6 ways to save money on a Pumpkin Spice Latte

A Starbucks cup is placed on a table inside the coffee shop.

Image courtesy of Starbucks

Whether the onset of fall brings cooler temperatures to your neck of the woods or not, the season is marked globally with the annual Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Now back for the 18th year in a row with a popular blend of espresso, steamed milk, real pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

While “Skip Starbucks” is often promoted as a way to save money, you can still enjoy this fall flavor without losing your budget. Here’s how to save money on PSL and other fall drinks throughout the fall.

How to Save Money on a Pumpkin Spice Latte

1. Join Starbucks Rewards

Join Starbucks Rewards to start getting free drinks – including PSLs. You earn 1 star for every dollar you spend if you pay with cash, debit or credit card. Pay with a preloaded Starbucks Digital Card on the app and get 2 stars for every dollar spent.

(You get three stars for every $1 if you use a Starbucks Rewards Visa card, but The Penny Hoarder isn’t a big fan of rewards credit cards.)

Besides getting free refills of coffee and tea, Starbucks Rewards members get a free custom drink, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, when they earn 150 points.

This means spending $150 or $75 depending on the payment method. Yes, that’s a big part of the change that has to be spent to get a reward, so remember that it’s very easy to collect a bill at Starbucks without even realizing it.

2. Buy Discounted Starbucks Gift Cards

Use CardCookie, Raise, and other discount gift card sites to expand your coffee dollars even further. Buy a gift card for less than its face value, and you’ll get more for your money at Starbucks.

As of this writing, you can save up to 9% on a Starbucks gift card at CardCookie. A $50 card costs, say, $45.50.

3. Join My Panera

Starbucks isn’t the only chain that serves sweet latte. Panera Bread just introduced Cinnamon Crunch Latte. It’s fresh espresso, milk foam, and cinnamon syrup topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar. And the popular chain has its own My Panera rewards program that offers discounts and free stuff.

4. Celebrate your fall birthday

If you’re a Starbucks Rewards member, you’ll enjoy a free drink on your birthday. If your birthday is in the fall, why not make it a pumpkin spice latte?

Dunkin Donuts also offers free Christmas drinks through the DD Perks Rewards program and has an extensive list of pumpkin seasonings.

Many other coffee shops also offer free Christmas drinks, so if you find yourself in a coffee shop with pump concoctions on your birthday, be sure to ask!

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5. Make your own pumpkin spice latte

Indulge in a pumpkin latte anytime with this delicious recipe from Farmgirl Gourmet. This recipe makes two 10-ounce lattes, so you can share one with a friend.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
  • whipped cream


Stir milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice together in a skillet over medium-high heat. Bring it to a nearly boil, but avoid boiling (as this will make it too thick). Stir constantly, and it should start to foam in about a minute.

Pour the mixture into two cups, then slowly add the strong coffee or espresso, pouring over the rim of the cup so that the milk remains frothy. Add whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice on top, and indulge yourself in your homemade creativity.

6. Make Your Own Spicy Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

This simple recipe from Delish requires only five ingredients and yields 1-3/4 cups of pumpkin spice whitener to add to your coffee.

You will need:

  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks


Whisk together heavy cream or cream half and half, pureed pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie seasoning in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a cinnamon stick or two and then raise the heat a little bit until it boils, whisking from time to time.

After a minute, take it off the heat and let it cool for five minutes before adding it to your coffee.

According to Delish, leftover cream will keep in the refrigerator for a week, but be sure to shake it well before using it.

Kristen Pope is a former contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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