Shop at Sainsbury’s? Use these tips to save money online and in-store.
Don’t just join the Nectar scheme
Obviously do join it, but don’t just join, stick the card in your wallet and think that handing it over every time you pay in Sainsbury’s will be enough to exploit the scheme to its full potential.
Overnight in April 2015, the Nectar card became exactly half as valuable at the supermarket. Instead of getting two points, worth a total of 1p, for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, you started to get 0.5p. At that point, plenty of people wrote the card off altogether. However, it’s still worth being a member and collecting points for money off your Sainsbury’s shop, if you make the most of every collection opportunity.
This means making sure you collect them everywhere you can. This includes - among a host of others - eBay, Asos, Next, BP, Homebase, Hertz, Dunelm, EasyJet, Virgin Trains East Coast, Currys, Sky, Sainsbury’s Bank and Sainsbury’s Energy. Some - including eBay - will offer bonus points just for linking your accounts, and some are even more generous than others. So for example, House of Fraser offers six points for every pound spent. It’s worth checking where you can collect points on the Nectar website.
If you donate unwanted clothes to Oxfam, you should also sign up to Tag Your Bag. Fill in your details and you’ll get 100 points, and a load of personalised tags through the post. Then whenever you donate clothes to Oxfam, make sure you tie a tag on. They’ll track the items and for every £1 they raise, you’ll get two Nectar points. Oxfam will still make more money this way, because by tagging your stuff, they can claim Gift Aid on it.
Check the Nectar website regularly
You should regularly check the Nectar website regularly as it often has special offers that can make an enormous difference.
Recently you could get ten times the usual number of points when you shopped in Sainsbury’s. This isn’t automatically given to everyone: you needed to have visited the site, and clicked to upload the deal to your card before you went shopping.
You can’t afford to miss out on deals like this, so make a date to check the site.
Boost your points
There is usually a double-up deal twice a year, where you can swap your Nectar points for twice the usual value of vouchers to spend in specific departments. If Sainsbury’s follows its usual annual pattern, the next double-up will be in November - although as ever there are no guarantees.
You should also check out partner deals. So for example, 500 points are worth £2.50 in store or £5 at Alton Towers, so have a look on the Nectar website and see if anything appeals.
This comes with the proviso that you still need to shop around. At the moment, the Nectar website is offering an annual subscription to BBC Good Food for £40 worth of points - a saving on the full price of £47.88. However, if you go to the BBC Good Food website, it’s currently offering an annual subscription for £43, and to make matters worse, it’s doing an offer of five issues for £5, which is clearly by far the best deal of the lot.
Use a Sainsbury’s Credit Card
There's also the Sainsbury’s Purchase credit card. This offers a market leading 27 months 0% on purchases and as long as you spend £800 on Sainsbury’s shopping (and fuel) in the first three months, you’ll get 5,000 bonus points. You’ll also get two Nectar points (worth 1p) for every £1 spent in Sainsbury’s, and one Nectar point for every £5 spent on your card elsewhere.
Of course, as always with credit cards, the key is only to use this if you know you can manage the debt. You might want to use the 27-month interest free period to spread the cost of a purchase, but by the time the interest free period is over, you need to be in a position to pay your credit card bill in full and on time every month, or the cost of having the card will far outweigh any benefits.
Hunt down freebies
Sainsbury’s will tie up with brands every so often in order to offer freebies. The key is to know where to find them, so you have a handful of coupons whenever you shop.
It’s also worth signing up for alerts from the Sainsbury’s page of freebie websites like FreebieSupermarket.
Discover the joy of the sales
There are two Sainsbury’s sales that are loved by bargain-hunters: the fashion sale and the toy sale.
In fashion terms, there are sales at the end of the season like everywhere else, but for a limited time, it occasionally offers 25% off everything too. Unhelpfully one of these sales has just finished, but is well worth watching for at this time next year, because it includes school uniform, which is a massive help covering back-to-school costs.
If it follows the usual pattern, the next one will be at the beginning of December, so party wear and Christmas presents could be available with big reductions.
The ‘up to half price toy sale’ at the end of October has been a godsend to parents for the past few years, who swap messages on parenting and deal-hunting sites for weeks in the run-up to the event, trying to get confirmation of the dates and the most jaw-dropping deals.
Buy your wine twice a year
If you have room to store it, then you need never pay full price for wine again. At the end of the summer and the end of November/beginning of December, for the past few years, Sainsbury’s has offered 25% off the cost of wine when you buy six bottles or more.
You should be able to combine this with other deals to get a reasonable bottle of wine for £4, or a great bottle for a little over £6.
If you have room to store it, you can bulk-buy, and save a fortune on wine during the year. If you time it with when you take out the Sainsbury’s Purchase credit card, you can spread the cost too.
Invest in a delivery pass
If you have your shopping delivered, then depending on when you want it, if you spend between £40 and £100 you’ll pay between £1 and £7 for delivery. If you spend under £40, delivery will cost £7, and if you spend over £100 then certain kinds of delivery are free.
To save money you can sign up for a delivery pass.
An anytime delivery pass lets you book up to one slot every single day, at any time, and costs £60 for the year. If you’re happy getting your shopping on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, you can get a midweek delivery pass which is just £30 for a year, and if you use the code discovered by the users of HotUKDeals, you can get one for £20, which is a complete bargain. To qualify for a delivery under these deals you need to spend at least £40 each time.
Track down deals for new customers
If you’ve never ordered from Sainsbury’s online before — or your other half hasn’t, or you haven’t done so from your current address, then there are often special deals around to try to encourage first timers to give Sainsbury’s a go.
The website is currently offering some cracking deals on your first five shops. The first time you can get £18 off any order of £60 or more, or £20 off any order of £100 or more. After that, you’ll get another £10 off your next four shops — giving you a total saving of up to £60.
Downshift your brands the clever way
Each supermarket offers a generic own-brand version of branded goods, at a fraction of the price. The standard advice is therefore to switch from a pricey brand to own-brand and save a fortune.
Of course, that assumes that the generic copy is the same, and while sometimes it’s a close match – or even better – sometimes it’s not a patch on the original.
Most people will tell you that you should experiment with a few switches each time you shop. If you don’t like the generic version, you can switch back to the brand, but if you do like it, you can stick with the own brand.
There are two short-cuts that may mean you don’t have to experiment with absolutely everything.
SupermarketOwnBrandGuide, has tried and rated a number of products, and will let you know, for example, that Cornflakes and rolled oats, are just as good as the branded stuff at Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately, they are a long way from having tried everything, but it will at least give you a head start.
You can also settle down to watch a few episodes of Eat Well for Less. Keep an eye on the things the team shift down to — and those where they tend to stick with the expensive products.
Also look out for the Sainsbury’s products emerging from the generic covers they put over them. The researchers have spent a long time tracking down the best own brands, so where they go for a Sainsbury’s product, you know it’ll be good.
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