“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” ~Tammy Faye Bakker
The other day I was in the grocery store picking up some milk. In the checkout line, the checker asked the guy ahead of me if he had one of those loyalty cards. Well, this guy took out a shoebox full of those cards – a shoebox! –and started searching through them. It took forever!
Okay, maybe I made that up. Actually, if anyone needs a shoebox for those cards, it’s probably me. And if I were to pull out that shoebox in the checkout line, I’ll bet no jury would convict the checkout lady if she shot me right then and there.
Now, just in case there’s anyone who still doesn’t know about loyalty cards, it’s time you did. They’re promotional wallet cards that big retailers and businesses give out, usually for free. When the checker scans the barcode on the back (or when you give the checker the phone number they have on file for you), you can get all kinds of deals that are only available for people who sign up.
And it’s not just stores and businesses that use barcodes. These days, libraries, museums, and organizations have them. Barcodes are on the back of gift cards, too. Corporate barcodes can save you time, money, or both.
Well, you know how much I love a bargain! So when stores started giving away these loyalty cards, I got on board fast. Now, I have a whole collection of them. I especially like those little barcode tags you can put on your keychain. But when it takes fifteen minutes to find the card you need, it’s time to do something about it.
That’s where Key Ring comes in. Key Ring is a great little app that’s available for both iPhones and Androids. Essentially, it collects and organizes all those cards so you don’t have to stuff them in your wallet or clutter up your keychain. It’s easy to learn and operate, and it’s free.
Here’s how it works: When you get a new loyalty card, you open the Key Ring app and create a virtual card on your phone. Key Ring has an extensive list of companies that issue these cards. You select the business, and Key Ring has you photograph the barcode, as well as the card itself.
Once that’s done, your life gets a lot simpler. For one thing, you can bring up the barcode on your phone – which you always have with you anyway – and the checker can just scan your phone. I love quick and easy!
Key Ring does something else I love: it’ll show you deals and coupons offered by the retailer, and in a lot of cases these can be geared to your location. And if all that wasn’t enough, you can even create shopping lists with the deals you select.
One of the things I really like about Key Ring is its versatility. For instance, you can enter in gift cards as well as loyalty cards. If you’ve lost the actual card, you can enter your membership ID instead (tip: to find your membership ID, go online, get into your account and go to your profile), and it’ll still bring up all those special deals.
And if the business isn’t on Key Ring’s list of businesses? No problem. You can create a custom entry. It won’t bring up special deals, of course, but it will still save you time and help you stay organized, because all your barcodes and memberships will be in one place. All in all, a really nifty little app that will make your life run more smoothly.
That, of course, leaves one question: What should you do with that shoebox full of cards you’ve been accumulating? Here’s one option: Save them if you’ve got the space. Don’t even take the cards apart when you get them. Keep them in pristine, original condition. Somebody’s already collecting them somewhere, and you never know, one or two of those cards could be worth a little money someday.
Whatever you do, though, please don’t take your shoebox to the grocery store.