Frugal Living

Save More Money Using A Memberships And Rewards Tracker (Free Budget Binder Printable)

rewards points tracking

Simple Rewards Tracker Tightens Budget Management

A memberships and rewards tracker is something we’ve been missing from our monthly budget binder.

Many of the best rewards programs in Canada offer subscribers lucrative incentives to join, and they do.

But, what are your real savings with cashback rewards and freebies throughout the year?

If you’re a finance nerd like I am then you’ll want to know what the true savings are so you can tie them into creating your budget.

This has nothing to do with what you are getting for free as much as the amount of money you are saving on something you would have purchased otherwise.

Before we begin, open your wallet or purse and pull out your membership and rewards cards.

Count them and then comment below how many you have. (I’m curious).

  • What about online rewards programs that you participate in?
  • How many of those are you participating in?
  • Do you know the yearly savings you get from them?

It may sound like nothing but it is something when you are working with a tight budget.

By using a rewards tracking sheet it will enable you to move money around your budget categories.

So, for example, if you typically spend $500 a month on groceries yet redeemed $100 monthly last year each month you saved $1200 using rewards points.

Take the savings that you would have spent and allocate it to another budget category or use the information for financial housekeeping only.

Some people like to know how much their hard work is paying off using rewards programs.

Factoring Free Stuff Into Our Monthly Budget

Mrs. CBB and I were on a road trip where we get time to chat about life when budgeting came into the conversation.

I know, shocker right?

Before we made our way onto the highway we stopped at Tim Horton’s for a coffee and when I swiped my rewards card I received a Free Coffee.

Like anyone, we were happy because free is free which means no money coming from your pocket.

Then Mrs. CBB asked me how much free coffee have I’ve received from using the Tim Hortons reward card?

At that moment I turned to her and said, I have no idea because I had never considered rewards tracking before.

Most times I make coffee at home and bring it with me but I also don’t mind using my adult allowance to splurge.

Types Of Membership and Rewards Programs

capital-one-costco-mastercard 2

In Canada, there are so many types of membership and rewards programs available for just about every business.

Everything from the local grocery store to hotel rewards is available which all come with incentives and freebies.

If you were to go on holiday and used your trip rewards points how much did you save by doing this?

This is a great time to track that number so you know at the end of the year what your true savings were.

Our Costco membership costs us over $120 a year however with cashback we typically pay $25.

We’ve never properly documented that on average we over the years our membership costs are lower than the actual.

Now, when we get our yearly Costco cashback cheque in the mail I’ll document that number on my budget binder printable.

Consumers Want Budget Savings

These companies want your business and consumers will gravitate towards such rewards programs for money savings.

Perks such as rewards help reduce costs which is why so many Canadians are signing up for rewards cards and programs.

Any time we plan on purchasing something whether it be online or in-person we consider whether there is a rewards card, discount code, and any coupons to apply.

Even free shipping is a huge saving especially if you consider the time, gas and transportation had you gone to get it yourself.

All of the below are marketed to Canadians because these are what get people through the door.

Keep a customer coming back with incentives and you’ll have a customer for life.

  • Coupon Codes
  • Discount Codes
  • Free Shipping
  • Buy one Get one Free
  • Coupons
  • Free membership
  • Rewards points
  • Multiple purchase discounts

 

Let’s look at Amazon Prime which costs us $79 a year Canadian, but is it worth it?

By tracking our purchases online and what the shipping costs would have been, we’ll know by the end of the year.

PLUS, by using sites such as Rakuten Canada, Paymi App  My Points, Honey, or  The Great Canadian Rebates BEFORE I shop at Amazon I can get additional rewards points.

Lastly, by paying with my credit card or through Paypal with my credit card I get another layer of rewards points.

Free stuff is good if you know how to layer the savings properly.

Not only that but with certain memberships you get perks above and beyond the rewards program.

So that’s something to consider as well.

Not only did we save on shipping but we bumped up our rewards points earning power, thus offering us budget savings.

This is the number we want to know and track for budget referencing when creating our budget.

Amazon Prime Canada Costs

Customer Rewards Tracking

buster rhinos pork rinds

Another example was last week we placed an order with Buster Rhino’s who make flavoured keto pork rinds.

They are delicious and when we were paying for the order we had the option to add rewards points to the payment.

So, what would have been a $100 order ended up costing us $6 for a $94.xx savings.

On CBB, we offer new customers to Buster Rhino’s a 10% discount and we earn 750 points.

Then you can do the same thing with your friends to build your rewards account for future purchases.

It’s these kinds of redemptions that we have not been tracking that interest us and I’ll tell you why.

When we get free stuff that we would have otherwise paid for it becomes savings for our monthly budget.

Knowing The Real Savings Numbers

Tracking our true grocery budget or any other budget category should include what we got for free.

Obviously, it will be for financial management purposes and knowledge in order to create our yearly budget.

For example, if you want to figure out how much your grocery budget should be you could track what you spend for 3 months.

Between 3 to 6 months should give you an accurate number of how much you’d spend over the year on groceries.

In those three months if you redeem rewards points that entitle you to free groceries you need to know this dollar amount.

Without tracking these types of rewards program redemptions you won’t know the true number of your spending.

So, if we were to redeem some of our 6 million PC Optimum Points on groceries that would skew the numbers.

Does that make sense?

Membership and Rewards Tracker For Your Budget Binder

I’ve created 2 new budget binder rewards tracking sheets for those of you who are interested in knowing your true numbers.

For us, it’s going to be a game-changer because I know that we love rewards programs in Canada and want to know how much we saved.

The first budget binder tracking sheet is for organizational purposes especially if you were to lose your rewards card.

On the second rewards tracking sheet you’ll use your receipts to track what you get for free.

When we created our monthly budget part of the process was to always ask for receipts whether online or in-person.

Whether you paid cash or by credit and received something for free using rewards points it should be on the receipt.

This way it makes it easier for you to document on your rewards tracker what was purchased and the redemption savings.

If you’re not a receipt saver you could always make a note on your phone and fill in your rewards tracking sheet when you get home.

So, we’ve got two new rewards tracking sheets for your monthly budget binder.

1. Information Membership and Rewards Tracker Sheet

tracking rewards

In the event, your wallet or purse is stolen or lost it’s a good thing to have documented information for this purpose.

Personally, we like to keep everything neat and tidy in our budget binder for easy reference without having to scroll through our phones.

  1. Name of the rewards program or membership 
  2. Website URL *you could also add a phone number to call in the event you need to contact customer service.
  3. Document your membership or rewards program number
  4. Notes for the rewards card that are important.

Find The Free Printable Here. Look for 2020 Budget Binder Free Budget Printables and it will be on the list.

2. Redemption Membership and Rewards Tracker Sheet

free stuff tracker

The second rewards tracker looks at what you’ve gotten for free using your rewards program.

Remember you are tracking items you would have otherwise bought with cash but you got for free.

  1. Name of the rewards program or membership
  2. Date of redemption
  3. Amount of Points or rewards used to redeem
  4. Actual cost including taxes for the products, items, cash, or gift cards you got for free.

Find The Free Printable Here. Look for 2020 Budget Binder Free Budget Printables and it will be on the list.

Creating An Accurate Monthly Budget With A Rewards Tracker

We’ve been using a monthly budget for 11 years and since that time we’ve learned quite about our spending habits.

What we haven’t been working on is our savings power and how effective it is paired with our budget.

Moving forward we have our two tracking sheets and we’ll be documenting our savings journey on a deeper level.

Knowledge is power as are all the savings in the world.

Mr.CBB

Discussion: Do you track your rewards and how do you apply this knowledge when creating your monthly budget?

Leave me your comments below.

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3 Comments

  1. Yes, I track our rewards. I have a page in my financial statement worksheets for the value of the rewards but to be honest, I don’t bother trying to figure out what I saved by having the points to redeem. I really don’t care. I also include airline rewards and automotive rewards with the dealership in this worksheet. The last servicing we had on the car was paid by points. That saved me nearly $200 and I rather enjoyed that!

    If you are wanting to get a firm handle on that you are saving as opposed to spending, you may want to consider adding another category that I refer to as my Cash Equivalents. It includes: 1. pre-paid items such as cell phones along with the expiry dates (we don’t use contracts), 2. pre-paid bills that are not due yet such as household bills that we pre-paid if we will be away when the bill is due or pre-paid because there is a discount for pre-paying multiple months i.e. our storage locker, 3. gift cards with the running balance that remains available and discount codes for savings with their expiry dates, 4. I have discount codes for Alaska Airlines Companion fares for both hubby and I…for $100 more, we can get a 2nd ticket and 5. Refunds owing but not yet received such as Cash Back to be paid on a future date on a credit card. 🙂

      1. I track them primarily for the “value” as a part of our assets since all the points we collect combined are worth approx $250,000 when you add them all up, to make sure everything is posted correctly and that our balances are correct (you’d be surprised how many points I have to chase down!), to ensure we remain “active” and do not lose any points to expiry dates (many reward companies require account activity at least annually) and so that if anything happens to me…hubby has a record of the companies that he needs to contact, provide a certified copy of my death certificate and have our points transferred into his name as my surviving spouse.

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