Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Take Advantage of What Stores Know About You

Stores and businesses make it their business to collect private information on their customers. That's no secret. We complain about it and sometimes try to stop them from getting it, but that's pretty hard to do. Instead, you can take advantage of what they already know anyway, and save money!

Those "loyalty cards" are information gathering tracers that tell the store what you buy and how often you buy it. Stores sometimes use this information to give you "personal" coupons to lure you back into the store. So... why not? Use the coupons if you will buy the product anyway. Just don't buy anything else at the time.

Some businesses use digital coupons instead of or in addition to print coupons. Find out if your favorite store has them and sign up. "Clip" coupons just before you shop, as they often have short expiration dates. 

Loyalty cards can be used to your advantage another way. This weekend, Big Lots offers 20% off the entire order if you have a loyalty card and sign in to your account online. That's not a bad deal, and if they know that I buy dark chocolate bars, what are they gonna do with the information?  Big Lots is not the only store that does this.

Stores also use what they know about you to invite you to early bird sales or similar events, making you feel special. If you're not in the market for anything, don't go, but if you are in the market, by all means, take advantage of their  more or less private sales. 

And then there are the "birthday clubs" where a business will give you a free ice cream cone or gadget or even a meal when you tell them your birthday. It's worth it to them to remind you that you like them. Make it worth it to you to get your free goodies. You sometimes have to buy something to get it, so make sure it's a good deal first.

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