I'm not a dedicated Coles shopper as some of you probably know. I skip between Coles, Woolies, Aldi, the local fruit market, and even the deli, depending upon where I am geographically that week, and what our requirements are.
When I shop at Coles and Woolworths though, I make sure I use my loyalty cards to accrue points. I have to say though, that I'm a bit vague about actually using the points. I don't plan spending them, or accrue points with a loyalty points purchase in mind. Nine times out of ten, I get to a stage where the newsletter arrives, and I blow them on gifts for friends and family, that I probably could have bought for less on sale or on eBay. Although I guess I'd have to use 'real money' then, wouldn't I ;-)
Nothing really wrong with that, but my choices are limited to what is on offer, and not what I might genuinely choose in any other buying situation. So really, I'm tailoring my points spending, according to what I'm being told to buy.
So, yesterday, Annabel and I were discussing on her blog, her idea of collecting the $5 voucher that Coles offers for giving them feedback on your shopping experience. You can claim one of these a month, when you spend over $100 in a single transaction, and they can be redeemed on any further spend of over $100. Although it doesn't sound much, that's $60 a year, so worth having.
She's often made the point, that by buying items that are discounted, you can actually double the value of that $5 spend. I'd read this before, even back when Annabel has made this comment here, but it never really gelled.
But yesterday, between her saying that, and the arrival of the latest Flybuys catalogue and statement, I had a light bulb moment. Bear with me, I am getting to the point...lol!
My statement had a big teaser on the front, that told me that I could convert my points to $169 worth of Flybuys dollars. Now remember, I'm not even really trying here. I shop there when it suits me, and not otherwise, so accruing those points hasn't been hard. I do fuel up at the Shell servo though, so I think that helps.
I also saw on Wendy the Super Savers blog, that the one litre Imperial Leather body was on special at Coles this week for $4.50. I checked the catalogue online, and discovered that several items we buy regularly were 1/2 price this week. Can you see where this is going?
The items were Finish dishwashing tablets 48 pack, 1 litre Sorbolene cream, Pantene shampoo and conditioner, Palmolive dishwashing liquid,1 litre Imperial Leather Body Wash, and for upcoming Parent Teacher interviews, boxes of Celebration chocolates.
I first converted my points to Flybuy dollars. These were loaded onto my card within 30 minutes, and I received a confirmation email.
I decided how many of each item I would buy, doing my best to use as many of the Flybuys dollars as possible, not because they expire (they don't), but to take advantage of the discounts on these items that I would be purchasing anyway at some stage. All items had to be things we already use, and non-perishable or useable in the near future.
I then went to my local Coles, and had my little buying spree. I had to ask for the Sorbolene as there was none on the shelf, and I had to visit a second Coles this morning to get two more of the 48 pack Finish tablets as most of the ones on special are only packs of 40 (different varieties). But ultimately I found everything I needed.
I kept waiting for someone to say ....no you can't do that with the 1/2 price specials, but it didn't happen. Not only that, but I collected more Flybuys points on the purchase, AND got another $5 off coupon to use another day. What the heck??? Crazy....I mean good crazy!
My dockets tell me I saved $176.21 on buying these items when we'd normally require them, and paying full price. I've also done my survey, and will get $5 off my next shop AND accrued further Flybuys points!
Sorry, I know that was long winded, and I probably could have said it more succinctly, but you see why I'm excited!
So the secret is to ONLY buy items that are being offered at 50% off. I was tempted by a few that were 25% or 30% off, but I wouldn't be getting maximum value for my points then, would I?
Fortunately for me, I was able to do that all in one hit, and that's just luck of the draw. Next time, I might have to make the spend over several shopping expeditions, but that's okay because the Flybuys dollars do not expire.
I won't change my shopping habits just for this, but I have a new incentive to collect my loyalty points, that's for sure!
$352.42 value, without parting with a single solitary cent out of my own wallet.