Updated on 10.23.07

Twelve Tactics For Defeating the Starbucks Habit

Trent Hamm

Shannon writes in with the following lament:

Is there any advice you can give for giving up the Starbucks addiction? I’ve slowly been gaining control of my financial life, but Starbucks seems to be the bain of my financial existence–the only thing I cannot give up.

Starbucks is a particularly pesky thing to give up because it has (at least) two major psychological tools working in its favor. First, the product itself is addictive – caffeine is both a physically and psychologically addictive substance. Second, the routine factor: many people simply grab coffee from Starbucks as part of their daily routine, and this itself is hard to upset even without the caffeine addiction factor.

Thus, my tips for helping to get past the Starbucks habit break down into two separate groups.

Seven Ways To Beat Caffeine

Talk to your doctor Seriously. Beating any addiction is challenging, even if it seems like a trivial thing. Ask whether B or B-complex vitamins will help, and also ask about nasal sprays. Also, ask whether a gentle anti-depressant would help, preferably something natural and gentle like St. John’s wort.

Drink plenty of water and fruit juice Most people don’t drink enough water anyway, but the period when you’re fighting a caffeine addiction is the best time to really get into a much better habit, that of drinking several cups of water a day.

Get extra sleep Caffeine withdrawal will make you lethargic, so plan for extra sleep for the first month or so when you’re kicking the habit.

Don’t be afraid to use mild painkillers Advil and Tylenol also help during withdrawal – headaches are a common complaint, and these will help with any headaches you might have.

Try decaf If you like the flavor of coffee, try making your own decaf. You can use this to directly substitute for your morning coffee routine, severely reducing your caffeine intake.

Get some low-impact exercise Do simple things like taking a short walk or stretching to get the blood flowing through your body. It’s an amazing natural fix to the doldrums you may feel during withdrawal – or doldrums during any normal day.

Get some support by talking to your partner and your friends Ask for them to support you in this change, and most of them will step right up to the plate and help you. I helped a friend kick an alcohol addiction once – we just talked to her constantly and engaged her as much as possible and celebrated her successes.

Five Ways To Change The Starbucks Routine

Use a different route This is extremely effective. If you drive by a Starbucks as part of your routine, change that routine so that you avoid the Starbucks. Find an alternate route to and from work so that you avoid the temptation.

Replace Starbucks with a different beverage I often start my day off with tea at my desk (instead of coffee), but that may be harsh for some. Instead, perhaps find a non-Starbucks beverage you enjoy and make that part of your morning routine.

Find the non-coffee aspects of your routine and duplicate them elsewhere Do you often stop and drink while reading the newspaper? Get a newspaper anyway and read it elsewhere while enjoying a different beverage. Look at the routine you follow at Starbucks and retain elements of that theme, merely removing Starbucks from the equation.

Think about it when you “automatically” stop Sometimes, people seemingly “automatically” stop for things that are part of their habit. Whenever you even think about doing such a thing, take a moment and think about it. Even if you catch yourself already in the parking lot, do the smart thing and just drive away.

Set goals and give yourself rewards for meeting them Make yourself a deal – no Starbucks for a month, and you’ll use half of the money you saved on something pleasant for yourself. Pick out the item, even, and use a picture of it to remind yourself of the goal. After a month, the habit will be largely crushed.

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  1. Beth says:

    I went over this a little while ago – I started tracking my spending, and even though I had lots of good habits, I struggled every work-day with the decision to go get coffee. It serves multiple purposes for me – it’s a good mid-morning break, I get to be a bit social, it’s a nice little walk, etc.

    In the end I decided to work *with* the routine. I decided it was something I wanted to do, so instead of fighting it, I’d incorporate it into my budget. I give myself $50 per month to use toward coffee on the workday (weekends I make it at home, and I often make a bit in the morning before work as well). I pull the cash out and keep it in a designated spot in my desk.

    $50 for coffee (per month!!!) sounds both extravagant and miserly at the same time – I’m sure some readers will be horrified, and others will wish they spent that little! For me, that $50 is more than sufficient – last month I had enough left over to go out for lunch, and when I buy coffee to have at home, I take the money out of that pool.

    Perhaps your writer could consider making this a planned-for indulgence, and see what amount she considers reasonable, rather than struggle and fail repeatedly. If nothing else, actually putting the cash in a spot for coffee money ought to make her conscious of the spending.

  2. Mikki says:

    The problem seems to be kicking a sugary coffee habit… maybe bringing coffee with you to work would help you avoid heading out to get Starbucks. Maybe you need to have half and half and whipped cream on hand at work so you can make it there yourself.

    If it is the social aspect of taking a break to go to Starbucks, bring your previously-made coffee with you for the walk with co-workers.

    And if you have to give in, make sure you bring your own mug. Starbucks that I have been to credit you 5 cents for bringing your own mug – at least you get a tiny discount while you are buying that 3 dollar coffee.

  3. Ray Merkler says:

    I’ve quit caffeine twice now, once cold turkey (which I relapsed on about a year later following a personal tragedy), and once doing it gradually.

    Doing it cold turkey worked great, but it was a very painful experience. The first night off of the caffeine, I slept for about fourteen hours. It took me about two weeks to feel more-or-less functional again. If you have the patience, it’s probably easier on your head if you quit gradually.

    Here’s how I did it graudually last time:

    My old coffee routine was a homemade 32-ounce iced coffee each morning that I would sip throughout the day. I used six scoops of coffee to make this. When I decided to quit, I bought a bag of cheap decaf, and started replacing one of those six scoops each week with a scoop of decaf. After six weeks, I was drinking all decaf and had no trouble just not making coffee in the morning anymore.

  4. Michael Langford says:

    As a software developer, therefore, as a former, reformed, and now recaffeinated addict, I empathize with your addiction to Starbucks. I encourage you to get over the expensive part (5.75 mocha lattes) and don’t try to kick the caffeine habit at the same time.

    Caffeine is a great conquest of humans over our biological clocks. Not using it (in at least moderation) can make you at the mercy of parts of your body evolved for different times and places than we live in now. And if you fail at the caffeine part, you very likely will end up at Starbucks again to get your fix.

    Other ways beyond those mentioned above to get stimulation when you start to droop are:

    Tense video games: 10 minutes of something you can barely do will stimulate you. A hard handheld game or a 5 minute match of some first person shooter (especially if you’re bad at it) will greatly stimulate you.

    A small gamble: Even small amounts of gambling is amazingly stimulating to most people. People can stay up for days gambling because of this. Just a couple bets on ro sham bo with a friend (for real money) will get your heart racing and your blood flowing. Careful, this too is addictive.


  5. Mike says:

    It sounds like the reader is more concerned about the financial aspect of the addiction, at least from what Trent provided.

    I would suggest progressing in small steps. Does she get a super-extra-large expensive fancy coffee? Try switching first to just plain coffee, then to smaller sizes…take each step about a week at a time.

    By the time you have gotten down to just plain ol’ coffee, in the smallest size available, that’s when you can either stop drinking coffee altogether, or find a more economical way to enjoy it. Try brewing it at home instead of going to Starbucks. If you mostly drink it at work, you could also ask your co-workers to pitch in and buy a cheap coffee maker for the break room, then you can all split the ongoing costs of coffee and filters.

  6. Vixen says:

    I only allow myself to indulge in caffeine twice a month now, simply because it was becoming such an addiction. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to break out the Motrin during the withdrawls. I got the absolute worst headaches during that time, to the point that it was affecting my personality and work.

    As for the Starbuck’s addiction itself, I can merely echo the other commenters and the article: find a substitution. More often than not, it’s the aspect of rewarding yourself with a fancy coffee that is appealing. Reward yourself with other items.

  7. Kat says:

    LOL! Change your route so you don’t go by one. That is a good one. In my area alone there are 8 Starbucks within less than a mile along one street.
    I have a friend who switched to a cute local coffee shop for about half the price. Plus for every 10 she buys, she gets a free one. She still gets her coffee fix, but pays less for it.
    Now she is working on cutting back to 3 a week instead of 5.

  8. jess says:

    I make regular coffee at home 4 days a week and allow myself a once a week splurge at Starbucks (usually on Friday) or another fancy coffee type place. I spend the $5 and don’t beat myself up about it.
    One lifesaver I found is a coffee maker with a timer and an insulated carafe. The coffee is ready before I get up and stays hot, I just put it into a go-mug and take it with me to work.

  9. Amy says:

    If your office doesn’t have a coffee machine, buy an inexpensive percolator and stick it on your desk. You’ll beak even in about two weeks…seriously. The quality of the coffee going in to the machine matters much more than the machine itself.

    Then, buy good beans in small quantities, freshly roasted. Grind them yourself, if at all possible. This will make a huge difference in taste. They’ll be expensive compared to Folger’s or whatever, but ridiculously cheap compared to Starbucks. Keep some fresh milk (or half and half) in the fridge, and use real sugar. Finally, consider keeping a jar of vanilla or cinnamon in your desk to jazz up the coffee, if that’s what appeals to you. Keep in mind that one of the reasons Starbucks tastes good is the large quantities of milk and sugar they use in their drinks. When you pour for yourself, you have much more of a tendency to be stingy.

    For me, a huge part of the Starbucks routine is just getting up and out of the office for ten minutes. Instead, get in the habit of pouring your freshly-brewed, delicious coffee into a mug and taking it with you for a walk around the building. If it’s a social thing, make coffee for your coworkers as well…they probably all wish they could kick the Starbucks habit too.

  10. thisisbeth says:

    I’m not a coffee-drinker (or tea), so I’m trying to see your addiction like some of mine, and what I try to do with those:

    If you’re getting Starbucks every day, consider making it a Friday treat and drink your own coffee the other days of the week. Giving up something completely is like giving up foods completely on a diet: it’s often setting you up for failure. If you like the “specialty” coffees, don’t deny yourself entirely, but make them what they’re supposed to be: a treat.

  11. There are also a ton of ways to earn free Starbucks card on that great superhighway we call the Internet. Personally, I read spam from Mypoints.com, and sometimes do online shopping through their portal. Every couple of months or so, I get a Starbucks gift card in the mail.

    Other than that, I mostly just try to avoid the seriously fancy stuff at Starbucks. An iced coffee is two bucks as opposed to an iced chai latte’s five or so.

  12. Megan says:

    An easy and cheap alternative to a Starbucks Mocha is to brew your own coffee from freshly ground beans and add hot chocolate mix or Hershey’s syrup and some milk. That’s all they use at Starbucks anyways.
    Add a little whipped cream on top and you’ll never even notice the difference.

    And I’ve heard that a cup of brewed coffee actually has more caffeine that a shot of espresso, so you don’t have to give up the caffeine if that’s not your goal.

  13. Laura says:

    It took me about three months of consistent work, but it’s worth it. I feel a lot better both financially and physically.

  14. Jen says:

    It is hard to resist Starbuck’s marketing ploys, especially this time of year with their “specialty” flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Eggnog Lattes.

    Try this – go to a warehouse club and buy a big bag of Starbuck’s coffee, which is so much cheaper than buying it by the cup. Or, buy the best quality supermarket coffee you can afford.

    Then, at home…

    For a pumpkin-spice treat, add some pumpkin pie spice to the coffee grounds before brewing, lighten with half and half and you have the indulgence without the cost!

    For an eggnog-flavored coffee around the holidays, brew your Starbuck’s, add a splash of eggnog, top with a bit of whipped cream and grated nutmeg – yum.

    What’s great is that once you have these ingredients on hand, no need to get dressed on the weekends in order to snag your high-end caffeine fix! Brew at home and read the paper…

  15. I buy my coffee from Mobile gas stations. 99c for a huge cup and they have 10 different blends :)

  16. Avlor says:

    My hubby and I love coffee and we have had run trying roasting green coffee beans at home. We pay less for the green beans (even with shipping) – than we would at the store for roasted, since we liked the specialty coffees. I buy several pounds at a time (to get better price) and the green beans keep longer. We don’t mind doing the roasting and we like the coffee better. (though, I am looking for a local source of green beans.) Just a thought.

  17. Avlor says:

    (grr I can’t type the word “fun” can I – in the “we have had RUN”) silly me.

  18. Rob says:

    The hell with with stopping, but I learned. First I used to by coffe by the cup at starbucks. Then I learned Costcos has 2 pounds for $18.00. Pretty much a half pound for free. Theu cost over 11 at starbucks.Then I found out costos brand is roasted by starbucks. 8 bucks for 2 pounds. Dont deny your self pleasure. Simply find a way to make it cheaper.

  19. allie says:

    If you’re trying to save some money, the easiest way I found was to order something cheaper 4 days a week, like a smaller size or regular coffee. And for a special occasion or treat, splurge for your favorite drink. This not only saves money without making you miserable, but the ‘fancy’ coffee is enjoyed so much more.

  20. Andamom says:

    I rarely go to Starbucks these days — given that my company supplies drinks (tea, coffee, and hot chocolate as well as water)– and given that I don’t drink coffee anyway (only drank juices, chocolate, and tea at Starbucks), there isn’t a real need.

    Here are a few other options:
    -Buy a water bottle and keep it with you — that way, you’ll stay hydrated and won’t need to buy bottled water.
    -Many people feel they need coffee or tea at work — Go in with your coworkers and buy a community machine that everyone can use.
    -Pick up some tea leaves and supplies and make your own tea bags… Using what you’ve made is fun and economical!

  21. Kay says:

    While overpriced espresso drinks are a waste of money, Starbucks products *are* tasty. One way I handled the same situation was to use a Starbucks card I was given as a gift to enforce my monthly coffee budget. I went to Starbucks.com and set up an automatic reload of $10/month to my card. The cashier gave me a receipt with the remaining balance after each purchase. Since I promised myself that I’d never use cash or another card there, and I didn’t want the embarrassment of running out of funds, I watched my budget carefully.

    The limited budget was a disincentive to stop there often, but I knew I could get a soy latte if I really, really wanted one. After a while, I found that I fell out of the habit of swinging by Starbucks and I cut off the automatic reloads. I still have about $25 remaining on my card and I keep it in my wallet for treats, but my daily coffee is brewed at home.

  22. Shannon says:

    I have a automatic coffeemaker at home that brews it directly into a travel mug. I wake up, push a button, add my milk and stevia (I’m cutting down on sugar) and go. :)

  23. Kate says:

    I’ve had to give up caffeine twice while I underwent medical tests. The first time I went cold turkey. The second time I had time to plan and weaned myself gradually.

    The physical addiction itself is very easy to deal with. Just cut down the servings of caffeine by half over a period of 3-5 days. Once you’re down to half a normal-sized mug, you can quit entirely without risking the major headache.

    The habit and routine of caffeine is another matter entirely. I was relieved when six weeks without any caffeine made absolutely no difference in my arrythmia. It meant I could go right back to my morning tea with a clean conscience.

    There’s another trick for giving up Starbucks: become a tea connoisseur instead of a coffee drinker. Once you’ve experience really great tea, you’ll make it at home in a proper pot, rather than put up with the swill that coffee shops “brew” in paper cups with lukewarm water. And tea’s much better for your system too.

  24. pam says:

    I gave up my latte-a-day habit, but NOT the coffee habit! After drinking the sweetened and flavored drinks for so long, regularly brewed coffee didn’t do it for me. I made the switch my buying flavored coffee creamer.

    Depending on what you are drinking at Starbucks, you should be able to find a cheaper substitute. Make it a personal challenge to see how long you can go without going to Starbucks. It will become habit after a while.

    On of my problems is going out for lunch during the work week. I’m “too busy” in the morning to pack a lunch. I challenged myself, and made it almost 4 weeks before I indulged, and I am back on track during the 5th week.

    You have to make a plan and commit to your plan in order for it to work.

  25. kitty says:

    Why not just drink coffee at home? If your problem with coffee is the money you leave in Starbucks, surely you don’t need to stop drinking coffee at all. Just brew it at home.

    There is no harm to health from coffee drinking as shown by study after study, unless you drink latte that has zillion calories and fat too. So instead of quitting coffee alltogether – which is bound to give you splitting headaches at least for a while – why not simply invest in a coffee maker? If you only like Starbucks, maybe they sell beans or grounded coffee?

    I admit I don’t like Starbucks coffee, it tastes burned to me. Latte is OK, but it is loaded with calories that I don’t need so I leave it for when I go on a date – Starbucks is a convenient meeting place. I like Dunkin’ Donut coffee, but they sell both grounded and beans, which is what I buy. Then I can comfortably drink it at home before going to work. Our group used to have a coffee machine at work, but we are no longer allowed to do it as it is deemed fire hazard. But I figure a mug I drink in the morning is enough anyway.

  26. Jasmine says:

    If the main concern is the financial aspect, then making the coffee at home is the best way to go and then splurging sometimes to go to Starbucks. There are plenty of websites that give tips on how to make starbucks-esque drinks. There might be a coffeeshop in your area that has less expensive drinks. I like the comment about giving oneself a ‘coffee’ budget. You can buy a giftcard every month and once it’s gone for that month, it’s gone.

    I prefer tea and make it every morning for myself and bring it in a travel mug to work. I like having something to drink during the commute and don’t want to stop every day to get coffee.

    Jen, thanks for the pumpkin spice tip, I’m going to try that…the pumpkin spice latte gets me every time…

  27. Kim says:

    I think Starbuck’s secret ingredient is cocaine.

    How else to explain the addiction?

  28. Mrs. Micah says:

    Speaking of cocaine….(Kim) I was once addicted to the caffeine/sugar in Coca Cola. It was free in our cafeteria. My roommates made me go cold turkey. Worst 3 days (ok, not quite, but some of the worst 3 days) of my life. I didn’t use Advil at first, but gave in. Fortuantely, our health center gave that out.

    I may or may not be addicted to chocolate…but I’m happy about that. And it’s not nearly as expensive.

  29. !wanda says:

    I quit coffee cold turkey, and it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. However, I’m really sensitive to caffeine withdrawal- I was only drinking about a cup a day, and when I quit I had the worst migraines for a week, to the point where moving my head felt like hammering on my brain. I found that when I quit, I had fewer headaches in general, because I wasn’t withdrawing from caffeine every couple days when I didn’t have time to get my morning coffee. I also found a lot more money in my bank account. If you’re going to quit caffeine, either don’t do it cold or schedule some days when you don’t have to think too much.

  30. Daniel says:

    I didn’t give up coffee completely, but I did switch to brewing at home. It’s actually quite nice, but I had to make specific changes to get it to work. I bought a drip brewer with a timer so I could set it up the night before (no worries about making it in the morning) and I still buy my beans from good coffee shops.

    It’s better than the grocery store cans of coffee, so I still get my fix..and it’s only meters away from my bed when I wake up in the morning.

  31. Lori says:

    Quitting coffee was harder for me than quitting smoking. I had the worst headaches of my life for the first three days. I recommend giving up the coffee-shop habit and then giving up caffeine once that’s conquered. I do drink coffee now, but only at home and not every day.

    Also, most Starbucks offer 8 oz. or “short” drinks, even though they don’t post them on the menu. They are small, cheap, and a good start to saving money at Starbucks.

  32. Mariette says:

    Beth’s suggestion is a good one. So often we beat ourselves up for not kicking a habit completely or being perfect frugal people. Often when we are beating ourselves up over something, another part of our psyche just digs in thus making it all the harder to change our habits. So if you really love lattes, then working with that may be a better solution for you. Even if you don’t really love them but are addicted and can’t break the habit, then wean yourself off slowly. Budget yourself how much you will spend on coffee and go from there.

  33. I used to go at least 5x a week and found that it really started to add up. I now limit myself to no more than 3 a week; usually Mon, Wed and Fri.

  34. Michelle says:

    We paid good money ($80) for a nice espresso machine to kick my hubby’s Starbucks addiction. I buy Eight O Clock whole bean coffee (The cheapest good whole bean I’ve found)…I grind enough on the weekend for the week, then store it in a sealed container to use each morning. Set up the water and coffee the night before, turn it on to heat while I shower then when I get out its ready to run, in a minute or two while I’m dressing its done, pour in some hot milk and add sweetner of your choice.

    It takes some time a(and a few cups of bad coffee) before you learn the machine’s tricks, but its a nice morning treat that’s much less than the shops.

  35. shadox says:

    Is there a route you can take to work that does not go by a Starbuck? Where do you live?!

    I get my caffeine hit from a Diet Coke. People look at me strange for having a soda at 8:00 AM, and my dentist is not happy it (or maybe he actually is happy), but I like it and it’s far cheaper than those suck-your-wallet-dry lattes.

  36. AGoodGerman says:

    Every sensible human being is fully capable of brewing her/his own coffee and put it into a thermos flask for work. I don’t think that’s really the point with this Starbucks “problem”. Judging from my own experience with me and SB I’d guess that it has something to do with having a breather and moment of privacy before the serious work day draws you into its routines or with rewarding yourself.
    Try this: if possible find yourself a favorite bench on which you simply sit for some moments and let your mind wander. Or see if you find a different route to work, one which allows you may be to hve a pleasant little walk. To make it short: drink as much coffee as you want, but look for things you can do to replace Starbucks as a crutch for your soul.

  37. Jeni says:

    I have a Starbucks habit! I used to go daily and get a frappuccino or mocha, and after two years of this, I realized I was spending too much money and consuming too many empty calories! I still go to Starbucks almost every day, but just get a tall drip coffee. That’s still $2 a day, but going there is my favorite time of the day – since I work from home, it’s my one hour of the day to get out of the house and not be a hermit, and I seem to get more work done there since I’m forced to work, rather than getting distracted by home stuff.

  38. speedy says:

    When you talk to your doctor, be sure to ask about how antidepressants (even St. John’s Wort) will make birth control pills less effective.

    A friend of mine did not want children, but she ended up pregnant when she was taking antidepressants. Seemed no one considered possible drug interactions.

    Starbucks may be an expensive habit, but having a child you had not planned for can be expensive, too!

  39. MB says:

    My husband and I also got hooked on Starbucks (someone gave us a $50 gift certificate for xmas a few years ago.)after the certificate, there was no way we were going to keep spending that money on coffee!

    We bought a Melita grind & brew coffeemaker (much better than the cuisinart) (about $70 online) and we buy Costco brand, “Starbucks brew” whole beans for $9 for two pounds. We also picked up an assortment of travel mugs (Marshalls or TJ Maxx good for this). We set up the coffeemaker at night, push the button to automatically grind and brew in the morning, put it in our attractive mugs with some cinnamon or nutmeg (no calories) and 2% milk and have freshly brewed starbucks on our morning commute. Thus we get our Starbucks, enjoy it thoroughly, and pay only a fraction of the price. Another bonus? We don’t waste 10 or 15 minutes stopping for coffee so we can sleep a little later!

  40. Corinne says:

    I just do the Starbucks thing a little more rationally. Trent’s suggestion for bypassing my starbucks en route to wherever I’m going is nearly moot in NYC – there can be, literally, a Starbucks on every corner here. What I do is really make going to Starbucks a SPECIAL activity. I settle for our work brew during the week, and then make weekend trips to Starbucks a special occasion where I can feel free to get whatever fun frothy beverage I’m craving. Interestingly, calories usually trump cost, and because I’m health concious, i tend to forego the huge sugar loaded expensive beverages anyway. But when I want a pumpkin spice latte on a cool fall morning I get it! I don’t feel like I’m submitting to marketing or anything else, simply that I am using the disposable income at my disposal in the way that will provide for me the most “utility,” or satisfaction in that period of time. Could I save that money, and invest every penny? Yes. But as Trent explains, the point of frugality is both saving and cutting out needless expense, AND enjoying the money that you work so hard for every day.

  41. Rather than quitting caffeine, something I never plan to do, I cut my Starbucks habit drastically by simply brewing my own coffee at work. I bought a Senseo coffee machine because it is simple to use and maintain and I make do with that coffee.

    It’s not a direct substitute (I still miss my lattes), but it gets the job done and I find that about one trip per week to Starbucks now keeps me satisfied and I think I appreciate it more now anyway.

  42. MoneySucks says:

    I find that I am more likely to stop for a coffee (not starbucks) if I have a few extra minutes in the morning before work. By leaving home with just enough transportation time to get to work, I am not able to stop for a hot drink.

    Not recommended for everyone, but it works for me.

  43. Nicole says:

    I defy anyone to find a route between any two points in the US that does not pass a Starbucks ;)

  44. nita says:

    I’m on the get your fix elsewhere, and make it pleasurable plan. The coffee at my workplace is grody. But the coffee station does have hot hot water.

    I have a french press in a mug from Planetary Design (http://www.planetarydesign.us/). I tend get my coffee from a coffee roaster that donates a percentage of their profits to a nonprofit theater organization (thundermuck.com). I can afford the splurge on good coffee because I use relatively little of it. And I don’t waste it by brewing a whole pot when I’ll only drink half.

    I save time on the way into work, and if I want a nice, walking break, I walk to the library instead.

  45. tuck says:

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned (unless I missed it) was a suggestion to tally up all the money you are spending at Starbucks in a month, and see how much money is being wasted. Especially if invested.

    I would disagree with the fruit juice suggestion: fruit juice is loaded with calories and oftentimes sugar or sugar substitutes — water is a better option.

    Starbucks is also known for making extra-strong coffee — i.e, more caffeine than other brands. (DD, Peet’s, Coffee Bean, etc.) So another step to quitting might be to start with a lighter brand of coffee.

    I’d also disagree with the Diet Coke suggestion. While it may be zero calories, it still has aspartame, or Splenda, or some dicey sugar substitute.

    The best thing would probably be to wean yourself down to decaf, then drink it with skim milk.

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

  46. Ann says:

    One other way to quit Starbucks is to become a coffee snob! There are so many vastly different, explosive-with-flavor coffees out there. Start with a small artisan coffee roaster, then move on to home roasting. Then you’ll have to get a thermos and bring from home, because SB’s just won’t cut it for taste anymore. A friend, with reinforcement from the Sweet Maria’s homeroasting group, got me started roasting my own beans at home: Exquisite beans for about $5/pound, 15 min of time/week, using a battered saucepan and wooden spoon. Wonderful! I love discussing undertones of flavor, my husband likes the cost.

  47. d.a. says:

    Used to have a Starbucks habit… here’s how I kicked it:

    1. Bought a Starbucks stainless-steel travel mug. Found that some Starbucks (not all) will offer a discount if you bring your own mug. Also switched to drinking “cafe misto”s, which are not generally advertised on their boards, but is cheaper than the usual lattes.

    2. Started taking my mug to the local convenience store, and filling up there. In most cases, it was less than a dollar if you brought your own mug, and they had plenty of flavorings.

    3. Today: I brew a large pot of coffee on Sunday night, put it into a big mason jar, and store in the ‘fridge. Each morning, I’ll heat a serving up with a touch of sugar and creamer, pour into the travel mug (that thing is a workhorse), and I’m on my way.

  48. Kyle says:

    If we are talking about financial reasons for not going to Starbucks then how about ‘JUST STOP GOING!’ If it is a caffeine issue then brew at home and start mixing in decaf with regular a little at a time and take yourself off slowly. Worked for me.

  49. sandra says:

    I´ve read somewhare that an apple do the same then caffeine: whake you up.

  50. Maggie Shaw says:

    This is the girl who originally sent in the starbucks question. Even when I make coffee in the morning, I sometimes have the urge for a Frappucino. I can’t avoid Starbucks because there is one in the lobby of my building. You can smell the aroma of coffee the moment you enter the lobby. I’ve decided to just go cold turkey. I want a bigger apartment next year. Plus I typed up and stuck on my fridge all of the significant expenses I have coming up in the next few months. That’s motivation enough to not spend the money. JUST STOP GOING is not that easy. It’s not a caffeine issue either because I drink decaf already with skim milk and no sugar.

  51. Fran says:

    Try this: while your coffee is brewing,warm some milk in your (microwave safe)cup. Voila–cafe au lait a l’onde-fours. (everything sounds better in French, doesn’t it?:)
    For my fellow tea people, try making chai in its simplest form: bring a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part milk to a boil, drop in a plain black teabag, and let it go for a minute or two. Add your favorite sweetener if you wish.
    In answer to the above question about where one can go without driving past a Starbucks, try either I-90 as it goes through Wyoming from South Dakota to the border with Montana or M-28 between Seney and Munising, Michigan.

  52. Connie says:

    I purchase a Starbuck’s gift certificate several times a year. (You can get neat personalized ones on their site) and I limit myself to the amount on the gift certificate for 3 months. No more money on the card, no more lattes until X date.

    This does two things:

    1)Keeps me in budget without depriving me.
    2) Makes me think twice each and every time I stop because I have to decide if today is “Starbucks-worthy”. It cut out the mindless spending.

    I don’t think I could ever give up designer coffees. They are not so much an addiction as a joy for me, like good food or fine wine, so I find a way to incorporate them into my life.

    Good luck!

  53. Cleveland says:

    This is a pretty good article yet it’s the same information over and over..

  54. Vanessa says:

    I have to admit, I LOVE Starbucks, but I DON’T like coffee! I love the hot chocolates, teas, coffee-mixed flavored drinks, and the baked goods. Here are a few suggestions for saving money….

    1.) Usually you pay the same price for tea, regardless of what size you get.
    2.) You can order a “short” drink for a reduced price. A short does not appear on the official menu, but it is available, and costs less than a tall. Obviously, it is also shorter than a tall, but it does the job.
    3.) Starbucks has good customer service. If you do not get the drink to your specifications, you can get a coupon for a free drink next time. Once I waited over 5 minutes for my blended lemonade; I got a coupon for any drink of my choice for free for next time.
    4.) Honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, vanilla sugar are all free – use these instead of adding a syrup to your drink and save $.50 a drink.
    5.) Bring your own travel mug to save $.10 a drink and also save the environment.
    6.) On April 22 (Earth Day), Starbucks offers free coffee to anyone with a travel mug, and a $5 coupon when you buy a travel mug.

  55. Vanessa says:

    Two other money saving suggestions for saving money at Starbucks…
    7.) When ordering an iced drink (like passion ice tea lemon-aid), ask for lite ice. You’ll get more actual drink for your money and it is still just as cold.

    8.) Order a hot drink “extra hot” – they will make the drink about 20 degrees hotter and you can add in extra cold milk and the drink will still feel as hot as normal – and you get more beverage for your buck.

    You can save a fair bit of money if you order a short, extra hot latte in a travel mug and add more milk and vanilla powder flavoring, as opposed to ordering a tall, regular vanilla latte in a Starbucks paper cup. In Canada, this would save you about $1.10 plus applicable taxes every time.

  56. Mule Skinner says:

    Nowadays you can get reasonably good coffee at McDonald’s, because they are challenging Starbucks. And if you are over 50 (55?) ask for a “senior coffee” — not on the menu, but only 60 cents!

  57. Sally says:

    I think the caffeine is like the money. You need a balance. I make mine at home but quite frequently get one from a local coffee shop. It’s $1.25 for a small with cream and one sugar. It’s not too many calories either. I thing caffeine can be a necessary evil – I’ve done that and the vegetarian thing – and find that a blance is what works for me. I have coffee (but not more than 2 cups a day – no cola, choc, etc) and I have meat – but in moderation.

  58. Kim says:

    I noticed that someone else named Kim mentioned that cocaine was the secret addiction ingredient in Starbucks coffee….that’s what I have often thgouht! Frankly, I wish Starbucks would disappear off the face ofthe earth…my husband spends an excess of $300 per month at Starbucks – even after I bitched and moaned about it. He has now resorted to hiding his cups in the ditch beside our house before he pulls in the driveway so that I won’t know he’s been to Starbucks! Hell, people…we have bills to pay! I don’t know what to do about my husband! He would spend his last $5 at Starbucks…Starbucks or gas…he would choose Starbucks. He’s got NO common sense when it comes to Starbucks.

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