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7 things Starbucks customers should stop wasting money on, according to a former barista

Some people's drink orders end up wasting them money, in my opinion.
  • I was a Starbucks barista for a year, and I saw plenty of customers waste their money.
  • You can usually get a better value on iced drinks by asking for light ice.
  • Grande and venti lattes have the same amount of espresso, but the latter costs more. 

I worked as a Starbucks barista for nearly a year, and I became extremely familiar with just how expensive the popular coffee chain is. 

As a stingy spender, I made several mental notes on ways customers would unnecessarily waste their money during my shifts.

Here's what I wish people would stop paying extra for — plus ways to save a little cash.

I wouldn't pay a premium for cold drinks filled halfway with ice

starbucks iced drink
Try ordering drinks with light ice.

The easiest way to avoid spending an arm and a leg on half a cup of ice with a hint of the beverage is just to specify that you'd like light ice. 

Trust me, baristas are aware that the oversize scoop of ice in a drink can be frustrating. But many are happy to replace the extra ice with liquid if you ask for it. Light ice is even an option on the app. 

It might be unnecessary to pay for a shot of vanilla syrup to sweeten a soy latte or cappuccino

Starbucks charges customers for a pump of syrup added to an otherwise plain latte, cappuccino, or cup of coffee. But people might not know that the soy milk the chain uses is vanilla-flavored.

The flavoring is more subtle than an actual pump of syrup, but if I already plan on ordering a sweetened coffee with milk alternative (which, unfortunately, also costs a bit more), I usually get soy and save on the extra fee. Otherwise, I'd end up paying one fee for unsweetened oat milk/almond milk and another for vanilla syrup. 

Unfortunately, for lovers of caramel, hazelnut, and peppermint syrups, you're stuck with the extra charge for the sweetener. 

If you're a regular customer, you may not need to pay out of pocket for Starbucks merchandise

Starbucks Coffee Mugs
You can redeem rewards points for merchandise.

I refuse to pay out of pocket for special Starbucks tumblers, mugs, or coffee beans. If I find irresistible merchandise, I'll take advantage of the Starbucks rewards program.

If stopping by for a drink or food item is already part of your daily routine, then you'll easily rack up star rewards in the app that you can redeem for complimentary items. If you have 400 points, you can select any merchandise worth up to $20.

You'll have to pay the difference if it's more than $20, but many of the basic items are within the price point. 

It's not usually worth ordering Americanos — they're literally just espresso and water

A grande Americano will cost you around $4, which is rather pricey for three shots of espresso with water. 

Instead, make your own. Ask for a doppio or triple shot of espresso (whatever you prefer) in a grande cup, and then ask for added water. You can essentially get an Americano for almost a dollar less. 

If you're looking for a caffeine fix, stop wasting your money on hot venti lattes

A Starbucks barista prepares a drink at a Starbucks Coffee Shop location in New York.
Grande and venti lattes have the same amount of espresso.

If you order a hot venti latte or cappuccino, you're still only getting two shots of espresso, which is the same amount you get in a grande. 

In a way, buying a venti latte means you're paying half a dollar more for a more diluted caffeine-to-coffee ratio.

If you prefer iced lattes, a grande comes with two shots and a venti comes with three shots, so that's a different story. 

Don't miss out on the 'bring your own cup' discount

Although many Starbucks stopped serving customers their orders in reusable cups during the coronavirus pandemic as a health and safety precaution, several locations have restarted the program. 

This prevents additional plastic use and saves you $0.10. Rewards members also earn 25 bonus stars when they use their own mug, which can then be used to pay for a milk alternative, syrup pump, or additional espresso shot.

Stop paying for bottled water

I've always been baffled by people who insist on buying bottled water from Starbucks. I can understand if you absolutely need something unopened, but other than that, there's no reason to pay full price for the one thing the chain offers for free. 

Don't be afraid to order any size cup of water. Baristas will even add ice if you ask for it.

This story was originally published in June 2023 and most recently updated on June 26, 2024. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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