I practically live at Starbucks. I wouldn't call it an addiction, but I do have a personalized Starbucks cup sticker on my laptop, so who's to say? Through my many (and I mean many) trips to Starbucks over the years, I have learned how to hack the system and get free shit. It's possible to earn free stuff at Starbucks, I swear. 

Just as a heads-up, most of these tips involve the Starbucks Rewards app, so download that if you don't have it already. It is a mobile pay service, and it accumulates points that earn you free Starbucks. Basically $1 = two points, and as with any other addiction, these points will add up quick. 

1. Take Advantage of Double Star Days

tea, coffee, milk
Morgan Nielsen

Once a month, Gold members are given a surprise double star day. At four stars per dollar spent, there has never been a better time to spend at Starbucks. 

2. Fill Up on Refills

beer, tea, milk, coffee
Sarah Yanofsky

Starbucks coffee may be a bit pricey, but the sticker price includes a lot more. All coffee and tea drinks can be refilled for free with the Starbucks Rewards program, so don't be afraid to head back for more. This also may explain why I drink three passion teas a day (SOS). 

3. Celebrate Your Birthday With Starbucks

If it's your fucking birthday, tell everyone about it. All members of the Starbucks Rewards Program receive the best gift of all for their birthday: a free Starbucks drink. And you don't need to send them a thank you note (sorry, Mom, but no one likes writing/reading those).

4. Be a Good Coworker

mocha, sweet, chocolate, cream, espresso, milk, cappuccino, coffee
Becky Hughes

This is kind of shady, but I have done this at work before. Before I go on break, I offer to grab everyone a mobile order and request to be repaid via Venmo. Translation: I take everyone's points at 0 extra cost.

Please do not judge me. I do it all for the rewards. 

5. Stock Up

Starbucks has incredible prepackaged drinks (ask anyone, I also live on cans of Strawberry Refresher) that are cheaper and easier to buy than some of the made-in-store options. The Starbucks Rewards Program now rewards points for any drinks bought at the grocery store, so you can now buy that Dulce de Leche Frappuccino or K-Cups at your local Safeway without any reward FOMO. 

6. Participate in App Challenges

beer, coffee
Emery Sereno

The Starbucks Rewards App Challenges are equivalent to the "Continue Watching" button on Netflix. It's incentivizing you to do something that you probably already would do anyway.

My most recent challenge was to go to Starbucks three times after 2 p.m. within a 5-day span — which honestly, I do a few times a week anyway — in order to redeem an extra 50 points.

All challenges are individualized based on order history, so you'll be set up to succeed. Some may call it enabling, I call it encouragement. 

7. Save Points for a Rainy Day

With all this discussion of rewards points, you may be wondering how to use these bad boys. The premise is simple, every 125 points you earn, you get free food or a drink, but it's not that simple. 

I used to use my free reward every time I got 125 points, but now I know better. Each reward encompasses a large variance in prices, so I've learned to use my points on ~big ticket items~ like a bistro sandwich rather than a tall coffee to get more bang for my buck.