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Drink up savings at your favorite coffee shop

With some discipline you can avoid overspending

With some discipline you can avoid overspending  at the coffee shops, expert say.  Credit: Getty Images/tolgart

Even if your order sounds fancy, enjoying your favorite coffee drink shouldn't sink your budget.

Whatever your drink of choice, following these tips can keep you from overspending at the coffee shop.

Keep track of your spending

First and foremost, include your coffee purchases as a part of your actual budget.

"I prefer that people be realistic with themselves and say, 'Listen, this is a habit that I'm not going to give up. It makes my day. It makes me happy,'" says Marianela Collado, CEO and senior financial adviser at Tobias Financial Advisors in Florida. "Then it should totally be a line item. If you take $5 a day for 365 days, that's almost $2,000."

Keep your dark roast out of the red

Collado says she's noticed that some members of her team regularly splurge on their afternoon lattes, but bring their lunches to work instead of going out to eat. They value getting coffee more than they value eating out.

A gift card can help keep your spending on track. Using a gift card as your payment method is actually a forced budgeting technique, according to Tracie Fobes, founder of Penny Pinchin' Mom. 

She recommends loading a gift card from your favorite coffee chain onto the store's app with your coffee money allotment for the month. Don't reload the card again for the next 30 days.

"You put $40 on that card, and when that $40 is done, guess what? Your Starbucks run ends for the month."

Swap loyalty for savings

You can maximize your monthly coffee allotment by joining rewards programs and downloading your favorite coffee joint's app.

These loyalty programs offer customers the ability to earn credits that can be redeemed for free drinks and other rewards. 

If you're going to be making purchases at the coffee shop anyway, it makes sense to earn rewards for your loyalty — it'll stretch your coffee dollars a little bit further.

Take a pass on the pastries

Keep your iced latte, but pass on the pricey pastries, scones, cakes and other snacks, Fobes recommends.

But if you really, really like the flavor of that iced lemon loaf cake, go to Pinterest and check for a similar recipe you can make at home.

"Somebody out there has a copycat where you can make it at home and get the ... experience without paying the ... price," Fobes says.

Stevens puts her food advice this way: Don't linger too long. The more time you spend at the coffee shop, the more likely you are to be tempted by the food items.

With a little extra work, you can drink up your favorite coffee with a helping of whipped cream — and without dragging down your budget.

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