Not all addictions are in the form of needles and pills. Sometimes it’s in the form of plastic straws and paper cups. Coffee addiction isn’t a new concept. Millions across the globe venture throughout the day, throughout any weather condition, to grab their cup of Joe. Like these regular coffee-addicts, we both need coffee in the morning to give us that jolt of energy until lunchtime approaches. We recall a snowy winter day, when weather conditions recommended everyone to stay inside, where we woke up 20 minutes earlier than usual to shovel the driveway just to make our way to Starbucks to grab a green tea latte and caramel macchiato. We tried going a few days, even a few weeks, without coffee. As medical students it was inevitable, we couldn’t last. The headaches started to form. Loss of concentration. Mood swings. Sleepiness. But our small budgets couldn’t keep up with our necessity. We needed to make a change, but what could we do?
Let’s get one thing straight: Starbucks has amazing coffee. The original Pike blend is definitely our favorite for your standard cup of black coffee. And, of course, it’s more expensive. At a little over $2 for the tall Pike blend, it’s definitely more than the $1 you’d probably spend at the nearest bodega, delicatessen, or coffee truck. An extra $365 may not seem that much to many, but for two broke medical students looking for an extra dime here and there to fund our next vacation, an extra $365 is a plane ticket to Europe. Again, this isn’t news to us either. We realized very early on that we needed to change our habits to not only keep our interest rates on our loans low, but to afford bigger and better things other than a cup of coffee. Since neither one of us carries cash, finding a place that only accepted credit cards for a cup of coffee was a much more daunting and difficult task than we expected.
Until we found McDonalds.
Those Golden Arches never failed us. Whether it’s 6 am and we’re tired from a long overnight shift or 3 am and we’re stumbling over each other from chugging Vodka shots, McDonalds has always been a reliable go-to. Laugh all you want, but we’re not food snobs. We enjoy cheap eats as much as the next person. We knew that McCafe served a variety of drinks, but we assumed that their coffee would pale in comparison to Starbucks. We were immensely wrong.
A large cup of cup of McDonalds McCafe coffee is $1.49, more than $1 less than your Starbucks Venti. It’s also rich and delicious, without having that watered down flavor that we often note when purchasing coffee either at Dunkin Donuts or a local coffee stand.
But here’s the best thing about McDonalds: the McDonalds app.
We’ll be talking about the McDonalds app in an upcoming post, but if you haven’t downloaded this app it’s now the time to do so. On the app, depending on your location, you can buy 5 McCafe drinks (any size, any time) and get the 6th drink free. This is much more affordable than Starbucks reward app. We often find it ridiculously hard to accumulate 125 stars necessary for a free reward at Starbucks. At McDonalds if you were to buy 5 large cups of coffee (total $7.45), you can get any McCafe beverage at any size for free, including a large Mocha Frappe (our favorite- valued at $4). That means that for every cup of coffee, with the included free 6th drink, your coffee price per day is now $1.24, significantly cheaper than Starbucks with much added value and taste.
Although McDonalds doesn’t offer certain flavors like green tea, they do have an extensive menu of frappes (the cheaper version of the well known Frappachino), iced caramel macchiatos, and lattes, which is sure to satisfy any coffee craving.
Now you can feed your coffee addiction without the guilt of hurting your wallet.