Budget Busters: Coffee shop rewards programs
Heather Shue had a money-saving dilemma last January. She liked saving money, but she also loved making trips to Starbucks.

"I like saving but I like finding creative ways to save," says Shue. "It's fun for me."

Heather shares her tips and tricks to save money on her blog SimplySaveMN.com. She set a goal to go the entire year enjoying her favorite treat, but without paying for it out of pocket. She did this in three strategic ways.

1. Gift cards

Heather set her search engines for Bing and signed up for Bing Rewards, where she earns gift cards for searching.

"I keep getting these gift cards so I can enjoy Starbucks without using my own cash," she said. "After a certain amt of points, you can cash in for a $5 gift card or you can stockpile. I usually go for the $5 and I get one usually every 3 weeks."

2. Use Starbucks Rewards

Heather also signed up for Starbucks Rewards and links the program on her phone. She earns rewards for her coffee orders and then can earn additional rewards for trying certain promotional drinks.

3. Set parameters

When Heather committed to going all year without buying at Starbucks, she made a few ground rules. She wouldn't go through the drive-thru or do a casual drop-by for coffee. Instead, she would only commit to visiting Starbucks when meeting a friend or spending time writing. This made her cherish the visit as a special event and not routine.

Heather goes into greater detail on her Starbucks commitment on a post on her website.

Caribou Coffee also offers a Perks program and Dunn Brothers offers rewards incentives as well. If you are committed to the big coffee shops, you can also find discounts and promotions at McDonald's or at gas stations.

Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton



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