The saying goes, “it takes money, to make money.” If you re-word this adage to, “you have to spend money to save money,” then you have a perfect saying for customer loyalty programs. The simple premise of customer loyalty programs is that when you spend money at a certain business over time they will reward you for sticking with them with discounts, cash back and other deals. You can participate in many of them deliberately or even accidentally in some cases. Coloradans love the outdoors, craft beer, and just spending in general. All that shopping deserves a reward! Here are a few loyalty programs that you may or may not use or know about that you may want to consider looking into.
It’s a little bit of a cliché but Coloradans love their outdoor gear. REI has a great program that offers members lifetime access for a one-time fee of $20. Members receive 10% off of most purchases, get member’s only special products and information on events and programs in your area. Members also get access to member pricing for bike and ski shop services.
What about Craft Beer?
Fate Brewing Company located in Boulder, CO offers a program where members pay $375 a year for the equivalent of $500 of product as well as receiving discounts and branded gear for members only. Connect with your favorite craft brewer in town and see if they offer a loyalty program that fits your needs.
The Tarjét Combo
I am addicted to Target. In fact, I love Target so much that I haven’t gone there for awhile because I never seem to be able to leave the store with just the things that I wanted to purchase on my list. Fortunately, there are a number of opportunities to make your next trip to Target as budget friendly as possible. Before your next trip to Target make sure to download the Cartwheel app and use it in tandem with the REDcard.
Cartwheel allows you to search deals at Target from your phone and build out a barcode that you can scan at the checkout to get discounts. The Target REDcard comes either as a credit card or debit card. Benefits include 5% off of daily purchases, an additional 30 days to return most items, and free shipping for selected items.
If you plan to redecorate your home this summer look into Restoration Hardware’s loyalty program called the RH Grey Card Membership Program. The yearly membership fee is $100, which gives members 25% off transactions, 10% off of sales items, and complimentary interior design services. When you consider Restoration Hardware merchandise skews on the pricey side a 25% savings on a thousand dollar purchase can add up to a hefty discount.
Universal Customer Loyalty Programs
Check out Belly or FiveStars both are loyalty programs that work with local businesses across the U.S. The bigger your city the more opportunities you will have to use these loyalty programs. Each program list which businesses they partner with so you should check before signing up. Regardless, these two programs are great because you don’t have to deal with punch cards and you get to support local businesses.
If you’re not sure if your favorite vendor or product offers a loyalty program, ask! They might say no or you may find out about a program that they don’t actively advertise. Alternatively just for asking, you may get a discount because you’re a regular customer, especially if you’re at a small business and they know you well.
Take time to understand the ins and outs of the programs that you’ve joined. The terms of service may change without notice, so don’t leave your savings on the table because you’re not clear on the program terms.
Finally, be deliberate in how you use your loyalty program savings. If it’s possible to combine coupons, use an app, or purchase on a day dedicated to loyalty program members-do!
This post was written by PERA member Michelle Jackson, a former University of Colorado employee and personal finance/lifestyle blogger. If you’re interested in writing for The Dime send us an email at dimecontact at copera dot org.