I'm beginning to realise that making the most of cashback schemes and loyalty cards requires quite a bit of planning and strategy when it comes to your weekly shop.
I had a look at Quidco's site today and my head was in a whirl by the end of it - and I consider myself quite a savvy shopper. Each time you shop via Quidco, the retailer you purchase from pays them a referral fee which Quidco then pass back to you in the form of cashback. They say it is possible to amass hundreds, even thousands of pounds of cashback over a year. A good incentive to use them indeed!
Not only do they have the Quidco app which allows you to get great deals on your mobile but they also have Click Snap - which allows you to take up deals on grocery shopping, either direct on line or at the store, where you have to upload your receipt afterwards to take advantage of the saving.
To benefit from Quidco you obviously have to adjust your shopping to buy what's on offer - so is that really an economy? Then there's potential savings at Costco Wholesalers where we took out a membership back in May. I know I should be comparing the cost per item against the supermarket item cost to see if I'm really making a saving. At the moment, I'm assuming I am on the basis that we're buying in bulk.
Factor in voucher sites like Voucher Cloud, other cashback sites like Topcashback and Tesco Clubcard loyalty points and I'm completely muddled.
I'm guessing that, if I want to save on our grocery shopping this year, I am going to have to sit down and create a practical, sustainable budget.
One of my hobbies is entering competitions and I have had quite a bit of luck. I only enter for prizes that we really need as a family. You won't find me entering competitions for prams now the children don't need one and then selling it on Ebay. I am aware some compers do this but it feels dishonest to me and unfair on someone who might really need that particular prize.
The things I win, such as vouchers, food and clothes, are our family treats and I see it as my way of contributing to the family finances whilst I am a stay at home mum. There is, of course, no guarantee of a win but it adds a fun element to our finances.
If you fancy giving comping a go, a good place to start is www.theprizefinder.com which is completely free and provides a comprehensive list of all kinds of competition which you can sort through according to the date they close, the date they were added to the site or the type of prize you are looking for.
But, in terms of maximising our monthly income, there's nothing else for it. I'm going to have to create that budget. Here's one from Mr Money Saving Expert himself - Martin Lewis that I might try.
Has anyone else undertaken a complete overhaul of family finances and how did you do it? I'd love to know.