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Looking to save on Stanleys? Check out these 9 tips

Updated March 20, 2024 - 11:20 am

When trendy items seemingly pop out of nowhere, we may ask ourselves: What made it rise to fame? In the case of the famous Stanley cups, it may have been when a viral video showed that a woman’s Stanley — and the ice inside it — survived a car fire. If that’s got you hooked, too, you may also be asking yourself how you can save on Stanleys.

The cups retail at around $45. That’s more than the average cost of custom tumblers, which is around $10 to $30 per item, if ordered in bulk.

Considering all the Stanley cup TikToks out there, it’s safe to say we’re at peak cup craze. A limited edition Galentine’s-themed Stanley Cup, for example, sold out online and in store at Target within days of its release. Stanley’s annual revenue increased from $70 million to $750 million between 2019 and 2023, per CNBC.

What’s the Deal with Stanleys?

What Stanley cups have is brand recognition as well as a certain utilitarian function, said Namrata Shah, a partner and global head of consumer and beauty at PERLab, the Product Excellence and Renewal Lab run by Kearney, in a Retail Dive article.

“A brand or product that really will resonate with consumers is when they have the perfect combination of addressing the technical, functional and emotional needs of the consumer,” she said. “If you miss any one of these needs, it’s going to critically impact either the usability, the user experience or the emotional connect.”

Once Stanley hooks its customers on its product’s ability to function in its daily environment, it creates a desire to buy, buy, buy. Why choose one Stanley color when you can have them in plenty, like your favorite accessory, Shah said.

Still, they have their pros and cons. Amelia Hanks, a 27-year-old Stanley owner in St. Petersburg, Florida, said while her 40-ounce tumbler is indeed functional — “they do keep water cold and obviously carry 40 ounces.” Hanks also said, “but if they spill, they spill everything.”

Tampa Bay-based blogger Ayana Lage echoed this in a blog post, noting that her Stanley “leaks anytime it’s on its side.” However, she also said she gets way more compliments on her Stanley than on a competitor’s tumbler.

It’s also important to note that a lawsuit has been filed claiming the company didn’t disclose to customers that there’s lead in its products. Its website now says that while the sealing agent used in the base of the cups contains, “some lead,” consumers aren’t exposed because of the stainless steel layer that goes on top of it. It also says, “Stanley assures that its products meet all U.S. regulatory requirements.”

If you’re still ready to join the legions of Stanley fans, then read below for our best tips to save on Stanleys. After all, $45 is a lot to shell out for a container that essentially carries water.

1.Shop Authorized Retailers

You don’t have to buy your Stanley tumbler from the brand’s website, though it is linked here if that’s what you’d prefer. That said, Stanley also works with authorized retailers, like DICK’s Sporting Goods and The Paper Store, to sell its items.

You can find a full list of retailers with a map based on location here. If you focus on the retailers that are not big box stores and are locally-based, you could find deals or special items that you wouldn’t at a larger chain.

2. Join an Affiliate Program

This tip won’t work for everyone, but if you already have a burgeoning following on social media or a business that does some marketing, you could join its affiliate program to save on Stanleys.

You’ll need to apply through AvantLink, Stanley’s affiliate network partner, and wait for approval. If you’re approved, you can post your affiliate link and watch the commissions come in. You’ll get 10% commission on all sales and 15% on first-time purchasers.

While you can spend the money on whatever you like, you can redirect it back to Stanley if you so choose, giving you a discount on your next tumbler.

3. Keep an Eye on Sales

Not all Stanleys stay at full price forever. Really. While you may be hard-pressed to find a tumbler in Stanley’s sale section, its website does boast a selection of thermal bottles, french presses and even beer pints for less. It’s also worth checking Amazon’s clearance Stanley cups, though not all listed options are actually on sale, to see if it has options.

If that doesn’t work, try waiting for a big shopping holiday to secure your Stanley merch. Stanley does participate in Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, for example. Last year, some Stanleys were marked down by as much as almost $20. On Prime Big Deal Days, select Stanley items were up to 28% off, at least per Country Living. And for Prime Day itself, the brand went as low as 33% off on some of its drinkware. If you stay up-to-date on the latest sale events and Stanley’s site, you’ll likely find a deal.

4. Be Flexible

If you don’t need the latest shade but do want a Stanley, compromising on the water bottle tone (and measurements) may save you a few extra bucks. A 30-ounce tumbler runs you $35 (versus $45 for a 40-oz.) and a 14-ounce tumbler can run you as little as $20. Nothing wrong with a few more trips to the water fountain to save on Stanleys.

5. Find a Cheaper Alternative

OK, we had to say it. If you want to save money and spend less for a Stanley, one thing to do is, well, not get a Stanley.

There are plenty of helpful round-ups of functional and cute Stanley dupes, like this one from Teen Vogue. You could buy this Osse dupe from Amazon for less than $25 — still in those cute pastel colors — or this 40-ounce classic navy blue tumbler, also from Amazon, for less than $20.

6. Shop at Thrift Stores

Here’s the good news before we give you your next tip: many Stanley cups are dishwasher safe. You can stick these babies in the dishwasher and quickly have a clean water bottle for your next trip out. If it’s not, Stanley has a detailed guide on how to clean your item.

The point is to say it’s perfectly safe to buy a (clean!) reused Stanley item at a thrift store. It really can happen. One Maryland Redditor found a Stanley at her local thrift store and bought it for only $6. That’s a way to beat the crowds and the prices.

7. Check Groupon

When in doubt, there’s always Groupon to save on Stanleys. You could find various coupon codes or holiday-themed deals. Even if you don’t find one today that you like, you can sign up for emails with Groupon and get notifications about any Stanley coupons and discount codes when they go live.

8. Check Resale Sites

If you don’t want to go to the physical thrift store, try the digital thrift store. Stores like Etsy and Poshmark resell Stanley cups — although sometimes at steeper prices than the originals — online and from various vendors. You can also find artistic and custom takes on your favorite Stanleys.

9. Try Something Other Than a Tumbler

If you’re set on a Stanley product but not on a tumbler, Stanley has plenty of other items to choose from. Instead of the popular Quencher model, you could try the IceFlow bottle, which clocks in at $30 for the 16-oz. model with a cap and lid. If you want something with a funkier edge, try the $32 Canteen, which resembles something you’d use on a camping site, but classier. And if you have kids, you can try the kid-friendly $30 IceFlow flip straw tumbler.

Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.

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