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As Starbucks’ 10-cent price increase looms ahead, you might be considering kicking your coffee addiction.But there’s an alternative to the scary cold-turkey approach: joining a program that will help you manage your habit.
Starbucks, Argo Tea and Dunkin’ doughnuts are just a few retail chains that offer rewards programs that not only reward you for spending money in their establishments but also enable you to be more aware of your spending.
Here’s how I maintain my coffee addiction without blowing my budget, using Starbucks’ rewards card:
1. The more I drink, the more rewards I earn. For every drink I buy with my card, I get a star from Starbucks. Five stars within a year earn members a green membership, and 30 stars earns a gold membership. Once you are issued a gold card, it will display your name and the year you became a member. I have been a proud coffee addict since 2008. (And, yes, I was one of those suckers who shelled out $25 for the initial fee when the card made its debut in 2008.)
2. The more I drink, the more rewards I reap. A gold membership means I earn one free drink of my choice (even Venti!) for every 15 stars and receive special offers by mail or email. These include a free sample of whatever new product Starbucks might be introducing. Last year, when Starbucks introduced its bite-sized treats, I enjoyed a free cake pop.
3. Now for the fun part: bonuses! If you’re one of those people who loves to modify their beverage, your drink just got a little cheaper. This perk came in handy when I was on my soy milk kick, since Starbucks green and gold members do not have to pay extra fee for soy milk and most syrups. According to Starbucks, you can “choose either the regular or sugar-free version of Caramel, Cinnamon Dolce, Hazelnut or Vanilla syrup. You can also get the standard Raspberry, Classic, Peppermint or Toffee Nut syrups for free.”
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4. Have a very caffeinated birthday! Starbucks treats its members to a beverage of their choice on their B-day.5. Even brewing coffee at home comes with rewards. In an effort to save some money, I began to brew coffee at home. With every pound of beans I purchase, Starbucks offers me a free tall beverage.
6. Since this membership tracks my spending, I know exactly how much goes to coffee. Starbucks allows me to view my transactions’ history on my online profile. Once I realised how much I was spending on my chai tea lattes, I was motivated to downgrade to regular coffee on most occasions. I still get mochas on days when I want to reward myself for something and whenever I earn my 16th free drink.
Now I know the rewards program is not actually saving me any money, but it has made my habit manageable. I now have a personal limit of how much I will reload my card for each week and, thus, control my spending that way.