Do you use customer loyalty cards at places where you shop or eat?
At one time, I would shy away from doing so. My reasoning was that the loyalty cards would be more of a burden than a benefit. For example, one would have to carry the card around in order to accrue any benefits. For example, back when these were punch cards, it would require carrying the card with you on the specific instances you visited someplace. Spontaneous visits wouldn’t gain benefits, and it would be cumbersome to carry cards with you at all times.
Also, there is the concept of being lured into visiting someplace just because of the loyalty card. That was something I might have been influenced by when younger, but not so much anymore. Such programs don’t cause me to behave any differently in terms of my purchasing habits, at least I believe that to be the case.
These days, however, we don’t need to be burdened by too much at all when signing up for a loyalty program. If they ask for an email address – which is normal – I’ll give it to them. You can always set up a separate email for such programs, so they don’t clog up the inbox of your primary address. Thus, promotional-type emails aren’t annoying.
Additionally, if you visit a place, you don’t have to actually have your card with you. Since the days of the punch card are gone with most bigger businesses, you can usually circumvent hassles by simply telling the cashier you don’t have your card with you but you can provide your phone number (or email address, if that’s the identifier they ask for).
Through last year, I estimate I probably got about $50 worth of discounts just by signing up for such programs. There were a few free meals involved, and a few times when I got discounts when ordering. All without any extra work, other than simply spending a few moments signing up for a program and then pretty much not doing another thing after that – except checking email a few times. And I literally mean just a few times, as in around my birthday to get a few free meals. Otherwise, it’s sign up and forget about it – just take the discount or freebie when they tell you that you have it, when paying.
I suppose a bigger way to save is to never eat out (or do much shopping), and I would agree to that. However, if you’re going to periodically grab food outside or on the go, sign up for the loyalty program where you think you’ll go multiple times. Why give away money?
Readers, do you ever sign up for loyalty programs? Have you scored good freebies this way? Are you able to do so while making sure that such programs don’t cause you to spend more?