People are often surprised that, as a frugal shopper, I do not use coupons on my purchases. Over the years, I have discovered that coupons increase my spending because I make purchases that I normally would not.
What about loyalty cards though? Loyalty cards have been around since the late 80s, so most of us are familiar with them. But you may not know how they got their start. Loyalty cards were offered as an alternative to traditional coupons, saving stores from the printing costs and saving their customers from time spent clipping coupons. With one simple swipe, customers were now able to take advantage of rewards with minimal effort.
Do these programs increase your spending or save you money? I believe loyalty cards offer the potential of savings, if used in the right way, but there can also be a few pitfalls with these programs too. So today I want to share a few tips with you to maximize the rewards you get without increasing your spending.
Start By Analyzing the Rewards
Reward systems can vary from store to store and the rewards can vary as well. Before joining any loyalty program, be sure that the rewards are something that you can really cash in on for your family.
Typically, you will find that the purchases you make can earn you points or discounts towards future purchases at that store. If you are not a frequent shopper, it can be difficult to make signing up truly worthwhile. So you definitely want to make sure that rewards are worth the effort and possible mailers or email you will receive from them. If it’s not a store you visit frequently, skip it and save yourself some time and potential junk mail that can clutter up your home and your inbox.
Stay Loyal to Maximize Rewards
The more you spend at your favorite stores, the more rewards you earn. Try being consistent to maximize your rewards by visiting the same grocery store, the same big box store and fill your prescriptions at the same location–utilizing the reward cards that offer you the best incentives. By staying loyal you can build your rewards faster on items that you are already consistently buying.
Avoid Spending Just For Rewards
I am fond of the saying, “It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.” Too often we can get swept away in the thrill of a deal. If one of those member perks is additional coupons from the store, be sure that you actually need those items you are purchasing and aren’t just spending to get a deal you don’t really need.
I can admit that I got caught up in the drugstore member rewards game and found myself at the store more often than I should have been and buying things we just didn’t need in order to spend the reward coupons that were given to me. What ended up happening was that I increased our spending instead of saving our family money. It is easy to get caught up in the game of potential rewards, but it can end up costing you more time, money and space in your home then you think.
There’s an App for Reward Card Storage
In order to get the rewards, you need to have those reward cards handy at all times. Consider utilizing an app to store them all and free your key chain and wallet of clutter. An app like Stocard can be a great way to lighten your load. It also makes sure that you are never without that card to build up those points and rewards.
Find Out if You Can Pay Loyalty Rewards Forward
Giving back to our community is really important to our family and registering your loyalty card with a favorite local charity can be a very easy and painless way to give back and really put your points to work. Many grocery stores partner with nonprofit organizations, schools and churches that can take the money you spend and apply those rewards to the places you care about. What a win-win scenario!
With a little thought on the front end, the tips above will ensure loyalty cards save you money.