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Beware of the financial one-night stand!

What the heck is a financial one-night stand and why am I recommending against them?  These days tons of vendors give perks to their committed clients; these deals are not available to the casual customer.  If you are in a relationship with a vendor, you get perks those who have a one-night stand with the vendor simply don’t get.


Vendor loyalty perks are often seen at grocery stores, wholesale merchants, hotel chains and airlines.  If you are not taking advantage of the perks you get from a long-term commitment to a brand or store, you need to investigate what you have been missing.






One of the most lucrative relationships in my part of the country is grocery stores that provide points for discounted fuel prices.  These stores offer a card to swipe to obtain preferred sales prices available only to member partners. They track your purchases and send you personal coupons that very closely align with the products you regularly purchase.  They offer a branded credit card with additional discounts.  My grocery partner is Kroger.  My aim when I shop at their store is to save at least 25% off the prices they charge non-members.  Frequently, I can achieve or exceed this goal.  Additionally, when I am a member partner, I receive significant discounts on gasoline based on both my participation in their credit card program and my shopping volume at their store.  Since the gasoline discount frequently exceeds $1.00 per gallon, my husband and I meet at the pumps to ensure we purchase the full 35 gallons allowed by the program.  By bringing both cars to the pumps at the same time, we save enough money to purchase our dinner after our “gas date”.  Since my partner store is interested in encouraging me to stay in my “committed” relationship, they track my savings and regularly remind me of my savings.  In 2023 we saved roughly $3,000 by partnering with this store’s program.


Because I have a new grandson who lives 900+ miles away, I also partner with two airlines.  I selected my airline partners based on the knowledge of my desired travel locations. I have a frequent flyer number with each, use their respective credit cards and receive their advertisements of fare reductions.  I understand the two airlines well and know how their programs work.


My husband is a huge Costco fan.  Costco is relatively new to the Southeast, so the only location near us was 20 miles away.  However, a new Costco came to our town just last week.  We were there on the day it opened and will be mindful of strengthening our partnership with them.


We are a Marriott family.  I have friends who are Hilton families.  I believe both are great programs.  I only have need for one commitment in this area.  If you are not a member of a hotel family, you may not know that both the Marriott and Hilton families have a full range of hotels.  The Marriott brand includes everything from Ritz Carlton to Fairfield Inn.  Making a commitment to the family does not mean all your stays are either lavish or frugal.  A wide range of services is provided within the family.  The way to save money is to decide which family to join and to learn all about the benefits offered to members.


The savings provided by entering committed vendor relationships have several parallels to entering human relationships.  We need to meet one another’s needs.  I do not enter a relationship with a vendor if I have only marginal interest in their products.  When entering a partnership, I evaluate the convenience of being in partnership, the desirable traits of a membership, etc.

 

As inflation continues to impact disposable income in a negative fashion, consider how financial partnerships with your favorite vendors can provide more buying power for you in 2024.


Disclaimer:  I use credit cards.  I pay all balances in full each month.  If you have unpaid credit card balances, I do not recommend you open new accounts to claim bonuses.  Getting your credit paid off needs to be a requirement to starting new partnerships.  So, get busy.  Pay off those accounts.  In the meantime, you can still benefit from committed vendor relationships. 


Remember, your funds matter!

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