Lately I’ve been looking at all the various gimmicks out there to get me to spend money in specific stores. Frankly, it would be pretty easy to sign up for saver cards and gift cards in lots of stores but I choose to only sign up for things like this in stores I already frequent. Here are a couple of the cards we are using, and getting:
I’m going to keep a Starbucks card in my wallet with a few bucks on it. Why? Because I’d like to get free wifi access when I’m out and about. I keep my Ipod Touch with me and use it to check email, or look things up when I’m out and about. I got a free year of Tmobile Hotpots when we bought my daughter an XO laptop last year, but this just makes it even easier. Now I can park in front of a Starbucks and check email etc whenever I want. Oh, and I’ll definitely take advantage of any discounts they offer on the cheap "drip" coffee they serve. I’m way too cheap to buy anything else there.
-Kroger Stores Gift Card
I’ve never bought a gift card from them before but we do all of our grocery shopping at Fred Meyer (a Kroger brand) and recently they started offering a promotion that they would add an extra 10% to the value of the gift card if you put a minimum of $300 on the card. I’m sure they are doing this to try to get more people to spend their economic stimulus checks there but since we do all of our grocery shopping there, it makes sense for us to buy the gift cards even though we haven’t even received a stimulus check yet. We have almost used the first $300 and plan to go buy another card for $300. I’m always happy to get free money.
-Costco American Express Card
We have decided to finally break down and get an American Express card sponsored by Costco. Why? It’s pretty simple. They offer 5% cash back for fuel purchases (and we almost always buy our gas at Costco) for business card users. They also offer 1% back for everything else, 2% for travel related expenses and 3% for something else, I just can’t remember what. I have been walking by their booth in Costco for a long time. I have always been content to walk by because I just didn’t want to complicate our simple approach to credit. We have always just had one credit card through our credit union. I trust them and their interest rate is low (although we’ve never paid any interest). The biggest mistake I made with the strategy of using that credit union card was that I missed out on all the cash back that I could have gotten when building our lake house. Lesson learned.
-Using employee discounts
My company has a huge employee discount program. They negotiate huge discounts with some of our preferred vendors (just think of many large name brand companies). I have saved a fortune on cellular costs, computer costs etc. They also actively seek out promotional discounts from many local businesses. Just last week we took our daughter to the Pacific Science Center. Prior to leaving the house I checked for discounts and found that they did have a standard discount for employees of my company. When I got there and asked for the discount we saved over $20. I just love discounts!!! Add that on top of the free parking spot we found on the street and our day was a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be.