How I Never Pay for Starbucks

Today, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bianca, is going to be sharing how she NEVER pays for Starbucks. I don't know anyone who drinks Starbucks like this girl and I was shocked to learn about how she never pays a penny for it! 

I’m currently working a full-time, entry level job in the psychology field, going to graduate school, and trying desperately to move out of my parent’s house, so I need to save every penny that I have.  Whenever I rework my budget, I tend to allot around $30 a month just to coffee shops. This includes my Monday morning drive-thru fix, a cup of joe over a conversation with friends, and the evening I-have-a-paper-due-tomorrow emergency run. 

Most of the time I can justify spending the money on coffee, mostly because it helps me be a functional human, however, I’m sure anyone in a similar boat knows how far $30 (which if we’re being honest, can sometimes be a little more) can go when you’re trying to be financially conscious.

So if you aren’t willing to give up Starbucks, but want to manage your money a little better, try out these resources so you’ll never have to pay for coffee again! 

How I Never Pay for Starbucks

Microsoft Rewards 

We heavily rely on the internet these days, don’t we?  A quick search can answer any question that we may have.  Most of us tend to use Google as our go-to search engine, but Google doesn’t give you free coffee, does it?  Try using Bing when you need to look something up!  When you create a Microsoft account and use Bing, you’ll earn rewards credits for your searches.  You also earn points on their Rewards page by answering polls, reading trending headlines, and watching news videos.  You’re able to set a goal and work towards it as you earn points.  My favorite goal?  A $5 or a $10 Starbucks gift card! 

Microsoft Rewards was previously known as Bing Rewards, but I think I’m liking the format change because now you earn up to 150 points per month in Bing searches alone!  I additionally log in every day and check out the Rewards page and can usually earn another 50 points daily. Plus I usually learn a new fun fact or two!  Other ways to earn points include purchasing Microsoft products (I recently had to buy the latest version of Microsoft Office for grad school) and searching with Bing on your cell phone.  With 5,250 points you earn a $5 Starbucks gifts card and 10,500 gets you $10!  It seems like a lot of points but I promise they add up fast, and who doesn’t love to be rewards for things that you already do every day, like searching the Internet! 


This is an app you can download onto your smart phone and gives you “kicks”, or points, for just walking into stores!  As long as you have your location settings turned on and the app opened, it recognizes you walking into the location and, boom, you’re rewarded.  For example, I go to Target at least twice a week (I’m obsessed), and I usually get 20-30 kicks each visit.  Be aware though, there is a cap on how many times a month you can earn kicks at the same store.  However, there are tons of stores participating (pharmacies, grocery stores, wholesale clubs, the list goes on), so your normal days of errands can result in a good amount of kicks.  Additionally, when you’re in the stores, you can also scan products to earn more kicks and even upload receipts by linking a credit card and buying qualifying items.  Some stores also have coupons right in the app, win-win! 

There are a lot of different gift card rewards options that you can redeem, but of course, Starbucks is my favorite!  You need 1,250 kicks for a $5 gift card, 2,500 for a $10, or 6,250 for a $25.  I also give bonus credit to the shopkick app because you can opt to donate your kicks to organizations like Feeding America, AdoptAClassroom, or the American Red Cross.

Try it out and sign up for shopkick here!


Another smart phone app, Ibotta lets you earn rebates on the things that you buy, and then use that cash back for gift cards or have it directly deposited into your bank account.  There is a bit of work required on your part, but I personally find it worth it when you see the rebates adding up!  I tend to use the app mainly when I go grocery shopping, so before I even get to the store, I’ll search the app for any rebates on items that I’ll need to buy.  There are frequent cash back deals on produce, frozen items, cleaning supplies, snacks, and a bunch more!  If I found an item that I plan on buying, I’ll unlock the rebate and it usually asks me to answer a poll or watch a short video.  Then when I go shopping and pick up those items, I have two options; in most cases, I’m asked to take a picture of my receipt and also scan the bar codes on the products, but some stores also give the option of linking your rewards card which automatically helps recognize that the product was purchased.


It’s fairly easy, you just have to be sure to remember to look for rebates before going shopping.  Most items have a .25 cent or .50 cent rebate, but sometimes you get lucky and can get one or two dollars cash back!  Once you accumulate minimum $20.00 in your account, you can withdraw the cash or gift card of your choosing!  Personally, I prefer the Starbucks card over the cash so that I am able to link that gift card number to my Starbucks Gold card and continue to earn more rewards through that!  If you use my referral code (elvbqwy),  you’ll receive $10 when you redeem your first rebate! 


This is a website and an app that earns you rewards for taking surveys, watching clips, playing games, searching the web, and making online purchases.  Just spend a couple of extra minutes taking a few surveys daily and your Swagbucks add up and allowyou to purchase many different gift cards!  By searching the web or making purchases through, you can also earn SB rewards.  In reality, there are a ton of different ways to earn rewards, and a ton of different ways to redeem them in the Swag Store, including gift cards, charitable donations, Paypal, and sweepstakes. One thing I really like about Swagbucks is the occasional scavenger hunt that they’ll send you on.  With clues and hints, you can search the internet on a hunt for bonus points, having a little fun along the way!  You also have the chance to enter ‘swag codes’ that will be posted on their Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled! You only need 1,000 Swagbucks for a $10 Starbucks gift card! 

Starbucks App 

Finally, my personal favorite rewards program of them all!  Starbucks Rewards recently revamped their program, and although it's a change getting used to it, I think I may like it a little more!  When you register a Starbucks gift card, you begin earning rewards on your purchases, and for every $1 that you spend, you earn 2 stars! As a Rewards member, you also earn a free drink on your birthday, free in-store refills on brewed coffee and tea, and member offers.  The Starbucks app conveniently allows you to order ahead and pay by phone as well. Once you reach 300 stars, you become a Gold Member, which comes with all of the rewards as before, but you also get a personalized gold card sent to you and for every 125 stars you earn, you get a free drink!  My favorite thing about this is that there are no exclusions on the free drink, so you can get a venti (or trenta if you're daring) with all of the extra goodies that you want.  Yes, I'd like to add an extra shot of espresso, please!  So as you're registering the gift cards that you're earning through the apps and websites, you're also working your way to free drinks, exclusive deals, and Gold Status! 

Have you tried any of these apps to get free Starbucks? What's your favorite drink at Starbucks?