10 Ways to Get Free or Cheap Coffee

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My family is not allowed to speak to me until I have consumed at least one cup of coffee, and only then are they to proceed with caution. It requires two full cups before I feel like a fully functioning adult, and until that point they are well aware of the fact that mommy is more zombie than anything else. After that, it seems that another two cups are required throughout the day. One when I return from dropping my big kids off at school and get the twins down for their morning nap and another around 2 pm when I suddenly feel this overwhelming need to lay my head on my desk and take a nap. Coffee is my way of life.

Too bad it is so darn expensive. No matter where I go, coffee is not cheap. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, my house; it’s all just a little bit ridiculous when you consider how much coffee can be made with one bag and how much people are charging for that. Really? In my house, I go through four K-Cups a day, which is just over 1 box of K-Cups from Publix. There are 10 in a $9.99 box (Starbucks Bright Sky Blend) and that means it costs me $10 every two-and-a-half days. That’s a lot of money on coffee when you consider the fact that this estimate does not even count the fact that my husband likes the Starbucks Veranda Blend and drinks two of those a day at home. We are coffee-aholics and we know it.

That said, it occurred to me that there has to be a less expensive way of acquiring the coffee required to keep us human throughout the day. That’s why we researched these 10 amazing ways to get free or cheap coffee anytime you’d like. From free birthday cups to discounts because you have a cup from the store, you can get free coffee and discounted coffee pretty much anytime you want. Just remember to be nice, smile and say please and thank you when you go into your favorite coffee shop. The better your reputation and your association with the baristas, the better the chance that you will receive a free coffee or a nice discount on something that you are ordering; and it is always worth a shot.

Use a refillable cup

If you have a cup from a particular location, such as a gas station or even Starbucks, they’ll often refill your cup free or charge or at least for a discount. It’s because you have a cup, so it’s considered a refill instead of a brand new drink. Even if it’s not free, though, you can save significantly on something of this nature just by bringing it in and enjoying it all the way through.

Get coffee on your birthday

If you can prove it is your birthday, most every place in the country will offer you a free drink or something on your birthday. Coffee is a good one since it is not a specialty item. Everywhere from Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts to the local restaurant in which you like to get your morning breakfast will likely offer you a free coffee if you simply show them your license and let them know it is your big day.

Get a Dunkin Donuts rewards card

This is a good one. You get a free drink when you enroll, one on your birthday and one every time your account reaches 200 points. You get $5 points for every dollar you spend, and that means you’re quickly earning your way to a free coffee.

Get coffee at Pret A Manger

Did you know that the store’s CEO wants his employees to give away 28% of the company’s coffee free? If you’re very nice to the people up front, they’ll give you a free cup of coffee. It might not work every single time, but it works regularly for many.

Utilize social media

Brands, coffee houses and other businesses love to offer their customers coupons and discounts on social media. Get on there, follow them and keep an eye out. You will be surprised just how often the places you love to get coffee will offer you a free cup if you just print out a coupon or download a code from their social media offerings. It’s very simple, and they’ll even post news about when they are offering discounts and free coffee. I’ve seen Dunkin Donuts do this on a regular basis, so it’s worth looking into.

Skip IKEA on the weekends and go during the week

The company gives away a free cup of coffee to anyone that comes in during the week to shop. It’s a simple way to avoid the crowds, shop while the kids are in school and get a free cup of coffee while you indulge.

Get the discount card

If you have a favorite coffee shop or location that offers a discount card, such as ‘buy this many and get one free,’ types with a stamp or punched hole, take it. It’s going to ensure that you get what you want and that you get it at a discount. Free coffee is free coffee, and that’s what makes it worth it.

Get the Caribou Coffee rewards card

This is a bit of a mystery, since the terms are not clearly outlined. The company basically states that rewards are often, and you never know when they will occur. Basically, you get to earn free drinks and other items when you buy stuff here, and you just never know when it will happen. It’s like a random act of kindness coffee-house style when you join this rewards program.

Get a Starbucks Rewards account

My husband and I have these, and it’s a great way to get free coffee by simply buying coffee. You earn these in the store and you can even earn them online when you buy Starbucks coffee to brew at home from your local supermarket.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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