I know, I know. We all count down to the release date of our beloved Starbucks holiday drinks. I love everything about "red cup season" - sampling the newest flavors, instagramming basic pictures of my cute cup, even the ongoing yearly debate surrounding the cup design for the season. However, I do not love the price tag associated with these holiday drinks. I can't help it - my husband is an accountant and paying $5+ for one coffee drink from a chain store more than a couple of times a month makes me cringe.
To work around this (and feed into my addiction to stopping for coffee more than once a week), I have a couple of tricks for getting "holiday" drinks that are festive without breaking the bank (or your calorie budget for a meal). Keep in mind that my substitutes will give you a similar taste for less calories at a lower cost, but they are not an exact dupe.
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
I'm a huge pumpkin fan and I absolutely indulge in a PSL or two every season. A grande Pumpkin Spice Latte is $4.95. My favorite sub for this iconic fall drink is to order a grande black coffee with 4 pumps of Pumpkin sauce; this is $2.95 and I can customize with my choice of sweetener and dairy option at the coffee bar.
2. Peppermint Mocha
My favorite holiday drink is a peppermint mocha; even just the smell of this puts me in a happy, holiday place. A grande Peppermint Mocha will run you $5.25, whereas my hack is $3.35. Order a grande black coffee with 4 pumps peppermint syrup and 4 pumps mocha sauce (you can sub sugar-free mocha sauce). No need to add sweetener, add dairy option at the bar. I also love to order a plain coffee with just the peppermint for a cool kick to my daily coffee!
3. Chestnut Praline Latte
This is a "newer" holiday drink flavor, but I love this one equally as much as the classics. A grande Chestnut Praline Latte is $5.25. My hack is only $3.45. Order a Caffe Americano with 4 pumps of Chestnut Praline and a splash of milk (of your choosing). This is a little less sweet, but I actually prefer it that way. If necessary, add a packet of sweetener from the coffee bar.
These are my favorite tricks to sipping on fun holiday drinks (in our favorite cups) at a *slightly more affordable cost - do you have a go-to Starbucks drink "hack" that is lower cost and still just as tasty?