We may be hungry for fashion trends, but we’re also thirsty and crave Starbucks like nobody’s business. I enlisted the help of fabulous New York beauty publicist who’s ultra-savvy when it comes to her Starbucks order. Read on to meet Teona & learn her Starbucks street smarts. – Jessie 

how to order starbucks on a budget

Living in New York I basically wake up everyday and throw $50 out the window. That’s before I get dressed and definitely before I buy my first cup of coffee. No matter how hard we all try to save money and make coffee at home it just never seems to work out. It doesn’t work out for me because I don’t own a coffee maker (mainly due to lack of space) and the french press is kind of a daunting process. So I head to work everyday and pass by all the expensive coffee shops on the Lower East Side and then from my walk from the subway to my office I pass by three Starbucks. By the time you set your eyes on Starbucks #3 it’s hard to not get sucked in. Considering the fact that I have already thrown $50 out the window and I still have three meals to eat and inevitably some sort of “happy hour” to attend (I use that term loosely because I have never made a real happy hour; who actually leaves work at 5pm??) I need to be wise with my coffee order. Since ordering a Venti Blonde Roast gets boring and soy lattes are really delicious I’ve have learned to serious about my Starbucks ordering skills over the years. In fact, a lot of people who know me know I am a master at saving money at Starbucks. I put together my top tips and facts on how to order your favorite drinks at Starbucks and never pay more than $4.

The golden rule – Get a Gold Card.

All you have to do is register a Starbucks card and collect 30 points (thats 30 swipes) and you are literally golden. You get free syrups, free refills and every 12 stars and on your birthday you get a free drink!

Don’t order iced coffee, order an Americano!

Let’s be honest, you want the coffee for the caffeine. If you don’t, you might be lying to yourself. What has more caffeine than regular coffee? Espresso. What’s an Americano? It’s espresso with water. What does it taste like? Iced coffee. It’s also the exact same price. I always get an Iced Grande Americano (3 shots) in a Venti cup (extra ice because the espresso melts the ice) and its $2.99. 

Do you have soy milk?

It’s really hard to avoid paying 60 cents for soy. You used to get it free with your Gold Card but they sadly got rid of that. So unless you managed to ruthlessly flirt with your regularly barista daily in order to get free soy (hey, a girl needs soy!) you need to know how to order your soy beverages. The main rule to live by is simple: Don’t ever order a soy latte. Ever. Instead order these:

  1. Grande Light Water Americano with Steamed Soy. Translation: Triple Grande Soy Latte.

  2. Iced Grande Americano in a Venti Cup with Extra Ice and then add your own soy at the bar. Translation: Iced Venti Soy Latte.

  3. Grande Chai Tea Misto with Steamed Soy. Translation: Grande Soy Chai Latte(plus you save a lot of calories by not ordering the syrup chai. You’re welcome)

The 12th Star and The Birthday Drink – So I made it my mission to create the most expensive drinks ever and then order them when I got my 12th star and my birthday drink. Why? Because they are free and its a fun game to watch them ring up an $8 coffee and you walk away without spending a dime. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Quad Venti Soy Pumpkin Spiced Latte (winter beverage of course)

  2. Iced Quad Venti Soy Sugar Free Caramel Caramel Machiatto. If you can manage to even order this drink, you deserve to not pay for it.

  3. Iced Venti Soy Green Tea Latte

Get more bang for your buck.

Did you know? Starbucks Iced Tea is double brewed so that when they make your iced tea they fill it up half way with tea and the other half with water. Actually, its really mostly ice. So get more tea for your buck and ask for it without water. Trust me by the time you take your first sip half the ice melted so it actually becomes the perfect brew. Then you aren’t paying almost $5 for watered down Tazo tea.

If you have some tips and trips to ordering Starbucks on the cheap I would love to hear them! Tweet me @teonaostrov. Happy ordering!

About Teona Ostrov

teona_ostrov A beauty chick inside and out, Teona Ostrov has been working in beauty PR for the past  4 years. Before that she worked in sports for teams ranging from the Boston Celtics to the New York Red Bulls. She currently works for Bratskeir & Company in New York City. Her favorite products are Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray, Demeter’s Salt Air, NARS Funny Face, Susan Posnick’s COLORFLO and Kiss imPRESS. When she’s not working and hanging out with her maltese named Reese (he comes to the office too!) she’s probably at spin or yoga. The only thing she loves more than beauty products is food and wine. She spends a lot of her time exploring new restaurants in NYC and instagramming it every step of the way! Her favorite filter? Kelvin!


One comment


They actually got rid of the free syrups with the gold card last year, when they got rid of the soy upgrade. Disappointing, since that was the whole reason I switched to a reloadable card.

But these are really good suggestions, I’ll definitely be using these! I feel like the costs have gone up lately, I can’t seem to go to Starbucks without dropping almost $5.

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