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Tip #11: Make use of the credit card, insurance and workplace perks

Are you using all the discounts you are eligible for?

My first job out of college, I worked for an awesome (based on regular benefits like insurance) company. One Saturday while I was waiting for some work to get done, I decided to peruse the company manual (hey, the internet was out that day!). I found out that their awesomeness went beyond the regular benefits. They had onsite day care, one month free food delivery for new parents, massage… a full laundry list of benefits I never knew they had. I couldn’t use any of them as I was a contractor but when this came up in a conversation, my boss who was a full time employee at that company had no clue about most of these benefits. Workplace perks are part of the compensation, we are leaving money on the table if we don’t use them.

My next company was much smaller so they didn’t have perks to match the first company but they still provided membership to a savings portal that provided all sorts of discounts ranging from cheap movie tickets to bulk pricing on cruises.

Most people don’t bother to educate themselves on all the rewards or perks that are available for them. Just by being aware of all the perks and remembering to use them when needed can save thousands of dollars every year. For example, some of the ways I saved last year -

  • Discount on dental insurance via Freelancer’s Union
  • Discount on LASIK from my health insurance company
  • Got part of my gym membership fee reimbursed
  • Got 6 private sessions, 2 pilates session and first month free all for using a particular American express card.
  • Discounts on rental cars, hotels and flight tickets

How to find these perks or discounts?

You have to catalog all your clubs, memberships and affiliations. Find the services or membership discount pages in each of these member sites, browse through them and bookmark discounts for things that you buy or do.

1. Travel clubs

AAA offers a wide variety of discounts – hotels, rental cars, dining, electronics and apparel.

AAA member perks

2. Alumni/Honor society

Alumni/Honor societies can offer excellent group rates on insurance. My alma mater offers discounts on professional magazines, conferences, local restaurants, theme park & movie tickets, cellphone service and rental cars.

College Alumni discounts

3. Warehouse clubs

Other than having excellent pricing on their products, Costco also offers free tire rotation, auto buying service (I bought my car using this service for way below the sticker price), insurance, check printing and discounts on a variety of travel services.

Costco warehouse discounts benefits

4.Insurance companies

My current auto insurance company doesn’t offer any retail discounts, but I used to be a member of Geico. They have a good sized savings portal.

My health insurance company provides discounts several wellness services like weight management programs and discounts on fitness equipments.

Health insurance discounts and perks

5.Professional societies

I should thank Freelancers Union for my low dental insurance rates. They also offer discounts on cell phone service, travel and different community work space locations.

6. Workplace perks

It is well worth your time to find out all the perks and discounts you are getting just for being employed. Most employees ignore this part of the benefit leave plenty of money on the table. Check your intranet or ask your HR personnel for a list of benefits and any discounts.

7. Credit cards

I saved my best source of perks for the last. I have a comprehensive post on the perks offered by credit cards. They offer more than retail/dining discounts. Most credit cards offer extended warranty, price protection, roadside assistance, rental car insurance and much much more.

 

Credit card perks

 

Here are some quick links to standard credit card benefits -

Don’t forget to check your card specific discounts (for example, some AmEx cards have great customized perks on top of the standard American Express perks).

Read more : A comprehensive list of benefits and perks provided by your credit card.

How do I remember to use these discounts?

I used to forget about the discounts just when I made a purchase and kick myself later. Then after a few such frustrating experiences, I sat down, went through all my potential discount sites and bookmarked worthy discounts based on the category.

How to remember to use a discount

So now when I want to make a specific purchase, like say book a rental car, I right click the rental car folder, open all tabs, check rates with each of these discounts and take the best deal.

Think of all the groups you are a part of and check each of them at least once to understand what offers are available to you. You shouldn’t be making any major purchases without checking these sites.

Savings: $50-$1000s.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

My Financial Independence Journey

You really need to be careful with these. My workplace offers about a bazillion different perks, discounts, and other special offers. Most of them aren’t worth the money. Some are worth keeping in mind if and only if you need them. And a very few are worth using all the time.

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krantcents

When I worked for a Fortune 100 company they had a whole department to let us know about these perks. Discounts for automobile purchases, credit union, to name just a couple.

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JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit

I need to check up on my employer’s perks again. The main thing I know they offer is discounts on just about everything so it’s a good idea to at least check it first. I use the Chase Freedom card and on almost every online purchase that I make I always check the ultimate rewards site to see if I can get extra points to use for cash back just by going through the UR site.

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