Saving money is a bit like a journey. When you go on this journey, you will find many different avenues to explore and you will learn a lot. Not everything that you learn is complicated or very involved or complicated. If you try to make it too complicated, you often don't end up saving any money at all.
Supermarket Loyalty Does Not Pay
One thing that I have learned is that supermarket loyalty does not pay. Since the middle of last year, I have been a very disloyal supermarket shopper. One week I have been going into Carrefour, the next Consum and then Mas Y Mas. Not only have I been able to build up loyalty bonuses, or cash back on my supermarkets cards quicker, but I have also been issued with a lot of discount vouchers off my next shop.
In other words, I have been playing the field. Going into different supermarkets every week, has meant that I have been issued with a steady stream of discount vouchers off every day foods such as meat, fruit, vegetables and fish. It has really helped me to cut down on my grocery bill. At the moment, Carrefour seems to appreciate their disloyal customers more than the rest, and I have been getting 20% of daily necessities.
But my biggest saving was on dog food in Consum. I was giving a Euro 5 discount voucher for their own brand dog food. They already had a special offer on 10 kilo of dried dog food, so I walked out with 10 kilos of dog food for Euros 2.85. That is what I call a saving!
Generic Products Are Good
Not all generic are great, but many of the are good. I have started to use a lot of generic cleaning products for my humble abode. Has it saved me money? Yes, it has saved me a lot of money. Needless to say, it is worth looking out for offers, but I never go for offers like buy one get one half price. I find those offers confusing.
Once again, it is Consum that has come out on top. I have no other ties to Consum than my loyalty card I hasten to add, but it seems to work for me. Now when I receive my “descuentos personalizados” (personal discounts), I get personal discounts on washing up liquid, laundry detergent, floor cleaner and fabric softener every month. The products are not more expensive than other supermarket's generic products, and every bit as good. Those little extra discounts add up to about Euros 2.50 per month.
With my other personal discounts from the same supermarket, I end up with a bonus cheque for at least Euros 6. Somehow it always pays for my washing up liquid, detergent and conditioner for the next month. It is a bit like being “carbon neutral” on important household items. If you like, they cost me nothing to buy.
Ask for a Better Deal
I have learned to ask for a better deal. There is nothing like the power of almost walking away from an electrical shop. My beloved steamer and microwave both decided to pack up this year. As we all know, electrical goods can be expensive in Spain and do not seem to last as long.
Any way, I can't live without either gadget, so I had to spend out some money. At first, the guy in the store was playing hard ball, so I told I would come back another day. Low and behold, a fancy new microwave which would have cost Euros 70 ended up costing Euros 54. I did have to pay full price for the steamer, but the guy seemed to be keen to clear his stock of microwaves.
Next time I need something, I will try to be a loyal customer and return to the same store. Who knows, he may even do me a good deal as well. After all, he asked me for coffee...
Yes, so you can certainly save money when you try. Remember that disloyalty pays. Before I go, a bit of a heads up. The supermarket chain Eroski seems to be having a bit of a crisis moment. They have sold off some of their stores to Carrefour and some of the company's franchise stores have closed down. If, you happen to have an Eroski loyalty card with money on it, make sure that you spend that cash. They seem to keep it rather quiet when they close a store down leaving you with a card balance. On top of that it is not easy to spend your Eroski loyalty cash online. All too often a message pops up, informing you that they do not service or deliver to you area. The end result is money lost and nothing to show for it. Please note that this does not affect any Travel Club points that you may have. That scheme carries on functioning in the same way as before.