Discount Incentives

Today marks the first day of week two of my consistent trips to the gym. Having run out of all plausible excuses, I now find that I have to match my beloved wife’s commitment to fitness. After eight days, I have to say that it has not been all that bad, and it does give me time to think about subjects for my articles. (If you think it is easy to come up with topics, think again…)

As I left the gym, I wandered over to the coffee area. I noticed that there is now a large business card rack and, to my delight, I also noted that many of the cards could be presented at local merchants for discounts. One in particular caught my eye, as it offered ten percent off at a local ice cream parlor to which I had already promised one of my sons a trip this weekend. I was pleased to scoop it up and to take all of the other money off cards as well.

Discovering business cards that could be presented for discounts also made me consider all of the ways that the new economy has encouraged entrepreneurs to provide incentives to get traffic into their stores. In almost all cases, the discounts are not heavily promoted or advertised. Rather, they tend to be left lying around so that active frugalistas can find them. In case you have not already opened your eyes to the discounts that you might be missing, here are the places that you need to be looking.

Cash Register Receipts

A number of local establishments are encouraging repeat business by providing a discount on future visits. The discount offer is included at the very bottom of the offering business’s cash register receipt, but few of the cashiers ever bother to tell me about the discount. I have discovered the discounts very frequently in local restaurants and beverage shops and they can at times be substantial — as much as twenty percent off — so check your receipts before you toss them.

Discounts for Reviews

In reading the various handouts at a local pet groomer, I found a flyer that promised a ten percent discount on a future grooming in exchange for a review (positive or negative) on any of a number of a local websites. Assuming we go to the groomer three times per year, I should save about twenty dollars over the course of the year just for preparing a few reviews. Keep your eyes open for these kinds of local offers, as I have now heard of several establishments that are offering deals like this.

The Yellow Pages

I rarely use telephone directories. Most businesses have websites so I rely on the internet to find telephone numbers. The other day, however, I found our yellow pages lying in the middle of our living room, having apparently relocated from its usual storage place without any human assistance since no one in my home acknowledged having moved it. I picked up the rather heavy volume and thumbed through it. Much to my surprise, I found a tremendous number of coupons that could be redeemed for discounts at area merchants. I guess I will have to start checking the Yellow Pages more often.

The Newspaper

Even the most casual coupon clipper knows that the Sunday newspaper tends to have the most coupons. Even the daily paper, however, can have hidden coupon gems. Our local paper, for example, has included a $5 grocery store coupon every other Saturday for the past month or two. If that continues for three months, my Saturday paper will have paid me thirty dollars in savings as long as I take the time to find the flyer with the relevant coupon.


I have found numerous discount offers and “free” coupons on Facebook lately. Starbucks recently gave away 800,000 coupons via Facebook for free pints of ice cream. If you use Facebook — and you should — become a fan of all of the brands that you even occasionally use and you will find that offers will appear in your Facebook news feeds.

Junk Mail

I’ve also noticed a huge increase in the number of free coupons that have arrived at my home amongst the various pieces of junk mail. Last week, I received a free coupon for a Chipotle’s burrito. Yesterday, I received a coupon for a free Firehouse sub. As new restaurants start operations, they need to get people to try them. Nothing says “let’s try something new” better than a free coupon’

Where are you finding discounts these days? Are you finding that local restaurants and stores are increasingly eager to get your business and that it is easier to find discounts or freebies? What tricks have your discovered that help you to get discounts?

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5 Responses to Discount Incentives

  1. Ann says:

    Had to laugh at your Yellow Pages comment — our Yellow Pages has a whole section of discount coupons in it! :-) Always worth checking when I’m planning something.

    CVS pharmacy has a program when you get cash off on future purchases. You get a CVS rewards card and it automatically prints a cash back on next purchase at the bottom and occasionally other deals — 2 for 1, a free toothbrush, etc.

    Staples is conveniently located for me and they have a reward/discount program too that’s worth checking out.

    I have a hotel card that for so many stays will “give” me a free night. I don’t travel a lot, but do occasionally go to art or woodcarving shows out of state or take a roadtrip to pick up supplies (like soapstone), so it’s worth it for me to stay at one of the motels listed on the card.

    Cub foods seems to have cut back recently but they’ve had some tremendous deals! I got some “coupons” at the end of receipts that gave me $10 off a $50 purchase within certain dates and even a $20 off a $100 purchase (took advantage of that one to stock up on some non-perishables that I always use), as well as discounts on specific food items based on what you’re buying.

    Definitely worth it to keep an eye out!

  2. Lou Russo says:

    Borders Bookstore has a rewards card that sends weekly email discounts good usually for 20% off an item, but occasionally as much as 40%. It also enrolls you in a rewards program that gives percentages off a wide variety of items, including dining and a variety of retail shops.

  3. persephone says:

    Recently I have noticed that a lot of FB users have been offering up unused on-line coupon codes to the first person to make a request. This is especially the case at the Old Navy fan page.

  4. spicoli says:

    I agree that there have been a lot of good promotions hidden in my junk mail lately. I ate lunch for free on three days last week with free coupons from Chipotle’s, Firehouse Subs and another local restaurant.

  5. Gail says:

    I’m signed up for all my favorite restaurants on line. For some if you put in your birthdate or anniversary, around that time you will get an email for at least a buy one get one free dinner. I also get coupons online from B&N, Borders, CVS, etc. Do I cash them all in? Goodness no, but I don’t delete them until they have expired and if I know we are going into town and the possiblity of eating out or stopping at the bookstore presents itself, I will print them out. With one of my magazine subscriptions I got a 10% off JoAnns Fabrics for each trip for a year! The savings alone on that has more than paid for the magazine subscription. Between a mothers day gift certificate, my BN membership card and an extra 20% off coupon, I was able to subscribe to a magazine at half the regular subscription price by buying it through B&N not the actual magazine. I’m always looking for deals on things I would buy anyhow.

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