Time to redeem MyPoints … what to do?

by Karen on October 15, 2008

Never heard of MyPoints? Well, where have you been? It’s a free rewards program that requires very little work for a great payoff.

After signing up, you’ll receive about 3 or 4 emails every day. All you have to do to earn points is read through them quickly and click on the “Get Points” link to credit your account. Each email is worth 5 points.

You can also shop through their portal at a ton of online retailers to earn 1-4+ points for each dollar you spend. Just go to MyPoints, click on “Shop,” find your retailer, and click on their link through the site. Other retailers offer special points bonuses for taking advantage of offers, signing up for newsletters, or joining online communities.

Once you’ve acquired about 1500 points or so, you’ll be eligible to redeem them for $10 gift cards to a huge assortment of retailers, including Target, Starbucks, BP, Amazon.com, and more. Once you have 3500 points, you’ll be eligible for $25 gift cards. Finally, 7500 points will earn you $50. Some retailers offer $75-$100 gift cards for 12000+ points.

It’s part of a new trend that I absolutely love: marketers paying YOU for your time and attention. For our whole lives we’ve been inundated with advertising and marketing messages that don’t pay us a dime. It’s about time we get rewarded for listening to the messages they’re sending out.

You can visit the site yourself if you want more information about MyPoints. If you’re not already a member, drop me an email so I can send you a referral link! I’d love to pick up some points for telling you about the program.

I always click through my emails and check MyPoints before making online purchases to see if I can earn some points. I’ve been able to earn about 3500 points or $10 every three months or so for very little work. I’ve acquired almost 8000 points since my last points redemption in April. That’s enough for about $50 worth of gift cards.

With the holidays coming up, I know that the most responsible thing to do is use these points for a Target or Amazon gift card so I can cut down on my holiday spending and supplement my gift budget. We’ve also got a huge drive ahead of us back to Indiana, and a $50 gas card could help us out.

Last time, I used my points for a Starbucks card so I could treat myself to gourmet coffee without affecting my budget. Because this is “free money,” I’m so tempted to use it for something frivolous. It’s not like snowflakes because I can’t pay off debt with a gift card. However, I could potentially put $50 extra toward debt that would have been spent on holiday shopping or gas for our trip to Indiana for the holidays.

I’m torn. I know that every little bit counts, but I also like being able to treat myself without throwing off my budget. I don’t have enough will power to say that I never treat myself even when it is coming out of our budget. If I take opportunities like this to treat myself, then I’ll be less likely to use our regular income for frivolous things.

I look at $50 and it just seems so small when it’s used for holiday shopping or a tank of gas. But when it’s used for something fun, it seems like an huge amount of money. I’m not sure what to do.

My question for you: Do you use MyPoints to supplement your budget with necessary purchases like gas and gifts, or do you use it to treat yourself?

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{ 6 comments }

1 Christina October 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I usually cash mine out for gifts for others, but I have gotten some Barnes and Noble gift cards to buy frugal reading for myself. (All in the name of research!)

I have about the same #of points that you do stored up… so I’ll probably cash some of those for teacher gifts and some to giveaway on my blog.

I LOVE MyPoints! It’s so easy!

2 Kacie October 15, 2008 at 3:15 pm

You don’t have to do an all-or-nothing thing. Maybe $10 for a Starbucks card, and get some cards for gas or gift-giving?

I’ve redeemed points for Target and CVS cards so far. I’ve used the Target cards to supplement my baby-stuff shopping, and the CVS one for getting deals for even cheaper.

3 Shell October 15, 2008 at 10:02 pm

I usually redeem them for Amazon cards. I buy Christmas presents, but at the same time I also buy books and such for myself that I have been wanting. It goes either way.

When I get survey cash, I sock it away so my husband and I can go to a local hotel for a night to get away from everything.

4 Christina October 15, 2008 at 11:25 pm

I’ve been doing MyPoints for about 8 years and have earned many rewards simply from opening the emails and making occasional small purchases (things I would buy anyway). I agree- I love this program! I’ve used it for both fun and necessary expenses. Recent “fun” redemptions have been REI to purchase trekking poles (something I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise) and a restaurant gift card so we could eat out a couple times while on vacation. And we also redeem gift cards for books to cut down on grad school expenses.

One warning- I got caught a few years ago by one MyPoints offer to join a program for a free trial period for a certain number of points, planning to cancel my membership before I was billed. Upon joining, however, I learned that my MyPoints account wouldn’t be credited until AFTER becoming a paying member on the close of the trial period. So I promptly cancelled, not willing to pay for those points, and nothing was lost, but just be sure to read the fine print on this kind of offer.

5 tiffanie October 15, 2008 at 11:33 pm

i just cashed in last week and got a $25 Walgreens card to supplement my drug stroe shopping that i do almost every weekend, and i also got a $25 GameStop gift card to give as a christmas gift. :)

6 Dani October 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm

I usually cash them in to splurge on myself. Gotta love yourself too!

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