Almost every store has a card, mailing list, or other form of customer rewards program. For many years I passed on all of them. I didn’t want another card in my wallet, or their emails cluttering up my inbox. Over time, and because of the influence of a few bloggers I decided to start using reward programs to add to our savings.
Here are a few tips to successfully navigate rewards programs:
- Realize that by giving your name/ address/ phone number to these companies they are tracking your spending habits. If this bothers you don’t sign up.
- Create a separate email account for all your rewards programs. This way you don’t lose your grandmother’s email in a sea of money saving offers.
- Before taking surveys decide how much your time is worth. If you take a ten minute survey and receive a $0.50 item it is probably not worth your time. A five minute survey for a $10 product is usually a good deal.
- Immediately cut coupons from flyers you receive in the mail and add them to your coupon organizer. Throw the rest of the flyer in the recycle bin so you won’t be tempted to spend money on something you don’t need.
- Keep all your rewards cards in one spot. Make sure you take the cards with you when you shop.
- Check to make sure you are getting the coupons sent to you. Coscto, JoAnns, and Kroger are just a few of the stores that mail coupons to people who sign up. If you take the time to sign up make sure you are getting your stuff!
- Look for offers that allow you to combine discounts. Combining your coupons with items that are cheaper when using the card is a good way to get things for free or close to free.
- Sign up for the restaurant rewards programs. Even if you rarely eat out, when you do a coupon is an added bonus.
- Sign up for hotel and airline reward programs. Once again, even if you rarely fly or stay in a hotel, your situation may change and this could be a big savings for you. My husband stays exclusively at Choice Hotels when he travels for work. We haven’t paid for a hotel room for our family in a few years because of the points he has earned traveling on his work account.
- Work the deals, but don’t go over budget. You are not saving money by charging sale items on your credit card. Buy what you can afford.
What is your best advice for using reward programs? Do you have a favorite program?
This post is linked to Frugal Friday.