Paycheck Chronicles

How To Make The Most Of Store Loyalty Cards

"Do you have a card?"  It seems like every single store and website now has some type of loyalty program.  Whether it's better prices at the grocery store, points back at the mall, or a free coffee after every 10, loyalty cards can help you save money.  They can also be a pain to manage.  Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks that can allow you to save money without going bonkers dealing with the texts, emails, and cards.

Give Them Their Own Address

Make a new email address solely to be used for shopping.  Gmail, Yahoo, and Mail.com are all options for free email addresses.  Keep it simple and short, so you're not entering complicated email addresses on forms and on frustrating screens.  Something like kateshops at gmail.com is perfect.  Use this address for all your sign-ups, and then check that particular address when looking for coupons, reward certificates, and other deals.

Separate The Cards

No one needs a key ring or wallet full of little plastic cards.  If you must use physical cards, separate them into their own key ring and or wallet, and keep it in your car or wherever else it will be handy for shopping.

Use Your Phone Number, or Your Phone

In a perfect world, you would be able to use a separate phone number for your card accounts.  That's not always possible, but using your phone number prevents you from needing to carry around all those cards.

There are also apps that let you store all your card information on your phone.  I don't use one, but I'm thinking about it.

Consider Faking It, or Skipping Altogether

While not entirely ethical, consider using false information to set up your store loyalty card accounts.  These cards and the associated accounts can gather a shocking amount of personal information about you, and that may include information that you'd rather not be gathered.  Another option is to skip the loyalty cards altogether, though you may end up paying more that way.

Store loyalty cards can be a source of great savings.  They can also be a bother and there are some not-so-pleasant possible outcomes of using them.  Pare down, make it simple, and consider skipping the card when there isn't much benefit.

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