Looking for your next big discount? This time around, you might want to skip the Google search and coupon blogs and look a little closer to home. Chances are, you're already eligible for a ton of discounts just by using the services and memberships you've already signed up for. Your bank, your Costco membership, and your Facebook account are all excellent discount resources if you know where to look. And that's just the beginning.
If you're not already taking advantage, now's definitely the time to start. You'll be well on your way to saving extra money in no time. To get you started, here are four types of discounts that aren't frequently advertised, but just might apply to you.
1. Checking account rewards. It's true: Checking account rewards programs are getting harder to find, but only at major banks. If you have a checking account at an Internet bank, it's easy to rack up extra discounts. When you open an Ally Interest Checking Account, for example, you're automatically enrolled in the Ally Perks program, which gives you cash back every time you use your debit card at a participating retailer. The offers change frequently and give you a set amount of cash back with a minimum purchase (like $10 off $100 or more). There's no need to sign up in advance or opt in, although you can opt out if you want to.
Another rewards checking account we like is PerkStreet. They're one of the few banks left that still offer debit card rewards. You can earn 5 percent back at select merchants that change every month, plus 2 percent back at popular online stores like Target.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes, just to name a few. PerkStreet's cash-back program is comparable to some of the best rewards credit cards on the market, and since you're using a debit card, there's no danger of going into debt.
2. Club membership perks. If you belong to a national group or organization, you may be eligible for more discounts than you realize. For example, your AAA membership is great if you need roadside assistance, but did you know that it also gives you discounted theme park tickets, hotel rooms, travel packages, rental cars, and more? Often, all you have to do is show your card before you make the purchase, and you're set. Visit AAA.com to search for discounts or ask if you're eligible when you make your next reservation.
If you're over 50, consider joining the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). It offers a variety of discounts on shops, restaurants, insurance services, health products, and financial services. Some deals are available year-round while others are "limited time only," but both will help you save more on everyday purchases. Your Costco membership can get you extra discounts, too. Sure, you'll always save money buying soy sauce by the barrel at the warehouse, but Costco also offers special deals for their members on travel and vacation packages through Costco Travel.
3. Social media promotions. Retailers love social media sites, especially Twitter and Facebook, because they provide an effective and easy way for them to reach their target audience: you. Perhaps it's no surprise that Twitter and Facebook store pages are becoming the best places to learn about special events and discounts, especially if you "like" or follow a company. Last year, many companies announced their Black Friday and holiday deals on Facebook and Twitter first. Target frequently offers discounts for their Facebook fans, and American Express recently launched a new rewards program just for Twitter users. Starbucks advertises drink deals and discounts on its Facebook page that anyone can take advantage of. We recommend creating separate Facebook and Twitter accounts just for store rewards if you don't want special offers clogging up your news feed.
4. Credit card rewards malls. Most major credit card issuers have an online rewards mall just for their card members. Here's how they work: Shop at your favorite online retailers through a portal set up by your credit card company, pay with your credit card, and you'll get an extra 1percent to 20 percent off your purchase, and that's on top of whatever rewards your cash-back credit card already earns. There's really no better way to shop online, especially since most rewards malls partner with hundreds of popular stores like Kohl's, Toys 'R' Us, Barnes & Noble, and Holiday Inn. Overall, we've found the best deals at the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall and ShopDiscover, but the best deals at individual stores vary from mall to mall.
Tim Chen is the CEO of NerdWallet, an unbiased credit card comparison website dedicated to helping you find the best credit cards. Check out the NerdWallet online shopping tool to find out which rewards mall offers the best cash back deal at your favorite store.
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