Monday, June 30th, 2008
A little loyalty means big savings
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With the cost of everything going through the roof (actually, now even heading up toward the stratosphere) I’ve become kind of obsessed with saving money. And this weekend, I hit the cost-cutter’s jackpot: I went shopping at my local chain drugstore and got $22 dollars deducted from my purchase! How did I swing that? Simple: I’m a loyal member of their so-called loyalty program. Every time I shop at CVS, I let them swipe the little ID card I keep on my key chain. (When I forget it, I ask them to put in my phone number so I can get credit.) By doing so, the drugstore chain (and who knows who else?) gets all sorts of information about my buying habits. In exchange, I get lots of discounts—in the form of special prices for program members, bonus coupons that print out with my receipts, and an occasional postcard offering me even steeper savings. A couple weeks ago, CVS sent me a card that I could use for a 20 percent discount on my entire purchase if I shopped this Saturday or Sunday. So late Sunday evening (I forgot until the last minute!) I stocked up on all that stuff I have to buy anyway: laundry soap, toothpaste, shampoo, paper towels, and so on. Seeing that discount deducted from my total purchase was a high point of my weekend! (Pathetic, I know.) So here’s my money-saving tip to begin the week: Join as many loyalty clubs as you can. Aim to have as many of those plastic cards on your keychain as you have keys. And—loyalty, schmoalty—plan your shopping with an eye toward those places that offer you the biggest price break.