Your loyalty points that is. (What?! What kind of a shallow gal do you think I am anyways?)
We all know how expensive life can get this time of year. What with the presents and the hostess gifts and the entertaining and decorating, and possibly even travel ... wow. The hydro bills alone on our light displays are something we'd best not think about. I'm sure we can all use a little help with keeping these costs down. So why not look to your wallet and see what loyalty programs you have that might be ready to pay off?
I am a bit of a loyalty program whore. I have more cards in my wallet than I can keep track of, and some of them very rarely get used. But, if the program is free to join, I figure why not. And there are definitely ways to maximise the value of even those seldom used programs, but that's for another post.
This year, I've cashed in on three of our programs to get some major value.
1) We cashed in a bunch of our American Express Member Rewards points to get AmEx giftcards. We used these to buy the hubs his big gift - a new iPad*
2) I cashed in pretty much all of my Air Miles to get the big "family gift" this year - a Nintendo Wii bundle.* For free. Didn't even have to pay for shipping. (I lovelovelove my AirMiles.)
3) Just this week I went to Shopper's Drug Mart and used a bunch of my Optimum points to get $85 worth of free stocking stuffers and Christmas candy. Pretty sweet deal.
So, that's about $1000 of value we didn't have to pay anything for. And we earned those points doing our regular shopping over the last couple of years. What's not to love?
It might be getting a little late for this year's shopping (check with your programs re: shipping deadlines), but I challenge you to think about this for next year. Plan ahead, always remember your cards, and keep an eye on those balances. Santa can always use a little extra help.
*Not to worry about ruining surprises, no one in this family would bother to read my blog ... Hubs already has the iPad anyways. Like he could wait for that!