From buying presents to organising Christmas lunch, funding the festive season can be financially stressful – but one woman is doing it for free.
Aussie mum Samantha Lee Woods manages to get it done without spending a cent.
Her key lesson is that loyalty pays – if you use reward points accumulated during the year.
Woods has five kids, so Christmas can be an expensive time of year.
The savings-savvy mum from the northern NSW town of Casino is a big fan of Flybuys. Every year she collects points over 12 months and uses the total balance to pay for Christmas.
“It feels amazing being able to go into the shops and fill my trolley with things I want or need for Christmas and be able to walk out of the store without paying a cent,” Woods told Sunrise.
“So far I’ve bought all the kids toys for Christmas, and then in a few weeks, when we approach Christmas, I will do a big grocery shop; and then all the prawns and the trimmings for Christmas lunch,” she said.
Reaping the rewards
It may sound too good to be true, but Woods said it could be done with the right tactics.
The most important thing is to avoid chasing the points and instead match your strategy to your regular spending.
Woods said that takes a bit of work to start with but if you put in the effort, the system should work smoothly.
“That is a big rule of mine – I will only spend what I would have spent anyway, so I achieve all my points just with my regular weekly shop,” Woods said.
The bonus trap
Most schemes will offer members bonus points for spending a certain amount or buying certain items.
But you need to be cautious because this is where you can fall into the trap of ‘target spending’ – buying things you don’t need which can eventually lead to overspending.
“If I’m $20 under that with my regular shop, I will buy things that are non-perishable items,” Woods said.
“I might buy an extra washing powder or some toilet paper or something like that that I know I’m going to need and going to use anyway.”
Loyalty programs are meant to deliver rewards, but a lot of the time you get more value through a flight redemption.
You need 18,000 points to get a one-way flight between Sydney and Melbourne,” Finder’s Taylor Blackburn said.
“You would need more than that to get a $100 gift card, so it’s a fair bit of transacting that needs to go on, but you can see you’re getting much more value for the frequent flyer point than the cashback.”
But in the current climate, with fewer people flying, it’s no surprise Aussies are going for that immediate hit.
“You’re gonna have to spend a fair bit of money before you see a lot of these rewards come back your way, but on the positive side, it’s the stuff you’re buying anyway so you might as well be rewarded for your loyalty,” Blackburn said.