Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit card, car insurance, and workplace
Ramit Sethi · November 17th, 2008
This is tip #10 of the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge.
Today’s tip is to use the perks offered by your car insurance, credit card, and even your job — the ones most people ignore.
Think about the places you belong to as a member: your credit card, auto insurance, Costco, or your job. Each of these offers perks that most people ignore. But by simply being a member, you get perks that can add up to thousands of dollars each year. In fact, every time you make a major purchase, you should be checking these perks first. Here are some examples from my own memberships:
#1: My car insurance offers discounts on most major retailers. I was already planning to buy flowers and get movie tickets next month, so I’m adding a calendar reminder to use these coupon codes then.
* * *#2: My Costco membership gives discounts on pharmacy drugs, buying cars, mortgages, roadside assistance, travel, car tires, and many business services.
* * *#3: My credit card offers discounts on most major retailers, plus discounts on concert tickets and a “Make a Wish” service, which recently got me orchestra tickets I couldn’t get anywhere else.
* * *#4: There’s more on your credit card, which is the BEST source of perks. All credit card include automatic extended warranties, travel insurance, car-rental discounts, and a bunch of other perks. Check out my appearance on CNBC, where I cover credit card perks in more detail.
#5: Your workplace probably offers a bunch of perks that nobody takes advantage of
. At PBwiki
, we offer weekly massages, free food, free headphones, and if you want to take a co-worker out to lunch, we’ll cover it. At bigger companies, you may find perks like public-transit reimbursement and discounts on entertainment tickets/attractions. Most people don’t use the perks, so ask the HR person for a list of benefits you have available and use them!
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Here’s how to use this tip effectively: First, log in to see what your memberships offer you. If anything catches your eye, set a calendar reminder for when to log back in and use it (e.g., “Booking vacation in February — check Geico for discount”). Try to defer all major purchases until later (otherwise, how are you going to save $1,000?), but if you know how much you’ll save, feel free to count it towards the $1,000 Challenge.
One final thing: This is a powerful tip because you can get discounts on places you already shop — especially for large purchases, which can save thousands per year. The first time I used my credit card’s travel rewards, I saved $600. Using my discounts, I’ve saved thousands on travel, auto purchases, computers, clothes, and home decorations. The key is that nobody is going to spoonfeed you the places to look. If your workplace doesn’t offer discounts, check your car insurance. If that doesn’t offer perks, check your credit card (it definitely will). Check your library. And your homeowner’s association. The more you check, the more you can save.
Total Saved: $100 to $2,000.
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Last thing to do
Leave a comment on this post describing how much you’re saving with this tip and any unusual techniques you use to make this tip work.
If you found this post helpful you’ll probably like my new Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance. This is an excellent place to learn more simple ways to improve your personal finance and money management.