Every single business these days seems to be offering a loyalty program. Any time you approach a cash register, it’s likely you’ll be pitched on the store card. Some of these programs are good, and some of them are just a waste of time and a source of junk mail. Here are just a few of my favorite programs for stores, gas stations, and restaurants that are actually going to save you money – and earn you free stuff!
This is a guest post from BoostUp. BoostUp is a free service that allows you to set a goal such as a home, wedding, car or trip and transfer money into an account that helps you attain that goal.
It’s a Monday morning and you’re feeling sluggish from the weekend, so you need a pick-me-up. You swing by your local coffee shop and grab a latte on your way to work. The results are satisfying. Tuesday comes along and you decide to get another latte before your work day begins. Before you know it, lattes have become a part of your everyday routine. Your morning beverage may seem like a necessary part of your day, but the fact is you’re probably shelling out $5 each day. This equates to $25 each week or $100 each month – just on coffee! This makes the pot of coffee at work seem more appealing, doesn’t it?
Why don’t we save? We all know it’s an important practice, but few of us actually do it as much as we should. One reason is that we live in a culture of instant pleasure. We see, we want and we buy. There are so many products and services available to us that we’re naturally going to want to buy them simply based on our constant exposure to them. However, this mindset isn’t useful when trying to save, and actually causes many of us to live outside our means. Let’s use our morning latte as an example. Why do we buy it? Because it’s tasty, it makes us feel good and it gives us energy. More simply put, we buy the latte because we can. However, the complimentary coffee at work also has caffeine, can be flavored to taste and it’s free! It may not give you the same sense of satisfaction, but it doesn’t drain your wallet. The latte is enjoyable, but how necessary is it? The answer: Not at all.
Probably the main reason we don’t save is that we simply don’t realize how much we’re spending. Let’s say you go out to lunch with your coworkers at a local deli three times a week. You generally get a sandwich and a fountain drink, which comes to about ten dollars each time. From this perspective, it seems very affordable. But we must look at the bigger picture. This indulgence costs roughly $30 per week, which averages $120 per month. Throughout the course of the year, you’ll spend over $1,400 – on lunch alone! That amount is the same as a monthly mortgage payment or several car payments! We have to evaluate which is more important: a sandwich or slowly releasing ourselves from debt. Now, this isn’t to say we must live completely frugally; it’s fine to treat ourselves once in a while! The main idea is to notice patterns of unnecessary spending and understand how quickly saving that $5 or $10 here and there can add up and translate into much larger life purchases.
While many of us want to save more, sometimes we need a little help starting the process! Here are some websites that will help you put saving into motion.
There are many products that are essential in our daily lives; Coupons.com will help you pay less on these items so you can put the difference in a savings account.
If you’re planning on treating yourself, LivingSocial features deals on local activities, with discounts up to 90% off!
SavedPlus helps you save each time you swipe your card by siphoning a percentage of each purchase and depositing it in a savings account, prepaid card, investment account, etc.
This site/app allows users to load credit cards into a virtual wallet, and recommends which to swipe based on each one’s reward programs. Wallaby estimates that average users save several hundred dollars each year.
BoostUp is a free service that allows you to set a goal such as a home, wedding, car, or trip and transfer money into an account that helps you attain that goal. BoostUp also allows you to get contributions from family and friends and qualify for matching dollar-for-dollar incentives (from top brands) that help you reach your goal more quickly!
Have any other website suggestions? Share them with the readers below!