Whether buying online or doing your weekly food shop in the supermarket, there are a number of tactics you can use to save money. Some of these are as simple as looking for offers or not buying more than you need, but others don’t actually, directly have anything to do with the items you buy. Instead, they give you a small saving on every bit of money you spend, and over time this can build up into a nice sum you’ve managed to save.
A lot of people wonder whether it is really worth bothering with loyalty cards and reward programmes. In fact, they are definitely worthwhile – at least for places where you shop often. All you do is hand your card over to the checkout assistant or swipe it at the self-service checkout – almost no effort at all. In return, you get a small amount of what you spent “reimbursed” in the form of loyalty points, and you will also usually receive vouchers for money saving or extra points. With regular shops you will be surprised how many points you can rack up.
Different schemes work in different ways. Tesco Clubcard points can be spent as a substitute for money in Tesco stores. Nectar Points are a bit more flexible. They can be earned and used in Sainsbury’s and in some other places, including some online retailers. Co-Operative Member Points, meanwhile, pay out annually in cash, with the value of each point depending on the year’s profits.
Cashback websites give you money back when you shop online. You can shop at the same sites you normally do, but instead of heading directly there you go via a link on the cashback site. The site then gets paid a commission for bringing your business to the retailer, and they pay a percentage back to you.
Top Cashback and Quidco are the two highest-paying cashback sites. They give you 100% of the commission, and rely on advertising revenue to make profits for themselves. Not all retailers can be accessed through cashback sites but a lot of them can, including most major names. Probably the biggest exception is eBay.
Some credit cards offer a percentage of cashback on purchases. Even if you would not normally use a credit card for day-to-day shopping, doing so with a cashback card and then paying the bill off promptly each month can give you small but noticeable savings through the cashback scheme.
Usually, cashback offers on credit cards will be limited. Either they will only be valid until your purchases have reached a certain combined value, they will only be offered for an initial period, or they will be limited by a combination of the above. For this reason, getting a credit card exclusively for a cashback offer may not be worthwhile unless you have a big purchase coming up.