Give Yourself a Reward!

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Rewards cards, coupons and frequent buyer programs are worth their weight in gold, especially nowadays when most people are tightening their belts.  Here’s how to get more than a free turkey at Thanksgiving, and a few tips to help you score the most with your points.

1. First things first, “remember to remember!”

Nothing’s more aggravating than walking out of a store after making a purchase and forgetting to use a coupon. Ditto for a rewards card.First rule before shopping –do a quick scan of your rewards cards and coupons or savings certificates, and make a mental ‘note to self’ to check your purse, once you get to the checkout counter.

2.Put things where you can see them.

I like the rewards cards that attach to my key ring, as they are more visible than buried in my handbag.  And more often than not, the cashiers will forget to ask you if you have a rewards card (or are reluctant to talk, in general).

It pays to take inventory once in a while too – Do a quick check of cards in your wallet or on your keychain. (R.I.P. Boarders).

3.To know them is to love them and use them.

Rewards programs vary among retailer. Some automatically send rewards bucks directly to your US mailbox (typically a $10 reward after you have spent $200). Others keep track and notify you that you’ve earned enough to cash in and will let you reap your rewards, right on the spot. I love instant savings!

4. Pay attention and read the fine print.Note expiration dates and use them–or lose them!

Now is the time to cash in your rewards, because, tomorrow they (or you!) could expire.

Keep an eye out for double points and special offers like bonus coupons sent to your snail mail and sign up for email alerts too. Some retailers send you coupons disguised as gift cards, as a thank you just for using their store credit card.Use store cards only if you pay those balances in full every month.

5.Keep the coupons/rewards cards in your purse or wallet (they don’t do you any good any place else). If you forget your coupons, and you have a smartphone – simply ask a store clerk to scan the QR code (Quick Response code) and grab copy of the coupon from the company’s website. Rewards programs can also be downloaded and added as apps to your smartphone.

Surprisingly, most rewards certificates may be combined with coupons and other offers, such as a purchase of $10 off a purchase of $10 or more.  If they are about to expire, think stocking stuffer or last minute gift — buy a pair of toasty socks and stash them away.  Just remember where you put them!

Some of My Favorites:

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Bob’s The Best!

The Best of Bob’s rewards program from Bob Stores is practically flawless.Lots of double points and other incentive offers, speedy snail mail delivery of my Bob’s bucks, and longer than life expectancies of other reward certificates. Great casual wear, some dress clothing, and seasonal gift merchandise. There’s nothing not to like about Bob. They also send you a $10 gift certificate on your birthday.How sweet is that?

Shhhhh! Don’t tell Victoria – I am so guilty when it comes to getting free unmentionables from Victoria’s Secret.   Making friends with Victoria does have its benefits. Like Bob, Victoria’s Secret sends you a $10 gift card on your birthday, and lots of other coupons and savings throughout the year. Just sign up for an Angel’s card, and be a very good girl, or at least until the semi-annual sale!

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Here’s another secret from a former sales associate: For even deeper discounts, shop the last few days of the semi-annual sale, typically January and June, when further markdowns are often taken on remaining merchandise.

I heart PetValu!

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Paws down, I’ve found this pet store’s prices on bully sticks and Greenies® to be the cheapest anywhere – and their rewards card saves me money on something I absolutely must buy– high quality pet food for my dog.Their prices on splurges such as holiday sweaters or other special treats my daughter can’t resist buying for her pooch are far lower than anywhere else. Plus, the folks who work in my local Petvalu really love animals – and it shows in all the ways they treat their two legged customers.Woof!

Some things really should be left up to a professional.  The money we thought we could save by trimming my dog’s nails was eaten up by the carpet shampooing that was required afterwards. Our bad. My dog groomer offers a 50% discount on the 5th wash and clip. Chances are, your local groomer has some kind of incentive program too.

Even my local car wash and nail salon have an incentive programs!

From retail chain stores to private boutiques, rewards programs build loyalty, breed familiarity and foster good customer satisfaction.That’s what I call a win-win situation!

6 comments to “Give Yourself a Reward!”

  1. Debbie Steinberg | July 24, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    Harmon Cosmetics – While they do take expired mailer “Bed, Bath & Beyond” (BBB) coupons, if you get them online from BBB you MUST use at Harmon’s before expired date…

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