Here’s the Thing…
Whenever I go out to Panera or Starbucks (a couple of my favorite places, btw), I always end up spending like 10 bucks on a drink and something to eat.
I’d like to say that “I set out to intentionally discover ways to save money,” but the reality is, I’m cheap. And the thought of consistently paying 5 bucks for some blended ice and milk or some bread and dairy product just wasn’t going to work for me.
So I didn’t really aim to actually find effective ways to save money, it just sort of happened as I was trying to figure out ways to still get delicious food at a fraction of the price.
I figured there are some people out there who could benefit from these money-saving hacks as well, so here ya go!
Bagel with Avocado from Panera
For a long time, I haven’t been putting cream cheese on my bagel. This habit started when I worked at Panera and would grab a fresh bagel right off the rack before running to class.
Then, after I stopped working at Panera, I realized it was cheaper to just get free butter instead of paying for cream cheese.
Then, in July, I developed a crazy avocado addiction. Literally ever since then, I order a side of avocado with every meal I get. So, when I would go to Panera, the same was true. For a while, I would get their breakfast sandwiches, but after going there a few times in one week, I felt very weighed down and sluggish. Instead of getting my usual pesto breakfast sandwich, I ordered an asiago bagel with a side of avocado. It was so good and simple! Cheap too.
A bagel is a little more than a dollar and a side of avocado is usually 99 cents – a much better bargain than the usual $5 breakfast sandwich.
Now when I go to Panera, this is my go-to order. My goal is to order it so much they put it on the menu (;
Also, bonus points for this one if you order a whole wheat bagel: cheap AND healthy!
Peppermint Coffee from Starbucks
The peppermint mocha from Starbucks is literally my beacon of hope to signal the holiday season. Sweet, sweet peppermint, whipped cream, and warm goodness. You can’t go wrong. But you can be more right (is that a thing?)
I feel like every time I go to Starbucks, it gets more and more expensive. Literally, almost 5 bucks for a latte? No thank you.
When I don’t get a peppermint latte, I just get a regular coffee with a splash of creamer. And when I get an iced coffee, I usually add a couple pumps of vanilla or caramel.
One day, I decided to combine the two orders and get a coffee with a pump of a flavor. I was feeling wild and I asked the barista if he could add peppermint to my coffee. He said yes, and two pumps of peppermint later, I was on my way. Then I added my usual splash of creamer and took a sip.
It literally tasted just like a peppermint mocha. What the heck? This thing was like 2 bucks and tasted comparable to the overpriced holiday drink.
I didn’t complain about it, and now I have my own little Starbucks hack.
Travel Mug Coffee from Panera
This is another hack I learned during my time as a Panera employee but didn’t start implementing it until recently.
So at Panera, you can bring your own travel mug and fill it with their amazing coffee! Plus, they charge you less to fill your mug + you get more coffee! It’s a win-win for everyone because you get cheaper coffee and they save on using paper cups.
Also, I think my love language is cups, so I find great joy in using my own mug instead of just paper cups. Maybe a little too much joy, but it saves me money, so I am running with it!
So there you have it! A couple easy ways to save some money at Panera and Starbucks.
I’d love to hear other ways you save money at popular restaurants/coffee shops!