Pile of loyalty and rewards cards

Getting the best possible deal – Part 2

In Part 1, we looked some of the ways you could score a discount on purchases in cold, hard dollars. But if you really want to eke the utmost value from your purchase, you should also take into account the many indirect benefits that are available: Credit card reward points: most credit cards issuers offer rewards programs that give you points for spending, therefore paying via credit card is a great opportunity to gain extra value every time you make a purchase. However, this is only beneficial if you pay off your full credit card balance each month – interest […]

Australian $5 note being stretched by a pair of hands.

Getting the best possible deal – Part 1

We’re currently experiencing an interesting time in the economy, with the Australian Dollar losing around 20% value against the US Dollar after a sustained period of being close to parity. Big multinational businesses usually hedge money to smooth out small shifts, but the downturn has been persistent enough that many have moved to increase the prices of their products in response to the situation. What’s unusual however, is companies giving the market an early warning that prices are about to increase drastically. Apple did it towards the beginning of the year, much to the annoyance of its otherwise fiercely loyal […]

Costco at Majura Park in the Canberra suburb of Majura, ACT

Counting the cost of Costco

I first wrote about Costco way back in August 2009, but I wasn’t brave enough to be part of the first rush of people to visit. But after the crush of early crowds died down, I finally got around to seeing first hand whether the fuss is justified. It’s not as if I haven’t been to one of these before; on a trip to Canada many years ago I visited a similar monstrosity, and brought back a box of Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate bars that I doled out to my friends. It might be a revelation for Australia, but […]

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A bargain every day

One of the more curious phenomena on the Internet bargain scene is the proliferation of “daily deal” Web sites. The premise is usually that each day a new item, or sometimes several items, is offered. These are usually significantly cheaper than their regular retail price and have limited availability. They offer a wide variety of products, ranging from clothes, electronics, perfumes, toys, sporting memorabilia and occasionally even mystery items – lucky-dip style. Many of the products are mass-produced goods sourced from low-cost countries, and I reckon that most of the “limited offer” items are end-of-life or overstocked items that wholesalers […]

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Jolly good time to shop, wot wot!

With the Aussie Dollar currently trading at a 25-year high against the Pound Stirling, it’s the perfect time to grab a bargain. Here are a few places you’ll want to check out: Book Depository For seasoned Internet shoppers, the Book Depository would probably have been the first place that came to mind. Offering prices cheaper than almost anywhere else on- or off-line, and with free international shipping, it’s a popular destination for book lovers and students alike. Amazon UK Everybody knows about its brother in the US, but Amazon also has a presence in other countries (including Japan and China). […]

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Per unit pricing

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that Coles and Woolies have started introducing per-unit pricing. That is, the price tag for products won’t just show how much the product costs, it’ll also show in smaller print how much it costs according to a standard unit of measure. For example, for a 500g jar of Brand A peanut butter costs $6.49, and the price tag also shows you that it costs $1.30 per 100g. This becomes useful when you start comparing different sizes in the same product range. Say the 200g jar of the same brand peanut butter costs $2.99, […]

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That’s so last season

Yesterday my wife and I went to Birkenhead Point, where we paid $200 for something that used to cost $420 at retail. It was from the designer’s winter range, but because her spring collection is already out it’s considered out of date, and winter isn’t even over yet! (Although we have been having some unusually warm weather in Sydney lately.) If you’re not after the absolute latest styles (but without sacrificing fashionability!) then it pays to shop at factory outlets. You can get perfectly good stuff at significantly-less-than-retail prices. If you’re lucky you might even find something in one of […]

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Pay less and get more by bulk buying

The American retail icon, Costco, recently launched a new store in the Melbourne docklands area, and will soon also open a store in the Sydney suburb of Auburn. While it could be considered similar to your Coles or Woolies in that they sell groceries, the Costco shopping experience differs from the traditional supermarket model. Consider these two types of shoppers: “hoarders” (like me) who buy up big when things are cheap, and “grazers” (like my wife) who buy what’s needed when it’s needed. The pro’s of being a hoarder are: convenience – when you run out of toothpaste, you just […]

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Frequent shopper programs

If you thought Frequent Flyer programs were only for travel, think again! Many of the more popular schemes now also include options for spending reward points on everyday products and services, which means that you can redeem your rewards much sooner, and more often. With Qantas and Woolworths joining forces recently, and Coles and Flybuys looking at ways to reinvigorate their partnership, an epic battle is being fought over our wallets, with free pies and deep discounts on petrol promising to be just the beginning. Here’s a quick overview of the players*: Woolworths and Qantas The Woolworths everyday rewards program […]

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Petrol: would you like pie with that?

I went to refill my car today, while claiming my free pie, it hit home just how complex this one little transaction had become. In the act of paying for the petrol, I: Paid with my credit card, accruing reward points with my bank Got my FlyBuys card scanned, earning yet more points Used a discount voucher from spending over $30 at Coles … and of course let’s not forget the pie, which was offered to give people incentive to visit Coles Express (i.e. Shell) instead of their regular petrol station. This is not unique to Coles either; Woolworths has […]