Go for the GOLD with Starbucks!!

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing that crosses your mind? Is it when your caffeine fix is going hit? Is it how many minutes it will take you to get ready to hit the local Starbucks? If it is, I cannot tell you that you should NOT go. I’m not going to tell you cut out your coffee because I know that will never work. You would just blackout at the thought of not having your coffee and stop listening to everything that I said. Who am I to stand in the way of someone and their tall caramel macchiato?

I’m not a coffee drinker (read: I have stomach issues and caffeine irritates it), so I do not feel the itch at all throughout the day. I do however wish I owned a Starbucks because frankly the stores are always busy. They constantly have patrons at all hours of the day. I see some people that grab coffee on the way to work, people lined up during their lunch hour, people out the door mid-afternoon and people there all hours of the night doing work.. the place is a cash cow! When it comes to budgeting most people avoid asking me my thoughts on their coffee drinking because they know deep down that if they cut out even one coffee a day, it would save them so much money per week/month/year that they could have been using to pay down some of their other bills. I do not need to be the one to tell them that – nor do I want to see them cut out coffee and have to deal with their withdrawals :)

From a financial standpoint though, I’d like to show you just how much that you actually spend each month on your little fix. My suggestion for all those Starbucks drinkers out there is to join their rewards program. Its a program where the more you frequent the coffee house, the more they will reward you. Seems simple enough! If you are already a die hard coffee drinker, you would be crazy not to be a member of this program. All you need to do is register your Starbucks Card Rewards on their website so that they can track your spending. The reward system is based on stars – you receive 1 star for every time that you pay with your card. There are 3 levels to the program:

Welcome – perks: a free birthday beverage (this is a given!)

Green Level – 5 stars – perks: free select syrups and milk, free refill on brewed coffee and tea, free beverage with whole bean purchase and free trial offers.

Gold Level – 30 stars – perks: everything from the Welcome and Green level plus free drink every 15 stars, a personalized gold card (think what Jenna from 30 Rock got for Carvel ice cream!) and personalized offers and coupons.

The actual program is slightly controversial on the internet because the die hard coffee drinkers have been complaining that they only get a point for every visit, not for items purchased. For example, I could go in and purchase 4 coffees for $20 and get 1 star where as my coworker could go 4 times a day and purchase a 5 coffee. Each of us spent the same amount, but my coworker would get 4 stars versus my 1 star.

So here is my challenge to those who do NOT want to give up their coffee fix because they really do not think its “that bad”… I’d like you to come up with a ball park amount that you “think” you spend on coffee each month. $20, $50, etc. and preload that amount to your shiny new Starbucks membership card. I’d like to see how long it takes you to spend that money – would you think it would be 1 day, 1 week or could you get through the whole month on that amount? My point of this little exercise is two fold – if you are going to purchase coffee everyday, you should be reaping the rewards as a loyal customer and you should fully comprehend how much of your paycheck is going to small incidental items like coffee. The $5 coffee might not seem like it needs to be included in what you are budgeting for yourself, but in reality, you could be spending a chunk of your paycheck on just being able to make it through the day.

What do you think? Could you do this challenge? How much do you think you really spend at Starbuck or a similar coffee house each month? Do you add these small incidental costs into your monthly budget?

6 Responses to “Go for the GOLD with Starbucks!!”

  1. Love the bucks and didn’t know about the gold! Thanks for the tip!
    Leah recently posted..Im Bad-Ass!

  2. @Leah – you should look into joining their program!!

  3. I am such a sucker for the Starbucks soy chai teas! I love getting Starbucks giftcards and meeting up with friends there, but thankfully I’m not a die hard coffee drinker! The rewards program sounds great if you go there daily, but I can see how quickly a lot of money would add up over time on just coffee. Great post!

  4. […] Budgeting your caffeine fix […]

  5. I love my coffee but hate Starbucks- that said I think this is still a good post as even some locally run coffee shops set up some sort of rewards program.

  6. @Ali – I completely agree that a lot of the local shops have started a rewards program as well. It makes sense to join a rewards program to get the best deals on what you are spending your money on anyways! It helps to see just how much that little fix can cost you over time though! I have some coworkers who go at least twice a day – that is a lot of $$$!!

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