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The two guilty pleasures in my life are Amazon and Starbucks. Although I consciously watch what I’m spending, it’s not realistic for me to completely stop spending on Amazon and Starbucks purchases. For one, I love coffee, and two, who can live without the convenience of Amazon?
Like a true addict, I accept the fact that it’s just not realistic for me to completely stop, so I try to find a balance. Over the last year, I’ve significantly cut back on spending in general and have embraced a minimalist kind of lifestyle simply because I don’t want more stuff.
However, when I do need to buy, I’ve come up with ways to minimize the spending damage.
These are some ways I make these spending habits to Amazon and Starbucks more manageable.
1. I buy Starbucks gift cards from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Did I mention that I’m a coffee fiend? I happily consume about three cups a day, on average. Plus, I live in the San Francisco area where it’s common for two Starbucks locations to be across the street from each other. Decisions, decisions.
I purchase Starbucks gift cards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. A $50 Starbucks gift card is worth 5,000 points. I also look out for Starbucks gift card deals Ultimate Rewards sometimes has. For example, an REI gift card worth $50 will cost 4,500 points instead of 5,000. For Starbucks gift cards, this is hit or miss, but it’s worth a look.
As a Starbucks Gold member, I receive points each time I purchase a drink. Every little bit counts!
2. I make cold brew at home.
Thank you, Pinterest. I never knew how easy it was to make cold brew at home. All you do is dump some coffee in a container filled with water, let it sit in your fridge for two days, and voila! You’ve got some delicious cold brew!
Making cold brew (and regular coffee) at home means that $50 Starbucks gift card lasts for months. Plus, once I’ve bought my coffee tools, I’m set. Amazon and Starbucks aren’t a necessity once I’ve made my purchase.
3. I use my Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Card for 5% cash back.
My love affair with Amazon has to do with convenience and two-day shipping. Who’s with me?
Because I’m on Amazon a lot, I kept seeing advertisements for the Prime Rewards Signature Card offers 5% cash back on Amazon purchases. I wasn’t too keen on opening another credit card just for Amazon, but I’m so glad I did.
I get 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. There’s also no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Every few weeks, Amazon shows me the cash back amount I’ve accumulated and how much can be automatically deducted from my next purchase. My usual discounts range from a few bucks to $10 or more. I admit it’s really nice having that extra discount.
4. I use Honey, a money-saving Chrome extension.
Whenever I’m on Amazon, a free Chrome extension called Honey automatically detects the lowest price on items I’m shopping for. Mostly, it just confirms that what I’m purchasing is the lowest and best price on Amazon.
Honey also tells you if there have been any price drops and generally acts as your eyes an ears for certain products. A few times it’s notified me that there was a better price on something I was about to purchase. It is always nice saving a few bucks!
5. I let items sit in the cart and then remove it in stages
Sometimes I shop because I’m bored. Other times, I “need” things. Whenever I just can’t seem to fight the impulse urge to buy, I put the items in my cart. Then, I leave it in there. Whenever I let items sit in the cart for 24 to 48 hours, I usually just forget about it.
Of course, I see it them patiently waiting for me the next time I’m on Amazon, but it actually has an adverse effect on me and makes me not want to buy it. It’s like time has knocked the good sense into me.
If I really want it but know I don’t need it, I “save it for later.” Eventually, I lose interest and just delete it.
Conscious Consumerism Towards Amazon and Starbucks
It’s so easy to allow my Amazon and Starbucks spending get out of control. I’m a lot better about spending on needs vs. wants. I no longer feel the urgency to stock up on household items I can wait months to buy. These changes in my money habits, along with these tips, make spending on my guilty pleasures just a little more manageable.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.