Coupons, Reward Points, Cash Back, oh MY!

I’m going broke saving money.  I shop quite a bit at Chicos.  Apparently I am on their hot list, because I get tons of coupons from them – $25 off of $100; $50 off of $150.  I no more use one and I get three more.  This is in addition to the fact that there is always some sort of discount going on – buy one, get half off the second, 40% off pants this week, 35% off tops next week. Accessories 50% off.  All designed to encourage me to  buy things that I don’t need, because the deal is too good to pass up.

Nordstrom and Talbots go a different way.  They give “reward points” on purchases and when I have spent $500, I get a discount.  I don’t shop too often at Nordstrom anymore, since they declined to build one in Alabama.I still get a catalog sometimes, but it appears that I am no longer in their targeted demographic.  Teenagers and beautiful young woman are shown, and their lives look a whole lot more interesting than mine.  If I wore some of the urban chic, people here would think it “weird” and others – torn jeans and shredded hem shirts – well, let just say there must be a lot of hidden Nordstrom buyers here.  For all I know, Nordstrom is buying these clothes here, marking them up and selling them as fashion to unsuspecting urbanites.

Then there is the cash back.  Costco gives me cash back once a year – some tiny percentage of the amount that I spend. It is usually enough to cover one conservative shopping trip.  Of course the rewards  check can only be spent at Costco.     Citi Bank gives me cash back once a year too.  Thanks to their relationship with Costco, the cash back can only be used at Costco too, but if I insist on cash, they will mail me another check in a few months.   Now that my MasterCard has been “upgraded” to Visa, I get cash back there too.  It can only be applied to my bill.  So in the end, they get all the money back.  But when I am able to apply that $4 to my bill, I feel like I am getting something.

The thing is, they long ago figured out that people want a deal.  $25 if I spend $100, but the truth is, I  didn’t need a $100 worth of stuff.  I  really only needed what  I went in to buy that was priced at $89, and nothing costs $11 to make up the rest.  So the next thing, is that I am going to end up spending another $69 to save $25.

I was just reading that Amazon is slowly discontinuing the illusion that you are getting a great deal – not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because of the threat of legal action.  For example, an expresso machine that they claimed was priced at $800 by the manufacturer, and were selling for $500.  Except you could buy it from the manufacturer for $500 too.  So the deal you thought you were getting, you really weren’t.

One thing I notice is that men don’t get sent coupons or get offered rewards cards.  I guess this is because men (as they claim) only go into stores to get something they need.  And if it happens to be on sale, that is great.  But they will buy it nonetheless. I guess the real lure for men is the gift card – and then get many, because what the heck else do you buy men – they already have everything they want or need.  But based on personal observation, men will always find something else that they “might could use” when they have a gift card.

At my elbow this moment, I have 3 coupons for savings at 3 different stores I like to shop.  Of course, it is all for Fall merchandise that I will not be able to wear for months – companies don’t seem to care that it is still 95 degrees and I won’t be able to wear warmer stuff for another two and a half months.  But, if I don’t buy it now, it won’t be there when I need it.  I just bought a cashmere sweater and leggings, a pair of shoes and a new purse at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. These will no doubt, earn me more Fashion rewards coupons…

Until next time, Elsie.








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