Let’s face it, times are tough, and we are all looking for ways to tighten our belts. The average American spends over $2,500 on coffee a year, so if you're on a tight budget, you might think you'll have to go without your favorite Starbucks order.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case, and in this guide, we'll tell you all the cheap Starbucks drinks hacks so you can still get your fix without breaking the bank.
18 Cheap Starbucks Drinks (Best Budget-Friendly Orders)
This will help you save a few dollars each time which can quickly add up throughout the year. The cheapest drinks tend to be the smallest and simplest because they use fewer ingredients and take less time to make. That means more pre-made drinks and less hand-crafted Starbucks options. Here's our list of the best budget-friendly drinks:
Let’s start with the cheapest drink on the Starbucks menu, the espresso. It’s so cheap because it’s literally just 0.75 ounces of espresso without any milk or other toppings added. It's available as a solo, doppio, triple, or quad (1-4 shots) with 75mg of caffeine per shot. Espresso is generally used as the base of popular Starbucks drinks so ordering an espresso on its own gives you the same amount of caffeine at a fraction of the price.
An espresso will typically cost around $2 but can be slightly more expensive in some locations. There's no sugar and no calories, so it's a cheap option perfect for those on a diet.
2. Iced Espresso
An iced espresso is exactly the same as a regular espresso, but it's poured over ice. It's used as the basis of many popular cold drinks and is available in blonde or dark roasts, or even in decaf. Just like a regular espresso, you can order it as a single, double, triple, or quadruple shot, though most people won't want more than a double when it's on its own.
It costs the same as a regular espresso and also has no calories or sugar.
3. Espresso Macchiato
A Starbucks espresso macchiato is just like a regular espresso with a dollop of cream on the top. This gives it a contrasting light and dark coloring and a slightly sweeter flavor. They're very strong with 150mg of caffeine in a single serving but still over 15 calories. This drink works well with flavored syrups and caramel topping, but adding these will increase the price and calories.
A short espresso macchiato will cost about $2.50, which is cheaper than most other coffee chains.
4. Espresso con Panna
The espresso con panna is similar to a macchiato but uses flavored vanilla cream instead of regular cream. This gives it a sweeter taste which helps to counteract the bitterness of the coffee. There are 150mg of caffeine and 35 calories per serving, so it's a fairly light drink, but if you mix the cream into the espresso, then it's still rich and creamy.
It costs about the same as a macchiato, $2.50, and is one of the cheapest Starbucks drinks on the menu.
5. Steamed Milk
Steamed milk is another incredibly simple option that is very affordable. It has just one ingredient, milk, which is steamed, so it's hot and slightly foaming. It's available in every size, but because this drink is perfect for children, there's even a special kids size which is even cheaper than a short. It will cost you $3 for a steamed milk short, but only $2 for the kid's size. You can change the milk, but that will cost extra if you go for a non-dairy option.
There are roughly 200 calories and 19 grams of sugar in a single serving and no caffeine. It's a great budget option for kids but also one that Starbucks drinkers of all ages enjoy.
6. Steamed Apple Juice
Steamed apple juice is something a bit different because there’s no milk or coffee. It’s made entirely from fresh apple juice, which is steamed, and there are no other additions or toppings. The naturally sweet and tart flavor of the apples makes it the perfect autumn drink, and it’s guaranteed to brighten your mood on a cold morning.
There are 220 calories and 50 grams of sugar in a serving, so it's surprisingly bad for you, but a short will only cost you $2.75, so it's much cheaper than a lot of regular Starbucks coffees. A great option for kids or adults.
7. Iced Tea Lemonade
There’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day than a fresh lemonade, and the Starbucks iced tea lemonade is something special. It's made by hand, shaking black tea and lemonade over ice, and the combination of flavors really cuts through the sweetness and gives it a much more sophisticated taste.
The Starbucks iced tea lemonade is cheap because there are so few ingredients. A Grande will cost you roughly $3.50, which is more affordable than comparable drinks from other coffee shops. This drink is a favorite in the summer months and is enjoyed by older drinkers who like the balance of flavors.
8. Caffè Americano
A Starbucks Caffe Americano is a classic coffee. It’s made with three espresso shots topped with boiling water. It can be served black or customized with milk, cream, and other toppings, usually all available at no extra cost. A Starbucks caffe americano has a rich, bold flavor that makes it popular with coffee purists. There are 225mg of caffeine and 40 calories per serving.
A Grande Caffe Americano costs $3.50, which is roughly the same as other coffee shops. Still, the Starbucks version has three shots of espresso in the base instead of two, so in terms of caffeine content, it offers greater value for money.
9. Iced Caffè Americano
The iced Caffe Americano is made the same way as the hot version, but cold water is poured over the espresso base instead. It's then mixed with ice to give it a lighter and more refreshing flavor. Many people choose to add a flavored syrup to the iced Americano to give it a sweeter taste, but you’ll have to pay extra, and it will add to the sugar and calorie content.
An iced Caffe Americano costs $3.50 and has only 15 calories in a serving. It’s a good budget option for coffee lovers on a hot day.
10. Caffè Misto
A Starbucks Caffe Misto is not one everyone has heard of before, but it’s a combination of espresso and steamed milk. This is often called a café au lait, and it's very popular with milky coffee lovers. The combination of steamed milk and espresso gives it a really smooth texture, and it’s very similar to a regular latte. You can switch the steamed milk from whole to skimmed for free, but if you choose dairy-free options, then it will cost you extra. It has 75mg of caffeine from the espresso and about 200 calories from the milk.
A Grande Caffe Misto will cost $3.50, which is about $1 cheaper than a regular latte, so it’s a good budget option for coffee lovers.
11. Cold Brew
Starbucks cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee in cold water for 20 hours. This is designed to give the coffee a much smoother taste, but it’s got noticeably more caffeine than a regular coffee. In fact, it's actually one of the strongest Starbucks drinks you can order from the regular menu. The cold brew is often served with a vanilla cream topping to sweeten it, but if you want to keep the costs down, you can just have it straight.
It will cost you about $4 for a single serving of cold brew, but considering the high caffeine content, it's good value for money. It’s a popular summer drink for coffee aficionados and purists who genuinely love the slightly bitter taste.
12. Hot Brewed Coffee
One of the cheapest Starbucks options is the hot brewed coffee. This drip coffee is brewed regularly throughout the day using dark, medium, or blonde roasts, and there’s usually a decaf option. The drip coffee brewing method gives it a less bold taste than a regular Americano, and there's less caffeine content, with only 75mg a serving. There are only 15 calories in a serving if you don’t add any milk, cream, or sugar.
A Starbucks hot brewed coffee will typically cost $2.75, and you’ll get unlimited free refills for the duration of your visit. One of the best value options for those who just want a plain coffee.
13. Hot Tea
Starbucks has a wide range of regular and flavored teas to choose from, and they're all low cost. You can choose from fruit, black, or herbal teas, and you’ll get 1 or 2 teabags depending on the size you choose. There are no calories in any regular teas, and they're generally low caffeine, so they're well suited for those on a detox. There are also a lot of health benefits to fruit and herbal teas, which is a plus.
Hot tea will generally cost $3 for a Grande, and you’ll get a free refill if it’s on the same visit.
14. Iced Tea
Starbucks iced teas are a low-calorie option that works for those on a tight budget. They are available in a range of flavors, including peach, mango, chamomile, mint, and English breakfast. They are generally made with a water base, but some fruit teas can be brewed with milk to give you a thicker texture and richer flavor. There are also several pre-made iced teas in bottles, so you can grab them to go if you’re in a hurry. The passion tango tea is the standout option for us with a bold, fruity, and slightly tangy flavor. It’s light, with 0 calories, but still has a strong flavor.
Most Starbucks iced teas will cost $2.95, and you can add in sugar at no extra cost if you prefer it sweeter.
15. Iced Coffee
Starbucks iced coffee is the perfect way to enjoy a Starbucks coffee on a hot day. It’s brewed in the normal way and then poured over ice, which gives it a much lighter body and taste. It can be served black or with a splash of milk, and you can ask for the milk at no extra cost. It’s made at double strength compared to regular Starbucks coffee with 150mg of caffeine in a single serving. There are 60 calories if you order it without additions, but many people choose to add syrup to sweeten the flavor, which will add to the sugar and calorie content.
Starbucks iced coffee is medium-bodied with slight caramel notes. It costs $3.50 for a Grande and slightly more if you add any extra syrup or non-dairy milk.
16. Hot Chocolate
Given how rich a Starbucks hot chocolate tastes, you might assume it's an expensive option, but it’s not. It’s made with steamed milk, mocha sauce, and sweetened with a whipped cream and chocolate sauce topping. It’s really sweet, comforting, and loved by Starbucks drinkers worldwide.
There are 370 calories and 37 grams of sugar per serving, so it is a bit of an indulgence, but it’s only $3.75 for a Grande. It’s a Starbucks classic that’s affordable enough for everyone.
17. Refreshers Beverage
If you prefer a fruit drink, the Starbucks refreshers are a great budget option. They’re made with a flavored juice base, real fruit pieces, and topped with coconut milk which is then shaken over ice. A range of flavors is available, including kiwi, mango, strawberry acai, and lemonade. They’re a popular alternative to Starbucks coffees and are available year-round. Each refresher has around 100 calories per serving, though it can vary depending on the flavor your choose.
Despite having a few more ingredients, they're still a cheap option because the bases are pre-made. This makes them quick and easy to make, and it will only cost you $4 per serving.
18. Starbucks French Press
The Starbucks French press doesn’t have the lowest price tag, but it’s still one of the best value options around. It comes in a French press pot which gives you several cups, so you can split it between people and get a Starbucks coffee at a fraction of the price of your regular order.
Starbucks French press coffee is similar to their drip coffee, but it has a slightly bolder taste. Some people can find it too bitter, but if you’re a coffee lover, then you'll definitely appreciate it. You can add in milk and sugar for free, but you won't be able to request any syrups or flavorings with this one.
A Starbucks French press will cost about $7, but there should be enough coffee for 8 cups, meaning less than $1 a cup. This makes it a real bargain if you’re out with friends or family.
Money-Saving Hacks For Ordering Budget Starbucks Drinks
You've seen some of the best budget Starbucks options available, but there are a few hacks to save money whatever you're buying. Here's what you need to consider
Choosing the right drink is a great way to save money. The smaller the size, the cheaper the drink, and you’ll find that Starbucks shorts are almost always the most budget-friendly size. However, you can also save money by ordering a larger size and sharing it with a friend. Generally, a venti, or trenta, is big enough to split between two people.
Outside of size, you can also save money by ordering the right type of drink. We've introduced some of the best options in this article, but as a general rule, the simpler the drink, the cheaper it will be. This is because there are fewer ingredients and less time needed to make them. Ordering short, non-hand-crafted Starbucks drinks will always be cheaper.
Using Starbucks Rewards
By joining the Starbucks rewards program, you will be eligible for discounts and other exclusive promotions, and they even give you a free drink on your birthday. You can register in-store or online for free, and there's an app you can download to your phone. The more you spend, the more you’ll get back as you move up the Starbucks loyalty levels.
Adding Free Syrup
As you spend money at Starbucks, you’ll advance through the reward program levels. Once you get to gold, you’ll be eligible for some free additions. This means you can customize your drink with a range of free syrups, creams, and different milk types for free. Essentially, this means you'll get better Starbucks drinks for free.
Building Your Own
Another Starbucks hack to save money is to deconstruct your drink. For example, instead of ordering an iced latte, you can just order an espresso and ask for free ice and milk. Then, mix it all together yourself and save yourself a few dollars.
Bringing Your Own Cup
Starbucks, in many regions, offers a discount if you bring your own reusable cup. This varies depending on the location, but you can save up to 40 cents per drink. That’s good for you and good for the environment, so it's worth getting your own cup.
Common Starbucks Drinks Questions
How do I get a free Starbucks today?
By joining the Starbucks rewards program, you'll qualify for a free drink on your birthday. Just set your birthday to that same day, and you'll get a free drink right away.
How can I get a latte cheaper at Starbucks?
Order the espresso and then ask for ice and milk separately, which are both available for free. Mix them together to get an iced latte for the same price as an espresso shot.
What is the most expensive drink at Starbucks?
The most expensive drink at most Starbucks is the super venti flat white, which is literally huge and contains 170 shots of espresso. This will set you back over $145!
What is the benefit of using the Starbucks App to order drinks?
Using the Starbucks app helps you skip the queues by pre-ordering before you get there. You’ll also see some exclusive discounts which aren’t available over the counter.
Let’s face it, living without your favorite drinks can be really boring, and Starbucks has some of the best coffee around. If you're on a tight budget, you can still enjoy your favorite Starbucks drinks, and hopefully, these hacks will help you save you a lot of money in the long run.