Back in February I wrote a post on this blog talking about the benefits of grocery store shopper’s cards and how you could save lots of money with them. In the time since I’ve discovered that there’s an even bigger world of shoppers cards one can decide on than I’d thought.

“This is going to be one of those weeks at work… do you think people would be able to smell tequila through this lid?”
via Compfight

I’ve always known about the major retail stores and their cards. I used to have many of them but now I only have a BJ’s card and a Barnes & Noble card from what I consider large companies. Well, that’s not quite true. I do still have cards for Best Buy and Staples, but I don’t use them. Why not? I’m going to cover that in one of the 5 points below that answers the question as to whether one should sign up for store membership cards or not.

1. What’s the immediate benefit for you? The thing about grocery store cards is that they’re usually offering immediate discounts on some items you’re looking to buy while you’re in the store. Sure, some items that they’re discounting are things they’re hoping to encourage you to buy, but often the things you buy can get you a discount of anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar off up front, and if you’re a knowledgeable shopper who can figure out the percentages in your head, you might find that you’ll save even more money by buying larger packages of things you like.

2. What’s the long term benefit? Some stores allow you to accumulate points for discounts on things such as gas or large items in their stores. Some give you coupons for amounts off items later on. My gripe with both Best Buy & Staples is that they’ll send you coupons to use for the next month, but you have to spend a certain amount to use them. Since I don’t go into either store on a monthly basis and drop $100 or more, those things are useless to me. But at another store I go to sometimes you build up points that earn you discounts off the price of gas; I can use that. And hotel cards… you should always sign up for hotel cards because you never know if a deal might come up where you can get a discount because you’re a member.

3. How much information do they need from you? Some stores require you to fill out all your demographic information so they can send you stuff in the mail or through email. Some don’t require any of that; they ask for a name and possibly a phone number in case you leave your card at home and that’s it. If it’s a store you go to even once a month and they discount everything, that’s a great card to have; that’s why I have a B&N card.

4. Do they travel well? If you’re someone who leaves town from time to time it doesn’t hurt being able to use your discount card wherever you go. Drug store cards can come in handy, especially if you get your prescriptions at a particular store and might run out while you’re out of town. However, I learned that my local Subway has a discount card that I can’t use in Tennessee because they’ve never heard of the promotion; no earning free subs for me.

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