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Starbucks rewards are changing

photo(4)My most recent trip to a coffee shop was when I went to Starbucks on January 13th, and it may have been my last … because if you haven’t heard already, the Starbucks rewards program is changing.

With the current rewards program, you earn one star for each transaction – regardless of how much you spend. Once you reach 12 stars, you earn a free drink or food item of your choice. I’m a plain coffee drinker, so each trip to Starbucks only cost me $2 for a tall coffee. And after 12 trips, I’d typical spend my reward on a more expensive drink – like a latte or frappuccino – or even a breakfast sandwich when I wanted a little treat.

With the new changes, the amount of stars you earn is determined by how much money you spend – so for every $1 spent you’ll be getting 2 stars. And you will need to collect 125 stars to earn a free item.  That means it would cost about $62 to earn a free Starbucks reward that previously cost me $24. Not cool.

If you’re consistently spending $5 each time you go to Starbucks, then the changes don’t affect you much (because you were already spending $5 x 12 = $60). And if you were buying $7 sandwiches or anything else with a bigger price tag, then you’ll get your freebie even sooner than before.

Related: Would you tip your Starbucks barista?

I get that Starbucks rewards program will benefit people who spend a lot each time they go. But that’s not me. So now there’s really no incentive to go to there over another coffee shop anymore. And actually, it kind of makes my 2016 goal of not going to coffee shops (for anything other than socializing) a lot easier. So, see ya Starbucks. It was fun while it lasted.

What do you think of the changes to the rewards program?

Friday ramblings

Last night I went with a friend to the PNE. It was VanCity night, and as a member, we both got in for just $5! :) Our goal was to watch the free Boys II Men concert, but apparently that seemed to be the goal of every other 30-something person in Vancouver. The venue was filled up by the time we got there, so we had to watch the show from the beer garden. It was really fun watching the crowd lose their minds when they sang their hit songs. :)

Tomorrow I’ll be headed home for the long weekend. It’s been a couple months since I’ve seen my friends and family, so am looking forward to watching ball games with my dad, brunching with my friends, and going on a hike or two.

Recently with my thoughts on renting vs. owning (and selling my home), I’ve made a few noticable changes. Mostly I’ve been getting on board with the minimalist and shopping ban movement. I’ve recently gotten rid of a lot of things I no longer use in my house (decluttering, but also in preparation of moving – whenever that might be), and have cut down on shopping for clothes, books, and household items. Now, I’m not in a position to go on a shopping ban right now like some of my other PF friends, but perhaps in the future. This exercise has definitely been helping to become more aware of the things that I need versus what I actually want.

This has freed up some room in my budget to save a little more, as well as attend a bunch of great events over the next few weeks:

  • Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver – ($10) they’ll be chatting about sustainability and the green future of the City of Vancouver.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery: Art Makes Us – ($12.50) the event where they will finally unveil the concept design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. This interests me because I love the art gallery and all things design/architecture, but also because the company I work for is in this industry.
  • Vancouver International Film Festival – (?) one of my favourite events of the year. :) I took a quick look at the schedule, and there are already 4 or 5 documentaries that have caught my eye.

It also looks like aside from my little vacation to Vegas in October (and a couple of visits to Toronto for work), I won’t be going on any other trips this year. This means I can carry my vacation time and savings over to next year. I want to plan a really fun trip for next year. Tops on my list would be China (to see where my dad grew up), explore the UK, or head over to Turkey again.

There’s also lots of work to be done on the Canadian Personal Finance Conference – we are just over one month away – can you believe it!? I’ll be booking my flights soon, and cannot wait to meet those of you that will be attending. :)

Would you tip your Starbucks barista?

FullSizeRenderAfter working late last night, I went to Starbucks this morning for a pick-me-up latte. I ordered my regular drink, paid with my Starbucks app, and waited patiently for my drink to be made. It was then I looked down at my app and saw that a little window had popped up on my screen, asking if I wanted to leave a tip. Whaaaat? This is new.

Now, I don’t mind if Starbucks asks if I want to leave a tip. But I also wish they were clear on what the tip is for. Is this tip going to the actual person who made my latte? Is it going to the store (and then spread out among employees)? Or is it going to Starbucks in general? Because that answer will make a huge difference in determining whether I tip or not.

Related: Should tipping in restaurants be banned?

And, I actually find it a bit offensive that the only options for tipping allowed are $0.50, $1.00, or $2.00. What if I want to tip less than $0.50? And who is going to tip $2 on a $4 drink!? Come on, Starbucks.

You’re also able to add a tip amount into the app up to 2 hours after the transaction took place. I find this interesting, because is anyone really going to remember the latte they drank 2 hours ago, and think “I’d better get on my phone and send them a tip.” I think, no. But maybe I’m wrong!

Related: How much do you tip?

 What do you think of the new Starbucks tipping feature? 

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