Why Pinoys Spend So Much To Get The Starbucks Planner That They’ll Never Use Anyway

Updated: November 4, 2020

How much does it cost to get the Starbucks Planner? According to my Math, it would cost you around P2,000.

This is possible if you bought only the smallest sizes of the cheapest participating beverages. And perhaps joined the free sticker promos, if there’s any.

But of course, most people will actually spend more than P2,000.


And then comes the financial advice…

As soon as the start of the Starbucks planner promo is announced, social media will begin to churn various financial advice against it.

“Don’t get the Starbucks planner, the one at Coffee Bean is better, and you only need 12 stickers, not 18. Plus, it will be cheaper.”

“Why spend thousands of pesos for a planner, when you can get one for less than a hundred in a bookstore. You might even receive one as a gift from your company.”

“Instead of buying expensive coffee, just invest the money. It’s the smarter thing to do. Starbucks is overpriced and not even that good.”

And my favorite…

“May planner nga, wala namang plano sa buhay.”

Good intentions… wrong approach.

These financial advice all have good intentions, but unfortunately, they’re not effective.

I’ve seen, read, and heard these advice from financial experts and frugal-minded individuals ever since the Starbucks planner promo started years back.

And guess what happened…

Each year, more and more Filipinos are going to Starbucks during Christmas to avail of the planner, which they’ll never even use.

How do I know this? Because I’m one of them.


I am a Starbucks drinker.

Have you heard of the Latte Factor?

It’s a personal finance concept that points out how small purchases can add up to a significant amount over time, and how you’re missing an opportunity to grow your money because of it.

My usual Grande Iced Caffè Latte costs P130. I go to Starbucks at least four times a week, which gives me a total spend of P27,040 every year on “overpriced coffee”.

If I instead, just invested that amount in the stock market, every year for 10 years, at 10% annual compounded growth, then I’d have almost half a million pesos by the end of the decade.

So why don’t I do that?

Because I don’t actually just buy coffee at Starbucks.

Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee

If you think that the main product of Starbucks is coffee, then you’re wrong.

Like most cafes, Starbucks is more than just a coffee shop, it is primarily an “experience-provider” – these are exact words from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Most people don’t go to coffee shops like Starbucks to drink coffee.

The socially-conscious, go there “to be seen”, to experience being important. Online workers and freelancers go there to work, to experience a change from their home office environment.

Friends go there to meet and hang out, to experience the joy of conversation in a cozy venue. Introverts go there to read and watch people, to experience being alone without actually being alone.

Different people go to Starbucks (and other coffee shops) for many reasons, and most of the time, it’s not because of the coffee.

For me, Starbucks has been my venue for blogging, reading, meeting clients, and hanging out with friends. These are the reasons why I’m there at least 4 times a week.


A strong brand because of social science

Starbucks is a strong global brand because they took the time to understand the psychology of their target market through thousands of customer surveys.

And their application is consistent – from the beverages to the ordering process; from the customer service to the store ambiance.

I’ve been to a lot of their branches in the Philippines and other countries, and the experience is almost always the same everywhere.

Proof to this social science is my friend, who put up his own coffee shop and made it look and feel like Starbucks – from the menu to the ordering process; from the customer service and to the ambiance.

His cafe business was a success. It was very profitable for three years until a Starbucks branch opened nearby, stole all his customers and he had to close shop.

Why Pinoys spend so much to get the Starbucks planner

And now we go back to the original question…

Why do Pinoys spend so much to get the Starbucks planner that they’ll never even use?

The answer lies in the psychology behind the promo, which most financial advisors fail to see and address.

They don’t care about the money they’ll spend.
Telling people how expensive it is to get the planner doesn’t work because it’s irrelevant to their intentions. People who want the planner are not thinking of saving money.

They don’t care about the quality of the coffee.
Telling people that there are better places to have coffee than Starbucks doesn’t work because it’s not coffee that they’re buying. People are paying for the “Starbucks experience”.

They don’t care about the planner at all.
Telling people how other coffee shops have better planners doesn’t work because most people don’t actually have plans of using it. People want the planner because it’s a prize.


Understanding the psychology

Getting the Starbucks planner is a Christmas tradition for young urban professionals. Completing the midnight mass novena or Simbang Gabi used to be the must-do Christmas tradition for Pinoys. Now, it’s getting the planner.

Going to Starbucks and collecting the stickers makes people feel that they are part of a public tradition by their own generation and not one that they “adopted” from their parents.

Among friends – sharing how many stickers they’ve already collected, discussing which Christmas beverage they like the most, asking which planner design or color they want – these are all part of this modern tradition that Starbucks brilliantly started.

A Starbucks “virgin” becomes curious and goes to a branch to see what the fuss on the Starbucks planner is all about.

As he enters the store, the friendly barista greets him cheerfully and asks him how his day is going before taking his order.

Sensing a first-timer, the barista recommends a Caramel Macchiato or a Mocha Frappuccino – said with a reassuring tone similar to a trusted friend.

He gets his drink, settles down to a seat at the corner of the store, and starts to observe the people around.

He sees men in suits having a business meeting, a student typing a report on his laptop, a group of friends having a mini-reunion, and a pretty girl quietly reading a book.

“Why do these people hang out here? Am I missing something?” he asks himself. Then he looks at his promo card with its single, lonely sticker.

“Well, I can always come back and learn more about it,” he justifies.

Have you ever reached a goal you worked hard for? Do you remember how good it felt the moment you achieved it? I’m sure you do.

The Starbucks planner is a short-term, not-so-easy, but definitely achievable goal that today’s generation of Pinoys find worth pursuing.

I bet you that Starbucks did their research and found that eighteen stickers are the magic number – not 24, not 12, but 18. A goal that’s challenging enough to give the rush of victory upon completion.

When you’re an employee working for that uncertain promotion, paying debts that seem to never go away, and saving for retirement that’s still years ahead – achieving a short-term goal such as getting the Starbucks planner is always a huge boost to your self-esteem.

Tradition – Experience – Prize
Combine all three and you have a potent marketing strategy – one that Starbucks has effectively applied for many years now.

The sense of belongingness to a young generation, the experiential sanctuary away from home, and the personal triumph of overcoming a challenge – this is why Pinoys spend so much to get the Starbucks planner that they’ll never use anyway.


My financial advice

If you can afford it, then you’re okay in my book. If you see me at Starbucks, please approach me and introduce yourself.

But if you’re on a tight budget, trying to save money, and cannot afford spending on eighteen overpriced beverages. Then here are my advice:

It’s now the bazaar season. This is a yearly ritual not just for bargain hunters, but also among friends and family looking to do something together during the Christmas season.

Make your list, plan your gifts, then go to the numerous Christmas bazaars around the city and be part of this fun and frugal Pinoy tradition.

The “Starbucks experience” is not unique. There are a lot of coffee shops now that offer similar, and sometimes, better experiences.

If you’re a coffee-lover, check out the local coffee shops around the city. Or if you just want to hang out with your friends, then have a “coffee appreciation party” at home. I’ve done this and it’s fun!

Name something you’ve always wanted that costs around P2,000 (or even a little more). Is it a new pair of jeans? A bottle of perfume you like? A new watch for your everyday use?

Instead of spending to get the planner that will just gather dust next year, save up for something that will actually be useful to you. It can be anything as long as it’s within your set budget. Make this your Christmas gift to yourself.

Sixteen planners and counting…

The Starbucks planner promotion started in 2003. And with my usual schedule, I’m bound to get my 16th planner after 3 weeks. Give me another 3 weeks, and I’ll complete another sticker booklet.

I usually stop collecting stickers after I get my second planner because I only need two – each for my two brothers who like receiving them as Christmas gifts from me.

What about you? How many Starbucks planners have you had?

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
Photo credits: julianparaiso, Christa Uymatiao and alxndrtgt


  1. Nice one! Some people also criticized those who lined up at the opening of H&M. For me, it’s a good sign from the business and economic perspective. If I were the owner of these businesses it means their doing something right for people to line up at their stores. We can also learn from them on that perspective.

  2. I had fun reading this article Fitz! I can relate pretty much to almost everything you said. I’ve been collecting Starbucks planner since my last year in college which is about 6 yrs ago. Haha! I just missed one planner cause I was pregnant that time and coffee’s a no-no. I am not a coffee lover but I really love Starbucks! 🙂

  3. Superb writing as usual, I thought at first you were going antiStarbucks, lol i bet you composed this post mostly inside Starbucks, right sir? Now I need to get a prize for myself too, and applying that tradition and experience marketing strategy. Good thing you email blast this post, been too busy to actually visit your website.(I’m currently building my email list on my blog too, i think its pretty important to have my busy readers be reminded about me haha).. I’ve been referring your blog to my few, like-minded pals. Keep up, my virtual mentor. God bless. Hope to meet you in person one day! Cheers from Batangas City!

  4. @Lois
    It’s always a challenge for me to write about entrepreneurship and personal finance. I want to teach frugality and smart finances, but I also want to help entrepreneurs create more sales for their business by understanding the consumer psychology.

    Anyway, I am also not against the people who lined up at H&M because I’m sure it’s mostly for the experience and a way to show their love for the brand. However, I will be against their spending if they are buying things they could not really afford.

    I love Starbucks too. In fact, I love it so much that I bought shares of SSI when they had an IPO in the Philippine Stock Market, so I can be part owner of the business. 😀

    You’re right, I created the mindmap of this article in Starbucks. 😀 And I’m sure we’ll meet each other soon. Thanks for taking the time to comment and all the best to your blog.

  5. it makes sense for regular customers like you. you get rewarded for what you always do. but i think the financial advices are targeted to the non-regular customers who are buying into the craze.

  6. Hi anon. Indeed, the financial advice is for those who are buying into the craze unnecessarily and at the expense of their own budget.

    And my advice, if you want to be more effective in discouraging them, you need to address the real reason why they would want the planner, and give them alternatives.

    Because as I’ve said, simply telling them how expensive it is to get a planner doesn’t work.

  7. Very good article.
    It also teaches psychology and marketing!
    I am a starbucks drinker too..
    however i’ll only give in to that craze if that is affordable..

  8. Really good read, now I know that its not just about being in starbucks, its more than that. Sana mameet kita sir Fitz sa starbucks if ever I need to get the starbucks experience 🙂


  9. I’m proud to say that I don’t own a starbucks planner not because I can’t afford it but because I feel it is hyped-up by people. I actually agree that people buy coffee for the stickers because they wantto show-off and doesn’t even use it. I rather buy a actual planner at a bookstore and use it. I also drink starbucks coffee once or twice a month and thats all.

  10. A very balanced article on getting those planners. The key here is if you can afford to buy it without damaging your budget, then go by all means.

  11. I actually am one of those na gusto ng Giving PLanner of CBTL. Yun nga lang, like you said, costly mag-avail ng ganitong promo. I have to restrain myself to frequent CBTL sa ngalan ng sticker. Besides, I’m more after their Chicago Cheesecake more than the coffee blends. I go for black coffee most of the time when I visit their branch.

  12. nice one Fitz! I asked the mister why he loves SB coffee, I was hoping he’d say “It’s the nearest to your timpla”

    FAILED! hahaha

    he loves “hannging” out because it’s the nearest place that offers the two things he likes doing: drinking coffee and smoking LOL

  13. Briliant explanation Fitz! Brilliance is Y-O-U, really. And with all those point said, you just gave out ideas on how a business should be, inspiring. Thanks! 🙂

  14. this article was nice and interesting, really caught my attention , probably because i was a big spender too when it comes to coffee and in an sb planner 🙂 and quite right sb company holds a long marketing campaign no need for an advertisement in anyway.. they sets in a traditional way.

  15. Good read. I would like to point however, that comparing the collection of stickers with simbanggabi is off. They’re incomparable for a number of reasons

  16. thank you. i plan my schedule using my smartphone.

    but i still collect them stickers to get the planner that i never use. collector’s itrem. like a toy that’s still in it’s box and not to be opened.

    and yes, coffeebean planners are better.

  17. Good stuff! I worked at starbucks aspen co for quite a while and apparently, i heard from my manager that it is the most expensive starbucks liscenced store in usa. Im not really sure about it becaude i have not been to big cities in us. But the venti latte will cost you about $8.00++ in aspen. Thats around php 400.00 for a cup of coffee. Its unbelievable but we were always slammed everyday, people are dying to get hold of this coffee. Price doesnt play a big role here because aspen is home of billionaires. Im fact howard schultz has a property 4 blocks away from the store. I would like think, theres nothing really very speacial about the coffee, its all about the “experience” that we create everyday and that’s the reason why people visit the store.

  18. I will answer the question straight. They buy the planner and spend hundreds to thousands worth of coffee just to get the planner just to be “in”., to say na sosyal ka kasi ngsstarbucks ka.For a person like who has a “breakeven income” i wont got this kind of coffee shops. I work in a call center industry. Most who go there are managers, TM’s or agents who earn quite a lot. Just wondering why their coffee is expensive.Kung tutuusin eh ang kape eh naiinom na khit sinong tao. Mag MCdo nlng ako for coffee or bumili ng 3 in 1 na kape. Well, buti nlng hind ako ngkkape kasi acidic ako sa kape…

  19. Coffee from Starbucks just sucks. I try to avoid it if I can. If there’s a Coffee Bean or something else, I’ll just go there. It’s not because of the coffee… I just need a place to sit down. I don’t care who sees me there. I don’t get the whole “going to Starbucks to be seen” thinking. Who cares. Oh you go to Starbucks? So what? You want a medal?

  20. I respect Starbucks and how they do their business. But for a regular employee who already spend 10% or more of their daily wage is stupidity. Plus drinking something that is 400-800 calories per intake which will kill you slowly is much more stupid. So many are ignorant and no wonder only 1-3% of people are rich. Poor people spend major money on minor things. Rich people spend their money wisely. Sadly, it is the poor people who do not want to invest money and time to educate themselves to become smarter.

  21. AS for me I started collecting since 2008 except when they launched the smaller version. And “gamit na gamit” ang mga planners ko. I like writing down on planners, drawing and even painting on them, I make it like an annual scrapbook-journal. And nakakatuwa to look back on those I’ve written down. And I’m still planning to collect one even if I already have a planner called Kikki-k. My starbucks planners are just overly decorated. Just sharing 🙂

  22. nice read! 🙂 i am a coffee addict but not at all a starbucks fanatic. i haven’t had any of the starbucks planner but this year i plan to get one. yes! i will spend more 2000++ pesos for the coffee and the planner.. for the reason that i am addicted to notebooks and planners as much as i am addicted to pens and words and coffee.. it’s not always the hype or status symbol.. we do it for few good diversed reasons. people na magssabing “NAKIKIUSO” lang are “NARROW MINDED”…

  23. I so get this:

    ” Online workers and freelancers go there to work, to experience a change from their home office environment.

    Friends go there to meet and hang out, to experience the joy of conversation in a cozy venue. Introverts go there to read and watch people, to experience being alone without actually being alone.”

    Took out the socially conscious bit because I like to think that I’m not… please indulge me ;).

    I freelance, blog, and study at Starbucks. It’s like my office because I don’t really have one (well I do but I don’t need to work there). I feel more productive when I’m outside the apartment so I end up going to bux all the time.

    I actually think I spend less money working at bux kasi I don’t have to drive all the way to Taguig from Manila. Less gas (kasi couple of blocks from my place lang) and libre parking (sa Taguig may bayad). I only buy one drink, Iced Latter na venti which is 140 pesos and I almost never eat there. When I start getting hungry I just eat at home para makatipid and try to finish my work sa bahay if it’s not done yet.

    I recognize that it’s a rather large chunk of my monthly expense but I feel that with the productivity and convenience it provides me it’s a justifiable one. But on months that I feel like I really need to save I do try to cut my visits there tho.

    ohh and like you I get at least one every year. Actually I normally end up with 2 or 3 since I’m there so often. I would probably be there anyway even if they weren’t giving out planners so I figure might as well get as many as I can :). There were years na umabot ako ng 4 planners actually since they always extend the promo the year after. I think it ends around Feb na normally.

    Been collecting since 2007 I think. Never actually use them, I always give them to my friends as Christmas gifts. It’s great coz they seem to love it and I end up buying less gifts than I have to :).

  24. I used to collect Starbucks planners when I was still in college. Why? Because I can and because of the status symbol one gets from it.

    But after college, that is when I learned the value of money, stopped collecting stickers and bought a planner with more space in it at NBS. Then, I got hooked to the BDJ planner next. Haha!

    Last year, by sheer luck, I frequent CBTL with a guy I was seeing so I was able to get a planner but gave it to my sister instead.

    It’s not a wise thing to be dedicated to getting a planner, but it isn’t so bad if you try and get some stickers if you really happen to visit Starbucks every once in awhile or you really frequent those coffee shops enough to be able to collect them naturally.

    But then again… To each his own perhaps. Lol

  25. Bravo Fritz! This is a well-written, objective and informative piece. You respected and understood all sides but gave very sound advice. Cheers! 🙂

  26. Enjoyed reading your post Fitz. And I can completely relate. It’s really not entirely about the coffee, or the planner itself, but the experience. And I beg to disagree with some people’s opinion on the consideration of just “being in” why people buy in Starbucks.

    I guess some just fail to comprehend why most people do consider Starbucks albeit the high cost.

    I’ve been collecting since 2008 I guess, two of them just got lost but whenever I seem them altogether in one corner of my shelf I always have that feeling of fulfillment or something, like an inner contentment perhaps that I was able to at least collect without actually noticing these years. Just had a chance to really come to that realization that Christmas is incomplete without my so-called collection and the incomparable joy of knowing it’s a gift to yourself attached with the experience of who you were with or even embracing solitude in one corner.

    It has really become a tradition, although I would agree with Arjay on the Simbang Gabi being compared to Starbucks is kinda off. However, I’m sure you mentioned this to emphasize that it has grown to be a Christmas tradition, hence the comparison.

    Nonetheless, great post, it captured my attention. Totally relate and read all the way through. 🙂

  27. Kudods Sir! Such an interesting read! I hope you can drop by at Sbux West Ave branch and I’ll make you a perfect cup of Iced Grande Latte (or whatever’s your usual) and have a nice chit-chat:)

  28. It’s ironic because I used to frequent coffee shops when I was in college and not so much now that i’m working. I can afford it, however, I realized that I can mix a coffee that tastes better than what they sell for less than a hundred pesos. That’s way fulfiling knowing that I can make somthing better that is worth my buck. And let’s face it, most people who go to SB nowadays just wants to be ‘seen’ or just so they can say na can afford sila. Besides, those who are obviously ‘pasoshal’ and ‘social climbers’ sa office, they’re the ones whom you’d always see with an SB cup. I’d rather not be one of those. I have money and I dont need to flaunt it with mediocre tasting coffee and could-be-better experience.

  29. Who even uses planners nowadays? Everything is synced from laptops to phones. I know people with this planners na they can’t even fill up half the planner.

  30. I worked in Starbucks Philippines for a year. Experienced Christmas planner promotion twice. I would say. People really go gaga over the planner. I actually asked myself why do people collect stickers just so they could have a planner, it was a pain in the ass for customers to ask us to put more stickers in their booklet. This article pretty sums all of it. It’s the Starbucks experience. I have to quit my job as a barista in the Philippines and have to go back to my own country. Right now Christmas is almost near! Oh how I wish I could be a Pinoy barista again. Ending your shift tired but happy. 🙂

  31. Yes! This is so true. I’ve got the planner the last two years that I’ve been in Cebu (I’m a foreigner here) and I barely even use it. I always start using it at the beginning of the year and then just realise I don’t need it and stop writing in it.

    I think as well that they always have their promotion in December when everyone gets their 13th month pay and people act like they’re really wealthy for a while.

    I definitely won’t be buying it this year anyway, such a waste of money! Although I still think it’s the best coffee in the Philippines.

  32. Not a coffe drinker here not a Starbucks coffee fan but I got your point and as someone who runs a small business, everything you said make sense.

    Cheers to you Fitz

  33. I use my smartphone to organize my stuff. Not really a fan of these planners. Had one from CBTL and never used it.

  34. i was really smiling while reading this one because i am one with you in this so called tradition. it has always beeb a different feeling if you are in starbucks, you just can’t stop talking when you are with someone or uou can have your solitude when alone regardless of the crowd in a store. the planner, yes, i get one every year just to keep it because i don’t organize things that much 🙂 the here is that every visit, every drink amounts to a good experience.

  35. Does anyone really want to “hangout” at Starbucks? How poser-ish and dim witted are Filipinos to treat sticker collecting as a tradition instead of helping our kababayans who can’t do the regular Christmas traditions because they are too poor.

    I think this is justifying what is wrong in our society and tolerating the young to think this is hip and cool. The yuppies most especially who have the capacity to help, splurge their money on something that they won’t use and “hangout” and act like they live in California or something and spend their money on overpriced coffee when even a little goes a long way to help those in need.

    Yes, I know some part of the profits coming from the planner gimmick go to charity, but really–it just goes to show how materialistic and shallow what our youths have become.

  36. I appreciate Starbucks and I do splurge on my occasional Choco Java Chip (which is the only caffeine-based drink on the face of the planet that I find potent enough to keep me up 🙂 ). But I’m not into their planner craze since I find it impractical to spend so much on something I know I’ll stop using by February. This is a good read though for people thinking of putting up a business. Goes to show that one has to do their homework and do a thorough study of their target market before plunging in.

  37. Interesting article. I’m a coffee drinker, I don’t collect the planners but I still regularly (though it’s just once or twice a week) buy coffee from Starbucks and I primarily have two reasons.

    1) The brand itself. I mean, Starbucks sells coffee, I trust them to at least keep their counter and the coffee they serve, clean.
    2) Convenience, since I’m in RCBC and it’s one of the first stores you’ll encounter on the third floor, regardless of whether you ride the escalator or the elevator.

    Though I guess the 2nd factor is more important. If CBTL, Blenz, Javaman, Figaro, or even some mom and pop cafe had been in the same location, I’d be buying from them.

    If only 7/11 were a bit closer, I’d just buy one of those 3-in-1 coffee that comes with a cup, then buy a few more sachets of coffee that I can use for the day.

    But yeah, as far as the quality of coffee is concerned, IMO, nothing beats home-made coffee.

  38. If I may add to the reasons mentioned above as to why people are seeking the Starbucks “experience,” it seems to me that this going to places like Starbucks can be a status symbol also, and people naturally want to belong or at least appear to belong to that upper group of the society hierarchy. We lived in the USA for several years and people like to go to Starbucks also. The only difference is that a cup of Starbucks grande there cost about $3, and the minimum wage is over $7. In short, for a minimum wage earner in the US, they have to work about half an hour to afford a cup. Here in the Philippines, minimum wage earners get around P450 a day, and a cup of Starbucks P130, or equivalent to over 3-hours of work! But it makes people “feel good” to stroll around with a cup in the hand.

  39. When I was a student, I go to Starbucks from time time but I never collected stars for a planner. My friends and I go there many times especially from November to December to gossip for several hours with just one venti-sized each. Now, I go there more often since I already have a job. But sad to say, I’m always alone so I usually take my coffee out because its awkward for me to be alone inside. Now I collect stars to at least get something from Starbucks to compensate for those times I don’t stay in their cafes to use their outlets to charge my gadgets. LOL.

  40. Every year i always gave a planner to my colleague, but one time, one of my colleague said hopefully its a starbucks planner. i smiled at her, 2 years later, she bought a planner from a starbucks…. when she received the planner after completing 18 stickers, she found out that looks familiar… after a week she saw the planner that i gave her 2 years ago… and she can’t believe that the planner from a starbucks was the same, that i given to her 2 years ago… :)))))

    what is the lesson???? now you know! :))))

  41. Me and my mom would usually collect at least 8 planners annually and give them away as Christmas gifts but since I’m older now, I’ve learned how to save money and this article made me realize even more that it is a huge waste. Thanks for this.

  42. This blog failed to convince me. Spend each penny wisely. Earning stickers just to get the planner and show you’re in is not practical at all. Also, Bo’s coffee is far better than Starbucks.

  43. gusto ko yung article kasi balanced at kapag binasa mo ng mabuti, maiintindihan mo ang message

    nakakatawa lang ang iba na nagco-comment… mukhang hindi binasa ang buong article at nag-conclude na lang kagad ng opinion nila

    binasa niyo ba yung sinabi ni sir fitz?

    it’s not about the money, it’s not about the coffee and it’s not about the planner

    kaya sa lahat ng nag-comment na sayang ang pera and you should spend wisely

    yung mga nag-comment na pangit ang kape sa starbucks at mas masarap sa iba

    at sa mga nag-comment na mas maganda ang planner sa ibang coffee shops or useless ang paper planner kasi may cellphone naman or digital equivalent

    please lang, basahin niyo ulit ang article

    basahin niyo ng buo at hindi lang yung mga first sentence ng bawat paragraph at yung mga naka-bold

    going there to be seen, na mag-feeling sosyal, that is all part of the starbucks experience – it’s a millenial thing, in my opinion

    at bilang isang negosyante, isang magandang lesson itong article na ito dahil ngayon alam ko na kung paano magkaron ng loyal na customers… at yun ay wag lang mag-focus sa produkto, kundi sa experience ng customer

    yun lang, salamat sir fitz sa napakalalim na article na ito

  44. I’m guilty of this too, but the past 12 years, i can afford it. but this year, with 2 kids, plus bills, I decided not to get it. I think I will just get an ordinary planner somewhere.

  45. FACE PALM.
    This writer is one insecure person. But, okay. If that’s what makes you happy. I just feel sorry for your shallowness.

  46. The psychology behind this article blew my mind.

    I do like to go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and enjoy some time alone with a book or with some friends but I don’t go there every week because, I agree, the coffee is over priced and it’s not even the best. And I would rather invest my money. So good for me. Ha!

    I guess the same analogy applies with McDonald’s. It’s not really about the burger. And the main products that McDonald’s is distributing is not even food. Yet people go there because they are attracted by something else. It’s the Global Burger and everyone goes there. Ha!

    I have this friend who loves to collect Starbucks planners. As a Financial Planner, I always tell her that the planner is too expensive and she doesn’t use it at all. At first I thought she was a little slow to understand my advice but now I understand why she still buys it.

    For those who don’t join the charade, they probably already have something similar that feeds those human needs.

    I will definitely approach you if I see you at a Starbucks branch. This is a great article.

    Thank you for sharing.


  47. people would just instead post the RESIBO on instagram if ur case about “self-esteem” is true hhahahaha

  48. Great analysis, Fitz. I am a Starbucks fan and I collect their planners, and actually use them as my personal journal, small group and Sunday message notebook. It’s even a mini-album cum scrapbook for me since I glue some photos, ticket stubs, small memorabilia in it. Thanks.

  49. Dissapointing article. All that bullcrap just to say “it’s perfectly fine to waste 1.7k for a planner” mr, from the title itslef “.. That they’ll never use anyway” is a clear sign that it’s a stupid yearly habit all filipinos must break. And to waste your energy just to justify “IT” is really dissapointing. Reading this is worst than actually spending thousands for that stupid ass planner.

  50. Very good read; whereas only intellectual people or just the open-minded would absolutely understand.

    I’m both a coffee lover and a financial literacy enthusiast. And just like you, I don’t use it for personal use but rather a Christmas present to anyone I love. That makes me more rewarded, tho.

    Thank you so much! :))

  51. It’s about the Starbucks experience – exactly! I have been collecting the Starbucks planner for years now. Yes, I never get to use any of those, because I give them all as gifts. not everyone who lines up every day, even twice a day to buy coffee for the stickers are as stupid as what you are trying to convince yourself and some dumb readers to be.

    Why spend so much on a Starbucks planner and not buy from a department store? Again, because it’s not just ANY Planner, it’s a Starbucks planner. It is the whole process that you have to go through in getting a planner that makes it special, even if you are not going to use it. And that does not make someone someone questionable.

    A very well-writen article aimed not to awaken but to keep people blinded by your dark intentions.

    Not impressed at all.

  52. This is the most stupid tradition! I dont understand why Pinoys buy into this, same as spending too much money on branded shoes and purses, there are much more important things in life! Personally, I’d rather keep the Simbang gabi tradition…(I don’t own any Starbucks planner!) If you are a real millenial, you should be using One Note or Evernote app.

  53. i have about 8 of them Starbucks planners. i stopped a few years ago when I looked at all the other planners and realized they were all empty after February. They were just too pretty to write on or darn heavy to lug around. And finally realized how much I was losing out on them. And as much as I respect the Starbucks goers and the supposed “starbucks experience” – there are a good number of other coffee shops with lesser ambience factor but sure as hell better coffee! At the end of the day, to a coffee lover like me, that matters more than a sofa, ambience or a planner prize.

  54. ‘nuf said.

    “People who want the planner are not thinking of saving money.”

    yan ang laman ng buong article. simple lang. kasi yung kumukuha ng planner ay hindi nag-sasave. in-short, may extra money. kanya-kanya lang naman yan.

  55. If customers are spending so much money for “Tradition (buying a planner they won’t use) Experience (buying coffee somewhere else with a friend is the same thing) and Prize (a prize they wouldn’t USE)” then the customers are dimwits and they are easily manipulated.

  56. To Lionthe: bakit naging insecure?? he’s shallow just because he drinks at Starbucks? now you’re being judgmental, or siguro hindi mo lang naintindihan ang message ng article. also, it’s his preference to drink coffee there, the same way some people prefer the burgers of Jollibee over McDonald’s.

    To cantfoolme: two words… “consumer surplus” – it’s the same way that people choose to spend so much money on a wedding dress that they’ll just wear once – it’s because they can afford it

    To Sam: hindi mo yata binasa hanggang huli – he also gives them away as gifts – and where’s the dark intentions? never did the writer say nor imply to spend on Starbucks – the most that he says is that if you can afford it, then go ahead – walang basagan ng trip in other words

    To OK: to say that the customers are dimwits and easily manipulated is disrespectful – they were simply sold to the marketing strategies of Starbucks, which is not at all bad – we all get sold to marketers and advertising. do you drink coffee? if yes, then you’ve been sold to by that brand of coffee that you drink.

  57. Thank you everyone for the comments – good or bad – because each one has helped me understand how my writing style gets interpreted by different people.

    When I wrote this article, I had a goal in mind. And the comments reflect how effective I was in getting that message across.

  58. It’s really the feeling of getting that sense of achievement for something you’ve worked hard on, in some point in your life. It really feels good when you’ve earned something that is worth all your time money and effort. I use planners, different kinds/brands since I was in high school and I love writing every plans and memory in every day of my life and this will be the first time I am working on getting a Starbucks planner. 🙂 Well, I am not really a heavy drinker of coffee but for me it’s just the feeling of achieving no matter how small/big it is. Every person has its own goals in life no matter how crazy, short term or long term it is. Then so be it :p kanya kanyan buhay lang yan haha. — “Have you ever reached a goal you worked hard for? Do you remember how good it felt the moment you achieved it? I’m sure you do.”

  59. Yup people are paying for the experience and not just the coffee. People shudnt compare McDonalds coffee to startbucks. here in Us i’d say that its not that expensive as most people could afford a $4-5 coffee once in a while (of course the standard of living here is different) but… I still dont get it why people are so crazy about Starbucks planner even after reading the article. Its feels great to be rewarded if you are an avid customer but if you are spending too much money just to get the planner, i think thats not considered a prize/reward anymore. Ive never heard of starbucks planner here in the States. Filipinos are crazy about Foreign Brands when we actually have better homegrown brands in the PH. really hoping that filipinos will start supporting local businesses.

  60. “Completing the midnight mass novena orSimbang Gabi used to be the must-do Christmas tradition for Pinoys. Now, it’s getting the planner.”

    I disagree. Sorry po sir. But I stil prefer go to church to attend mass rather than collect stickers even if I love coffee and Starbucks.
    Since we also celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus.
    Pasintabi nalang po if may ibang religion.

    Good read indeed.

  61. What a good marketing study on the phenomena of the Starbucks planner and the Pinoy urban professional.

    I only go to Starbucks to meet up with my Starbucks-crazy girlfriends 🙂 I agree, the Starbucks experience is what we’re paying there – the cozy interiors, the friendly staff, the feeling of being amongst modern illustrados. But I simply don’t have the budget to be there every single week.

    I’ve been a planner user since I was in elementary school. Although technology has evolved over the years, I still insist in using a planner, since I’m a designer that needs paper to draw ideas as well as keep my schedule. I agree that if you’re just in the Starbucks planner thing to keep up with the Pinoy Joneses, even if you’re already strapped in cash, you’re crazy. Karma will bite back in the long run when your twilight years and you realize that you’ve forgotten to invest for your retirement.

  62. Maybe a social experiment you can try:

    Stop going to Starbucks for a year and spend your time somewhere where you can leave a mark and impact to this world. Then let’s meet in a starbcuks shop after a year and tell me the conclusion.

    Just a suggestion.

  63. There’s a segment in Suze Orman’s show , Show Me the Money, which I really love. You get to ask her if you she will approve you to buy or spend for something you want (it can be anything), but first you have to show her your “money” or financial standing. If you’re approved it means that you can afford it and it’s not big deal if it’s just a want or need. I think the lesson there is that you are allowed to enjoy your money whatever you want as long as you have done your homework.

    I also hear some financial advisers teach thriftiness but I believe it should be up to such point only. Also, they should understand their audience. I also find it ironic when some financial advisers preach not to patronize some products but then would sell their books etc

    In my experience entrepreneurship is the most difficult to learn (and probably teach) because there are no simple steps or formula. And I am so indebted to Sir Fitz and his blog because it has been my guide for 4 years now.

    Life is so beautiful that we should start to really live.

    Let’s all enjoy the holidays :))

  64. This is a good, entertaining read, though I must admit that the purpose of “hanging out” in Starbucks is kind of sugarcoated.

    “The socially-conscious, go there “to be seen”, to experience being important.”

    Or, maybe you forgot (or you just don’t want) to mention that some people go there para magmukhang “susyal” and not just “to be seen.” Pointing it out could make it a more balanced article. (You also could’ve said that these ‘people’ are the ones who frequently post SB-related photos in social media like IG and FB). I wished this article could’ve been slightly harsh. 🙂

    But, then again,this article is the answer to all those others that try to persuade these loyal SB customers to not to avail the “overpriced planner.”

  65. i dont drink coffe..but when it comes to starbucks, i always order frap.it means kape lng ng starbucks ang iniinom ko..starbucks experience..

  66. I enjoyed reading the blog. I go to Starbucks, to buy time to study not the actual coffee. I usually get distracted whenever im at home. I feel productive studying at a coffee shop. Truly a misconception on planner and SB.

  67. I don’t go to SB for the experience…i go there for the coffee ’cause they’re really good. Hubby and i would normally drop by starbucks after eating out. Coffee serves as our dessert….as for the planner…nah!

  68. I’m so glad to have kicked the Starbucks habit. It helps that I have so little time to “hang out”. It also helps that here where I live, Starbucks is no longer an “experience provider”. The hipsters around here have moved on to the single-source-organic-fair-trade-etc. coffee shops. In fact, Starbucks is now widely derided as an un-hip coffee shop around these parts.

    I have also learned to brew my own coffee for pennies per cup.

  69. This article shows the good and bad side of collecting starbucks planner. I don’t own any planner because i am not a regular customer or Starbucks. I agree that it serves as a reward to those who whas been loyal to the store, they deserve it. And to those who are not a fan of Starbucks see this as just a waste of money or a stupid tradition because they don’t want to spend that amount of money for a planner that they don’t appreciate much because again they are not a Starbucks customer. It’s just annoying that some Filipinos go to Starbucks, spend their money to collect these stickers for a planner and then they stop when they are done with it. In other words nakiki uso lang or pasosyal. Lalo na hindi naman nila ginagamit or maybe they don’t even know how to use it. It is still a great article for a Starbucks customers 🙂

  70. I started collecting these planners since 2010. I immediately fell in love with my first starbucks planner. Actually it was a gift from my boyfriend back then. After that we started doing it together the following years. Reason is because I love to write. I love papers and pens. My planner is not only a planner, but also a journal, a diary, a scrapbook, I also make sketches, I draw, I put copy of the lyrics of the song I love, I put reminders. I feel happy whenever I read back from my old planners. I get to picture my old self. What I have been doing all these years. It helps me reflect with who I am before and what I am now.

    Besides, you have 3 months, sometimes 4, to collect those 18 stickers. So you see? It’s not necessary to go to starbucks everyday for the coffee unless you really need/want to. Not all the time its about the “being in” or “pasosyal”. Sometimes, people have their own reasons din 🙂

    Peace ❤

  71. Its either a succesful marketing stunt. Or buyers are simply victims of commercialism and the idea of “social status symbol”.

  72. For some maybe it’s not about being in or pasosyal but i know a lot who does collect stickers, get the planner, and it just rot. Those are the people i am talking about. If it is useful, good for you.

  73. First of, This is a very well-written article. Whoever at Starbucks thought of issuing a planner is marketing genius, He/she definitely got a lot of people hooked on the planner idea. Collecting a Starbucks planner can be expensive if your only reason for going there is to get your daily doze of coffee is for the sole reason of having a sticker. But if you have foreign clients, who would like to start their meeting with a cup of coffee they are familiar and comfortable with, then having those stickers are just add ons. People have their own reasons for going to Starbucks and getting those planners. Whether they would be using them or not, it up too them.

    These planners have appeal and definitely capture a certain market. One can compare these planners to Toy collectors who buy certain toys for the sole reason of having it and never opening it. The logic I can’t understand but can definitely respect.

  74. So true! I love this article!

    When we were on a recent trip to Bangkok, was looking for a coffee shop where we can use the internet and charge at the same time (after checking out from the hotel to kill time before our flight).

    Guess what coffee shop has individual cord sockets per table? Only Starbucks!

  75. I love Starbucks and honestly, I don’t avail their planner because someone will just give me one. Lol. Anyway, I will just give away the stickers for the dying customers who wants to complete their promo card. I love coffee and I love Starbucks and Coffee Bean but I wouldn’t mind to buy 4 cups of coffee a day or a week and give away for free the sticker.

    I love your article and I will recommend this one to all my friends. 🙂 God bless!

  76. i like the article… it reflect both sides. simple lang naman kung wala kang budget don’t buy it.. i collected the stickers and got 1 planner because I need it. i have a mobile phone with a planner but the old school is more reliable. i use it hanggang mapuno. i actually hate coffee because i’m acidic but I go to SB for its non-coffee based drinks, its way better than munching cheeseburgers and fries

  77. I do collect the planner and some might say most people just want to join the bandwagon but for I do visit starbucks every now and then for the whole year it somehow relaxes me especially when I am with my kids. For me to each his own, if you cannot afford to go and have coffer at starbucks then it’s all right but don’t say inappropriate things about other people who does. Let’s respect one another and be happy for them. Thanks for the article Fitz makes sense…..

  78. this year’s the first time that I’ll be collecting stickers for the Starbucks planner. The reason why is I’m doing a Christmas research paper for a particular subject in my school. I’m not a coffee lover and I don’t appreciate coffee that much, but the experience is one of a kind, and there are caffeine-free drinks. I am somehow an introvert by the way, and I don’t like people that much. You are right about the feeling of not being alone, because everybody’s like your family. First I would like to thank you.. now I know where to start on my paper. Second is I would like to compliment on how you write, this is a very good article, and I hope you would make more of these. I am going to use the planner that I’ll get once I’ve completed the stickers..6 stickers to go..
    I do have a question for the planner though.
    Do you think that it’s really for social climbers?and these kind of people are also a part of the strategy of Starbucks?
    I know it’s sounds negative, but I didn’t mean it that way. I’m hoping for you response.. 🙂

  79. This made me recall that a friend told me that people (I bet he’s referring to Starbucks’ customers) are more worried in completing the 18 stars required rather than their financial problems.
    But honestly, we really don’t owe people any explanation on why we spend this much money for the planner, at least for me. For people who can and want to buy, do so as you may please. And for some of those who can’t and do not want to, why negate us? I have known Starbucks for about a couple of years now, but I just started to collect stars for the planner this year and hopefully to claim it before the end of the promo period. I always ask for their green tea frappe. I love it the most. And since I usually buy it whenever I can and I want to, why not do it to get a planner after 18 servings? I just want to try it myself. What would I get out of this and/or what would I feel if I collected all stars and claim my prize, I wanna know. And with regards to the experience, truly, the ambiance and setting of Starbucks is calming for me. Not too loud, but not too quiet. A good place to be at ease to enjoy a drink and something to eat. This is a place to be happy.

  80. I dont use planners but I end up getting around 5-7 of them every year since it came out in 2003. I usually give one or two as gifts and sell the rest. I even have regular buyers. For me its pure profit, cost is irrelevant because I would still get my daily coffee fix anyway regarless of the season. So in my situation, getting a planner is saving me money.

  81. Nice non-hateful post on the starbucks planner. What some people are also missing is that the planner is incidental to some people. For others, a starbucks coffee is “disposable money” that would constitute .1% of their income. So why not pay for the experience?

    In my case, the planner is incidental in the sense that I can opt not to get the planner, but with the number of times I get coffee, I would always buy enough coffee for the planner. So why not get one. I give it every year to my sister-in-law. Or to someone who asks it from me. Why do I go there (I also go to other coffee shops, btw)? Because me and my husband have coffee together almost everyday. That’s how we met, and that’s how we bond and date on non-special days, just because.

  82. Nice article. I never bought one, but helped others have the stars they needed and I usually go to Starbucks to relax while drinking coffee.

    Does Starbucks’ local holding company available in PSE?

  83. I love this. The psychology part is fantastic. This will definitely help a lot in my personal finance journey with my daughters I’m documenting for them while growing up to grow not like me financially.

  84. Goshhhhhh; Fitz- you really figured this out!
    (You deserved a CLAP CLAP CLAP!!!) Ha-ha

    Thank you very much for this article. So this is the answer why all of us are doing this(Addicted to it). Well, my only difference is I’m using my Starbucks planner as my yearly collage planner(its like photo album). I’m proud to say that this is my 4rth time now to collect it.

    This is must read to all Call Center agents I know! Ha-ha

  85. Been reading the comments and found different reactions to this article.

    I believe everyone’s opinion is correct and has been said for a reason. How they react would depend on how “important” starbucks is for them.

    For me, Starbucks is the first coffee shop i’ve been to, and i’ve never been an addict to coffee until that first time i bought a deink from Starbucks. After that, i’m hooked. From then on, i also tried other coffee but being a believer of first love never dies, i always return to Starbucks for my favorite drink. Yes it is expensive and some may think it’s stupid, but that’s just your point of view. For me, i’m getting my money’s worth. It is like going to Max’s for a chicken meal when it’s a lot cheaper if i go Jollibee’s.

    Being a frequent goer to Starbucks, i get to collect the stickers naturally and to get a “free” planner after drinking your favorite blends, then there’s no harm in it. Plus, i only have one planner and i write on it, not just something i collect. Some people like me are actually into writing their thought-out plans for the day, not just into their phones. Phones get broken and replaced, but writing stuff in a planner stay for years and you can go back to your old planners and reminisce in it.

    It only becomes harmful and stupid as you guys say, if you’re not really a fan and just collecting for the sake of it. But then again, to each their own.

    I commend the author on bringing this up and making people think about it more seriously. I know you wrote this thinking it won’t really please everyone but that at least it could make a little difference in people’s way of life.. Not all are openminded so may you have a huge heart to swallow the things other people say.

  86. Don’t get the planner if you will be counting the cost (it is expensive). If your personal fulfillment is to give to charity or to invest the money and see it grow, then go for it.

    I agree with the article that its is the psychology of getting a planner or going to Starbucks that makes it an attractive activity. The social science thingy, there are a lot of more reasonable priced planners to get (if you do need one). The feeling of getting a planner is a very materialistic fulfillment, like buying new clothes or getting your hair fixed at an expensive salon. It is a treat to oneself.

    For me this article is not to convince a person to start getting a planner, but it depicts the “why” a person wants to get a planner and I very much agree with it.

  87. Lots of bashers because of the title but they never read the article in full. Read till the end people so you can understand the writer’s intention!

    Hi Fitz. You’ve got a sensible content here. Thank you for the advice. Happy Holidays!

  88. Honestly, I was never in a Starbucks for all of my first 59 years. Only after relocating to the Philippines did I visit a few times with friends. The cheesecake tasted great. Now, I must thank you for helping me understand what the attraction really is. To be seen or not to be seen, that is the question !!!

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