Friday, 20 July 2012

Frugal Friday...

Playing them at their own game!

We've talked about shopping before, haven't we. Lists, planning, meal plans etc. How about actually saving money on what you buy though - I mean, obviously there are special offers, BOGOFs, 2 for £5 type of deals, but what about actually saving cold, hard cash (or better still, cool-ish papery cash, which I feel is the better type)? I reckon I can safely say we'd all go for that idea, yes?

I believe I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that a certain large supermarket beginning with the letter which falls before U in the alphabet had kindly sent me some money off vouchers. A couple of "double points" ones, and some of those product ones which are designed to make you buy stuff you wouldn't have bothered with without having been given 25p off it. Kind of them, but not something to make me change my shopping habits. Since then however, they seem to have developed a bit of a crush, as several more blue envelopes have dropped onto the doormat.... the first was interesting in a sort of  "well I might use one or two" kind of way - a booklet featuring 6 or 8 "£4 off when you spend £40" vouchers. These are only of limited use to me as my usual weekly shop falls a long way below this level. We shop carefully, but certainly don't eat rubbish just because it's cheap - I cringe looking at the crap a lot of folk shovel in purely because it saves them a few pennies.....

Anyway, the next missive from my new penpal, the large supermarket beginning with the letter just after S in the alphabet, was of far more interest. They have been "refurbishing" the bigger of our local stores, and as a result this has apparently caused some inconvenience. It might well have done, I wouldn't have noticed as while it was all going on I was shopping in Sainsburys to use the voucher that they had given me.....anyhow, to apologise for the inconvenience caused by them slapping a new "hello" sign up outside and jiggling things around inside so it's impossible to find anything, they sent me 4 vouchers, each of which gives me £6 off when I spend £30 - that's far more like it!  I wouldn't usually spend that amount either, but can do for a short period of time if it allows me to a) save money down the line and b) Play the supermarkets at their own game, and c) combine helpfully with the other voucher they have sent me to gain £40 of shopping for £30!
This morning I went shopping, as is my usual Friday morning habit. I had my list, and had done my homework regarding special offers etc. I had two "product specific" coupons to use - one for 50p off the salad leaves I would have bought anyway, and another for 40p off the store's own brand mayonnaise...which I buy anyway, and can happily stash in the store cupboard.  The trick when you have several vouchers to use at once is to work out exactly how they need to be in this case - the £4 off £40 comes first....leaving £36 to pay. Then £6 off £30.....reducing the spend to £30, and finally the product specific ones. Doing it any other way can leave you without the qualifying spend for one or more (In this case the specific ones would have "lost" me the £4 one) of the vouchers. It's worth standing off to one side before heading to the checkout to "stack" your coupons ready - and beware of handing them all to the checkout operator at once too as some will deliberately put them through in the wrong order!

Finally, check your receipt carefully and be prepared to stand your ground if things are wrong. This morning I was overcharged on the tomatoes I bought, as a direct result of the Shelf-filler having put the wrong product on the shelf! The store's take on this was that it was my fault for not knowing, I stood my ground, and asked to have the matter escalated to a Manager, and on his say-so a refund was soon arranged. (Probably once the manager had told them to stop being so silly, I should think!) Remember also that with this particular store (my new best friend judging by the amount of post they send!) if they make an error in charging you for something, they have to refund you DOUBLE the amount of the overcharge.

Next week should be even better. The store have a promotion going at present where, if you spend £40 or more, the till spits you out a slip entitling you to £5 off another £40 shop NEXT week.....Hmmmm.....this is going to take some planning!


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