|by Brooke Kaelin|
Combining credit cards and coupons is a devastatingly effective money saving strategy. You can use the coupons for instant savings and your credit cards for their cash back or reward value. When you take the time to understand the techniques involved, you can really stretch your dollar to new heights. If you feel even more adventurous you can combine credit cards, coupons, store sales and online sites like UPromise to pinch that penny until it cries. Let’s take a look at some of the insider tactics that will have you saving like a professional in no time flat.
Off-line saving combination strategies:
If you’re new to coupons you’ll want to pick up the Sunday paper each week, and start clipping. You’ll follow that by looking at the store circulars for your area so that you can combine your coupon with their sale offers. Then, you’ll take your cash back or reward credit card and use it to shop.
Some of the best credit cards for off-line shopping include:
The Discover More Cards – Discover’s prime savings categories rotate quarterly and their sign up bonuses change frequently. As of the fourth quarter of 2011, the top sign-up bonus is $150 cash back, and this quarter you can get 5% rebates when shopping at department stores, clothing stores and restaurants up to $300. Combine that cash back with an average 50% savings by using coupons at the grocery store, and you’re going to be doing pretty well at the end of the month. Here’s another insider tip: You can double your Discover rebate by redeeming it as a gift certificate. Discover features over 100 different partners on the double-up gift certificate offer.
Keep Reading: The Discover More Credit Card Review and Bonus Offer
So, the first strategy would be to max out your Discover More sign-up bonus and focus your coupons and spending into their current quarterly reward category. Once you’ve reached Discover’s category limits you stop using that card and switch to a card like this one:
The Blue Cash every day from American Express. The blue cash gives 3% back at supermarkets and 2% on all your gas and department store purchases. There is no cap on the earnings which is especially attractive if you’re looking at the big savings picture. Subtracting an extra 3% off on all the groceries you buy for a year, stacked with your regular coupon savings is a nice little bonus. (Read On: The Amex Blue Cash Review) This is one reason that cash back cards beat store credit and gas credit cards to pieces. Not to mention American Express offers automatic extended warranties and a host of other perks that make saving with them even more attractive.
All in all that’s a pretty simple deal. Use the Discover card to max out your quarterly refunds four times a year, double the value with a gift card, and then switch to your Amex Blue Cash for the consistent rebate.
Online Savings Combination Strategies:
It used to be that you couldn’t get the same degree of savings online as you could off-line. Fortunately, the opposite is actually true now. You can stack online discounts as easily as you can use a physical coupon – and that includes your groceries!
Retailers like Amazon offer regular grocery subscriptions that have special discounts built in. Amazon calls it their “subscribe and save” program. We say, couple that 15% off with their 70% off sale priced items (which change constantly) and use your Discover card to pay for it. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Amazon and Discover just teamed up to offer an extra 2% back to Amazon shoppers who use their Discover card, up to $250 a month. They are also offering a direct deal where you can use your Discover cash back bonus at Amazon when you link both accounts.
It’s no secret among the online parenting community that Amazon has one of the best deals around on diapers and other newborn essentials. Parents of babies can join the occasionally-open Amazon Mom program to save an additional 15% on top of the sale price, on top of the subscribe and save, and on top of the Discover bonus. The diapers may end up dirty, but that is still one sweet smelling deal.
Amazon and parenting deals aside, there are plenty of other ways to stack your shopping discounts online. Our favorite method takes advantage of the online shopping portals that most credit card issuers have set up.
How Credit Card Shopping Portals Work:
Credit card shopping portals combine the best of online shopping with extra rewards from your credit card companies. In some cases you can get up to 20% back for every dollar you spend. If you combine those shopping portals with discounted items, and add in free shipping codes from places like RetailMeNot, you’re going to practically be stealing and getting rewarded for doing it.
If you’ve got last minute holiday shopping to do, you’re going to save a bundle (and you still have a couple days left to guarantee delivery on online items before Christmas).