Last week we shared a tip from Virginia Fahr in Walnutport about taming all those rewards cards cluttering your key ring, and it turns out she was really on to something.
We received a ton of feedback from other readers who also grew tired of key ring-clutter and found their own creative solutions, including some technological innovations.
One particularly helpful response came from Kim Delaney in Orefield, and right away we could tell she is one sharp cookie.
"Hi Spencer," Kim said. "My husband and I read your column every week."
We read the opener several times to fully appreciate its significance before we could move on to the rest of her letter.
"The issue you address this week had been making my keys a nightmare, as well," Kim said. "However, I turned to the App Store for a solution and I found one that is working great. CardStar will allow you to enter or scan all your loyalty cards and keep them stored in the app on your smartphone. When you get to the checkout, you have the cashier scan the image of your loyalty card on your phone. It has worked at every store I have tried it at, including Weis, Wegmans, Panera, CVS and Barnes & Noble. I have no affiliation with the app. But it is a great alternative for cheapsters who own smartphones. Oh, and of course the app is free."
Lysa Grant in Jim Thorpe uses a similar app called Key Ring.
"You scan all your cards into this app that most stores can just scan the UPC code on your phone," Lysa said. "If they cannot scan for some reason, you still have all your store numbers that can be entered manually. Key Ring also offers coupons and discounts for stores that you visit."
The savings for these tips are more in time than money.
For those of you without smartphones, we received some additional ideas from Jan Podlesny in Macungie about keeping your key ring organized — really, really organized.
"I have been doing this for years as I did not like having to pull out my keys every time I wanted to use a tag," Jan said. "Too risky in potentially losing your keys. I have gone one better than just placing these tags on a separate key ring. I have one of those round, spiral, stretchy bracelets that has a key ring attached. When I say key rings, it is just the round metal one. I separated my tags into piles for separate key rings. Drugstores are on one, grocery stores on another and the rest on another ring. You can go one more if you have many other types."
Some readers said they organize the cards alphabetically. Jan prefers to put at the top of the key ring the cards she uses most frequently.
"Each key ring is then attached to the spiral bracelet," Jan said. "That way I do not have to look through tons of tags for the correct one. It gets me out of the store faster and I don't get the people behind me upset by taking up more time looking for a tag."
And we got an anonymous note from someone who read the column and couldn't help but share some constructive criticism.
"Seriously, putting rewards cards on a separate key chain warrants all of that front-page real estate and a video? Really?," the person wrote. "This will gain respect for your publication? Think about it. Please."
At least they asked nicely.
Cheapsters: Kim Delaney and Lysa Grant.
Tip: Use free smartphone apps to organize store tags
Estimated savings: a couple of dollars on a key ring and countless minutes looking for tags
Facebook: Type "On The Cheap" in the Facebook search box and check under pages.