How do Reward Programs Work? A Complete Guide (With Examples)

How do reward programs work?

Did you know that you can earn cash rewards and gifts from retailers?

Not only that, but many brands offer special discounts and promotions to reward members.  If you are not a member of your favorite store’s reward program you’re losing money.

Don’t worry!

In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about how reward programs work and how you can get perks and free gifts from your favorite stores.

  • How do reward programs work?
  • Benefits of joining a reward program.
  • Which brands offer reward programs?
  • How to sign up for rewards programs.
  • Other ways to earn rewards from retailers.
  • Why do brands offer reward programs?

How do reward programs work?

Reward programs are a membership given to customers for their loyalty to a brand.

In short, they are used by brands to encourage customers to buy from their stores.

These programs are frequently used at establishments that want to encourage customers to make recurring purchases.

While discounts are subject to terms and conditions, there are less known ways to save even more without infringing promotions’ terms and conditions.

This is how:

You can combine store rewards with other types of discounts.  In addition to taking advantage of rewards and perks, customers can also earn cashback on top of coupons, promo codes, and special promotions –more about this later.

To join a store’s reward program, you must first sign up to become a member of the store.  Many stores also have an app that you can keep track of points and find discounts and promotions.

It’s very easy to sign up.

To become a member, most stores ask for the customer’s information such as their name, phone number, address, and email.

Reward programs terms and conditions vary, but they are usually accumulated using a point system and are redeemable for gifts with purchase and in-store cash rewards.

Other benefits include free shipping, access to private events and workshops,  special return and exchange policies, exclusive sales and promotions, and exclusive customer service lines.

But what kind of reward programs do store offer?

                    Types of reward programs

Image source: www.dunkindonuts.com

  • Frequency programs – This type of loyalty program rewards customers for repeat purchases.  Coffee shops, for example, might give a free drink after the customer makes frequent purchases.  Sign up for Dunkin’ Donuts to get a free beverage after 200 points!

Many stores have different tiers of membership.  The more you buy, the more rewards you will get.

Image source: www.sephora.com

  • Tier system – Many stores offer a membership for their reward program based on how frequently they make purchases.  In this case, customers have to reach an amount to get to the next level and receive more benefits. At Sephora, for example, customers enjoy benefits when they sign up to their reward program.  After spending $350 on a calendar year customers will get even more benefits. The highest tier at Sephora is for ROUGE members, customers that spend at least $1000 per year. ROUGE members get a private landline and invitation to exclusive events, in addition to benefits of INSIDER and VIB members.

Our favorite tier reward program:

Image source: www.bestbuy.com

Best Buy’s reward members get a variety of benefits based on how much they spend per calendar year.  While the first tier is free to join, elite and eliteplus members must spend $1500 and $3500 in purchases per calendar year respectively.

Elite plus members are eligible to receive free shipping, an extended period for returns and exchanges, access to special sales and offers, a point banking option, and a 24/7 customer service line.

The third type of reward program is a paid membership:

Image source: www.amazon.

  • Paid membership – In some cases customers need to pay to be a part of a membership service.  This is the case for Amazon Prime, for example. Amazon Prime costs an annual fee for benefits such as free shipping.  As a prime member, customers can also stream movies and download music.

 

  • Point system – Many reward programs are based on a point system.  After accumulating a certain amount of points, members are able to redeem their earnings for a discount, gift, or reward.

At most stores, points are redeemable for gifts with purchase and in-store cash rewards.

Some rewards require a minimum amount before taxes to get the reward.

Points may expire, so keep track of each store’s reward program policy to learn about expiration dates and exclusions.

One of the most popular types of points is frequent flyer miles.  Frequent flyer members collect miles or travel points to reach an amount redeemable for a ticket.

In addition to points being redeemable for gifts with purchase and in-store cash rewards, most membership programs offer other benefits such as free shipping, access to private events and workshops, special return and exchange policies, exclusive sales and promotions, and exclusive customer service lines.

Image source: www.sephora.com/rewards

Benefits of joining a reward program

Benefits of reward programs varies, but many offer the following benefits:

1) Gift with purchase – Gifts with purchase are given by many stores such as Macy’s, Clinique, Estée Lauder, and other stores.

Many beauty brands give gifts with purchase to customers when they buy a certain amount from the brand.

Image source: www.macys.com/

Birthday gifts are also popular rewards given by brands.  Express and Sephora are examples of stores that offer birthday gifts to loyal customers.

2) Cash rewards – Most stores that offer rewards give a cash reward valid for any purchase at their store.  This works like a discount at your next purchase. CVS’ ExtraCare card, for example, can be used to purchase most items at their store.  Gap’s cash reward is called GapCash and is valid in-stores and online.

Image source: www.gap.com

3) Other perks – Reward programs also offer other types of benefits such as free shipping, access to exclusive events, birthday gifts, special promotions, early access to sales, private customer service line, invitation to classes and workshops.

    Which brands offer rewards?

Reward programs are used by several type of businesses such as airline companies, hotels, retailers, restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, and credit cards.

Popular stores with rewards programs include Dunkin’ Donuts, Best Buy, Sephora, Omaha Steaks, Walgreens, CVS, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, JC Penney, Ace Hardware, Kohl’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Moosejaw, Express, Godiva, Target, Century 21, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Staples, Office Depot, Petco, Rite Aid, Wyndham Hotel Group, Best Western, Choice, Hilton Hotels, La Quinta Hotels, Petco, Auto Zone, Shopko, Big Lots!, GameStop, and more.

Take advantage of the 61 Best Rewards Programs: Store Customer Loyalty Cards You Must Get!

Other types of rewards  

Companies also offer other types of rewards such as coupons, discounts, and promo codes.  Other types of rewards include credit cards and cashback.

  • Credit cards – Credit cards offer various rewards for using their product.  Some credit cards rewards their customers with miles, cash, or products and services.

 

  • Cashback – Cashback sites return a portion of the amount spent at a store when you make a purchase.  Hence the term “cash-back”. It works like a referral program. Shopping through a cashback site isn’t different than making a purchase like you normally would.  The difference is that by clicking on the retailer (i.e. Walmart) through a cashback site (i.e. Lemoney.com), the retailer shares a commission to the cashback site. The cashback site then shares a part of that commission with the customer.  Cashback sites also feature coupons and other rewards. Each cashback site offers different rewards, so it’s important to find the program that best fits your needs. One of the most important factors when choosing a cashback site is to find the one with the best rates. Lemoney, for example, is a cashback site that is unique because it has some of the highest cashback rates.  In addition, it’s the only site that gives a cash bonus to its members for inviting friends. It also rewards members with cash every time they shop.

Why do brands offer reward programs?

Customer acquisition is expensive.  Many studies have identified that the most profitable customers are the ones who are already shopping at a company.

Considering it costs five to twenty five times to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, reward programs are an important strategy for many companies and businesses.

Reward programs exist to create another incentive for a customer to become loyal to a brand.

Loyalty programs are used by many brands to encourage customers to buy from their stores by rewarding them for repeat visits.

Since many stores offer reward programs to their customers, the ones who don’t become less competitive.

While there are other ways for brands to market their product or service, reward programs are very effective and turn customers into loyal ambassadors.

For customers reward programs are beneficial given the perks offered to members.  It is worth signing up to become a member at your favorite stores!

Final thoughts on rewards programs

Take advantage of reward programs.  Most stores offer a rewards program, so you are missing out on benefits if you don’t sign up to become a member.

Each reward program is different.  When deciding which type of reward program to to sign up for, think about which stores you shop at the most.

Since it is better to accumulate points at a specific store, we recommend focusing on two or three stores in each segment to get the most benefits.

Gift Ideas for Photographers

It is universally known that photographers are some of the hardest people to buy gifts for. Cameras, accessories and other photography gadgets are great gifts, yet quite expensive. Moreover, most dedicated photographers have already bought all the equipment and gadgets they require – how can you buy a gift for the person who already has everything?

We understand this conundrum and are here to help! We have gathered a list of cool, quirky and fun gift ideas that photographers will simply love to get their hands on – enjoy!

DSLR Camera Lens Mug

This is a novelty gift but it will appeal to photographers around the world. Enter the DSLR camera lens mug! Available in both Nikon and Canon models, these mugs are hugely realistic and to the untrained eye, it may appear that you are drinking from an actual camera lens! The mugs are actually a 1:1 replica of either a Canon EF 24-105mm or a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm lens and are extremely well-made. With a stainless steel interior, these mugs can be used as a thermos or a standard coffee mug.

Zoom lens for Smartphones

Today, smartphones have exceedingly high-quality cameras. In years past it was not possible to take amazing photos with your smartphones as the cameras generally had a low number of megapixels and poor focusing functions. To help the avid photographer improve their smartphone photography and have some fun, why not buy them a smartphone zoom lens? There is a range of different models and some are better than others, but they can be used to take awesome close-up shots and zoom in on details that you may not be able to with the standard phone software.

Gorillapod Tripod

Many professional photographers actually own a large sturdy tripod however many photographers do not own a Gorillapod! Gorillapod is a brand of a small tripod that has a unique design and shape – the legs are created from a series of jointed balls that can rotate. This allows the legs to be positioned in many different ways and wrapped around objects. Gorillapods are a fantastic creation and a great gift for a photographer who travels frequently and can’t carry a full-size tripod with them.

DSLR Cloak Bag

This interesting and ingenious creation is a camera bag. This might sound unappealing, but it is a camera bag with a twist. The end of the bag opens and allows you to take photos without ever removing the camera from its bag. This is a fantastic creation that photographers will simply love. We may not understand the frustration, but photographers sometimes miss out on important shots because they have to spend too much time taking their camera out of its protective case.

The Cloak Bag removes this annoyance! Imagine the scene – you are surrounded by an epic landscape as the sun is setting – you grab your camera as the perfect moment approaches and you simply open the case flap and take that awe-inspiring shot! Any photographer would simply love this opportunity so a Cloak Bag is a perfect gift.

Spirit Level hot shoe fixture

Another gift that may seem totally alien and bizarre to most people that a photographer will go nuts for! Photographers often struggle to align photos correctly and frame them with a stable vertical and horizontal angle. The spirit level hot shoe fixture can eliminate this common error completely! This quirky little gadget is basically a compact three-axis spirit level that can be fixed on top of a standard DSLR flash hot shoe fitting. Using the spirit level, you can set up your shot and ensure that your camera or tripod is aligned properly. Another superb gift that a photographer would appreciate!

Gnarbox

Transferring and uploading/accessing photos on the go can be a huge problem for photographers. Unless a photographer has a camera with built-in Wi-Fi, they would have to return to their computer and upload the photos using a card reader – this is time-consuming and basically allows no room for error. Gnarbox is a portable backup solution that has a range of SD and Micro SD memory card slots, Wi-Fi connectivity and a minimum of 128 GB storage. A photograph can use Gnarbox to quickly upload their photos and then access them using a smartphone and the Gnarbox companion app.

DSLR Camera Lens Wristband

Most photographers are committed to their craft and love anything at all to do with this hobby/profession. What better way for a photographer to show their love for the camera by wearing a trendy lens bracelet? These bracelets come in many shapes and sizes but are generally made of rubber in a similar style to festival bands. The bracelets usually replicate a popular DSLR lens ring such as a Canon or Nikon camera and look simply fantastic.

Also, if you want to help somebody to get started with photography or support their interest and have a rather high budget, do not overlook the essential stuff. Things like cameras, camera accessories, photo editing software can also be a great gift – check out Lemoney’s special offers for Canon, Olympus, Ritz Camera and Focus Camera stores or cashback opportunity for Macphun Software’s Luminar and Aurora HDR photo editing programs.

There you have it – 7 awesome gift ideas for photographers! We hope this list will save you from sleepless nights and hours rushing around stores.

Good luck choosing a perfect present!

About the author:  Max is an amateur photographer who runs his own photography blog where he likes to write about photo editing, modern photo trends, and inspiration.  Feel free to contact him via email.

Is Lemoney Legit? (+ Lemoney Reviews)

Lemoney’s rewards are so great that you might be wondering if the cashback is legit.  

So, is Lemoney legit?

Thousands of people shop at Lemoney and redeem their cashback on a daily basis.  Lemoney offers the best cashback rates (up to 31%) at 1500+ stores, including Macy’s, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Groupon, eBay, and more!  In addition, you earn cashback on ALL of your friends’ purchases when you invite them to Lemoney.

Wait, what?!  

That’s right.  Your earn cashback on all of your friends’ purchases.

This is what our members had to say when asked about their experience of shopping through Lemoney:

So far I didn’t have any issues, I already got paid so I know this site works!

-Steven G.

I was not sure about the authenticity of Lemoney before and I was using Ebates for a very long time. From now on I will use Lemoney for my online shopping.

-Ramakrishnan R.

Easy to shop. Tracking process is good. Cash back % is great.

-Vivek J.

I was looking for the highest cashback in my favorite Gearbest store. I recommend shopping through your portal to everyone. Very efficient and fast support. Very fast withdrawal of funds. I will come back to you every time I make purchases.

-Krzysztof W.

Great customer service, clear breakdown of cashback earnings.

-Jen M.

(…) I honestly forgot I used Lemoney to shop, until I saw the reminder sent from Lemoney, then I went to check the balance and request the money. It’s very quick, not like my previous bad experience with some websites that never really gave back my money. Very good!

-Anonymous

Still not convinced?  Check out what this site has to say about Lemoney.

If you’re new to the site and are not sure how it works, read our frequently asked questions below.  We also have a post on our blog that explains how you can get cashback on your friends’ purchases.  Our customers are our priority, so we are transparent about everything we do.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Do all purchases qualify for cashback rewards?

Every item you purchase through Lemoney qualifies for cashback unless stated in the exclusions.  To verify if your purchase qualifies for cashback, find the store you’re looking for and read the terms and conditions under the ‘Cashback Terms’ tab.  In addition, we are not able to give cashback for taxes, shipping, or any portion of a purchase that is paid for with gift certificates or a store credit. 

  • When I use my Coupons do I also earn Cashback?

You can combine cashback with coupon codes from our affiliate stores as soon as customers find them on Lemoney’s website.

  • Do I need to pay to join Lemoney?

Lemoney is 100% free for users.

  • When will my Cashback be available?

As soon as our affiliate stores validate it, it will be available to redeem. It usually takes at least 120 days. Some stores cannot confirm your purchase until the return period has elapsed and may take up to thirty days to confirm your cash back.

  • How can Lemoney pay me rewards for shopping?

Lemoney receives payments from companies and affiliate stores that sell, advertise, promote or otherwise offer their products and services at our website.  Lemoney, then, retains a fraction of the payment but gives the majority back to the user who made the purchase (who gets the largest part) and to their community.

  • How do I get paid?

It’s really easy! You may withdraw your balance through PayPal.

We deposit your payment in your PayPal account (in some cases a small PayPal fee may apply). Just enter your email address associated with your PayPal account.

What is Lemoney’s privacy policy?

Lemoney takes privacy and security very seriously. We know that protecting member’s privacy is essential to our success. Please review our complete Privacy Policy.

  • How secure is my credit card info?

Lemoney does not capture or receive your credit card information.

  • Are my transactions secure when going through Lemoney?

Lemoney redirects you to our affiliate stores’ website so will they know you are a Lemoney.com user and can pay your cash back properly. After being redirected, your purchases and financial transactions happen as if you had accessed the stores directly.

Still have questions?  Read the frequently asked questions on Lemoney’s site.  

Looking for the best cashback rates at your favorites stores?  Look no further! Check out Lemoney’s site to earn cashback at your favorite stores!

Life Hack – How to Get 7% Cash back From Amazon Purchases

Lemoney has an exciting announcement:

I have some great tips to share on how you can earn cashback from your favorite items at Amazon !

While the team is still negotiating with Amazon, it is already possible to get cash back from them.  I don’t know about you, but Amazon is one of my favorite stores online. I shop there for books, tv series, snow boots, and even backpacks for the kids.

My favorite part about shopping at Amazon is finding awesome items on Buzzfeed and Business Insider.

My last purchase from Amazon was Apple’s MacBook Air.  I made over $50 from cashback on that purchase, which I’m going to use to get new earbuds.

Amazon does not offer cashback at the moment, but I am still able to get cashback on their gift cards at Lemoney.  Before I shop at Amazon, I visit one of Lemoney’s gift card websites.  Raise.com, Gift Card Mall, Giftcards.com offer gift cards from Amazon. This also works for any other store that is not featured on Lemoney.

So it works like this:

  1. Visit Lemoney.com to earn cashback at your favorite stores.
  2. Sign up to Lemoney or log in to your account.
  3. Find Raise.com, Gift Card Mall, or Giftcards.com on Lemoney.
  4. Get an Amazon gift card at one of the stores mentioned previously.
  5. Get cashback at your favorite items on Amazon!

Stores mentioned above:

  • Gift Card Mall: 7% Turbo Cashback (applied up to $140 + 2% Cashback after $140).
  • Raise.com: 4% Turbo Cashback (applied up to $420 + 2% Cashback* after $420).
  • Giftcards.com: 4% Turbo Cashback (applied up to $100 + 0.625% Cashback* after $100).

Terms and conditions apply.

What is your favorite item to get cashback through Lemoney?  Let me know in the comments below!

How to Boost Cashback Without Making Additional Purchases

What if I told you there is a way to earn cashback without making a purchase?

In this post, I’m going to share with you how to boost cashback and make money from your friends’ purchases.

At Lemoney, you earn cashback when you shop at our 1700+ retail partners and when you invite friends to join your community.

That’s not all.  There’s a way to boost earnings in your account.  You’ll earn C-Bonus when you shop or invite your friends to Lemoney.  C-Bonus can multiply your community earnings up to 5X per month.

A bit confusing?  So, let me break this down:

  1. Invite friends to Lemoney.  When you invite friends to Lemoney, you earn community cashback every time they make a purchase – a percentage of your friends’ cashback.
  2. Earn cashback on all of your purchases and your friends’ purchases.
  3. Automatically multiply your earnings with C-Bonus.

The more you use Lemoney, the more cash rewards you’ll earn.

Lemoney members earn hundreds of dollars from inviting their friends.  Calculate your earnings to see how much you can get.  Here are some real-life examples:

What are you waiting for?  Join Lemoney and invite your friends to earn Cashback at 1700+ stores!

Earn $200 When You Invite Friends to Earn Cash back!

Would you like to earn an extra $200?  It’s pretty easy.  I have an amazing cash back offer for you.

In addition to getting cashback on purchases and community cashback, now you can earn even more at Lemoney! For a limited time, earn $200 when you invite 10 new friends to Lemoney and they make a qualifying purchase*!

What will your friends get? A 10% code to use on a purchase of their choice at Lemoney!

The best part is that you’ll earn rewards on all of your friends’ purchases when they join your community (at no cost to them)!  Pretty sweet, right?

So it works like this:

  1. Invite your friends to Lemoney.  You’ll get $200 when 10 friends make a qualifying purchase and they’ll get 10% to join.
  2.  You’ll earn community rewards on all of your friends’ purchases.
  3.  Your friends will earn cashback and community rewards from Lemoney.  It’s a win-win.

Click here to earn $200.

If I earned $200 from Lemoney, I would buy a pressure cooker from Target!  My goal for 2018 is to try new recipes on the Food Network.  Their pressure cooker beef stroganoff recipe is to die for!

Instant Pot Duo 80 8 Qt Pressure Cooker – $139.99 at Target

Lemoney offers the best cashback rates for Target:  7% Turbo cashback (applied up to $140 + 0.5% cashback* after $140).

If you’ve just started using cashback and are not sure what it is, read our blog post about how to save money when shopping online.  We explain everything you need to know about cash back and community commission.

Another way to get rewards from your favorite stores is to sign up for loyalty programs.  Many stores offer exclusive gifts and discounts to store members.

What will you with $200?  Let me know in the comments below!

Terms and conditions apply*.  Prices and rates are subject to change.  This cash back offer is available for a limited time.  Visit Lemoney.com to learn more.

5 Ideas to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2018

International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900s to celebrate women all over the world. March 8th is a day to recognize women’s achievements and honor them.  In this post, I will share with you five ways to celebrate your mother, daughter, girlfriend, sister, friend, teacher, or wife.

1. Write her a letter – Write a letter to the woman in your life about the things that you appreciate about her.  Sending a card will be even more special.  Hallmark has a large selection of cards that you can choose from.  She will be happy to know you are thinking of her.

2. Get her flowers – I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t love to get flowers.  Surprise her by sending flowers to her house or to work. We recommend Teleflora and 1-800 Florals.  Bestsellers include violets and roses.

3. Buy her a gift – It doesn’t matter if you get her something big or small, it’s the thought that counts.  Get her jewelry, mugs, perfume, or chocolate. Godiva is to die for!

4. Take her to dinner – Make this day all about her!  A dinner out will make her feel appreciated and cared for.  It doesn’t have to be expensive. Groupon and Restaurant.com are great options that offer cash back.

5. Go to an event –  There are several events all over the world to celebrate women.  If you’re in New York, consider going to the United Nations’ observance day to hear speakers such as the UN Secretary-General and Reese Witherspoon.  Don’t forget to RSVP!

Although March is Women’s History Month, there are several ways you can celebrate women throughout the year.  Read our blog post about mother’s day activities to get more ideas to celebrate the special women in your life.

What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day?  Let me know in the comments below!

How to Budget Like a Pro: What I Learned in Business School

When I was in college, I saved $15,000 in two years on a low salary.  My secret?  I learned to budget.  As a business major, I have always been interested in finances.  I took several investing and accounting classes in school, but it wasn’t until I started managing my own money that I learned a very important lesson:

How you manage your money is more important than how much you make.  Let me explain.  Your income determines the things you can afford and the things you can’t.  However, lifestyle is something completely different.

During the time I was in college, I was dating someone who had a fancy internship and was making four times my income.  However, my significant other didn’t have any money left at the end of the month.  The worst part?  He had no idea what he spent it on!

I, on the other hand, was very careful about everything I spent.  I didn’t deprive myself of the good things in life.  I traveled often, bought groceries, went out with my friends, shopped at the mall, and still had money to save.  My secret?  I learned the 50/20/30 rule:

After taxes, 50% of my income is spent on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% to savings.   This is the key to budgeting.

So it works like this:

  • Needs – 50% of your income should be allocated to this category.  This includes everything thing that is a necessity such as food, rent, electricity, doctor appointments, transportation and other bills.

 

  • Wants – 30% of income should be allocated to this category.  This includes everything that you want but is not a necessity such as dinners out, movie nights, that expensive perfume you want, trips etc.  As long as you’re not exceeding 30% of your income in this category it doesn’t matter how much you spend on wants.

 

  • Savings – 20% of your income should be allocated to this category.  I learned early on the importance of saving.  This category includes saving, investing, and debt.

Although the percentages are the maximum amount that should be spent in each category, you can adjust each category to fit your needs.  Read more about budgeting here.

So why is the 50/20/30 rule important?  It doesn’t matter if you have a $200,000 yearly income if you have been spending $250,000 per year.  Someone with a $150,000 income that uses the 50/20/30 rule would be better off!  Budgeting is essential to have a healthy financial situation. I can’t stress this enough.

You don’t have to have a degree in Finance to manage your income like a pro!  With the 50/20/30 rule, it doesn’t matter how much you make.  You can save as much as I did or even more!

The important thing is that I stick to my budget and was able to manage my finances in a way that I had enough to do everything I wanted.

I also took advantage of every passive income strategy I knew.  I earned Cashback from Lemoney, got paid to participate in surveys, and became a loyal reader of The Financial Diet and The Penny Hoarder

If you want to learn more about saving money, read our blog post about why you should consider a frugal lifestyle.

Do you have an incredible story about managing your finances?  I would love to hear it!  Let me know in the comments below.

10 Things to do on Mother’s Day with Cash Back – 2018 Edition

Mother’s day is one of my favorite times of the year.  My family lives far away, so family gatherings are always special.  Last mother’s day I planned a surprise trip to Tahoe.  This year, we are staying home.  Although my gift to my mother isn’t as extravagant this year, I came up with creative ideas to celebrate my mom that I’m going to share in this post.

What are you doing on Mother’s Day?  Not sure?  Check out my ideas for fun mother’s day activities to celebrate.  These activities are great for adults and kids.  The best part?  You get cashback on all of these experiences.

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1. Treat your mother to dinner – Take your mom to a fun night out at her favorite restaurant.  Restaurant.com is a great site for saving at local restaurants.  Alternatively, consider one of Darden Restaurants’ brands such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Cheddar Scratch Kitchen.

2. Go on a trip – If you have the budget, consider going on a trip to celebrate mother’s day.  You can go on a trip with your mom or give her dream vacation as a gift.  Even if the getaway is to a nearby city, the relaxing weekend will be enough to unwind.  Get some inspiration at Expedia and Priceline.

3. Go to a show, tour, or event – Whether she’s an Elton John fan or loves Cirque du Soleil, a fun night out is a great way to celebrate your mother.  Check out local events near your house at Ticket City, Ticket Liquidator, Ticket Network, Ticket Counter.  Busch Gardens is another fun idea for mother’s day.

4. Take a hike – If your mom loves outdoor activities, take a hike in a nearby park.  If she isn’t fond of hikes, you can go to a local park and enjoy a picnic.

5. Visit a winery – If you live near a winery, take the day off to drink some wine!  Check out Groupon for deals and ideas of where to go.  You don’t have to live in Europe to enjoy great wine!

6. Take a class together – If you have the budget, take a class about cooking, sewing, or anything else that might interest you!  In addition to learning something new, it’ll be even more special because you are together.

7. Watch a movie – Whether you go to the movies or watch something at home, this will be a great activity to relax.  In addition, a family movie is perfect to include the kids.  For the older folks, I recommend Lady Bird, which is a mother-daughter movie. Don’t forget the popcorn!  Here is a list of movies to watch with your mom on her day.  If you go to the movies, get your tickets at Fandango.

8. Take your mom to the spa –  Fun activities can be more meaningful than presents.  You can either go to the spa with her or give her a gift card.  Either way, she will feel pampered and special.  Grandma can come along too! I recommend Spa and Wellness since they offer a variety of relaxing treatments.  Click here to learn more.

9. Get your nails done –  Pamper your mom by taking her to get her nails done.  After all, mother’s day is all about her!

10. Bake with your mom – This is another fun activity that is perfect to include the kids.  Foodstirs has the best baking kits and recipes.  Brownies are always a good idea!

No matter what you do on this special day, the important thing is to spend time with your mother.  Make it all about her.  Spoil her with breakfast in bed and anything else that she likes.  Do you have a special tradition on mother’s day?  Let me know in the comments below.

15 of the Best Retail Rewards and Loyalty Programs with Cash Back – 2018 Edition

If you don’t sign up for rewards and loyalty programs, you’re missing out on free money and gifts.  Several brands offer a compensation to loyal customers, which is a great way to get freebies and discounts.  I selected some of my favorite brands and focused on those, since rewards programs usually have a point system.  Over the years, I’ve earned some great perks from CVS, Sephora, and Express.  In this post I’m going to share all my secrets on how I’ve earned close to $300 worth of makeup, clothes, and office supplies last year.

1. Sephora – Sephora is my weak spot.  The more you spend at Sephora, the more makeup you get.  On my last purchase, I earned a mascara, perfume, and lipstick! Sephora’s beauty program offers a birthday gift (this year’s gift is a kit from Tarte and Caudalie), rewards bazaar (free makeup!), and free beauty classes to all members.  If you spend more than $350 you become a VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) and become eligible to participate in a free custom makeover and earn gifts.  Once you spend over $1000 in a calendar year, you will get unlimited free custom makeovers, a private hotline, an invitation to exclusive events (they offer breakfast), and 2-day shipping on all orders*.  Sounds pretty sweet to me!  I always take advantage of Sephora’s annual sale, where they offer a percentage discount based on your statuts.

2.Best Buy – This is my favorite store for buying electronics.  Electronics purchases can add up, so I always make sure I don’t forget to pull up my rewards account.  Best Buy’s rewards program is categorized into three levels: my Best Buy, Elite, and Elite Plus.  It allows you to receive rewards with every dollar spent, free shipping, and exclusive member offers and sales.  Every 250 points at Best Buy is redeemable for a $5 reward certificate.  I’m saving my points to get new headphones.

3. Omaha Steaks –  You can get rewarded when you buy food too!  Omaha reward members can redeem their points for:

  • 100 Points. for (16 oz.) pkg. Omaha Steakhouse Fries • 3.1 oz. Steak Seasoning • 4 Potatoes au Gratin.
  • 200 Points for • 4 (3 oz.) Kielbasa Sausages • 4 Gourmet Jumbo Franks • 4 Caramel Applet Tartlets.
  • 300 Points for • 4 (4 oz.) Omaha Steaks Burgers

4. CVS – This is probably where I’ve gotten the best rewards.  CVS’ extra care card rewards members for purchases by offering coupons and offers.  Members also get Extra Bucks to spend on merchandise at CVS.  I stop by CVS on a weekly basis, so I always have Extra Bucks to spend!  On my last purchase I got $15 that I redeemed for supplies.  It was a great deal because these kinds of purchases add up!

5.Walgreens –  Walgreens’ reward program is also pretty sweet.  It has some things that are not offered at CVS, so it’s also a frequent stop for me.  Walgreens rewards program provide exclusive offers, points, and more!  Members exchange 40,000 points for $50 at Walgreens.

6. Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and GAP – I’ve been a GAP credit card holder for many years and I’ve gotten some great perks because of it.  I earn points every time I shop with my credit card.  I receive a $10 reward card after accumulating 1,000.  After making a few purchases I get a reward that I use for myself or pick something to give as a gift.

7.JC PenneyJC Penney offers a rewards program and a store card.  Through the rewards program you get 1 point for every $2 spent.  If you are a credit card holder, you earn 1 point for every $1.  If you sign up, you also get a birthday gift and invitations to events.

8.Ace Hardware – Ace Hardware is a great hardware store based in Illinois.  I always get everything from here when I’m renovating.  My latest purchase was a heater because ours broke.  They always send me rewards such as coupons, tips for my home, and sale reminders, which is great because I don’t miss any deals.  In addition, I earn 10 points for every dollar spent.  If you are not a member yet sign up to get a bonus of  1,000 points!

9.Kohl’s – Kohl’s Yes2You rewards program is all about you!  You get a point for every dollar spent.  In addition, new members get 50 points for signing up and downloading the app!

10. Saks Fifth Avenue Saks First is an exclusive rewards program that offers points for every dollar spent.  Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card.  Members get access to exclusive events and sales.  In addition, members can shop early collections.

11. Moosejaw Moosejaw’s rewards programs offers access to perks, gifts, promotions, and free shipping.  The more you spend, the more you get.  You can apply rewards to your cart on almost everything on the site.  You have two years to take advantage of perks before they expire, so make sure to take advantage of them!

12. StaplesStaples’ rewards program has two tiers:

  • Staples’ rewards program offers rewards on 2% of purchases made in store (some exclusions apply).  Members also earn $2 in rewards per ink or toner cartridge (limit of 10 per month) returned to the store.  To get the reward you must spend $30 in ink toner or cartridge in the last 180 days.  Rewards can be used in store or online.
  • Premier rewards members earn 5% of rewards on purchases made in store (some exclusions apply).  Premier members may recycle up to 20 ink toner or cartridges per month.

13.Petco  Petco’s reward program offers one point for every dollar spent.  Members get a $5 reward after accumulating $5.  My puppy loves his new Star Wars Darth Vader Box Pet Bed from Petco!

  • Express –   I’m an Express NEXt member, so I get a lot of perks and gifts.  I got a really pretty white top from Express for my birthday last year.  I also get frequent discounts since I shop there so much.  I get points on all of my purchases, birthday gifts, and rewards.  Check out the perks:

 

  • When you create your account you earn $15 for completing your profile, a $5 bonus reward for signing up for mobile texts, 250 points when you connect your social media account.
  • As a rewards member you get a $10 reward for every 2500 points ($250 points).  A-list members earn a $15 gift card when they spend $250 points.
  • Members earn exclusive offers, birthday gifts, 20 points for every dollar spent, and credit card A-list members get free shipping.

They also have clothes for men, so all of my gifts to my brother are from Express.

15.Godiva – I’ve gotten a lot of free chocolate from Godiva.  I introduced my mom to this brand and she became obsessed too!  I already ordered her gift for Valentine’s Day from Godiva.

I’ve gotten some great discounts and gifts because of my saving skills over the years.  In addition to the perks listed above, I also get Cashback on every purchase.  Click here to sign up.

If you’re new to rewards programs, start with one or two and see which ones are your favorites.  Let me know your favorite rewards program in the comments below.