Less money, fewer problems
EC: How to Financially Hack Breakfast With the Starbucks Brunch Menu 
Credit: Photo by Ben Pruchnie via Getty Images

Brunch is a competitive sport—it's a contest for which restaurant can charge the most for avocado toast, who can create the weirdest coffee combinations (banana milk and lemonade espressos, anyone?), and who wait on the longest line without giving up in despair. But Starbucks' brunch menu, which is set to debut across 78 locations in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA over the next few weeks, takes the guesswork, line-squatting, and sky-high bills out of the Hunger Gamesian brunch equation. If you're looking for a cheap brunch (that is still 100% Instagrammable, naturally), Starbucks' brunch initiative might be exactly what you're looking for.

This isn't the only breakfast-related news to come out of coffee giant this week, as Starbucks' bagel balls are primed to make their nationwide debut imminently. But the launch of a Starbucks brunch menu is some next-level stuff, as it includes baked French toast, quiche, and Belgian waffles. Normally, any of these items could cost upwards of $12 to $15 at your typical, moderately nice brunch spot. But Starbucks' brunch array promises more modest bill of about $7 per item. So if you're looking to brunch on a budget without looking broke as a joke, here's your golden opportunity to do so.

Naturally, brunch at Starbucks comes with its own downsides—namely, the lack of booze. Although alcohol at Starbucks (aka Starbucks Evenings) is already in place at select locations, there are no plans to offer Bloody Mary Frappucinos or Teavana mimosas (although if Teavana wants to work with me on that idea, I'm open to collaboration!). But to be honest, alcohol is usually the priciest part of brunch in the first place. Your typical bottomless brunch price point is $30, which is at least twice as much as you'd spend at Starbucks. Getting by with a thermos of booze or a pre-Starbucks brunch pregame at home sounds a lot more appealing now, doesn't it?

There's also one more teensy price you'll need to pay if you opt for a Starbucks brunch over a sit-down boozy Benedict bash. All items are pre-cooked and reheated to order. But to be honest, that hollandaise sauce you're consuming is a bigger health risk than anything you'd encounter from a warming tray. And the menu isn't huge right now, either (if you were hoping for waffles chilaquiles-style, search elsewhere). But if you're willing to make a few sacrifices in the name of living your best (budgeted) life, you have a new option. Best of all, you can still take pictures of your Starbucks spread and bask in the Insta-love.