Starbucks Planner or 27 Chicken McDos: What Do You Want for Christmas?

Over the past decade, collecting stickers for a Starbucks planner has become a Christmas tradition. It really is a stroke of marketing genius on the part of the Seattle-based coffee chain, and others—most notably Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL)—have followed suit. But how much do these planners really cost you? 

We’ve calculated the minimum price of Starbucks and CBTL 2018 planners using the cheapest drinks on the menu. So beware: Given that hardly anyone goes to Starbucks for a brewed coffee, your planner is bound to actually cost more.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Every holiday season, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf offers its Giving Journal. The planner takes its name from the fact that proceeds from the Giving Journal Initiative go to the benefit of Real LIFE Foundation scholars. We have to admit, this year’s customizable cover looks pretty cool.



To earn a journal, you need to get twelve stamps. Unlike Starbucks, CBTL pretty much forces you to sample their whole drinks menu, and you can’t combine cards. Here’s a breakdown of the requirements:

1 Original Ice Blended (P165)
1 Tea Latte (P160)
1 Coffee-based beverage (P120)
1 Holiday featured beverage (P165)
8 The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf beverages (P120 each)

Total: P1,570

You can also opt to just buy the planner for P1,999.


This year, proceeds from Starbucks planners go to Teach for the Philippines and PETA. Unlike CBTL, Starbucks isn’t as specific with their required drinks, and they allow customers to combine stickers from a maximum of two cards. Though they do force you to drink a whole lot more of their holiday beverages.

9 Core beverages (P105 each)
9 Holiday beverages (P170 each)

Total: P2,745

You can also redeem the planner with a single purchase of P7,000 worth of food and retail items, but who spends that much at Starbucks?

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By comparison, a the cost of a nice Moleskine planner can range from P1,280 to P1,320. Some other things you can get for the cost of a Starbucks planner:

- 98 MRT3 rides
- 45 Jolly Spaghetti Meals
- 27 1-piece Chicken McDo Meals
- 11 Dunkin Donuts Dozen Boxes
- 6 Shakeys Large Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizzas

If you’re a big Starbucks or CBTL fan and absolutely must get your coffee fix every day, then you’ll probably end up earning enough stickers for the planner as a matter of course. If not, well, maybe this perspective will help. 

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Angelica Gutierrez
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