Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reward Cards and Free Stuff!

We went to see a great movie today...No Strings Attached....and yes, it's a silly little romantic comedy but it was Woody's day to pick! I really enjoyed it too...we got in free and with our Regal Reward card (, we got a free soft drink. Periodically we get a free ticket on our Regal Rewards card but we have a more reliable way to score free movies. Now, you did we get in free? We use our American Express to pay bills and buy any big ticket items and use the points to get free movie tickets and gift cards for dinners at our favorite restaurants. The AMX for bill pay came for convenience when we were always on the road and bills still needed to be paid...those that would take AMX earn us points and the rest come directly out of our checking account. We use AMX but almost all the cards have a points option. We've bought carpet, cruises and, in Woody's case, a pickup truck on our AMX cards!

We started the points thing when I had a corporate card and spent even more money than we do now. In fact, years ago we used Diner's Club points, our then corporate card, to buy Savings Bonds! Which come to think of it have probably gotten really close to maturity....hmmm....wonder if we have enough for a cruise? But back to freebies...who wouldn't want free stuff. Many of our favorite "survival" restaurants offer coupons. By survival, I mean those restaurants like Shane's Rib Shack, Sam's Sports Bar, China Buffet and lots of others where you eat when you don't want to cook. If you watch the local paper, coupons through the mail, and magazines, you'd be surprised at how many buy one get one coupons or 10% off or "two for one" deals are out there. By using coupons and watching for special offers, we haven't had to quit eating out in retirement. One of our favorite places is Red Lobster and we just scored two $25 gift cards for a mere 5,000 AMX points! Can't wait to use them.

We also have reward cards for my favorite vice...casinos! For years we didn't get those lovely cards that fit into the slot machines and passed up tons of free offers. Since I'm going to gamble and even occasionally win, we signed up for the cards and now we get free offers all the time. We saw Miranda Lambert in concert with free hotel...and we just got back from our trip to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl and stopped off for two nights at the Harrah's casino in Biloxi free! Now Woody says our hotel rooms were about $130 for the two nights which is what I lost, but the rooms were still worth more than that so it's still a cost savings!!

And of course, my personal favorite, 5% off at Publix ( on Wednesday for Senior Citizens! That discount, coupled with coupons (when I remember to take them) lowers our food bill...we do love to cook now and saving here and there always helps so I can tackle exotic recipes like beer butt chicken and omelets. Remember I traveled for years and forgot how to cook! tip for today is look for rewards cards, coupons, special offers and discount days and you'll be surprised at how much you can still do or get, even when the stock market tanks in your retirement!

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