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Perk Up! These Simple Tips & Tricks Will Help You Save a “Latte” Money at Starbucks

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holding Starbucks coffee with chocolate bread in the background

Love Starbucks a whole latte? ☕️

If you’re as obsessed with Starbucks as we are, you likely know that the cost of their premium coffee adds up over time. But there are ways to save – and you should never pay full price! With our simple tips and tricks below, you can save money at Starbucks.


1. Sign up for Starbucks Rewards.

starbucks rewards

This is a must! By signing up for the free Starbucks Rewards program, you’ll be able to earn “Stars” every time you make a purchase that can be redeemed for rewards, like free food and drinks!

As a member, you’ll earn two Stars for every $1 you spend at Starbucks stores, including shops at U.S. airports, Target, and some grocery stores like Safeway.

Other ways to earn Stars:

    • Get Stars even faster with Bonus Stars, games, and offers in the app and in your inbox.
    • On Double Star Day, you’ll get twice the number of Stars on every single order.
    • Apply for the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card or Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card to earn Stars in and out of Starbucks stores—and enjoy more rewards.

Starbucks birthday reward

As a member, you’ll also be able to qualify for the following perks:

    • Free Birthday reward! A free food or beverage item will be added to your account on your birthday and will be valid for a free handcrafted beverage, food item, or ready-to-drink bottled beverage. The reward is valid on your birthday only.
    • Free refills of hot or iced brewed coffee and tea. You must use your registered Starbucks Card to purchase a beverage and then present that same Starbucks Card for refills of hot or iced brewed coffee or tea during the same store visit at participating Starbucks stores.
    • Early or extended access to certain promotions and offers. Starbucks may offer Rewards members early or extended access to special menu items or discounts. Members may take part in these offers by paying with their registered Starbucks Card at participating stores.
    • Personalized offers and coupons. Special offers may be distributed by email, the Mobile Inbox on the Starbucks mobile app, or by physical mail. You must opt-in to receive promotional and marketing offers from Starbucks and may be required to provide a valid email, telephone, and physical address in order to receive your special offers. Special offers may be customized based on purchase behaviors and preferences.

2. Download the Starbucks Mobile App.

starbucks mobile app

For easy access to the Starbucks Rewards program, be sure to download the Free Starbucks App (iOS or Android) where you can quickly scan your rewards card and even pay for your order! Rewards are built right in, so you’ll collect Stars and start earning free drinks and food with every purchase.

You’ll also be able to check your Starbucks Card balance, add money, view past purchases and transfer balances between cards. In addition, you can send gift cards, discover what songs are playing at your local store, and place your order & pick it up from a nearby store without waiting in line!


3. No time to wait in line? Place a Mobile Order!

Starbucks Happy Hour

If you don’t have a lot of time to wait in line for your Starbucks order, consider placing an order ahead of time using the “Mobile Order & Pay” feature in the Starbucks Mobile App. You can choose a store near you, select and customize beverage & food items, view the estimated time frame your order will be ready, and pre-pay for the order—all within the Starbucks Mobile App! So convenient!

You can even pay using your gift cards on your Starbucks Rewards account and earn Stars for your purchase! That means you can walk in and out without waiting in a long line. Just ask a barista for your freshly made order at the pickup area.


4. Score unlimited FREE coffee & tea refills!

Starbucks Holiday Cup

Yep, it’s true! Starbucks Rewards Members can score FREE refills of brewed coffee (iced or hot!), Cold Brew, or iced or hot tea with any beverage purchase.

This is an awesome reward perk for those of us who head into Starbucks and plan to hang out for a while to visit with friends, enjoy a book, have a study session, get in a few hours of work, or just need some time away from the regular home or work environment!

How to score your free Starbucks refill(s):

  1. Become a Starbucks Rewards Member by signing up hereit’s free!
  2. Order ANY beverage in-store or via mobile order.
  3. Enjoy your original beverage in-store — this is important as you must not leave the restaurant or you will forfeit the refill perk!
  4. Take your empty cup to the register.
  5. Order any cold brew coffee or hot/iced coffee or tea.
  6. Scan your Starbucks Rewards Card.
  7. Enjoy your free refill! Easy peasy!

And the best part, you can do this process as many times as you want as long as you stay inside the Starbucks store. You cannot leave and come back later OR take advantage of this offer via the drive-thru. Once you leave the store, your visit has ended and any new coffee or tea refill thereafter is considered a new purchase.

PLUS, if your Target has a Starbucks cafe inside, you can enjoy the free refills perk there, too! Consider ordering your beverage before shopping and grab your refill before you leave! So smart!

Starbucks Target Cold Foam

Some things to keep in mind…

  • Your refill drink needs to be the same size as the drink purchased. So if you order a Grande, your refill will be Grande.
  • The refills do not include lemonade or iced tea infusions, such as the Strawberry Acai Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers.
  • The refills do not include handcrafted beverages, such as the frappuccinos and espresso drinks.
  • There is no limit on the number of refills or the length of the visit.
  • Starbucks Rewards Members of any level will receive a free refill. If you are not a registered Starbucks Rewards Member, you can still enjoy a refill for 50¢.
  • For more information, head here or check the Starbucks Rewards Terms.

Hip Tip: Check out Stetson on Facebook Live where he enjoyed a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino and then received his free refill on a Cold Brew coffee!


5. Play Starbucks games to earn bonus stars.

Starbucks Bingo

Another perk of being a Starbucks Rewards member, is that they usually have a couple Bonus Star Games & Sweepstakes during the year where members can play to earn stars for making qualifying purchases (and sometimes without even needing to make a purchase!). A few previous sweepstakes and games have been this Bonus Stars Bingo and Starbucks for Life (along with the Summer Edition)!

In the past, there have been LOTS of winners from these games and you can usually enter several times a day during the sweeps period, so it’s definitely worth playing whenever they roll around!


6. Take advantage of food & drink promotions.

Starbucks Happy Hour

A great way to save on yummy beverages is to make note of the various promotions that Starbucks has throughout the year that anyone can enjoy during that designated time with the Starbucks Mobile App. These offers are now only in the Starbucks app (iTunes App Store or Google Play Store).

They often offer Buy 1, Get 1 Free Happy Hour promotions (valid after 3 pm), 50% off Frappuccinos, free bonus eGift cards with eGift card purchase, Starbucks for Life games, and more!

Hip Tip: We are always posting about these yummy Starbucks offers whenever they pop up, so be sure to bookmark our Starbucks deal page for all the latest and greatest perks!


7. BYOC to retail stores and save.

Starbucks Color-Changing Reusable Cups Pink

Did you know that you can BYOC (bring your own cup) and save 10¢ on the price of your drink whenever you bring in your own reusable cup, mug, or travel tumbler?

Starbucks Christmas cups

You can also purchase a plastic Starbucks Reusable Travel Cup (Grande 16oz) for just $2 at most locations that will save you 10¢ every time you bring it in. And, every November, they offer a FREE limited-edition reusable red cup with a holiday specialty drink purchase and you can score 50¢ off a holiday beverage throughout the holiday season whenever you bring back your cup. How awesome is that?!


8. Don’t be afraid to order “secret” menu drinks.

starbucks IT drink

Did you know that Starbucks can make a variety of “secret” drinks that are not on the menu?

Starbucks baristas can pretty much make anything you’d like as long as you know the recipe! For example, you can ask for a Skittles Frappuccino, a Butterbeer Frappuccino inspired by Harry Potter, or even a Cinderella Latte or Frappuccino (during pumpkin season)?!

Note that depending on what drink you order, you may be required to pay a little extra for add-on items (such as fruits, syrups, etc). Also, it’s really important when requesting a “secret” drink that you make note of the recipe and not just the name as not all Baristas are familiar with the drink names.


9. Make your own chai latte in-store.

diy starbucks chai latte

If you enjoy sipping on a Chai Latte, here’s a quick and easy money-saving tip for you! Instead of paying around $3.65 for a Grande 16oz Chai Latte, consider ordering a hot Chai Tea with a bag and pay around $2.15 for a Grande 16oz. Then just add your own milk or cream and desired sweeteners at the condiment bar. You’ll be saving around $1.50 by doing it this way!


10. Know all the drink sizes available.

starbucks iced tea and ice coffee next to each other at starbucks

Did you know that Starbucks offers an even smaller size than their Tall 12 oz. drinks? You can actually order a Short 8 oz. specialty beverage that has the same amount of espresso as the Tall version, but is less expensive. Planning to add cream? Order a Short beverage in a Tall cup so you’re still getting the same amount of coffee…then head to the condiment counter and add free milk or cream.

Need a large dose of caffeine on a hot day? You can also order a Trenta 31 oz. size Iced Beverage (available for Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew and Starbucks Refreshers only) for around $1 more than the Venti price – price may vary by location.

Starbucks currently offers these drink sizes:

  • Short (8 fl. oz.)
  • Tall (12 fl. oz.)
  • Grande (16 fl. oz.)
  • Venti Hot (20 fl. oz.)
  • Venti Cold (24 fl. oz.)
  • Trenta Cold (31 fl. oz.) – Only available for Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew, and Starbucks Refreshers.

11. Order a french press pot of coffee.

24 oz Starbucks French press coffee

If you’re headed to Starbucks with friends or are planning on staying a while in-store, another way to save money is to order a French Press pot of coffee. The 32 oz. pot serves a few cups of coffee and will be cheaper than ordering the drinks individually as it’s priced around $4/pot (may vary).


12. Ask for “No Water” with your tea.

Starbucks tea iced drink

Did you know that the Teavana Iced Tea in the pitcher at Starbucks is double-strength and watered down for your final recipe? To get the most bang for your buck, request “no water” with your iced tea and you’ll be getting twice as much tea for the same price. Also, consider ordering your drink with no ice (or asking for ice on the side) to ensure that your drink is the strongest possible.


13. Split a Venti drink with a friend.

two Starbucks Frappuccinos being held outside

Ordering two of the same drinks at Starbucks? Instead of ordering two Tall 12oz beverages, consider ordering one Venti 20oz beverage and splitting it with a friend. A Venti 20oz Caramel Latte is priced around $4.65, whereas a Tall Caramel Latte would cost around $3.65 each. Talk about big savings!


14. Skip the expensive bottled water!

hand holding Starbucks water

I’m picky about the taste of water at some restaurants, but I LOVE Starbucks iced water — it tastes great! I always order a large cup of ice water when visiting Starbucks on a hot day since their ice and water is triple-filtered! In fact, it may be even cleaner than the Ethos bottled water that is sold in-stores for around $2 each. Just ask for a FREE glass of iced water—your body will love ya for it!


15. Ask for a free Puppuccino.

Starbucks puppy whipped cream cup

If you are heading to Starbucks or through the drive-through with your furry friend, consider ordering them a free “Puppuccino” which consists of a small cup of whipped cream. They’ll love you for it! These small cups of whip may also be great for young kiddos who want a treat in their own cup too.


16. Save BIG on Starbucks Gift Cards.

woman taking Starbucks Gift Card

One way to save on your Starbucks purchases is to buy discounted gift cards at sites like Raise.com before heading to your local Starbucks coffee shop. You can save up to 8% on discounted gift cards through these sites, so it’s definitely worth it if you’re an avid Starbucks goer!

Also, if you are a Groupon email subscriber, they occasionally send out emails with invitations to snag BIG savings on Starbucks gift cards, like a $10 eGift card offer for only $5! These offers only work if you receive the email directly from Groupon, so it’s definitely worth signing up for an account.

PLUS, Starbucks has promotions around the holidays for a free Starbucks eGift Card whenever you purchase a certain value of eGift cards on their site or in their mobile app. This is a great time to purchase gift cards for a friend or family member and snag a free bonus eGift card for yourself!

Are you a Verizon or T-Mobile customer? They also offer various gift card promotions for their customers.

Hip Tip: Gifting a Starbucks gift card to a teacher? Check out these fun, free printable gift card holders! Gifting to large groups? Check out this fun Faux Frappuccino gift idea!

Find all the latest Starbucks gift card deals on Hip2Save here!


17. Shopping at a store with a Starbucks Café inside?

Starbucks Hot Coffee at Target

If you shop at Target with a Starbucks Café inside, you may want to download the Target Circle App (formerly known as Target Cartwheel) as they often offer various offers to save on yummy drinks and food valid only at the Starbucks inside Target! Learn more about Target’s loyalty program here!

OR, if you shop at a Kroger or Safeway affiliate store that has a Starbucks Café inside, be sure to check your account for an occasional free or discounted drink or food eCoupons!


Stay up on all the latest Starbucks promotions & deals here!

Join The Discussion

Comments 17

  1. sarahreibold

    Can you get refills on the nitro cold brews?

    • Dkp91576

      No just the basic brew coffee and teas.

  2. Melissa

    Not nitro cold brew but regular cold brew!

  3. Josie

    What drink is listed on number 10? The tall drink?

    • Michelle W

      It looks like an iced Carmel macchiato

  4. lmo

    Can you get cold brew with salted cream foam and get it again as the free refill

    • Bea

      The refill will be a plain cold brew only, without any of the foams.

  5. Bzroses13

    I work at Starbucks and I’m happy to see most these suggestions; definitely very glad others were left out! 🙈 Well, I will add one suggestion that if used correctly isn’t bad… if you enjoy any of the hot teas- you can purchase a tea bag for 20 cents and go home and make it! (You cannot do this and then turn around and ask for a cup of hot water so please don’t or Starbucks will stop selling the tea bags separately!) ❤️ (if your barista doesn’t know how to ring it up you can tell them it’s a display modifier and it can be added onto your drink or they can ring you up for an ice water ((free)) and then click display modifier and add as many tea bags as you’d like to purchase)

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for taking the time to share that tip with us! Good to know!

    • Jeanette

      That’s so awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

    • dylanfan

      I’ve seen some bad hacks like ordering just the espresso shot and a cup of ice to make your own latte/breve.

  6. dylanfan

    It’s never mentioned but if you order coffee, or this would work with their tip about making own chai latte, ask for a size up in their cup. If you want a grande coffee but also like a lot of cream, order a grande coffee cup in a venti cup, etc. they will still only fill the cup around 75% full so you have room for cream.

  7. Lena

    Does anyone know the policy for free refills at a Kroger Starbucks? It’s sporadic, I may or may not be charged, depending on the Barista. I have a Gold Card.

  8. peretz12

    Will you get charged for the “puppachino” if it’s for kids rather than a dog?

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      It’s a cup of whip cream and kids can get it for free!

  9. Roger

    What are the least expensive items to purchase, in order to qualify for the free birthday offer? I was advised that just because you earn stars from contests, you still do not receive the offer if you do not make a purchase within the prior period. Thanks.

    • DNM

      Cake pop or doughnut is less than $2

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