If you love sitting at Starbucks with a tall, delicious drink in hand, but sometimes feel the guilt from the $5+ purchase…
You’re not alone.
Green tea Frappucinos at Starbucks are my guilty pleasure.
Initially I tried to tell myself that $5 a day is nothing…
But I know the math adds up quickly. Say you spend $5 at Starbucks every day, 3 times a week throughout the year = that’s $780/year!
You can either cut your Starbucks habit (gulp!), save money fast for your Starbucks fund, or get free Starbucks gift cards, drinks or refills.
Yes – it’s possible to get FREE Starbucks gift cards. In fact, there are many ways to do so.
Here are 9 easy ways to get FREE or cheap Starbucks drinks and food.
Some of these ways will take some time, but they’re all 100% legitimate. At least you won’t have to wait a few months for a special occasion to come around and the possibility that you might get a Starbucks gift card as a present.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more information.
1. Get free Starbucks gift cards through surfing online
Swagbucks is one of the best ways to get free Starbucks because you don’t have to pay a dime! You just have to take a little time searching the Internet, watching videos, playing games, taking surveys, shopping online etc. You have a lot of options about what you can do!
Depending on the activity, you get rewards points you can cash in for free Starbucks gift cards!
Signing up with Swagbucks is free! There are a few bonuses available only within the first 30 days after you register including:
- 300 swagbucks (= $3 gift card) if you earn 300 swagbucks within the first 30 days
- 1000 swagbucks (= $10 gift card) if you add the swagbucks extension button to your laptop or desktop and spend at least $25 at a store featured in the Swagbucks shop (MyGiftCardsPlus.com and travel purchases don’t qualify)
Tip: Wait for gift cards to go on sale at Swagbucks. You can get higher value gift cards for the same amount of points!
2. Get free Starbucks gift cards through surveys
You can also get Starbucks gift cards by taking surveys on Survey Junkie (Only in U.S., Canada and Australia).
You can actually redeem your survey points for gift cards or PayPal cash if you’d like cash instead! Sign up is free.
3. Get free Starbucks shopping online
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is my favorite way to make and save money online. It’s super easy!
Any money you get from it – you can put towards your Starbucks fund. Rakuten has actually helped its members get over $1 billion cash back!
How does Rakuten work?
Rakuten gives you cash back for shopping through its affiliate partners like Amazon, eBay, Expedia, Best Buy, Groupon etc. They have over 2500 affiliated companies (in the U.S.) and 750 companies (in Canada). You can get up to 40% cash back!
Since you’re probably already shopping for everyday household items on these sites, you might as well get paid for it!
If you’re in the U.S., you can sign up now and receive your welcome bonus of $10 after making your first online purchase with Ebates!
If you’re Canadian, sign up here at ebates.ca where the welcome bonus is $5, but still worth signing up to start earning easy money!
You can read my full review on Rakuten here. I’ve included how I’ve personally maximized cash back from Rakuten and other similar sites you might be interested in!
Honey is another way you can get free Starbucks shopping online.
Like Ebates, there’s a cash back feature, but its primary function is to help you search for coupon codes. If it finds relevant codes, it enters them automatically. You no longer have to Google “the store you’re shopping at” + “coupon”. Honey does it for you!
Honey is one of those money saving tools you need whenever you’re shopping online. It’s free and you won’t waste any more time looking for coupons online. Honey also has a handy price drop notification and price history features. You have to check those out!
I have a comprehensive review of Honey here including pros, cons, and tips to use it.
4. Get cheaper Starbucks gift cards
There are online gift card marketplaces where you can buy discounted gift cards including Starbucks gift cards.
Raise is one marketplace in the U.S.
In Canada, you can purchase discounted gift cards at the Ebates.ca Gift Card store. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a Starbucks gift card on there yet, but there are discounted grocery and gas gift cards. You can use those savings towards your Starbucks purchases!
5. Buy Starbucks for a cheaper cost
To use it, all you have to do is fill the K-cups with Starbucks grounds (or your other favorite coffee grounds or even tea leaves), pop it into the slot and follow the same other steps you would with pre-filled K-cups.
Cleaning just involves a quick rinse or you can put them in the dishwasher.
6. Bring your own travel mug to Starbucks
If you bring your own reusable cup to Starbucks, you’ll get 10 cents off AND you’re eliminating waste!
If you’re wondering, what kind of reusable cup qualifies…
Starbucks has said that it can be any size cup. You will be charged the closest cup size, but not any larger than the size of your personal cup.
There will be no discount if you’re using their “for here” cups.
It also doesn’t have to be a Starbucks mug, but I do love the design on this one.
I also love this Contigo Travel Mug! It’s a bit of a splurge, but it has heavy-duty insulation to keep your drink hot up to 5 hours and cold up to 12!
I also love bringing in a large mason jar. That way you can throw it into your bag and not worry about it splashing around when you’re driving or on the go.
7. Hack the Starbucks Menu
There are many different ways you can order off or hack the menu to get discounts! Here are some tricks:
- If you or your friend are both getting a tall Frappuccino, get one venti instead. A venti is 24 oz and a tall is 12 oz, but 1 venti is around $3 cheaper than 2 talls! Just pour half of the venti into another cup.
- If you constantly order lattes, order a Cafe Misto instead. It’s cheaper and tastes practically the same. The only difference is that the latte uses espresso and the misto uses coffee.
- If you constantly order frappuccinos, order a blended iced Americano instead and add a shot of flavored syrup!
- Check out the Starbucks Secret Menu for more ideas on how to order other delicious drinks off the menu.
- Order a “Short” size. It’s not on the menu, but it’s still available. If you order an espresso beverage, the “short” has the same amount of caffeine (one shot) as the “tall” anyways.
8. Keep an eye out for Starbucks promotions
Starbucks is constantly offering promotions like Frappuccino Happy Hour and Treat Receipt! We’re talking 50% off, BOGOs etc.
Sometimes when you’re at your local Starbucks, they even come around with free samples! That’s the best!
9. Join the Starbucks Rewards Program for free stuff
Even if you go to Starbucks only once in a blue moon, it’s still worth it to join their rewards program. As a rewards member, you get a free drink (any size!) or food item on your birthday! If you’ve been wanting to get a specialty drink customized with all the bells and whistles – save it for your b-day!
Note: You have to join the Starbucks Rewards program at least 7 days prior to your birthday and have made at least 1 transaction prior to your birthday. You have to claim it on your actual birthday.
As a Starbucks rewards member, you also get free refills for brewed coffee and hot tea!
Starbucks’ loyalty program is simple and flexible. To sign up, all you have to do is fill out this form or download the app. Sign up is free.
Every time you make a purchase, pay with a registered gift card or the app. Note: You need to have a cash balance on your gift card or loaded onto the app before you can pay.
For every $1 you spend, you collect 2 stars. You can collect even more stars if you have the Starbucks Rewards Visa. Occasionally, you’ll notice on the app or from emails from Starbucks that there will be double star days, bonuses and games you can play to get ahead on your star balance!
When you collect at least 25 stars, you can start redeeming them for freebies. That means you can get freebies in as little as 2-3 visits! Here’s how the reward redemption breaks down:
- 25 stars = free extra shot of espresso, dairy substitute or extra dash of syrup
- 50 stars = free brewed hot coffee, tea or bakery item
- 150 stars = free handcrafted drink (e.g. latte, frappuccino), hot breakfast (e.g. breakfast sandwich, oatmeal) or parfait
- 250 stars = lunch sandwich, protein box or salad
- 400 stars = bag of coffee, signature cup, or coffee accessories
Final Thoughts on Free Starbucks
There are many ways you can get free and discounted things at Starbucks. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the above or have some tricks of your own!
Resources for Saving Money
Looking for other ideas to save money?
Here are my other favorite money saving resources:
If you spend hours meal planning every week only to stress out some days and eat out, you might be interested in the $5 meal plan. For $5/month, they send you a weekly meal plan where every meal will cost approximately $2/person! They save you time and money so that you can focus on doing things you enjoy like hanging with your kid!
They offer a 14 day FREE trial (approximately 40 recipes) – regular or gluten-free – that you can cancel at any time with no questions asked.
This membership has 2 great benefits: free 2 day shipping and free access to movies, TV shows, music and books. You no longer have to worry about last minute items. You can cancel your other movie, music and book subscription services. You can also get 20% off diapers and baby food when you have more than 5 subscriptions.
Get the Amazon 30 day FREE trial here. You can cancel at anytime. No questions asked.
Checkout51 is an app that gives you cash back for your groceries!
If you purchase any groceries on their list (which sometimes includes everyday essentials like bananas), you can snap a picture of your receipt on your app (they make it super easy). The approval takes roughly a few days and then cha-ching – you’ll get money in your Checkout51 account!
Related money saving articles
- No Spend Challenge: How to Not Spend Money for 30 days or More
- Honey Review: How to get the Best Prices Available
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Review: How to Make and Save Money Fast
- Best Money Saving Tips to Save You $1000’s
- What to Stop Buying to Save Money Every Day – My Personal Experience
- 11 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries
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