The gift card hack that helps me save 4% at the supermarket
This simple step means I always save some money, even if there's no weekly special on that I want.
With the cost of everything rising, just about everyone I know is looking for ways to keep a lid on household spending. That's hard when even a lettuce sets you back $10 or $20.
I've found myself pulling out some of the money-saving strategies I first used when I moved out of home at 17.
Back then, I'd wait for the Coles and Woolworths catalogues, then plan my shopping list around it. When ALDI opened, I added it to the list.
I also try to shop seasonally and as locally as possible (shout out to the IGAs and other small stores who have great deals with local suppliers).
But I've also turned to another hack that I learned back in my days as a freelancer: discounted gift cards.
How this hack works
Some memberships and services give you access to gift cards at a discounted rate. This can range from 2% off to over 10% off.
In my case, I can get 4% off Coles and Woolworths digital gift cards as a member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
These gift cards are really easy to use: I log on to the benefits portal, pay for the gift cards and get an email with the details.
When I'm at the supermarket, I just scan or type the card's information in at the checkout. Using a $100 gift card, I can get $100 worth of groceries but I've only paid $96.
And I can check the balances online or over the phone at any time, so I always know how much money I have set aside for groceries.
How to see if you can get discounted gift cards
As well as MEAA, here are some other services and brands that currently offer discounted gift cards:
- AANT: Go to Member Benefits
- Employment Hero: Go to Benefits when you're logged in
- NRMA: Go to Benefits
- RAA: Go to Member discounts and offers
- RACQ: Go to Member Discounts
- RACV: Go to Member Benefits
- Red Energy: Go to Red Energy Rewards
In the past, I've even found these types of gift card offers through telcos and insurers. Sometimes, you can also get discounted gift cards through sites like Groupon or Gift Card Store – just keep in mind that offers can change based on demand and other factors.
If you're not a member of any of the options listed here, there are 2 quick ways you can check for offers:
- Log in to your membership or service accounts. Look for a "benefits" or "rewards" section.
- Search online with a phrase along the lines of "discounted gift cards + [brand or service you use]"
I've found these gift cards really helpful for budgeting as well. I'll buy a $500 gift card (saving $20 on it, thanks to the discount), then use that for my shopping until it runs low and I need another one.
It makes it easy for me to track how much I'm spending at the supermarket – and to keep that separate from other spending.
Want more tips on saving money? Check out Finder's budgeting guide.
Images: Getty Images, Finder