Do you take advantage of rewards cards that are offered by your favorite stores or restaurants?
You should! If you don’t, it’s like throwing money out of the window.
I’m super frugal. I always want to find the best deal for everything.
As a result, I save thousands — yes, thousands — of dollars every years.
One way I do that is by using reward cards.
I regularly get free food, free coffee, and all kinds of other deals for my family.
I want to encourage you to take advantage of rewards cards because they are free.
The emphasis is on “free” – make sure you don’t have to sign up for another credit card, for example a Target credit card, which gives you 5 percent off your purchases.
Who doesn’t like extra money?
I’m very frugal when it comes to certain things, and I don’t mind cutting coupons or using rewards cards because it frees up money for something special or fancy, like a weekend getaway or a new laptop.
Here are my favorite 5 rewards cards I save the most money with:
1. CVS Rewards Card
If you don’t have a CVS store near you, ask your local store if it offers a rewards program.
I signed up for the CVS ExtraCare card about 15 years ago when I was still living in Los Angeles, and I have saved literally thousands of dollars with just this one rewards card over the years.
There are 5 ways I save money at CVS:
- CVS coupons that are mailed to me
- CVS coupons that are emailed to me
- CVS coupons that print out on their in-store kiosk
- weekly deals in their weekly circular
- and manufacturer coupons
Depending on how much money you want to save or how much time you have to use coupons, you can save a little or up to half the price at CVS.
I get emails from CVS with coupons and forward them to my card, and when I go to CVS, the first thing I do is to print out all of my coupons at the kiosk by simply scanning my card.
I look them over for special deals that either let me stock up on essentials or make sense to use on products that I need anyway.
Just yesterday I was emailed a coupon for $5 off $15. That’s a super deal, and I’ll definitely use it.
I also quickly glance over their weekly circular in the store to see if I can combine savings they offer that week with the coupons.
If you are into cutting newspaper insert coupons, you can combine manufacturers coupons with the CVS offers. I have walked out of there with free products in my bag many times.
Once a month I get this summary in the mail, with my latest savings and an extra coupon.
Take a look at my savings over the last year: $545!
$545 doesn’t seem a lot to some people, but keep in mind that I don’t even go to CVS that often.
I usually go about once or twice a month, so considering that I don’t spend much money there to begin with — maybe $1,000 a year — saving over $500 is amazing.
What would you do with an extra $500?
Plus, if you multiply that by the 15 years I’ve used this card, that’s over $8,000 I saved!
2. Shop & Stop Rewards Card
You might not have a Shop & Stop where you live, but I bet your local supermarket also offers a rewards program.
So far, I saved over $250 with my Shop & Stop rewards card in the first five months this year.
I signed up for their rewards card when we moved to New York nine years ago. We have a store just minutes away from us, and they carry a lot of organic food, plus they offer their own line of organic products. I try to only buy non-GMO or organic food — here is why.
They send me these kinds of personalized coupons once a month, plus they offer gas rewards — you get 10 cents off a gallon for every $100 you pay at Shop& Stop.
I combine their weekly specials for organic food with manufacturers coupons and their own coupons, and I often leave with 25 percent savings, sometimes even up to 45% savings.
Here is a post about one of my shopping trips that explains how I saved $76 using coupons and a rewards card on organic food.
Just the other day I just saved $20 again by using the card and coupons.
Shop & Stop also offer special gas rewards if you buy a certain number of a product that is on sale, and if that’s one I regularly use, I stock up.
I have been able to collect enough gas rewards that way where we get a dollar off a gallon of gas, and Don uses those gas points to fill up his big diesel truck, which saves us up to another $20.
3. Panera Bread Rewards Card
I buy non-GMO and organic food whenever possible, so going out is always an issue. There are not many restaurants that offer organic food.
Our favorite “fast food” restaurant is Panera Bread. They offer healthy and yummy food, and we have three of their restaurants nearby.
Using their MyPanera rewards card saves us plenty of money. I enjoyed free coffee the whole month of January, and I regularly get a dollar off or a whole meal for free.
And look out for their special offers: for the month of May they are offering free $10 gift cards for every $50 Panera gift card you buy — they also offer every December. I often buy several of them, some as gifts and some for us to use.
Since we go to Panera frequently, it makes sense to prepay — I know we’ll be using up the gift cards, and getting the freebie gift cards is like getting $10 worth of free food.
If you don’t have Panera near you, check out if your favorite restaurant chain has a rewards program or deals on gift cards.
4. Starbucks Rewards Card
I waited way too long to sign up for the Starbucks Rewards card. They should’ve charged me rent when I lived in Los Angeles, that’s how much time I spent there.
I’d always read there for an hour before work and would sometimes go back in the evening. There was a whole group of us regulars who would see each other there almost every day.
They saw me dating Don, then they saw me get engaged, and then writing all of my wedding invitations there. And then they all enjoyed seeing me pregnant and finally meeting our little Landon. I still miss the Starbucks in Toluca Lake, CA.
Here in New York I don’t get to go to Starbucks that often, and that’s why getting their rewards card wasn’t a priority, but I’m glad I finally registered one of their cards and started using it.
After only a few visits, I reached the level where you get free coffee refills. And that’s just from buying regular coffee and sometimes some food – I don’t spend money on $7 drinks.
Starbucks recently changed their rewards program a bit and restructured the points, and I received a personalized gold rewards card in the mail.
Aside from collecting points, I also receive emails with special offers they run every week. I’m looking forward to the freebies in the summer, when I know we’ll be going there more often for a cold drink.
Here is an extra tip: instead of buying a bottle of water, ask for a large water — it’s filtered and just as good as the bottled water, and it’s free.
5. Dunkin Donuts Rewards Card and App
I use it to put money on my card, and it tells me what kinds of specials they offer.
I have received many free coffees and a dollar off or free food items even though I don’t go there that often. If you go there all the time, you’ll get a ton of freebies right from the start!
These are just my top 5 rewards cards — I have rewards cards for:
- Big Lots
- Stop & Shop
- Mrs. Green’s
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Panera Bread
- Olympia Sports
That’s a lot of rewards cards, so here is my tip if you don’t want to carry them all: I entered all of my cards into the free Key Ring App.
Just scan the barcodes on your rewards cards and then you only have to show your smart phone when shopping.
Have I convinced you yet that using these little cards is worth it?
Just by using these five rewards cards, I’ve saved over $600 from January to May, and I’ve probably saved over $1,000 from using all of the rewards cards.
Do you want to learn how to save a lot more money?
Using rewards cards is just one way I save thousands of dollars every year.
I collected all of my tips and tricks in my ebook From Frugal to Fancy.
- save hundreds of dollars a year – possibly thousands!
- save money every time you shop online
- get free Starbucks drinks and food at restaurants
- pay less for fancy restaurants
- get the best deals on organic food to make it affordable
- get beautiful jewelry for a fraction of the price
- and much more
It’s only $4.99 – and it pays for itself if you just apply one of my tips.
Why wouldn’t you invest $5 if you can save hundreds of dollars, right?
Get my From Frugal to Fancy ebook and start saving today!
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