Life Hack: more bang for your (Star)bucks

April 28, 2017 — by Esha Lakhotia and Muthu Palaniappan

With so much school work every night, we resort to caffeine to cope with stress and sleep deprivation. We often have to go on a quick Starbucks run at 8 p.m. to stay awake for the rest of the night; however, as the number of drinks we order adds up, so does the cost.

Starbucks is indisputably expensive for the simple drinks they serve. For example, one of our favorite drinks, an Iced Caramel Macchiato, is $5.25 for a Venti size, the largest size. The drink itself consists of just a shot or two of espresso, milk and caramel, yet it costs more than $5. Similarly, a Tall Frappuccino costs about $4. A frappuccino is made with blended ice and different flavors of syrup depending on what the customer orders.

As our wallets become emptier with every visit to Starbucks, we decided to test some money-saving hacks from a YouTube video called “STARBUCKS LIFE HACKS YOU'VE GOTTA TRY!!!”.  

We first tried to lower the price of Iced Coffee by ordering two shots of espresso over ice in a Venti cup, which was only $2.25, instead of a Venti Iced Coffee, priced at $3.25. Then we filled our espresso to the top with milk from the serving station.

At first glance, our drink looked identical to the original Iced Coffee with milk. After trying it, we found that the modified Iced Coffee actually tasted as good as the original since the recipes for both were almost identical.

Although $1 may seem insignificant, the Iced Coffee hack saves money in the long run, considering how frequently we order Iced Coffees. We consume 10 to 15 Starbucks drinks per month, so saving $1 each time leaves us with at least $10 extra.

Next, we tried to reduce the cost of a tall frappuccino. A tall frappuccino is exactly half the size of a venti. Instead of ordering two tall frappucinos, we ordered a venti frappuccino and asked the baristas to split it into two different cups. In theory, we had bought two tall frappuccinos for the price of a Venti, saving us about $3.25.

We may have sounded annoying to the baristas when ordering our drinks with extra instructions, but saving this money was well worth it. So if you find yourself spending dollar after dollar for your simple coffee wants and need a way to save money, these hacks will do the trick.

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