Starbucks has lowered prices on simple coffee drinks and raised prices by as much as 30 cents for more labor-intensive coffee drinks.  So if you can no longer afford to splurge on a caramel mocha frappuccino, here are some money-saving tricks and ways to liven up your average daily brew. 

A Penny Pincher’s Cheap Coffee Secrets

We’re not saying you should do these all – we’re just saying we’ve heard that people have tried and may have succeeded.

1. Just add milk
You can order a shot or two of espresso over ice and fill the rest of your cup up with milk when you grab a couple of napkins. You could also try ordering a small iced coffee in a big cup and do the same if you want an iced café au lait.

2. Share and Share Alike
If you and a friend want the same drink, you can order venti sized drink and ask for a small cup on the side.  At Starbucks one venti is about equivalent to two talls/smalls.

3. Get Carded
Certain chains have perks. Example: Having a Starbucks Card entitles you to free hot or iced coffee refills.

4. Add a Little Flavor
If you salivate at the smell of a rich mochaccino or vanilla latte but you don’t want to spring for one, you might be able to settle with a regular coffee with milk, a generous sprinkle of chocolate or vanilla powder and maybe even a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Fancy At-Home Brews

To the coffee consumers’ benefit, competition among specialty coffee chains has been heating up. Starbucks (Stock Quote: SBUX), Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s (Stock Quote: MCD) all offer fancy coffee and espresso drinks drizzled with caramel or chocolate as you wish.  But your cheapest bet is probably making coffee yourself, at home.  

Here are a couple of things you can do to liven up your home brew:

  • If you like a rich mochaccino or café mocha, try adding the hot chocolate of your choice, with milk, to your home-brewed coffee or espresso.
  • If you’re an iced coffee fan, but you hate how it gets watered down, you can make ice cubes out of black coffee and use them instead of ice.

And at home, you can always add a kick to your coffee that only one Starbucks store nationwide is allowed to do: add alcohol. Whether it’s Starbucks liqueur or another alcoholic addition of your choice, you can create the perfect combination of caffeine and booze.

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