The following is a guest post, explaining the Nordstrom card reward system and how one can optimize those reward points in order to get great deals.   We are not advocating that anyone go sign up for this credit card. We do believe that for shoppers who are particularly loyal to one store, there are financial advantages to those who maximize credit card perks and pay off monthly balances.

Nordy and I: we're besties. Let me share (okay, brag!) about my most recent Nordstrom haul:  3 pairs of jeans (JAG, NYDJ, Kut), 2 tops, and a jacket-like thingy (not sure what to call it!), retailing for over $300 for only (drumroll, please…) $14 OOP. I smile just thinking about it. You can apply couponing principles everywhere, including Nordstrom.

Consider Cost per Wear

Before I boil it down for you, we need to talk, sweetie.  Pull up a chair and take a seat.  This might be hard to hear.  Ready for some tough love?  You sure? I have always intuitively known that a dress that I bought for $10 that is a superb dust-collector in the dark recesses of my closet is NOT cheaper than a dress that I bought for $20 and wear every week.  It's about cost per wear, hon.  Cost per wear.

Are you buying a clothing bargain because it is a bargain and not because you love it incredibly?  Clothing shopping is not about stockpiling.  Leave the grocery thoughts at home. Focus on cost per wear first.  You gotta love it: not the price tag, not the name brand…the actual item itself!  If you spend a bit more for a pair of jeans, but you wear them all the time, was that a good deal?  You betcha.  If you buy a shirt for $3 but never wear it, that's $3 that you could have spent elsewhere.  Wasted moola.  Ugh.  Of course, since you are a kindred couponing spirit, you also want to buy it for cheap.   So, first, love the clothing you buy.  Then, buy it for free or nearly free.

How to Save at Nordstrom

Let's get to the guts of it (finally, you say!)  This really works with any of your favorite clothing stores with varying results, but today, it's about Nordy, baby.  Here we go:

1. Sign up for Nordy's credit or debit card, and opt in for getting emails and mailers.  Sure, Nordy has a credit card (DANGER, Will Robinson!), but did you know that they offer a debit card, too?  (Yes, they do!  They really, really do!) They award points with each purchase.  Read about Nordstrom's Point System.  Points equal free Nordy money, which equal free threads for you! You’re gonna need to do this in order to get the maximum benefit from your newly-developing “friendship” with Nordy.  If another plastic card is not in the cards for you now, skip on down to step #5.

2.  Watch for the postcards and emails – and READ them! Nordy sent me a private invite to shop before everyone else on a Saturday morning.  Now, before you think I am sipping tea with the Nordstrom family clan personally, anyone who has a credit or debit card through Nordstrom in my area was invited.  The best part?  I got $20 in free Nordstrom bucks for bringing in a friend who opened a new debit account.  And she got $20 in Nordstrom bucks for getting her friend to open a debit account…starting to get it?  A special deal from my BFF, Nordy, all because I cared enough to have her debit card.  Love it!

3.  Shop only on "special" days (and, of course,  during sales).

  1. Initial Signup:  Nordy often runs signup specials where you can earn $20 in Nordy bucks quickly.  Find out what they are!
  2. Reward Points:  Nordy also gives you rewards points for every purchase.  Each time you earn $2000 in rewards points (don't freak at that number!  Breathe, breathe!!), you get $20 in Nordy bucks that you can spend online or in the store.  Now, don't you go down today to sign up for the debit card and make your first purchase.  Oh, no, girlfriend!  Read on…
  3. Double / Triple Point Days:  Wait for double and triple point days, when your purchases count for more, making your first $20 in Nordy bucks easy-peasy to earn!   At Nordstrom, I plan my shopping around double and triple point days – ONLY.  Why shop any other time? (Note to self:  next triple rewards days are September 14-18, 2011.  Did I say that out loud?)

4.  Get free clothing money.  So, after a possible initial signup incentive, you don't earn $20 in Nordy bucks until you have earned $2000 in rewards points.   Whoa!  Like I'm gonna spend that much on clothing in the next 10 years, right?  Well, here's how you cut your OOP way down:

  1. Shop only on double and triple point days.  You'll get your $2000 in rewards points much faster.
  2. Then, buy clothes with your other "freebie" money.   I use grocery coupons and sites to save at the grocery store, and places like MyPoints (which does do PayPal cash deposits), ebates, and Mr. Rebates for the money for clothes for my family.
  3. You'll earn $20 in Nordy bucks in no time!  There's nothing like expensive yet free clothes!

5. How to save without  Nordstrom card.

1.  Facebook:  “Like” Nordy on Facebook, and learn about special giveaways.  Recently, the Rack was giving away a free cosmetic bag, no purchase necessary.
2.  Sample Saturday:  Going to the mall anyway?  On Facebook, Nordy tells you what item (if any) is free on Sample Saturdays.  Cologne samples are the usual freebies (BVLGARI, Marc Jacobs, and other brands I wouldn't pay full retail for!)…and who doesn't love an excuse to go to the mall?

This has been a guest post by Rebecca from Highlands Ranch, CO
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