Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hacks to save $$ at the checkout

With the cost-of-living spiralling, Kiwis continue to feel the pinch and are looking to save a dollar wherever possible. EastLife has Kiwi super saver, Emma Healey, founder of Mum’s Money NZ, to the rescue.

For someone who overhauled her finances through a series of simple adjustments to her daily habits, giving her family and her financial freedom, Healey shares top shopping hacks to save (and even make) money. Also if you’ve secretly wondered whether a loyalty programme really works, the thrifty finance blogger, gives her verdict on the Woolworths Everyday Rewards programme. Is it worth it?

Six small actions that make a big difference at the checkout:
  1. Shop your pantry first! Food waste is not only a crime against the environment but also against your wallet, so plan meals around anything that’s been lurking in your freezer, fridge or pantry before buying new stuff.
  2. Buy store brands – these brands usually have the same ingredients and are made in the same factories as the name brands but you’re not paying for fancy packaging or big marketing budgets.
  3. Track the prices of items you regularly buy with a price book. This can be a physical notebook or a spreadsheet where you log the cost of products over time to identify the best deals, recognise sales cycles, and ensure you’re getting the lowest prices. I tend to track more expensive products, like my preferred coffee brand, so I know when to stock up to ride out the sales cycle. This simple adjustment means I save around 30 per cent off the regular retail price of my favourite coffee.
  4. Bulk out meals with frozen fruits and vegetables. They are often cheaper, can be just as nutritious and usually come pre-chopped to save you time.
  5. Get to know when your local store does its markdowns but be mindful of ‘spaving’ (spending money to save money on stuff you won’t use). Grabbing marked down groceries can save heaps and sometimes means you can snag the fancy stuff without blowing your budget. Meat and dairy products tend to be the best value as they can be frozen or used for baking.
  6. If you find it hard to stick to your list then shop online. This is a great way to only buy what you need plus avoid getting sucked in by deals on items you don’t need.

And finally, my verdict on loyalty programmes like Everyday Rewards…there is very little to lose and heaps to gain by signing up. Almost everyone shops at the supermarket so why wouldn’t you take advantage of member discounts and the ability to earn points that turn into vouchers (aka free money!) through loyalty programmes while you’re there.

Top four hacks to get the most of Everyday Rewards programme:

Look for the bonus points and personalised points boosts. These are personalised deals based on what you buy regularly to help you earn points faster, getting you to your vouchers faster (i.e. free money). For example, this week at Woolworths I could buy a 1.5kg bag of brown onions and earn 100 points, that’s 5 points for the cost of the product ($5 = 1 point for every dollar) and 95 free points.

Pick up your pharmacy medicines and beauty products at the supermarket to earn points on every dollar spent – at Woolworths this applies to everything excluding prescriptions and is a great way to accelerate your points instead of shopping at an independent pharmacy where you likely won’t get rewards!

Shop the specials – this may sound obvious but make sure you’re signed up to supermarket loyalty programmes to access member prices. Often the member price will be displayed on the ticket but if you aren’t a member or don’t scan your loyalty card at checkout you’ll miss out on the deal. Sign up to all supermarket programmes to make the most of the offers and get instant savings.

Ditch the expensive café coffees, get your daily fix at Wildbean Cafe, and scan your Everyday Rewards card to earn points plus every sixth coffee is Free.

Mum’s Money NZ is a personal finance blog designed to help New Zealanders find ways to save more money, pay down debt, increase income and live their best financial life.

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