Are you getting Your Landlord Discounts (also homeowners)?

Landlord DiscountsThere 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.

Sam’s Club

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

US Bank

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

Home Depot

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?


14 Replies to “Are you getting Your Landlord Discounts (also homeowners)?”

  1. MISS Cheap here, I do fix things reported ASAP, my own tips. First off I fair better buying oops paint, I have gotten a nice modern beige 5 gallon bucket for $30, reg 120, at Lowes and depot both, lasts forever. Also, you can buy 10 percent off coupons on ebay and competators take others coupsons so lowes will take depots and depot will accept lowest, 10 percent is a lot if you are doing a big project.
    last but not least, I do use craigslist, I have a unit in Vegas and water heater went out, I put a wanted ad and a retired vet called, he diagnoised bad water heater, he drove and picked up a unit at his favorite priced store and I paid for the unit by phone 350, and he installed it for 150, I had a new Bradford white installed , out the door 500 bucks and gave a retired man work, WIN WIN ! the regular plumber wanted 850 for a new installed unit.
    I find many renters on craigslist if not all, The local paper wants 120 for a weekend, yep 2 days , 5 lines, Craigslist is free.
    I buy used dishwashers off craigslist for 100 bucks when tenants need them. That’s where the deals have been. Also I have a plumber who will snake for 40 bucks and has worked on 5 different properties.
    Good luck and remember, a PENNY saved is a penny earned ! ! ! I built wealth by not spending . Cheri

    1. Great advice. I generally do not buy used, as the time to fix an appliance after it is installed is not worth it for me. My new Dishwashers cost ~$300, and with a 10% off, only $270. I use Craigs a lot to find renters. I cannot tel you how many water heaters I have installed, at least 25 or so. They are easy to put in, and only take about an hour or two at most. Even the drain snaking I do myself…

      1. We use a repair guy for appliance repairs. Water heaters are fixed for usually less than $100 (inc parts), ranges are brought back to life for similar amounts, and same with refridgerators.

        Whether we replace with new or old depends on the tenant. A tenant who keeps their appliance immaculate would get new (when the time is right of course), a tenant who never cleans their range or fridge, will get s/h.

        1. Thank you for the comment!

          I have never fixed a water heater, as most of the time they are leaking or beyond 5 years old. I buy the 6-year water heaters, as I do not think the 2x price for the 9 year heaters is worth it. I will fix a range once in a while, if it is a heating element or coil. I have changed a circuit board though one time. I only buy coil top stoves. My range prices are ~$350, so once a guy comes out to fix it, you have an old stove and it just cost you $100+.

          With Lowe’s, all I have to do is make a call, and not even be there. If the stove is not 100% clean when the tenant leaves, it’s a $200+ charge.

          Better tenants have a tendency to be cleaner. Even the hallways are not as messy with premium tenants.

  2. well rusted out water heaters is one thing, we fix the thermal couple ( sp) which is 4 bucks if that’s the issue, dish washers I buy used 50 or 100 bucks on craigslist are usually nice 400 and 500 dollar ones , they have lasted me 4 and 6 years , one thing about used stuff is this, you can buy a water heater new and it can break in 8 years, or 20 years so if I buy a unit used because someone is switching over to electric unit, and it’s a few years old, well I’ve had a 3 year old unit going on 8 years, so because you never know how long a new unit lasts, a used unit may very well last the same amount of time, I myself have 2 water heaters in my big house and when one went out I bought used and have had it nearly 8 years, popped it right in, 100 bucks and fixed. so it depends, but I never have bought anything new, even stoves are 100 on craigslist and aren’t bottom of the barrel junk. they are usually from nice homes. Due to foreclosures people tend to sell everything out of anger. it’s not my problem, someones going to buy it, right. have a good day.

    1. Great advice again. I am sure that some used appliances are well worth it. Since it would be me trying to find it, buy it, and haul it, I skip that work and just have it delivered for ‘free’. Or the last water heater I picked up new at Home Depot and installed the next day. It was light, as it was not full of lime or water. The old one was 1/5 full of lime and weighed a ton.

      I replace a thermo-couple once in a while on my own furnace, but never had one go out on a water heater. I have changed pressure relief valved and drain valves on a water heater though.

      Most of my tenants are class A tenants, and are very profitable even if I spend a bit more on maintenance. Of course, a low quality renter you spend more on because they break more things and are harder on the property.

    2. Had a great one last month with one of our really good tenants, an old water heater had packed up overnight. No big deal, I’ll send the repair guy out.

      But no. The tenant was convinced that they needed a new water heater as this one was so old. Had the wife on the phone, then the husband on the phone, “the water heater is like 20 years old as we’ve found the inspection sticker”, “you’re wasting your money on an old water heater – it’ll cost $300 to get fixed”.

      Made it very clear to them, if Earl condemns the water they get a new one. They really did argue that one “why spend the money?”.

      I have never heard people be adamant that they needed a new water heater – it’s not like it’s in the house, but the corner of the garage.

      Our guy Earl went out and fixed it of course. Total bill $80 for a new something or other fitted.

      From what I can tell, a water heater only has 4 components, so unless it’s leaking, and they have to be really really old in Florida to leak, they can be fixed very easily.

      1. Great observation. Especially on a water heater. It really makes no difference to the tenant whether or not the heater is new. All they provide is hot water.

        I would have a hard time paying $80 to fix a 10 year old hot water heater than can be replaced for $300. Maybe one less than 5 years old. Once they are that old in MN, they start get full of lime and other minerals. After the appliance is fully depreciated, and I have time to replace it, I am more of a replace it kind of landlord. Of course, your $80 cost would be my $10 fix to replace a drain or pressure relief valve, as I do replace those.

  3. Nice saving there, I attempt to use lowes and homedepot card a couple times, but it’s just easier to use 1 card so I can see everything.

    I fix easy stuff myself as I’m still learning. I usually try to learn from youtube, or get a several estimate from different contractor, some of them would give me ideas on how to go about fixing it.

    I use credit card as cash back, but this year, I’m going to try to get airline ticket by applying for a credit card. I’ll post on it when I figure my next traveling.

    I don’t like using multiple cards as I have trouble keeping track of them. It’s the credit card trap, I know, but if I treat it like homework, I’ll get it right. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the comment!

      I generally use just one card, but Sam’s requires their own. Then, my US Bank card has a very high rebate, so 90% of the time I use that. You are right though, it is extremely hard to keep track of the cards. I am not sure how the ‘professional’ travel hackers do it.

      I find a lot of things on YouTube. Whenever you have a difficult problem to solve, someone on YouTube had dedicated their life to helping you fix it.

  4. My favorite right now is the 5% cash back at grocery stores with my Chase card. They had gift cards for 4x fuel points, so that’s 5% back plus gas discounts. We don’t have any of those stores nearby except Home Depot and Lowe’s, so I will certainly check out those coupons as we are in need of new appliances for our the apartment we’re fixing up now. I’ve also head you can get 5% off at Home Depot with a contractor LLC. Have you had luck with that?

    1. I have a corporate account at Home Depot, and I have not seen anything about any 5% discount. My local Real Estate investors association has a 2% program, but since I am not a member there, I am not 100% sure how it works. Lowe’s has a 5% off, when you have their credit card, but you cannot use that discount with a 10% coupon. The best one I have is the 10% veterans card, which is one of the reasons I even applied to get disability payments…

  5. We have a Lowe’s and Home Depot Credit Card that we use for home improvements or anything for the rental property. The Lowe’s card gives us an automatic 5% off, sadly the Home Depot doesn’t, but all we have to do at checkout is ask for the Lowe’s discount and they apply it to the order as long as you pay with your Home Depot card.

    We also buy discounted gift cards at Costco for diners out. They sell them in $100 value for $80 in cost. So its a nice 20% off.

    We recently started buying discounted gift card to just about anywhere from Raise:

    They are a market place where you can buy and sell gift cards. Some of them you can buy and use immediately through their digital wallet. Others you have to wait from them in the mail.

    And of course we use our cash back Freedom Card from Chase to get that free money as well.

    Like you we pay our credit cards off every month.


    1. Thank you for the comment and great information!

      The Lowe’s card with a 5% discount, combined with a 10% coupon, and buying an item on sale gives a great discount. I will have to check out the link. I buy gift cards for restaurants all the time to get discounts.

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