So it seems I have finally fallen victim to the trap of signing up for endless supermarket loyalty cards in the vain hope of trying to save a few quid on my weekly shopping bills. So far, I have signed up to (past and present) - Sainsbury's Nectar, Tesco's Clubcard, Marks & Spencers SPARKS card, Waitrose card and more recently The Cooperative's Membership card. Now whilst the outlay is non-existent apart from maybe the new additional wallet you had to buy to carry all these cards is is basically zero - with the exception of the Cooperative's which is £1 fee per year, I thought I would share my experience on whether it is really worth it to have these cards or not?
In all the years I have been shopping, the only freebies I have managed to get back from Nectar is a new iron and 1 pair of cinema tickets - cheap date I know! Aside from that, and the endless free cappuccinos I have been drinking every time I visit Waitrose with their card, the rewards to me seem to be pretty pointless (urgh..) when you actually weigh up the cost-benefit of signing-up, checking, collecting and then using the various coupons you sometimes get through the post when you hit 500 clubcard points! yay!
To me, the critical point seems to be that you need to be focussing on they key large items that you simply have to purchase but don't want to waste any money such as washing machine tablets/powder, dishwasher powder, toilet roll and kitchen roll but to name a few. Let's take for example washing machine tablets and let's say you purchase Aerial. At normal price, a box of about 30 tablets is usually £10 when not discounted, whilst very often you see it at £5 a box. Now apart from the obvious fact that you will save £5 there and then, the price per tablet difference is 33.3p per tablet versus 16.7p per tablet. Now, sure, we have a child, so our washing machine seems to be on non-stop, but even if you ran your washing machine 3 times a week this works out at annual saving on just washing machine tablets alone of £26 (if you are careful enough to buy it at the right time). Just paying attention to this and two or three other key items like toilet paper, dishwasher tablets (Finish All-in-1 Max Lemon Dishwasher Tablets (Pack of 90)) , kitchen roll and cleaning products will put your shopping savings at well over £100 and require no cards, memberships, coupons or anything.
Now whilst I certainly can't argue that having your local supermarket's card is not worth having, to me, the real saving is in simply paying attention to what an item's real cost should be - because these savings far outstrip anything you will get back in irons or cinema tickets....