The cost of living crisis is hitting hard - most noticeably at the supermarket checkout.
Consumer research shows the sharpest rise is in basic goods like butter, bread and eggs. Grocery inflation is up by a record 11% in the past three months, adding another €768 to the annual bill.
It’s no surprise 50% of shoppers are actively seeking out bargains.
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Are reward cards the answer? Which one is for you?
All the main supermarkets - Dunnes, SuperValu, Tesco and Lidl - have clubcards systems to reward loyal shoppers.
Our reporter Theo McDonald finds out which offers give you the best value for money for a basket of goods.
Dunnes Stores offers money-off vouchers to grocery shoppers on the end of their receipts. Keep the receipt and bring it in with you on your next shop. Present it to the cashier and you can save €10 if you spend €50, or €5 if you spend €25. Spend €100, you get €10 or €20 off. Take note: they are valid only until a certain date.
Those with a Dunnes Stores ValueClub card get 1 point for every €1 spent.
When you rack up 100 points, you get €1 in rewards. You are also posted a quarterly review of your points tally which contains a further cash voucher as well as discount vouchers on particular products.
Download the Dunnes Stores app where you can store your clubcard and vouchers for easy use, and more promos and money-off coupons exclusive to the app.
Food director at Dunnes, James Wilson says: “At Dunnes Stores, we have always offered better value for money by price-matching and beating our competitors. These days, as everyone searches for clever ways to cut back on spending, we have once again proven our commitment to Always Better Value. With our new Double Savers campaign, our customers can shrink their grocery bills not once, but twice; first in the aisles with better value prices, and again at the till with our €10 off €50 and NEW €5 off €25 Shop and Save grocery vouchers.”
SuperValu has a Real Rewards’ system for customers, with weekly coupons added every Thursday. If you spend at least €200, you get three sets of vouchers per year. Customers can access the system via SuperValu’s smartphone application. Various promotions are also offered on individual items once you use your smartphone to scan your digital barcode for every transaction.
Amid high energy bills the supermarket chain has teamed up with Electric Ireland to provide energy price discounts. There is a current offer of a €5 voucher off your Electric Ireland bill if you scan your Real Rewards app/card in-store.
Customers of an older demographic may not be accustomed to digitised coupons, however, there are paper alternatives.
SuperValu’s Real Rewards system works well if you are a loyal shopper - and watch out for the goods on special offer.
A SuperValu spokesperson said: “As consumers deal with inflationary prices, SuperValu has listened to its shoppers and made changes to suit their needs. Many want more predictable rewards to allow them to plan their weekly shop and use regular money-off vouchers every week on their App.
SuperValu devised a new programme which will give customers who download the Real Rewards app weekly money-off vouchers which they can see in advance of going shopping in store or online.
The new benefits from the Real Rewards programme, include weekly money-off app vouchers and coupons and monthly ‘Scan To Win” prize draws.
There is also the chance to win a €100 SuperValu e-gift in every store, every month.
Tesco offers one point per €1 spend with its Clubcard reward system. Points are earned each time you scan your digital or paper barcode when you shop.
Once you reach 150 points you earn a voucher.
The supermarket chain also offers a wide range of promotions beyond the food aisle; you can earn points by filling your car at Certa Fuel Stations; and if you’d like a break away, Tesco is offering €15 off at Hotels.com for every €5 Clubcard.
Tesco also provides offers on individual items. For example, a box of Shreddies cereal is reduced from €5 to €2.49. Tesco is a good choice for those who want a broader form of rewards system.
Tesco said: “We introduced Clubcard Prices as a way of giving our loyal customers great value and exclusive deals in our larger stores and online.
“Through Clubcard Prices, nearly one million households in Ireland have access to thousands of exclusive prices on everything from everyday staples to treats, while also getting rewarded with Clubcard points at the same time.
By scanning their Clubcard, customers receive exclusive savings on a range of products from across the store, online or on the App. The App is currently the most downloaded grocery App in Ireland.
In addition, Low Everyday Prices are available on everyday essentials to help families with household basics.
With the Lidl Plus app, shoppers can build up points by scanning their digital reward card each time they shop. You can also win a discount off your next shop on a random product. With the app, users can scratch and win after in-store purchases are complete. Shoppers can also claim discounts on certain items in store which change every Thursday.
As it stands Lidl does not offer coupon-related shopping vouchers.
There are also the famous promotions on the middle-aisle items. Bargains can be found on Saturday in-store sales of household items, garden tools and gadgets. For example, from next week, there’s a steam mop for the sale price of €34.99 and an activity tracker watch for a bargain €19.99.
A spokesperson for Lidl said: “We are committed to maintaining our position as the leading discount retailer in Ireland, offering the highest quality products at the best possible prices. In addition to our regular weekly promotions such as Super Savers, our Lidl Plus app offers customers additional offers and promotions.
Lidl Plus rewards app offers instant savings and Lidl Treats to all our loyal customers, you also receive a scratch and win with every transaction.
With Lidl Plus there are no more pointless points or accidentally putting your loyalty card in every time you shop the washing machine, just instant rewards every time you shop.”
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