Personal Finance

10 Minute Finance Fix: Customer Rewards Cards

The 10 Minute Finance Fix series focuses on topics you can learn in ten minutes or less to help improve your personal finances. In this 10 Minute Finance Fix, you will learn how retailer customer rewards cards will help you save money and get free stuff.

Though stores use customer rewards programs to track purchasing trends, they also typically offer some incentives to get you to continue using the cards. We typically sign up for any free customer loyalty program that is offered if we believe there is any chance we will return to the store. Over the past year, we have received numerous rebates including book discounts ($25 off in rewards this past month), free pizzas, a free sandwich, and more. With only a few minutes investment, the rewards have paid off.

Here are some general tips for maximizing rewards programs without revealing key personal information.

Set up an email address to handle nothing but rewards program emails. Then, whenever you sign up for a program, give this address. Keep tabs on that address every once in a while and see if you can dig out some good offers. Many rewards programs mail out great coupons via email that can really save some cash.

If you’re cautious about giving out other personal information, make it up. This might violate the rules of the program, but in most cases, the program’s benefits are “virtual,” meaning they don’t require direct contact with your identity.

Slim down your wallet by combining a bunch of the cards. Use to cut down the size of your wallet by up to 87% by literally combining up to eight rewards cards onto a single card. I have several of these cards and I’ve found that they really work great.

Customer reward programs typically offer a combination of instant discounts and some sort of rebates or free offers in the future. This can be a great incentive if you frequent the same stores. Sign up for these programs to receive rewards you can use for things you normally purchase.