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How to Get Starbucks for FREE!

Yes, you read that correctly. Most of you know how obsessed I am with Starbucks. If you’re new here and want to read about my obsession and near bankruptcy from funding my Starbucks addiction, read this blog post. Now, if you are ready to learn my secret hacks to getting Starbucks for free, keep reading.

Now that I have your attention, shall I get on with it? Ok, hang on to your knickers ‘cuz it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Let’s Get The Obvious Out of the Way

Starbucks has a reward program cleverly called Starbucks Rewards. This is a reward program that allows you to earn “stars” a.k.a. points on purchases made using their app. These stars can then be redeemed towards free food and drinks. To sign up, you do need a gift card or and e-gift card to get started. If you would like to learn more about their rewards program or would like to join, you can click here.

Here’s What You Came For

Speaking of gift cards, this is the method I use to get 95% of my Starbucks drinks for free. Have you heard of rebate apps like Drop or Swagbucks? If you want to learn how I use these apps to make extra money, you can read this blog post I wrote about easy passive streams of income here. Aside from using these apps to make a little extra cash, I also use them to earn free gift cards to Starbucks.

The Drop App

I know I shouldn’t have favorites, but I can’t help it. The Drop app is my favorite rebate/cash back app to use. This app rewards you for shopping the brands you already shop. What makes this different than other rebate apps is that you get your rewards or cash back instantly. None of this “you’re check will be there in 3 months” nonsense. You make a purchase, you get rewarded. It’s that simple. All you do is link the debit card that you use the most and every time you use it, Drop matches it with their available rewards and gives you cash back. You can redeem your cash back through direct deposit, PayPal or my favorite…gift cards. It’s like I get free coffee just for doing my grocery shopping, buying my kids a birthday present or paying for a dinner out. It’s a wonderful life, truly. If you would like to sign up for Drop and give it a try you can click here. Then, enter your phone number and it will text you a link to download the app. But wait, let me sweeten the deal. After you install the app, if you sign up using my code x4e2b then we will both receive $5 loaded to our app for free. Sweet, right? I think I just got a cavity.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks works a little differently than Drop. Swagbucks rewards you for shopping online, watching videos and taking surveys. You earn “SB’s” a.k.a. points for these which then can be redeemed for gift cards to tons of different places. As for me, I always redeem my points for gift cards to Starbucks. You can use Swagbucks from your phone or desktop computer. I don’t really do any online shopping or watch videos through Swagbucks, but I do take a lot of surveys. Whenever I am waiting at a doctors office, long grocery line or whenever I have nothing else to do, I will hop onto Swagbucks and complete a few surveys. There are different types and lengths of surveys but all of them are very easy to complete. If you want to try out Swagbucks and earn some free gift cards, you can sign up here. If you sign up through that link, you and I will both receive 300 SB immediately for free.

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Starbucks on a Budget

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am addicted to Starbucks. It’s hard for me to admit that but I feel a lot better now that I’ve put it out into the Universe. What makes me feel even better is knowing that I can get Starbucks on a budget!

The Hook

We are all familiar with the green twin-tailed mermaid logo. You can find these coffee houses on pretty much every corner and inside almost every retail store across America. I know mythically Sirens were believed to use their mysteriousness and beauty to lure sailors into the sea. I am no sailor but let me tell you that this Siren has a hold on me. Her hold is so strong that my morning coffee is no longer a commodity but a legitimate splurge. I had to figure out a way to get my Starbucks on a budget.

My Go-To drink is a Venti iced Caramel Macchiato sub sugar free vanilla, sub blonde espresso and add two Stevia. (Don’t judge me. I am #teamsweet and complicated) The way the caramel dances with the vanilla syrup and the precision of the espresso as it marks the freshly steamed milk. All poured over ice in a way that causes the clouds to part form the Heavens. Mm mm I can almost taste it now. OK Melissa, get back on track, focus. What was I saying? Oh yeah, this delightful drink was what I looked forward to every day. What I didn’t look forward to was the $5.90 I had to hand over every single morning.

Rock Bottom

As I started to get more serious about budgeting and living within my means, it forced me to take a good hard look at my Starbucks addiction. The damage this was doing to my finances is what really woke me up. A $5.90 iced coffee seven days a week amounts to $165.20 a month. A MONTH! My water bill is less than this. Yet, here I was. Drinking my water bill away every single morning oblivious to the decreasing girth of my bank account. The financial impact this was having on my life was the main reason I needed to find a way to get my Starbucks on a budget.

Speaking of girth, did I mention that my delicious drink I had every morning also amounted to an extra 350 calories and 53 grams of carbohydrates per day? That’s an extra 10,500 calories a month that I definitely did not need. This realization forced me to find a healthier and cheaper alternative because obviously I couldn’t give it up completely. That was be ludicrous.

The Negotiation

Ultimately, I knew I had to be logical and methodical about this. This was serious. This was DEFCON 5 for Pete’s sake! First, I was going to need to figure out how to cut out the actual times I physically visited my beloved coffee shop. I work three days a week out side of the home. Since I like to fully enjoy my coffee and experience all of the joy it has to offer sip by sip, I decided to only buy Starbucks on my days off. This way I would not be rushing to work in the mornings rushing myself to gulp down 24 ounces of my caffeinated beverage. I could sit back, relax and fully enjoy it in all it’s glory. To compromise, on the days I worked I would make my coffee with my trusty ole Keurig. This was totally doable for me.

Bringing it All Together

Next, I had to figure out how to make this drink cheaper and healthier. This drink I was obsessed with is basically all carbs. How could I get more protein and less carbs into this drink? The only solution I could think of would be adding in a protein shake. I have tried hundreds of different types of protein powders and protein shakes. Even those protein coffee powders that claim to taste just like coffee only to fail miserably. Basically, I needed a protein shake without the grittiness. Oh yeah, it also couldn’t taste like protein.

My favorite protein shakes are Premier Protein ready to drink shakes. It also just so happens that the caramel flavor is my favorite as well. Perfect! Let’s throw that into the drink. Now all I have to do is add in my blonde espresso, sugar free vanilla syrup and sweetener. I remember the first day I tried this concoction. I only have one word for you, earth-shattering. OK, that’s technically two words or does the hyphen make it one? I don’t know. Anyways, check out the price difference and calorie difference with this drink.

However, you do need to take into account the nutrition information of the protein shake. This would bring the calories to 170, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein. Mission accomplished! Instead of drinking my water bill every month, I successfully cut my Starbucks addiction from $165.20 a month to $47.68 a month. Also, I cut my calories from 10,500 a month to 2,720 a month.

The Coup De GrĂ¢ce

Ultimately, it comes down to taste right? Does this drink have all the bells and whistles that the original drink had? I am proud to say that it most certainly does! In my opinion, I think it even tastes better than the original drink. I am happy to say that I now get to enjoy my Starbucks on a budget without all the guilt and without needing to take out a second mortgage to fund my addiction. I challenge you to try it out and let me know in the comments if I’m right or completely delusional.

Want to know what’s even better than getting Starbucks on a budget? Getting Starbucks for free. Check out this post on how I do just that. Shhhh!!! It’s our little secret!

Happy caffeinating!