There are a lot of landlord discounts out there. I often talk with homeowners who are doing remodeling on their home. They might be buying Sheetrock, paint, appliances or any other remodeling project. Some of them spend several thousands of dollars on the project and are do it yourself people. They are generally too frugal (i.e. cheap) to hire a contractor at $100 an hour to do the work, so they do it themselves.
When I ask if they are getting their discounts, they give me a deer in the headlight look. They know enough to save money on most everything, but not on a remodeling project.
I want to expressly state, that I pay off all my credit cards when due, the entire balance, with auto-pay. I NEVER pay late charges or finance charges.
My main store that I shop is at Menards. I have a contractor account there, and I register my own (and business) credit cards in their system. It can be any card I choose, with the highest rewards. My Chase card has a 3% rebate at home improvement stores, so naturally I use that one most often.
I have to spend at least $500 a month to get the discount. When I am remodeling, it is easy. Actually spending $500 every month when you are a landlord is easy most months. Menards somehow cross references your card to every purchase to track the spend rate. Actually it’s easy to track.
The program gives you a 1% cash back, in Menard’s money. There are also many manufacturers that give an additional cash back amount, perhaps another 1-2%.
My recent check for the quarter was $117.34.
I will not get rich with that money, but it is essentially ‘free’ money. I get a Menard’s check that I will be able to use at the store to buy anything I want. If I keep up that spend rate, it is almost $500 a year.
Menards also has a lot of rebates. They have items that are on sale, and also have a rebate. One of my favorite items is the Menard’s T-Shirts. The shirts cost $6.99 and have a $6.99 rebate. So they are essentially free. I have at least 60 of them in the packages at home, and I use them as I get paint on the ones I am wearing. I keep getting static about “we have no place to put anymore”, but how can you pass up a FREE 100% cotton heavy duty t-shirt?
They also have many other items marked down with rebates and some other ‘free’ items. If you do not mail in the form, you lose. Maybe that is what they are counting on?
In 2014, my rebates totaled $761.52. That’s a lot of money! I have $99.96 so far in 2015.
It may have actually been a bit more, as the rebates roll off after 12 months. I did generate a lot of spend for my last remodel.
I also purchase things at Sam’s club. I have their Sam’s club Master card. It gets me 5% off on gas, plus numerous discounts in the store. One of my favorite instant discounts is the $6 off a package of flooring, on a maximum of 10 boxes. Since I regularly buy flooring, saving the immediate $60 is great.
The card has cash back discounts; the cash back is only good at Sam’s. Since I shop there often, that is not a big deal. Since I just got a check which prompted me to write this post, I have the actual numbers.
The Household received $112.19 in cash back from Sam’s.
I think that was for calendar year 2014, but maybe it was some sort of anniversary date, I am not sure. It costs money to join the club, but my employer gives me a $25 off a premium membership, so it only costs $75. I could even use the cash back to pay the club dues.
Credit Card Rebates
My main card is US Bank’s cash plus reward card. It gives me categories for spending that I choose. Fast food is my main spend, so I get 5% back on those purchases. I also use a 5% category for cell phones; my spend is minimal on that category, but I know I will have at least ~$72.85 each month for my two phones. My 2% category is restaurants. Everything else is 1%. Plus I get an extra .5% back on everything because of the account type I have.
My cash back rewards for my Cash Plus card 2014 was $300, and I have $200 back in 2015 already.
My other card is my Chase card. I get 3% back on purchases at home improvement store, gas, etc. And 1% back on everything else. It has changed a bit over the years, so my numbers might be different. It used to be unlimited, but not anymore. But it still adds up.
In 2014, I received $465.32
In case you did not know it, Home Depot has a program for veterans. I get 10% off my personal purchases by showing my veteran’s ID card. It is not meant for business purchases, so I try not to abuse the privilege.
If you buy paint, you can sign up for their Pro Rewards program. It will give you 20% off their paint products. At a normal price of ~$130 for a 5 gallon pail of paint, it is reduced to $104, a savings of 26.00, plus tax. All it takes is a phone number at the register. I use to use my own, but I realized that a friend of mine had a larger discount. Since then, I use his phone number.
Have a friend in the painting business that shops at Home Depot? Odds are you can use their phone number. It will actually help his volume to maintain the discounts. Or just get a phone number off a truck in the parking lot, it will likely work.
Lowe’s also has a 10% off program for Veteran’s. They are my favorite for appliances. I wait until there is a sale, and but with a 10% off for being a veteran. A 30% off refrigerator becomes 40% off.
If you need 10% off, and you are not a veteran, go to eBay and buy 10% off coupons. They are about $2 each, and if a perforated coupon can also be used at Home depot and Menards.
Not enough time to get a coupon through eBay? Just call the customer service number on their web site to order what you need. Tell them a story about a lost coupon or ask for 10% off. I did it once to use my Veteran discount and the guy on the phone said something like, “I cannot see the card, but I am going to give you a one-time 10% off anyway. If you call again, I can give it to you one time again.”
So, it’s easy to get 10% off at Lowe’s.
When I go to a restaurant, if I am going high-end, it’s Red Lobster or Outback. For me, that’s high-brow enough. I have been purchasing gift cards at Sam’s club for ~15% off list for Outback Steakhouse. Then, when I use them, I have an AARP card to get an additional 15% off. And I charge the meal with my 2.5% back credit card. They typically have 15% off coupons published in the paper in a regular basis, around here.
Red Lobster has $5 off coupons regularly, I rarely ever pay full price.
Gas and Diesel
Holiday Station Stores here in MN have double coupon Tuesdays. I have not filled up for a long time without a coupon. And, Holiday takes competitors coupons. So, if you look at the advertisements, getting a .10 coupon is not too difficult.
Generally I put ~10 gallons in the car, and that saves ~$2 at every fill up. With my truck I go to Kwik Trip for diesel, where I only save the ace value of the coupon, but it is always 25 gallons or ~$2.50.
Totaled up, in direct rebates and cash back, in 2014, I saved at least $1,756.37.
I am sure I saved at least another $500 in other discounts. They all add up! I could buy a lot of hotels and flights with that money if I wanted, or I can save it. With miles, I have to spend that money, plus lots more on a vacation.
What are your favorite discounts? Do you like cash back or miles? Or no credit cards?