CFI Blog

Why We Bought the Starbucks Mug Last Year and Won’t This Year

“Starbucks says they are going to start putting religious quotes on cups. The very first one will say, ‘Jesus! This cup is expensive!’”
–Conan O’Brien

Last year at Christmas, Santa brought me and my wife two Starbucks mugs which were good for unlimited brewed coffee during the month of January. Santa had commissioned Howard Schultz (the chairman of Starbucks) to provide the mugs at $20 apiece, and he stuffed the mugs in his sleigh.

Starbucks Mug

For us, the $20 was a good price for the mugs and worth the expense.

  • We needed new travel mugs. We always make a cup of coffee in the morning before walking the dog, and we usually go through eight to ten travel mugs before needing to run the dishwasher.
  • It wasn’t that much more expensive than making coffee at home. Coffee at home costs abut $0.38 per cup to make and, assuming that a generic travel mug would cost $5, we were paying about $0.50 per cup of coffee. That’s $0.12 per day additional that we were paying.
  • We lived very near a Starbucks. There was a Starbucks Mug on the route that we took for a dog walk, so we weren’t going out of our way to go to a Starbucks.
  • We were going to be at home the entire month of January. We had no travel planned, so we would be able to use the mugs every day, and sometimes, we’d probably use them twice in a day.

Today, I saw that Starbucks Mug is again offering the unlimited coffee mug for the month of January; however, this time, it’s $30. We are going to pass on the deal this time.

  • We no longer live near a Starbucks. Since we moved to Texas, the closest Starbucks Mug is about six miles away and a fifteen minute drive. So, to take advantage of the offer, we’d have to burn up gas and spend 30 minutes of driving.
  • The mug is more expensive. Last year, the mug was $20. This year, the mug is $30. The breakeven in cups of coffee just got a lot higher, and it makes more sense for us to make coffee at home. Plus, to me, the coffee I make at home (thanks to my Aeropresss coffee maker) is much better than what I can get at Starbucks.
  • We won’t be at home the entire month. We’ll be back in Charlottesville for the first week, and I may be on the road the last week. I just can’t envision getting the full value out of the mug this year.

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John Davis
John Davis is a nationally recognized expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. He has written four books about his expertise in the field and has been featured extensively in numerous media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News, CNBC, Fox Business, and many more. With over 20 years of experience helping consumers understand their credit and identity protection rights, John is passionate about empowering people to take control of their finances. He works with financial institutions to develop consumer-friendly policies that promote financial literacy and responsible borrowing habits.

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