

7. Stay simple:

Here's a good rule of thumb to remember when you walk into any Starbucks shop: The harder it is to say the name of the coffee drink, the more money it will cost. If you want to spend less, simply say "coffee" when you make your order.

8. Keep those cards:

Remember those Starbucks gift cards you bought to save money (Step 6)? When purchasing them, go for unusual patterns if possible, and don't throw them away after you use all the credit. There are quite a few people out there who collect Starbucks gift cards. Hold on to to them for a few years, and you may be able to sell each of them for a few bucks as a collectible.

9. Raid the change jar:

If you are in the habit of changing your coins at a


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machine, choose a Starbucks gift card rather than a cash payout. The gift cards in the machines come at face value, while getting cash will take out an 8.9% fee. By going with the gift card, you save that 8.9%.

10. Buy McDonald's coffee:

This alternative is not as crazy as it might first appear.


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new premium coffees beat Starbucks coffees in head-to-head taste tests, they cost less, and you can get your coffee a lot quicker than at Starbucks. That makes switching to McDonald's coffee a financially sound alternative.

Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs