Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Money Saving Tip: Get the Loyalty Card

It's amazing how many times I had turned down offers in the past for customer loyalty cards at various stores.  It seems like most every store has one now.  It started with the grocery stores, then the drugstores, now even sporting good stores have gotten in on the action.

There were always two main reasons I turned them down.  I was worried that they cost money (some stores do still charge for them, like major booksellers), or I just didn't have the time to fill out the forms.  The truth is that rarely do they cost anything (always ask this upfront), and often you don't have to fill out anything on the spot, they will just give you a card and you can then register it online.

There are two basic kinds of loyalty cards:

1. The Savings Card: This is typically what you will find at your drugstores and grocery stores.  If you want the sale prices as listed in their weekly ads you will need the savings card.  Sometimes you will get lucky and a cashier will be nice enough to scan their own if you don't have one, but often stores have limits on the number of items that can be purchased at the sale price with a card, so don't count on that.  Get your own card.  Once you get it, be sure to go online and register it at their website.  This will often lead to increased savings and extra coupons.  Stores like CVS will often email their card holders special coupons for dollars off a purchase of X amount (most often $4 off a $20 purchase) or a coupon for a % off your purchase.

These types of cards also often allow you to load coupons directly to the card.  This is the case with your grocery card.  You can load coupons directly to it from your grocery store website, as well as Cellfire.com & Shortcuts.com

2. The Loyalty Card: I see these most often in specialty stores, Dicks Sporting Goods now has one as does DSW Shoes.  These points earn you money back based on your purchases, at DSW you'll get a $10 Rewards certificate for every $150 you spend.  They will also send you a $10 reward just for signing up and special coupons throughout the year.

Whatever the type of rewards card, if it's free sign up for it.  If it's not free evaluate how often you shop at the store and also whether or not your current purchase may be enough to make it free.  Sometimes the savings earned on one purchase is enough to pay for the card (this is usually when I decide to renew my bookstore card).

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