By Jim Donovan


By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re a fan of Starbucks you’ve probably heard that the coffee chain is changing its rewards program.

Beginning April 12th, Starbucks rewards will be based on how much you spend rather than how many times you visit its shops. In today’s 3 On Your Side report we take a look at ways to save when visiting Starbucks.

If you make a daily trip to Starbucks, you know it can really put a grande dent in your wallet.

“If someone goes to Starbucks every single day for a year and only gets the small size, that’s 700 dollars that they sock into their coffee habit,” said Kiplinger’s Personal Finance editor, Rebecca Dolan.

Dolan says, regardless of the recent changes to the Starbucks rewards program you still should sign up.

“You get a free birthday treat, you get free in store refills on coffee or tea,” said Dolan.

Build up a certain number of Starbucks “stars” and you can cash them in for free drinks and food.

“There are also double star days where you get obviously double worth of stars on your purchases. And there are just a number of different incentives of stuff that they’ll send you throughout the year, coupons for half price breakfast sandwiches, buy one get one drinks. Just many different promotions throughout the year,” said Dolan.

Want to trim you spending? Order a short size.

“So the short size that they don’t advertise is actually eight ounces whereas the tall is twelve ounces. And you know when we calculated the price differences, if you just downgraded from the tall to the short will save you 90 dollars a year,” said Dolan.

Plus, there’s another way to save.

“We recommend checking out sites like Gift Card Granny or Cardpool.com. People will cash in the cards they don’t want to use and then you can buy them at a discount, which is great because it’s basically like getting free coffee,” said Dolan.

When all else fails, consider a side gig as a barista, as employees are entitled to 30% off drinks, food and merchandise.

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