We are a big Groupon family in my household. In fact I asked my wife to tally up our Groupon purchases in the last year. The amount? $3,722.
And since Groupon typically provides at least a 50% off discount on purchases of goods and services, this means my wife and I purchased over $7,000 last year in “stuff” through Groupon.
Crazy when you sit down and compile these numbers!
If you’re not familiar with Groupon, it’s essentially a program through which you can purchase goods and services at deep discounts. How deep? 50% on average.
Groupon, as company, while has suffered badly in the stock market, has done wonders for small businesses from a marketing and exposure stand point.
For example, this is how I use Groupon as a small business owner.
But in this post I want to focus on how I use Groupon as a consumer, and how you can save even more when buying a Groupon next time.
Here is how we do it in our household. Both my wife and I are signed up for Groupon notifications.
We have created a profile and pre-selected the various products and services we are interested in within our desired travel radius. If you are a Groupon user I recommend you do this so you get relevant offers in your inbox.
Once an offer that fits our preferences becomes available we receive an email notification from Groupon. But when we get the email, we do not click the link inside it to purchase the Groupon.
Instead, we log on to www.discover.com and purchase the Groupon through Discover’s “Shop Discover” page online. By doing this we get an additional 15% off on our purchase.
For example, if I receive a Groupon email notification for a massage priced at $37 with an original market value of $75, and if I purchase it through Discover, I get an additional 15% off and my net cost is $31.45 ($37 less a 15% discount). Basically you get an even bigger discount than what Groupon is already offering. This discount appears as a credit on your Discover credit card statement.
This cost saving strategy is not limited to Groupon. Similar to how affiliate marketers online promote products in exchange for a commission from the vendor, Discover Credit Card has also partnered up with several businesses to offer their goods and services through their website at a discount. I am not sure how much Discover benefits from the relationship, but as a consumer we sure do.
We did not get a Discover credit card just because of Groupon, although if you are purchasing a significant amount the savings could add up and make it worth getting the credit card. In our case, spending $3,722 in Groupon purchases resulted in a savings of $558.30 (15% of the purchased amount).
We both have always had Discover and like it for several reasons. I find Discover’s customer service to be one of the best. The cards we have carry no annual fees, and we get anywhere between 1-5% cash back on all our other purchases. If don’t use Discover and are in the market for a credit card that pays cash back on purchases, I highly recommend looking into Discover (my affiliate link).
And if you are not a Groupon user, where have you been? But more importantly, you can check them out here (my affiliate link).
There are two components to expediting your wealth building process. The first is to save more and the other is to make more. Constantly learning and striving to do both add up to get you financially ahead over time.
While this article does not share a method to “make” money, it does share how you can save more of it when buying a Groupon and as a result keep more of it in your pocket.
What about you – are you addicted to Groupon like we are? Do you have any other tips on maximizing the effective use of Groupon? Will you purchase more Groupons now with a Discover credit card after realizing you can save an additional 15% on your purchases?
Please help me spread the word and share this article with others who can also benefit from double discounts on Groupon purchases by clicking on one of the social media buttons below.
I made $1,110 per hour, or $4,220 total for 2 cumulative hours of credit card points redemption. I want to share with you how and the nitty-gritty details in this article.
I am super excited to write this post because I couldn’t believe how much extra money I made from credit card points redemption when I sat down to tally the total last week.
Companies of all kinds offer of all types of credit card perks these days. Whatever you are into, traveling, shopping, eating, and even FREE CASH, chances are there is a credit card company willing and able to give you exactly that.
I mean who would turn down extra money? Especially when it is free! Most people use credit cards anyway. Most people also have ongoing bills to pay on a month to month basis anyway, so why not earn some extra cash in the process of doing what you do anyway?
AMEX American Airlines – 75,000 miles ($750 monetary value)
AMEX American Airlines – 75,000 miles ($750 monetary value)
My Citi Premiere Thank You 250 – $250
My Wife’s Citi Premiere Thank You – $250
My Chase Southwest Card – Free Ticket ($250 monetary value)
My Wife’s Chase Southwest Card – Free Ticket ($250 monetary value)
My AMEX Starwood Card – 10,000 points ($250 monetary value
My Wife’s AMEX Starwood Card – 10,000 points ($250 monetary value
My Chase Saphire Card – $500 Cash back
My Wife’s Chase Saphire – $500 Cash back
Miscellaneous – $220 (I’ll explain below)
GRAND TOTAL: $4,220
Cumulative Time Investment: 2 Hours (application, activation, modification of online bill pay records, award claim / credit card points transfers, deactivation)
Hourly Income: $1,110 (Wonder if I need to claim for income tax purposes?)
What we missed out on which I would do anything to claw back on:
100,000 Miles Chase British Airways Giveaway ($1,000 monetary value)
Note: These credit card points promotions may or may not be active as of this post. The estimated monetary values for the non monetary redemptions are ultra conservative. True cash value may be mush more than disclosed.
Working hard to establish good credit pays off. Having good credit and not needing it pays off even more. This is an important point because doing what I did would’ve hurt me had I needed an auto or mortgage loan at the time I was abusing these credit card points programs.
The liberty to royally abuse at will is yet another benefit of being debt free. Stated better, money saved is money earned, and though the dynamics between saving and earning are different, the bottom line impact is the same.
This is why I pursue these credit card points promotions. The personal finance beast in me brought about this craze. The numbers junkie in me is looking at pure ROI. How much can I benefit and what do I have to give up to get it? Sure, it’s not passive income, but it’s a darn good effective hourly wage.
Each time a credit card points promotion that intrigued me came up, I signed up for it, met the minimum spending requirement (typically you have to spend a total of X dollars within the first Y months of getting it). Each time I met the requirement, I signed up my wife for the same credit card. Not sure if our different last names helped the process of getting approved?
Each time we both met the criteria for a particular credit card points promotion, we moved on to the next one. We simply rotated from one to another one at a time, thereby avoiding the chance of rejection due to excessive credit limit or capacity outstanding. I know because I eventually got rejected from the biggest credit card points promotion program. I missed out on 100,000 miles from British Airways. Nooooooooo!
In my experience, there are three key things you have to keep in mind if you want to capitalize on similar promotional credit card points programs. I will go over each briefly.
Annual Fees – Some of the credit cards I signed up for had annual fees while others did not. For the most part I don’t believe in paying annual fees on credit cards. That said, the ones that had them were waived for the first year. Knowing that I’d meet the spending minimum in less than a year, I knew I wouldn’t be paying annual fees.
Credit card companies are fighting for the best customers. Because of this, they will try to keep your business when you get around to canceling your credit card (after you have met the minimum and redeemed your credit card points). When this happens, you need to be respectful but very firm. You need to close the account and move on to the next one.
There are some exceptions to this. Often times credit card companies will try to keep you buy extending you additional perks such as an $85 credit when you use your credit card for at least three more transactions. This happened to me. The $220 miscellaneous that you see above is a composition of two $85 credits with American Express and one $50 credit with Citi I believe.
Credit Score Impact – I mentioned above that this won’t work when you plan to borrow money or utilize your credit. When you open and close all sorts of credit cards on an ongoing basis, there will be a short term negative impact on your credit score resulting from the inquiries. However, this should normalize relatively quickly. This game is definitely not for everyone, especially when you are close to a big ticket purchase on credit.
To demonstrate the impact of a temporary hit on your credit, I was denied the grand daddy of all credit card points promotions, the 100,000 miles British Airways giveaway. I guess Chase figured out what I was up to and slammed the door on my face. Oh well…
Discipline and Organization– Finally, discipline and organization is important because as you pile on the promotions, things can get scattered and somewhat overwhelming. I always maintained a spreadsheet that detailed the credit card points program I was signed up for, as well as various milestones such as spend limit, date I met the limit, award request, award receipt, account closure etc.
Each time I updated the spreadsheet, I emailed myself a fresh copy and deleted the older one. In addition to a master spreadsheet, I religiously set calendar reminders online as well as on my phone to ensure critical milestones were met on time.
Sounds fun and dandy doesn’t it? Not if you own a business and take credit cards for customer payments. The business side of this equation is dark. As a small business owner who takes credit card payments, I get to see the other side of this game.
If you are wondering how credit card companies are able to fund such an expensive campaign, don’t wonder anymore because they are not. It is the business who swipes the customer’s credit card who is paying up da wazooo.
A business that swipes a high credit card perks card as form of customer payment also pays higher credit card fees for that transaction. Ever wonder why some stores don’t accept American Express or Discover? Those credit card companies have some of the most lavish credit card points programs out there, therefore resulting in higher fees for the merchant.
There are some new regulations around the corner that give retailers a choice when it comes to accepting credit cards by essentially allowing them to discriminate what credit card to accept. But think about this for a moment. Would a retailer really exercise the right to discriminate at the expense of a lost sale? Likely not, I know I won’t. Gotta love how the double edged sword works here.
But as a consumer, fret not, there are a ton more credit card points programs on my target list and I am inching closer to each and every one of them.
Note: I am not advocating you do this for yourself, nor am I disseminating any advice. This article is a recollection of my personal experience with credit card points redemption programs. Each one of us decides what’s best for us.
Readers: Have you royally abused credit card points programs like I do? What are your thoughts on this method to make extra money?
Here are my additional thoughts on earning credit card points for doing what you already do anyway.
Here is a Business Idea: If you are developer who can come up with an application where a user inputs all their personal information once and have the application interface with various vendor bill pay systems, then there might be an opportunity here for you. There are many individuals like me who like to take advantage of credit card promotions. How about enabling them to change their credit card payment information to all the vendors they pay online much easier than having to go into each account manually and making the change? I’d happily pay $25 for this application. Something to think about? I’d be happy to discuss further if you are interested…
Knowing what your FICO score is and how to maintain as high of it as possible is an important thing in any credit driven economy. Although this guest post from our friends at Money Supermarket focuses on accidentally hurting your credit score, I want to present the flip side of the coin, which is that you can also accidentally help your credit score. The point here is to know what your credit score is, how it is computed and what you can do to improve and maintain it.
With that said, don’t be discouraged if your credit score is not as ideal or high as you’d like. There are steps you can take to begin building your score for a better tomorrow.
Everyone knows that if you pay your bills late or don’t pay them at all, it will cause your credit score to plummet. But there are some other things that can hurt your credit score that you may not know about.
If you have paid off a credit card debt and don’t plan on using that credit card any more, it seems like it would make sense to close the account. But that’s actually a bad idea.
Closing credit cards can harm your credit score in two ways. For one, it shortens your credit history, because closing the card wipes out all the record of your usage.
Closing an account may also hurt your score by increasing your debt-to-available-credit ratio, which measures how much debt you have relative to how much open credit you have.
If you feel the need to close a card, close the one you have had for the shortest period of time.
While you don’t want to close cards, you don’t want to sign up for too many either, especially in a short period of time.
Resist the temptation to sign up for every store credit card offer that comes along. If you want a card with a better interest rate or better rewards, compare credit cards online and pick the best one.
Credit card mistakes aren’t the only way you can hurt your credit score. Loans aren’t the only debt that creditors report to credit bureaus.
For example, while your utility company won’t report your positive payment history to the credit bureaus, if you fall behind on your payments, it may report your delinquent account.
Another debt that can get you in trouble in terms of credit is private debt such as unpaid parking tickets and library fines. Instead of just tolerating these debts or writing them off, some municipalities are now sending them to collection agencies and reporting them to credit bureaus.
Failing to pay your taxes is one more way you can kill your credit score. A tax lien from the IRS can stay on your credit report up to 15 years, about twice as long as a bankruptcy. Even if you pay off the lien, it won’t reverse the damage that’s already been done.
While you can compare credit cards online and apply for the one you want, getting a mortgage or car loan is a bit more involved.
Credit bureaus realize this and cut you some slack if you apply to several lenders to hedge your bets and try to find the best deal. However, make sure you do it in a limited period of time, usually a few weeks. Spread out your search for a mortgage for several months and your credit score could suffer.