Entry #1: AirMiles
‘I am one step away from being rich, all I need now is the money!’
After many years living on a tight budget, sometimes uncomfortably tight, I have managed to hone in on that extra sense of ‘thrifty’ not listed in the body’s nervous system. And let’s face it, when money is tight, there is plenty of nervous to go around. Saving money and earning perks can became a fun challenge as both a necessity at times and frivolity in others. Saving has become a bit of a game for me...and this is a game I have come to WIN!!
Now I pride myself on being an avid collector of points, and saver of all things possible. I would love to impart as much ‘saving wisdom’ I’ve learned on to you! Most of the specifics I have to offer here in my series will be for residents of Canada, so my tips may tend to benefit Canadians more than others. If you live elsewhere, I hope some of these ideas can help guide your search in similar fashion.
When I’m in the checkout line at a store to which I am earning great rewards, it’s painful...and very hard not to say something to the person in front of me when they don’t have whatever savings, points or punch cards that store offers. I have been known to work harder than the stores employees to get other customers to join up Hahaha. And I’ll admit, it’s even harder to resist the urge to ask them to use my loyalties if they weren’t savvy enough to join up themselves prior. Shouldn’t someone benefit from the rewards??
OK, so on to the important stuff...
Step One: Joining AirMiles
One of my top five points systems around is AirMiles. They have been in Canada since 1992, and when consistently used, have the potential to earn you many reward options from worldwide flights to kitchen appliances to gift cards. Even if you live in a small northern town without local business participation, there are many online shopping options to earn these rewards. You may already be shopping with these stores, but not tapping into the reward potential - Yet. AirMiles is regularly adding new partners online, so that is where we are going to begin.
Once you have become a member (you’ll find many more details about the program at www.airmiles.ca than I’m going to list out) you will receive your collector card by mail. You will need to use your points number and pin code for logging in online – and then you are set to check your points balance and save some miles! You can set your reward preferences to Dream Miles (to use online for items like travel rewards, gift cards etc.) or Cash Miles (which lets you redeem your miles as a cash substitute at participating stores in person). You can also allocate your split on both (ex. 80% Dream / 20% Cash). I myself have kept them as Dream rewards – I find it easier to save for big things like flights when I’m not tempted to spend it on toilet paper and groceries in Safeway.