Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The KISS Principle vs. Getting the Best Deal

I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm enrolled in way too many rewards programs. In addition to clipping coupons, I try to remember to use my Entertainment, Member (from the local NPR station) and AAA cards to score additional discounts. For online orders, I have to remind myself to click through to the website through Upromise.com. And my wallet is overflowing with loyalty cards from grocery stores, drug stores, boutique clothing shops, sporting goods stores, movie theaters, warehouse clubs, local coffee shop, etc. Every time I decide to leave a card at home, I inevitably wind up needing it. It's true that some stores will look up your loyalty reward number using your phone number, but I don't like giving out my phone number when strangers are standing nearby.

And lately, I've been having trouble keeping track of the various program benefits. In other words, when and how I'm supposed to be using these darn cards? Last week, I forgot to hand the cashier $4 worth of coupons that I had stashed in my wallet for my planned trip to the grocery store. And a few weeks before that, I forgot to use my Discover Gas Cashback Card to pay for my new set of tires. I could've gotten a 5% rebate on that $750 transaction.

So, I'm reminded of the KISS principle. Keep it simple, stupid. At what point do you decide that enough is enough? In my case, the law of diminishing returns is definitely kicking in. I spend way too much time and effort trying to figure out how to get the best deal, only to find out afterwards that if I had done this or that I could've saved even more. Maybe I need to extend myself some grace and resign myself to the fact that I'm always going to wind up leaving some money on the table. Otherwise, I'm simply going to drive myself absolutely nuts. Yes, there are bargains and discounts to be had out there, but I just don't have the time or the energy to take advantage of all of them.


Andrew said...

Don't drive yourself crazy with all the potential deals and rebates everytime you go to make a purchase. As long as you stay the course with your budget and savigns plan the little savings you might have missed will not matter so much. Your time might be better spent on other things than keeping up with all your cost cutting deals.

IRA said...

Andrew - Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the encouraging words. I went grocery shopping last night, and I did remember to use two coupons. But you're right in saying that I should focus on budget and savings :-)