Savvy shopaholic reveals her tricks for saving THOUSANDS on groceries
Throughout her twenties, Jo Munro was a self-confessed ‘shopaholic’.
The Melbourne-based entrepreneur saw buying items an ‘achievement’ and would regularly get a thrill out of ‘hunting down’ designer items and snapping them up for herself – often with money she didn’t have to spend.
Now, a number of years on, Ms Munro is known as the ‘Savvy Shopaholic’ and spends her time helping people save thousands on travel, groceries and household goods.
Here, Ms Munro speaks to FEMAIL about her top tricks for saving money and why she rarely enters shopping centres.
Throughout her twenties, Jo Munro was a self-confessed ‘shopaholic’
The Melbourne-based entrepreneur saw buying items an ‘achievement’ and would regularly get a thrill out of ‘hunting down’ designer items and snapping them up for herself
‘I was shopping a lot – even if the price was out of range I would lay-by it,’ Ms Munro said.
‘I did whatever I had to do to get my hands on the items I wanted and like many women I was shopping weekly. I was a sales rep so I was always walking past shops in shopping centres and just felt the drive to go in.
‘Even if I saw summer shoes on sale in winter I would justify buying them because it was a saving.’
Ms Munro changed her shopping habits after a sales manager gave her one key piece of advice.
Now, a number of years on, Ms Munro is known as the ‘ Savvy Shopaholic’ and spends her time helping people save thousands on travel, groceries and household goods
How do you save money on online shopping?
* Subscribe and follow the social media pages of your favourite shops
* Speak to an online specialist. The live chat windows that pop up – if I am looking for something specific I will often have a chat to them and get a discount
* Put an item in your cart and leave it for a couple of days. They will generate an email back to you saying ‘we notice you haven’t cleared your cart’ and offer you a discount
* Most people shop online on a Sunday afternoon. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are when the specials come up. You will notice that even in grocery stores
* Use a different browser as they track with cookies. Do all your research on one – I use Google Chrome – and then make your purchases on another one like Safari. They will often give you a new shopper discount
‘They told me it was important to “bank what you save” and that really stuck with me. If you’re spending money on sale items you’re saving no money unless you are putting that money you’re saving into a separate account,’ she said.
‘Otherwise it’s still an expenditure.’
This mindset combined with a shopping trip to Hong Kong really changed the way Ms Munro viewed the retail industry.
‘I went to China and saw all the copies and shopped until I dropped. It showed me the other aside of retail – the mark up on wholesale goods – and it really changed everything for me,’ she said.
‘I rarely go to a shopping centre now or indulge in traditional retail because I know it is so marked up.
‘Instead I shop online and shop sales but I have been turned off full price retail for good. My habit has now changed from seeking shopping to “I will shop for what I need if it’s on sale”. I do a lot of Click and Collect too.’
So what are her top tips for saving money?
‘Whether shopping for clothes, homewares or travel register with your favourite stores on their social media pages and also on email,’ she said
REGISTER WITH YOUR FAVOURITE STORES
‘Whether shopping for clothes, homewares or travel register with your favourite stores on their social media pages and also on email,’ she said.
‘This can seem like a lot of email spam coming through so set up a Gmail account just for your subscriptions so your personal mailbox doesn’t get overwhelmed.
‘Some brands will provide discount coupon codes on their social media only so it is worth registering for both.
‘Also follow outlet stores that carry your favourite brands. I subscribe to the Sheridan Outlet store online and also checkout their outlet shop at Brandsmart.
‘Stores like Aldi send regular special buys with their best bargains of the week.’
What are the best things to buy in bulk at the supermarket?
* Staples like rice, pasta, flour and dry foods are great as they keep if stored well
* Cling wrap, foil, baking paper, garbage bags, detergents and other household items are a deceptively great place to make savings. Dishwasher tablets and washing powder can easily be purchased in bulk for 30 – 50 per cent off the normal shelf price
* Other items where great savings on groceries can be made are things like batteries, toothpaste and toothbrushes and toilet paper. Costco staff tell me it is their number one selling item
Source: Jo Munro, The Carousel
‘When shopping use a comparison pricing app (or website if you are shopping online),’ Ms Munro said.
‘This allows you to check the “sale item” you have found with other retail pricing so you can see if you are getting a competitive price. I do this online via Shopbot or GetPrice and when out and about I use the eBay app which has a barcode scanner function in its search.
‘By scanning the barcode the same products on eBay will be displayed. eBay pricing is usually a good resource for market pricing so it is a great reference.
‘Comparison pricing apps are also available for grocery shopping too. Not only do the Coles, Woolies and Aldi apps have a watch function to alert when your items are discounted and they feature sale items on login.’
‘When shopping use a comparison pricing app (or website if you are shopping online),’ Ms Munro said
LEARN TRICKS FOR GROCERY DISCOUNTS
How does Jo Munro save money on clothes?
I tend to buy clothing in the sales. I usually do the research online and then either buy them online and click and collect the item in store for that instant gratification or if I’m unsure I will go in store to see if I like them.
There are now so many sales throughout the retail year we really should not have to pay full retail with some planning.
‘Where possible buy no name brand items. The quality of these items has improved dramatically since they were introduced and can easily save money without noticing any difference in quality,’ Ms Munro said.
She also recommends people getting their friends and family involved and bulk buying things like meat and staples like canned tomatoes, rice and items that have a long shelf life.
‘Buy up when items are on special. Markets often sell off cases of fruit and veggies so cook with them and freeze the results,’ she added.
‘Also check out Costco for bulk items but remember to calculate the per kilo/unit cost to ensure you are getting a good price not just a big box of the same price.’
‘Also travelling in the opposite direction to an event can ensure the flights are cheaper. For example the Grand Final in Melbourne is a great time to fly out of Melbourne,’ she said
KNOW THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
‘There are specific times of the year for different locations that are the cheapest time to purchase the airfare,’ Ms Munro said.
‘Travelling locally can be cheaper if you avoid travelling at peak holiday long weekends.
‘Also travelling in the opposite direction to an event can ensure the flights are cheaper. For example the Grand Final in Melbourne is a great time to fly out of Melbourne as there are so many incoming flights, the airlines want to put bodies in seats for the return and usually do it at a really good price
‘We always used to fly to Hong Kong the weekend of the Gay Mardi Gras with the same strategy in mind.’
Ms Munro added that for family activities like going to theme parks, websites like Scoopon and Groupon have ‘massive savings’ on entry to theme parks and spa services.