If you don't drink their regular coffee because it is too strong, get the mild blend, its a milder flavor, not on caffeine. Ask for a tall in a grande cup or a grande in a vente, that leaves lots of room to add milk to mellow it out. Also, the baristas usually eyeball the quantity and they inevitably give you more than the small size.
I'm not sure if it is the same over in the US than it is here in Germany but another great way to save on Starbucks back here is to bring your own cup. They will give you a 50c discount on your drink when you bring your own cup ...
Instead of asking for a latte, ask for a "misto." I used to get a grande soy latte ($4.80!!). Now I get a grande soy misto ($2.90). A misto is just regular coffee w/ a little steamed milk (or soymilk). It tastes ALMOST like a latte for a lot less!
I always ask for ice water - if I am drinking iced tea - I can then dilute it - I get the regular cafe au lait and then add the flavorings - cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla - myself! I also save the containers & re-use them with my own drinks until they fall apart.(When I have met folks for business at a Starbucks - have been know to bring in my own drink in a recycled Starbucks container!)
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