We are in Advent. The trees are up and the Christmas shopping lists are made. And every time we go to a supermarket we get another voucher offering great riches…or not.
You need to be wary not to be conned into spending more than you would normally and to understand how little you will get with some of the offers and how many hoops you will have to go through to get any cash at all.
And the stores are probably hope that the lure of points will take your eye off the price of the food on the shelves.
In my micro survey of the largesse of food retailers the booby prize must go to Sainsbury, which a couple of weeks ago gave me a voucher telling me that if I bought £120 from the store by December 3 I would get 500 bonus Nectar points. Whoopee.
Do not chase the rewards offered by supermarket vouchers
You need to spend £120 in one store to get a voucher for £2.50, but that is not all. When customers spend their £120 they get a slip of paper that they have to present at the till the next time they shop so that it is credited to their Nectar account and then have to shop again to claim the £2.50. If that was not bad enough when I was shopping there this morning the woman ahead of me with a large trolley of shopping was complaining that she was expecting to qualify for her bonus Nectar points and that she would not have spent £60 if she had known she was not going to qualify. That’s the lesson do not spend more than you would otherwise.
Beware even poorer offers in supermarkets
And yes I did notice that I could buy 38 laundry pods for £6.50 while the big display of Ariel was selling two 30 pod boxes in a sleeve for £14.
The Co-op is quite different in the way it pays its dividends. There is a steady crediting of 5% of what is spent on Co-operative goods and services to the customer’s account. And a further 1% is added for the customer to pay to a community good cause. No tricks no lures, no multiple visits to the store.
And then Marks and Spencer Sparks also wants us to spend large. An online offer tells customers that if they spend £140 they will get £15 off. And surprisingly when they spend the money the £15 is taken off immediately, without having to visit the store again to get the reward. Yes, it require a £20 bigger spend than Sainsbury, but the reward is six times larger and immediate.
Supermarket vouchers encourage us to buy too much
But we still need to guard against a supermarket sweep where prices blur. It is not value if you spend more than you would normally on Christmas food and flowers and waste some of it. Love Food Hate Waste reckons that we typically waste £50 of food each month and this doubles around Christmas. Do not add to the 61,000 tonnes of snacks and biscuits wasted each year because they were part of an offer.