Gift Card Swapping: Why I ♥ the “Latte Factor”

**This is not a sponsored post. But it should be. I’m looking at you, Starbucks and However, there are affiliate links.**


Gift Card Swapping: Why I Heart the Latte Factor

Gift Card Swapping: Why I Heart the Latte Factor

If you’re taking your first baby steps into the personal finance world, you might be reading about something called the “latte factor.” This is essentially the amount of a small expenditure you regularly indulge in multiplied by the number of times you do it.

So if you stop at Starbucks on your way to work every day, that’s $5 a day, $25 a week and about $1300 a year.

$1300 a year is a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong. If you are really struggling to make ends meet, things like the “latte factor” (or the lip gloss factor or the magazine factor or any number of other odds and ends) can really make or break your budget.

But for a lot of people, the “latte factor” isn’t really a big deal.

Confession time: I kind of love Starbucks. Do I drink it every day on my way into work? No. That would be nuts. That’s a freaking month of rent, folks. But do I drink it several times a month? Sure do.

And I drink those sugary, frothy, totally unhealthy, delicious, caffeinated concoctions that cost considerably more than a Grande Americana or whatever that cup of boring old coffee is called there.

So I’m advocating something new here:

Embrace your “latte factor.”

In moderation.

Or heck, even without moderation. If you’re just going to buy the coffee anyway, buy the coffee, but do it smartly.

Use gift card swapping and reselling sites.


I embrace my latte factor using and you can too. Turns out, not everybody loves Starbucks. When these weirdos get a Starbucks gift card, instead of thinking they’re just outta luck, there are awesome websites were they can sell them such as (there’s also Card Pool, or GiftCard Granny to name a few) for the majority of what they’re worth.

Then I swoop in and buy a $100 Starbucks card for $78, which equals 4 free coffees.

So you’re not a caffeine junkie? These websites have cards for pretty much any “latte factor” foul you usually commit. Love lip gloss? Buy Sephora. Can’t walk out of Target without a little extra something? They’ve got those too. Got a bad book habit? Turns out a lot of people aren’t readers – there are plenty of Barnes & Noble cards. See a lot of movies? They have Cinemark, Regal and AMC.

Now I’m not advocating you start spending money all willy nilly. I’m advocating that you look at what you are already spending money on and find a way to save some cash. Plunking down $78 in one chunk for coffee seemed a little nuts to me the first time.

Until I used that gift card for 4 months and realized it definitely did save me a fair amount of money.

Even moving away from the “latte factor,” you can save money on clothes and groceries using this method too, if you regularly shop at certain stores.

Remember – preparation is 100% of the battle.

A cinnamon dolce lattes are worth the splurge.

19 thoughts on “Gift Card Swapping: Why I ♥ the “Latte Factor”

  1. Love this! I’ve never heard of this before but I like it. Typically when you want to buy a gift card you have to pay for how much you want on it and this means you technically can save some money! Bonus! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Countdown in Style!
    Brittnei recently posted…Countdown in Style- Week 20My Profile

    • They definitely make my day. I also love that Raise keeps track of how much money you “save” with each purchase and I just see free coffees piling up right there. I feel like I’m beating the system somehow or something.

  2. Love this idea! I had heard about it and started thinking about selling some gift cards that were local to my old state, and not at all out here, trying to figure out what to do with them! Thanks for sharing with Countdown in Style!
    April recently posted…Yesteryear ~ #FTSFMy Profile

  3. Pretty useful post! Card Pool and are popular sites in the gift card exchange world. But it’s also worth mentioning Card Cash. Unlike the previous two, it doesn’t have minimum exchange amounts and pays you in the form of cash, PayPal or Amazon gift card.

  4. So my dad uses a similar strategy with the gift cards, buying the discounted ones and adding them to his card/app he uses. He’s done it many times, but this latest time, Starbucks deactivated his Starbucks Card account. When he called about it, they said it was because he added a large gift card value that he did not himself purchase from Starbucks directly. They reactivated it but said it would be permanently deactivated if he ever did this again. We are both very disappointed in Starbucks. I’m also confused because (1) I haven’t seen anything in their fine print that would permit them to limit resale and (2) how do they know he didn’t get the card as a gift from someone who bought it directly from Starbucks? That is typically how gift cards work, after all.

    Anyway, I found your post when searching to see if anyone had similar problems.

    • I actually had my Starbucks card deactivated because of a Raise gift certificate about a month ago. I called them and they took care of it immediately. They couldn’t reactivate my old card, but sent me a new one right away. They didn’t mention anything about it being an issue that the gift certificate was from Raise, even though I told them, so that’s odd to me about your dad.

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