From the Mailbag

Are loyalty cards worth it? I feel like my wallet is filling up with these things.

Kari

Hi Kari,

I know how you feel! My wallet is so full of cards I often have trouble finding the one I need for the store I happen to be visiting at the moment! Everyone seems to have a reward program now. It’s no longer just airlines and hotels. The pharmacy, grocery store and office supply shop all have their own special card. It can be soooo annoying.

As much as it pains me to say it, these programs are worth it. Not only will you receive preferred rates on items, but you’ll also be notified about potential sales on items you were going to purchase anyway. So don’t throw away the cards just yet. Instead, find ways to manage them.

Most stores will now accept your phone number at the register instead of the card. This can eliminate the plastic nightmare in your wallet. Next, explore the actual rewards you earn from each store. Adjust your spending patterns to visit those with the largest payoff.

We have come to the time when it’s silly to pay retail for almost anything. Perform a Google search on nearly any item and you’ll find a coupon. From services to cleaning products, companies are fighting hard for your business. By doing just a little homework before making a purchase, you’ll pay much less than the advertised price.

Here’s an example: just last week I found a deal to buy two movie tickets for $6, received a $100 Amazon gift card for $50, and saved $35 by visiting a couple of coupon websites before heading to the grocery store. How much time did it take? Long enough to join Groupon and couple of other local internet “deal” websites several months ago. Most of the time I erase the deal of the day, but every so often a good opportunity appears.

Let’s face it: although some artists achieve remarkable financial rewards, it can be a long road to the top. Until that point, paying less for products and services can help you trim expenses without sacrificing all of the fun in the name of your craft.

2011-08-05T13:41:41+00:00