I think Starbucks has us wrapped around its little finger. And who’s complaining? With the million and one combinations they offer, pretty much everyone is happy.  When I go to Starbucks, though, I am always looking for ways to trick the system.  The same taste for less?  A clever hack no one knows about?  Here are some Starbucks tricks and tips you never knew existed!

  •  Turn in empty coffee bags for a free tall coffee or iced coffee:  This is my favorite.  My office uses Starbucks coffee, and every few weeks they give me their empty bag!  I have a stash of these (including some in my car!) that I turn in for free coffee.  If you ever meet me for coffee, there is a 99% chance I will bring you a random empty bag :).  Maybe we should all ask random companies or families for their empty bags!
  • Add a shot or sprinkle:  Ask for a shot of mint or sprinkle in vanilla, cocoa or cinnamon at the coffee bar.  Get that little twist for an additional $.55.  Oh, and Christmas “red cup” season has Gingerbread syrup you can add!  Read about more Cheap (under $3) Starbucks Drinks here. 
  • Refills for $.50 all day:   Get the Tall and then refill all you want!  (*This only applies as long as you are in the store.*)
  • Bring your own cup:  Bring your own cup and receive a $.10 discount!
  • Go healthy:  Order the healthiest version of your Starbucks favorite!  Use this list of the Healthiest Iced Starbucks Drinks here.  My favorite?  The Iced Skinny Mocha saves you 400 calories!
  • Free triple-filter water:  Save yourself the bottled-water price!
  • French Press for a Few:  Order a pot of french-pressed coffee and serve a few friends for less!
  • Got kids?  Use this cheat sheet for the best Starbucks kid-friendly drinks!  Who knew they had a “Babycino” that is an extra-foamy milk—like a cappuccino, but without the espresso.  Ask for it bone-dry if you want the drink to be all foam.
  • Celebrate your birthday!  Sign up for the Starbucks reward program (registration is free) and get a free drink when your birthday comes around. (You’ll have to redeem it in the 30 days after your birthday.)
  • Design your own!  This list is awesome!  The Oreo Frappe?  The Cinnamon Roll?  What about the Poor Man’s Chai Latte that is half the price?
  • There’s another size!  Order the “short” – even smaller than the “tall!”  The “short” cappuccino has the same amount of espresso as the as its “tall” version, but for less.
  • Treat your Pup:  Order a puppy latte or puppycino, and your dog will get a sample cup full of whipped cream.
  • And my favorite?  Personally, I love to add a shot of caramel to my regular coffee (iced or hot).  To me, this gives the same flavor as an (iced) Caramel Machiatto.  I love this trick and save TONS of calories and dollars with it :).
  • Make sure you read the comments below!  There are some awesome suggestions from real baristas!

*Disclaimer, I have only tried a few of these ideas.  If you are a Starbucks Barista, feel free to comment on the validity of these ideas.*

(Read more here.)