It doesn’t matter where you shop or do business, most places offer some sort of loyalty program, newsletter or mailing option. You may wonder if it’s worth taking the time to join these programs. I think many of them are definitely worth three minutes of your time to sign up. Most of these programs offer members-only coupons, discounts, rewards and savings opportunities.
Join your favorites: If you have a store, restaurant or business where you frequently shop, you definitely want to check and see if there is a loyalty program or mailing list option. You can find these club programs by asking at the actual store or by doing a quick Google search to find where to sign up.
Kroger, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Big Lots: All of these stores have loyalty cards that you scan when you make purchases. Many of them link back and give you savings either on your card at your next purchase or when you reach a minimum purchase amount
Consider a store credit card: If you shop regularly at a store such as Kohl’s, Old Navy, Amazon or Macy’s, you may want to consider signing up for their store credit card. This is not a good option if you already have trouble paying down an existing bill. However, if you are the kind of person who regularly pays your balance in full every month, store credit cards are a great option. They offer discounts, percentages off and actual rewards points for their customers. Some people use these rewards points to pay for vacations or purchase extra bonus items for their family.
Mailing lists: If you or your family enjoys eating out at restaurants you should definitely join the restaurant eclubs or like them on Facebook. Restaurants like O’Charleys, Applebees and Chili’s regularly offer coupons for free appetizers to their Facebook fans. If you’re already planning on going out to eat, why not get something free in addition to your meal.
Note about sign-up information: I have a second e-mail account that I only use for mailing list and rewards programs. That way my main e-mail account does not get clogged and cluttered. Before you head out to eat at a restaurant or go for a shopping adventure, check that email account to see if there have been any deals posted you want to take advantage of.
Keeping up with rewards programs: Some people choose to keep all of the rewards and loyalty cards in a special baggy or envelope in the glove compartment of their car. Others choose to keep up with them on apps such as Key Ring Rewards or Cardstar. These apps allow you to store all your card and member information without having to keep up with key tags or extra cards in your wallet. You simply sign up for a free account, scan your reward card bar code and the app will store the information for you. Then when you get to the store, you just have the cashier scan the bar code on your phone. If the bar code doesn’t scan, you can still have them type in your number from the card.
Stores know that we will be spending money once we walk in their doors so they often offer you an incentive to convince you to do business with them. We might as well take along a coupon, savings or rewards to help you buy the things you need.
Do you have any favorite loyalty programs or eclubs? I’d love to hear how you keep up with them and any tricks that help you find ways to get something free or discounted.
Sharon Williams blogs about hobbies, life, saving money at Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).