Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Reward" Yourself During Tough Economic Times

We are a one income family with many expenses, just like most people. However, I feel that by being involved with certain reward programs, we are able to reap many benefits! Let me show you how you can do it too . . .

Our family of five enjoys going out to eat, but I can't say that we are eating out any less during these tough economic times. We've always pinched pennies when dining out anyway. First of all, we only go out to eat once a week as a family, usually after church on Sundays. I cook simple meals throughout the week and Sunday is my "day of rest". We used to get those free or reduced priced kids meals at restaurants. That no longer works for us since Grant is 12 and Sydney is 10. Luke, age 6, still eats like a mouse so he's not even an issue.

So what do we do?? First of all, we order waters to drink, and I'm not talking about the bottled waters which cost more than a soda. We have figured that we save at least $10 each time we go out to eat just by drinking water. Water isn't necessarily a favorite of mine. However, when you consider that restaurants charge as much for one soft drink as the price of a two liter soda, it makes you think!

Secondly, I love my Citibank PremierPass Mastercard (www.citicards.com) because of the rewards I get through the program. Our family has been using this card for two years. Now I wouldn't necessarily recommend getting a credit card to just anyone. It is a definite responsibility and can get many people in trouble. However, this is a card which we choose to charge our expenses on each month, and we pay it off as we go. We charge everything from groceries to doctor's visits to cell phone expenses each month. Again, I want to emphasize that we stay on top of things and pay off these expenses as they occur! I would NEVER encourage anyone to maintain balances and end up paying interest charges as well. We are able to maintain a zero balance and reap dining benefits and other rewards at the same time.

Here is an example of some of the benefits we have received this year just for using our card. Last July, I was able to fly to the Uppercase Living Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota for FREE. This past November, I redeemed some of my points for a $50 JCPenney gift card, a $25 Olive Garden gift card and a $25 Chili's gift card. In January, I redeemed more points for a $100 Macaroni Grill gift card, a $100 Chili's gift card, a $50 Olive Garden gift card, a $25 Starbuck's gift card and a $100 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card (which I will be putting toward new kitchen knives). I still have many more points left to use right now and I'm constantly putting them to good use. Not bad for a $75 yearly fee!! All rewards are usually received within a week to two weeks period of time.

Since 2003, I have also been a member of MyPoints (www.mypoints.com) in which I receive similar types of rewards. When shopping online, I make sure to login to MyPoints first and I receive points for my purchases. Once the points add up to the amount I need for a reward, I redeem them. I will warn you that MyPoints also sends advertisements through your email. However, it takes me no more than 15 seconds to click on the offer and receive a few points to add to my account. Again, I have redeemed many rewards for Amazon.com gift cards, restaurant gift cards and others! Of course, I also receive points for referring others to the program so please contact me at writeonthewall@yahoo.com for an invite!

If you are considering ways to cut back expenses or pamper yourself with simple luxuries during tough economic times, I hope these simple ideas will help.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Sorry for the impersonal comment, but I thought you’d understand. I see you are a follower of Angie’s blog, Keep Believing. We have set up a way for friends and family to help from a distance. Please check out http://keepbelievingfund.blogspot.com/ if you’d like.