How to Coupon Series: Saving Money with Store Rewards Programs

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Before I became a thrifty mama, I was annoyed by cashiers who instinctively asked me if I had a store rewards card when they were tallying my total. No, I didn’t want to use the store’s reward card. And no, I didn’t want to sign up for one – mainly because I didn’t feel like adding yet another card to my already overflowing purse.


I know now that my reluctance to add cards to my collection was a big mistake, mainly because store rewards (or loyalty programs) are among the easiest ways to save money.


Exactly how these rewards programs can help you save cash depends upon the store. Some stores (including many grocers) will only allow you to take advantage of store sales on products if you’re a rewards club member. Other stores will allow you to accumulate points for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for discounts on groceries, gas or even free turkeys at Thanksgiving.


Here are a few of my favorite rewards clubs:

  • CVS – One of the best in the business is CVS’s Extra Care Rewards Program. Like many rewards programs, sign up is free, but the perks are fantastic. In addition to 2% rewards on general purchases and a $1 discount on every prescription you fill, CVS also gives rewards members exclusive access to coupons for future purchases.


  • MEIJER – Members who register on the grocery store’s website can add countless digital coupons to their account, which are magically applied to any purchases made at the store in the future. That’s right, no more messing around with paper coupons!


  • BABIES R US – What’s nice about the “Very Important Baby” (VIB) Card is that Babies R Us pays you when money is added to the card. If a friend or family member adds $100 to your account to help with diapers and wipes, Babies R Us contributes an additional 10% (up to $200 annually).


  • BEST BUY REWARDS ZONE – Rewards Zone members earn a point for every dollar they spend at Best Buy. For every 250 points you earn, you get a $5 gift certificate. It might not seem like much, but those unexpected gift certificates arriving in the mail are a welcome surprise!


  • STARBUCKS – Each time you use the card, you earn a star. Earn enough stars, and you’ll become a “Green Member,” which earns you perks like free refills and free soy milk added to your latte. Rack up even more stars and you’ll be in the “Gold Member” circle, which includes Green Member perks plus a free drink with every additional 15 stars earned.


The bottom line: while most rewards programs are free, not all are created equal. Some offer more perks and rewards than others, but nearly all of them are valuable clubs to become members of.


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