14 Ways to Save at Starbucks

Just in case caffeine rules everything around you.

Caffeine lovers who have heard over and over again that they could be saving so much money if only they’d cut back on their daily Starbucks latte can now rejoice. So long as your coffee habit isn’t putting you in debt, there’s no pressing need to give up that jolt. Instead, try putting some of our trusty brand hacks to work.

Here are 14 ways to save at Starbucks.

1. Shop the Site

If you’re looking to stock up on at-home Starbucks goodies, it never hurts to start at Starbucks.com. Often the company offers coupon codes and discounts for online orders (check the top banner). They also advertise any discounts and savings deals directly on the homepage or via member emails, which brings us to our next point …

2. Join Starbucks Rewards

Join the Starbucks Rewards program and start earning “Stars” that can be redeemed for Starbucks Rewards benefits. You’ll earn two stars for every $1 you spend using your registered card. Check out more about the two reward level options and what you can get with them right here.

3. Get Your Birthday Drink on the House

Register your birthday when you join the Starbucks Rewards program and you’ll be gifted a free beverage or treat through the Starbucks app on your birthday.

4. Bring Your Own Cup

Some Starbucks chains offer a $0.10 discount on your drink when you bring in your own reusable cup to drink from.

5. Go Easy on the Ice

Iced drinks are great, but all that icy goodness takes up a lot of room in your cup. Ask for your ice on the side to ensure your drinking cup is full to the max with your actual drink of choice.

6. Skip the Bottled Water

The water at Starbucks is filtered to ensure your coffee retains its flavor, so skip the pricey bottled water and go for free cup of tap water instead.

7. Split a Venti

The 20-ounce Venti cup (or 24-ounce Venti Iced) is certainly large enough to split with a friend, and you’ll essentially be getting two tall-size drinks for less than you’d pay if you ordered one outright.

8. DIY Your Own Chai Latte

With a little ingenuity you can DIY your own chai latte using Starbucks ingredients, but for a cheaper price. Just order a cup of hot water with a chai tea bag and add your own milk from the condiments bar.

9. Order Gift Cards for Less

Visit sites like Gift Card Granny or Raise.com to purchase Starbucks gift cards for less than face value.

10. Follow Starbucks on Social Media

Check out Starbucks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to be sure you catch all their recent deals.

11. Ask for a ‘Short’

While it’s not listed in most stores, a short size (8 ounces) does exist, and it’s cheaper than the tall if you’re only looking for a little caffeine buzz.

12. Check Your Target Receipts

It might seem odd, but if your Target happens to have a Starbucks, be sure to check your receipt after making a purchase. Sometimes a discount or BOGO offer for Starbucks will be attached. (Speaking of Target, we’ve got a review of its RedCard, which can earn frequent shoppers 5% off eligible purchases, right here.)

13. Make the Most of Free Refills

Pay with your Starbucks card or through your mobile app for your initial purchase and you’ll be rewarded with all the free refills of brewed coffee or tea you like.

14. Avoid Leaving Room for Milk & Ask for a Larger Cup

Instead of opting to have your barista leave you extra room in your tall cup for milk (read: less coffee), ask for your tall beverage in a grande cup instead. Voila! Appropriate amount of beverage with room to spare for milk.

Do you have a thing for java in general? Here are four credit cards that can help coffee lovers reap rewards on their daily brew.

Image: vgajic

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Does Starbucks Have a Good Credit Score?

You may know you have credit scores, but did you know businesses do as well? Find out Starbucks credit score and that of some other popular coffee chains.

Coffee lovers tend to pledge strong loyalties to their favorite coffee shop, often stronger than loyalties to a professional sports. Sound familiar? Well, if this is you, could your allegiance to your favorite coffee shop be swayed by knowing how it treats its suppliers and contractors?

What if you knew their business credit scores, which are a reflection on how they handle their finances and debts? If so, take a look at the scores of major coffee shops Starbucks, Peet’s, Philz, and Dunkin’ Donuts to find out which has the best business credit score. (Note: Representatives for the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

What’s a Business Credit Score?

Similar to personal credit, business credit scores and reports offer one way to determine the credibility of a company by looking into how it has handled debts and obligations in the past.

As a business makes payments on business credit cards, loans, trade accounts with suppliers, etc., those payments may be reported to various warehouses that collect business data. Business credit reporting agencies use that data to create a score, which suppliers, vendors and even business partners can look up.

These scores can determine a business’s ability to qualify for funding or trade terms, large work contracts, rates on insurance premiums and more.

How did we get our hands on these coffee giants scores? Well, here’s a wild fact: Anyone can look up a business’s credit score, any time they want, without notifying or getting permission from the business. Here are the scores (and what they mean) for the four major coffee shops we mentioned. (Note: All scores are on a 0 to 100 range and are as of Nov. 17, 2016.)

Starbucks

Starbucks Corp.’s business credit score was a 50, putting it in a medium risk category. The national score average is 56.8.

starbucks_score

The most important factor influencing this score is payment status, which accounts for approximately 50% or more of the score. Payment status, however, works differently from that of personal credit — instead of a 30-day grace period, a payment that is even one day late can be reported on a business credit report as a slow or delinquent payment.

The report shows that of all the accounts listed for Starbucks, close to 30% of them have a delinquent status. Starbucks is also using 50% of its total available credit. Both the high number of delinquent accounts and the high debt usage can signal financial risk and reduce the score.

The report also shows that Starbucks Corp. has 361 derogatory marks, 277 of which are accounts that have been turned over to a collections agency. Derogatory marks are also likely bringing down their score. Of those collection accounts, 238 of them are listed as paid in full. More than 200 of them are from the Environmental Control Board. It’s important to know what these accounts are — they could even be duplicates or mistakes negatively affecting the score.

The other derogatory remarks include 60 state tax liens — tax debts that have not been paid in full — and 23 judgments, which indicate a financial obligation to pay any court-ordered damages following a lawsuit in which the business was the defendant. Both of these can hurt a business’s chances of qualifying for the best financing products and most flexible terms.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

peets_scorePeet’s Coffee & Tea’s credit score was a 75, putting it in a low- to medium-risk category, well above the national score average.

Of Peet’s 56 accounts reporting, 16 of them show a delinquent status. There are seven tax liens and 12 derogatory UCC filings, as well as one account that has been turned over to a collection agency and is listed as paid in full (these can stay on business credit reports for more than six years, even if paid).

This score shows that Peet’s generally pays its creditors on time or just a few days late, which is usually an indication that a business is financially healthy and considered low risk.

Philz Coffee

philz_scoreComing in hot with a score between that of Peet’s and Starbucks is Philz Coffee, with a score of 65. This score puts Philz in the same low- to medium-risk category as Peet’s.

Philz has a smaller number of accounts than the above competitors, with 15 accounts reporting and only one showing a delinquent status. Other factors that might be bringing down Philz score include one state tax lien, UCC filings that are listed as derogatory and even the age of the credit file. Philz has 11 years in business, according to the business credit report, while Peet’s and Starbucks each have more than 30 years. A credit file showing fewer years in business can indicate less certainty about the future of the business.

The payment trends section of the report shows that Philz pays its bills approximately on time or only a few days late. This is a good indicator of financial health to creditors and is likely having a positive effect on the score.

Dunkin’ Donuts

dunkin_scoreDunkin’ Donuts’ score is a 24, which puts the business in a medium- to high-risk category.

Dunkin’ Donuts has one account that is beyond the terms of the agreement, according to the report. The report indicates that the low number of active accounts in the past 12 months could be a factor bringing down the score, as well as the multiple tax liens, derogatory UCC filings and a judgment.

Although Dunkin’ Donuts is carrying revolving debt (29% debt usage), it is likely low enough not to have a large negative impact on the score (however, it is always best for businesses pay balances in full, if possible). Dunkin’ Donuts also has a long established credit history, which predicts continued success and has a positive impact on its credit scores.

Another Scoring Factor

One interesting factor that may influence how each of these coffee producers is viewed in the eyes of lenders is their industry classification, or SIC and NAICS codes. Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, has an SIC code associated with “doughnuts,” which is a low-risk industry, while Peet’s, which is listed under “coffee, roasted,” is a medium-risk industry.

Some small business SIC codes that are higher risk can trigger a reduced credit limit recommendations or even an automatic decline from lenders. If you’re a small business owner checking your scores, you’ll want to know how the bureaus are classifying your business and what impact it might have on your credit.

Score Higher Than Your Favorite Cup of Joe

For most businesses, establishing business credit is the first step toward building strong credit scores. Separating personal and business expenses, as well as obtaining a business credit card or accounts with vendors and suppliers that report to commercial credit agencies are great first steps. As you start to make payments on your accounts, be sure to make them on time or even early.

It’s important to check your credit scores. (You can see two of your personal credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.) Be sure to look for any errors or misinformation — make sure the accounts listed are associated with your business, and make sure you don’t have any tax liens, collections accounts, judgments, bankruptcies or UCC filings that shouldn’t be there. Inspect your company information, like your SIC code, to make sure you aren’t incorrectly identified as a higher-risk business.

Next time you sit down with your favorite cup of joe, consider setting your news app aside and take a close look at your credit reports and scores instead. Knowing where you stand and taking steps to improve it will energize your business and help keep you ahead of the pack.

Image: Georgijevic

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