In my continuing series on Reducing Your Spending in 2015, today I am going to discuss how to save money by leveraging retail elite status. Typically, when we hear the words “elite status” we might be thinking of hotels and airlines. These tips can apply to those categories as well, but I am going to focus on retail elite or VIP status that you might earn from day-to-day shopping.
Two different ways to save money with elite status
Saving money on everyday items
For research on this topic, I first wanted to recount my recent discussion on how I receive coupons from CVS, almost weekly, for 20-25% off my total bill as a CVS Premier Shopper. I never knew that program even existed until they told me about in one of the mailers they sent. I am curious if Premier shopper to them means I spend a lot there, or I am savvy with coupons. Maybe both. I am not sure if it will work, but CVS actually sent me both a 25% off coupon in the mail and another for 25% via email this week. I am going to try to “stack” those and see what happens. If I am successful, I am going to take VIP to the next level by ironically spending less money than what a high-roller who uses no coupons would.
Saving money on less frequently purchased items
In addition to my experience, I also wanted to see what other programs existed for VIP, premier, or otherwise very loyal customers. I came across an article from Consumer Reports that highlighted several of these, but were mostly clothing retailers and electronics stores. I wouldn’t consider these to be “everyday” type purchases. By signing up for co-branded credit or debit cards, these types of VIP programs offer members coupons and other incentives. As with hotel and airline programs with their co-branded credit cards, these perks come with a price. So if your goal is to save money, you will have to balance the cost of a potential annual fee or high interest rate with the anticipated discounts. Super tip here: don’t carry a balance, if you can avoid it. 23% interest will wipe out any coupon savings.
We all want to be treated like VIPs, and if you direct your spending effectively, and not on impulse purchases, you can save money with these programs.