It's the first week of October and PSL season is upon us. For most college students, that means you've made it through just over a month of your first semester. If you're anything like me, you've successfully blown through your summer savings in record time. The effect of all of this? A broke girl in desperate need of caffeine.
What I truly needed was to find ways to save money on coffee by hacking the school dining halls. That's why I've compiled my favorite ways to save money on your go-to coffee drinks by hacking your school's dining halls.
One of the best ways to save money at school is by using dining hall ingredients to fake your favorite coffee drinks. As someone who goes through at least three cups a day, I love finding new ways to get "free coffee" and to save money.
Here are my favorite drinks made using simple ingredients found at your dining hall.
1. The go-to: Iced-Vanilla Latte
Simple, yet effective. Grab a cup, or bring your favorite tumbler. Fill that baby up with ice from the fountain drink station and head over to the coffee bar. If you're lucky like me, your school will have a coffee maker with options like coffee, espresso, decaf coffee, etc.Fill her up with as many shots of espresso as it will take to get you through the day and add two pumps of vanilla flavor. My school uses this concentrated creamer. Add your milk of choice, give it a stir, and you've just saved yourself four bucks. There's nothing better than having your coffee, and saving money too.
2. Chocolate Milk Mocha
What's a mocha? It's basically just espresso, steamed milk, foam, and chocolate syrup. Okay so no, I'm not steaming milk and creating foam in the middle of the dining hall. To achieve a similar effect, fill your mug with a few shots of espresso and swap out your 2% for chocolate milk.Still craving that rich and frothy feeling you get from Starbucks? Stir in a few chocolate chips from the yogurt bar and try this cool tool from IKEA to get that perfect barista foam (or just shake your tumbler really hard for a minute or two).
3. Hazelnut Mocha
This next one's the same base as the chocolate milk mocha recipe, but with a pump of hazelnut creamer. Feeling indulgent? Try this variation by swapping the pump of hazelnut for a spoonful of Nutella swirled in.
4. The Classic Americano
An Americano may sound classy, but the popular drink is simply espresso and hot water. Start by filling your cup with one or two shots of espresso and then about five ounces of hot water (available for tea) for each shot. Milk and sugar can be added to taste.
5. Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte Knockoff
Fan of this specialty drink? Made with espresso, steamed milk, vanilla syrup, and cinnamon dolce syrup, this latte is pretty simple to fake. Add espresso, milk, and two pumps of vanilla creamer to your cup (one to make yours "dolce") and stir in a spoonful of cinnamon sugar from the oatmeal bar.
While this list of drinks isn't as extensive as the Starbucks menu, swapping a few dining hall coffees out for retail lattes will pay off in the long run. After all, saving money on these coffee drinks will make treating yourself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte a whole lot sweeter.