My Love Affair with Coupons and Rewards Programs
If you’re like me, you look for ways to save money at every possible opportunity. I am my own boss and working from home is not an easy. Plus, in today’s economic times, it’s more important to ensure you get the most bang for your hard-earned buck. Businesses are well aware of our need to be frugal. As a result, they’re practically throwing savings at us. Okay, sometimes the discount is not quite so obvious, but I guarantee they’re a lot easier to find than parking options at LAX airport.
Most product manufacturers offer coupons for consumers like us to try out their latest product. They want you to buy and fall in love with their latest flavor, scent, or what-not. Printable coupons can be delivered right to your inbox if you sign up on the company’s website. Others send circulars to your mailbox for you to clip and save. And a growing number of product makers are putting their printed coupons right in the store, typically right in front of the accompanying product, right on the shelf! (Those kinds are my personal favorite; no need to go searching for a coupon, it’s right there in front of you.)
When I go grocery shopping, I almost always make a list. Granted, with three kids running around and with a bazillion other things going on, I don’t always have time. It’s important to make time, though, if you’re really interested in cutting costs. Once the list is done and in hand, I generally won’t purchase anything not on it. If it’s not on the list, we don’t need it. It’s as simple as that, unless it’s on sale. That’s another story altogether. It’s important to browse the weekly circulars and to take note of the staples that your home always needs available. I’ve found these tips to be the most sensible way to create a shopping list, and to stick with it.
On top of manufacturer’s coupons and the added savings retailers offer for their weekly specials, a growing number of companies offer incentives just for being a loyal customer and choosing their store over their competitors. Major drugstore companies have been increasingly offering discounts for shopping with them in recent years. Actually, the discounts are more elaborate than simply offering drugstore coupons. They’re more along the lines of loyalty rewards programs which offer you additional perks the longer you shop with the retailer, or the more money you spend.
Signing up is simple, and typically free. Whether you’re purchasing a prescription or buying some over-the-counter upset stomach remedy, the cashier will ask if you have a rewards card. If you don’t, you need to get one. These price-slashing memberships have gained a fast following, squelching many traditional sales ads at drugstores. In fact, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen a circular for the leading drugstore chains. It’s more effective for the companies to offer a one-time plastic card, versus wasting paper and postage sending out their weekly ads.
Plus, it offers greater convenience to the consumer. There’s no need to browse the print ads. With the rewards program, discounts are clearly marked throughout the store. It even seems like there are more “sales” than when their sales promotions were fully operational. Why? These newer programs offer points (in most cases) that you earn with every purchase, and that can be used towards every purchase. No need for a sales ad dictating what’s on sale; with these cards, it’s ALL on sale. You’d be hard-pressed to find an item that didn’t qualify. They’re hoping to reward you for your loyalty to their business.
Companies want our business, but they need to woo us in order to get it. They’re just as conscious about the economy as we are and they need to cater to our needs to entice us with savings so we whip out our plastic. It’s a win-win situation: they earn your business and you save. A little preparation can help you cut costs on everything you buy, making life a bit more relaxing. Just think, with all the money you saved, you’ll have extra to buy some of these unique finds. Now that’s a win for everyone!