3 PSL Hacks for the Frugal Pumpkin Spice Lover

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance16 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

3 PSL HacksSee what I did there? PSL, Pumpkin Spice Lover? Okay, more reason for me to keep my day job.

But seriously, I love the pumpkin spice latte. How else would we know it’s fall here in Florida without the return of the PSL?

I remember waiting for Labor Day, knowing that the time was near. Standing in the 90-degree heat, wearing a scarf that served no purpose, holding that orange drink in my hand, knowing coffee shouldn’t be that color but not caring at all. It’s a magical time.

But coming in at $5.30 for a Grande the PSL is not a bargain.

I stopped by my local Starbucks to do a price comparison so I could share my hacks for how to enjoy that fantastic pumpkin phenom even if you’re on a budget.

Iced/Brewed Coffee
Iced is my drink of choice since the weather here is balmy well into red cup season. It costs $.60 here to add pumpkin spice sauce to a drink. A sauce is different than a syrup (which is free in the iced coffee) in that it’s thicker and Pumpkin Spice contains actual pumpkin puree.

I got a Grande iced coffee with soy for $2.88 and walked away with a PSIC for $3.48. Equally as delicious and almost $2 cheaper.

If you’re committed to espresso then try PSS in an Americano. A Grande will run you $3.16 hot or iced. With Pumpkin Spice and after tax you’re looking at $4.02 for a Grande. Not only does this get you almost the same thing as a PSL but you save a lot of calories.

According to Starbucks, a Grande PSL is 420 calories with whip and 260 without. So if 16 oz of 2% milk (Starbuck’s standard) is 248 calories a Pumpkin Spice Americano is around 12 calories! I know, I know, not possible, I just couldn’t resist sharing. Realistically though you will save some calories by ditching the milk.

For the price of a can of pumpkin puree and a few spices you probably already have on hand, you can make pumpkin spice syrup of your very own. And the best part? You can use it on all the things, not just coffee! Tea, pound cakes, ice cream, even a pumpkin spice martini (which could potentially be my new favorite fall drink.)

There are a few recipes out there you can alter to your liking. I like this one from A Beautiful Mess. If you’re going for a smoother consistency I’d use super fine sugar or just give regular sugar a spin in the food processor for 30 seconds. If you don’t care then sauce away!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 4-5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a scant 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 heaping tablespoons pumpkin puree

“In a pot combine all the ingredients. Stir together over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking over low/medium heat for an additional 5-6 minutes (do not allow to boil). Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an air-tight container. You can keep unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Before use be sure to give the syrup a good shake as it will separate.”

Keep these tips in your back pocket for any drink at Starbies and you’ll stay on track with your goals while still being able to indulge. Any other suggestions for how I can use this Pumpkin Spice Sauce!?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Using these links will help me establish my pumpkin spice empire at home. Cheers!

16 Comments on “3 PSL Hacks for the Frugal Pumpkin Spice Lover”

  1. You had me at PSL!!! I can’t help myself around pumpkin anything! I’m definitely trying this recipe out-I have a harvest party coming up, so this is happening! Also, um the sugar in the food processor trick?…genius! thanks for the tip.

  2. You could mix (or swirl) the homemade sauce into pancake batter and then top pancakes with more sauce and/or cinnamon honey butter?! Really enjoying all your posts btw 🙂

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