One of the mainstays of any savers toolkit is (ab)using the generosity of American Express. They have offers that are there to encourage you to spend and if done right can mean you get a nice bonus. Here’s how I saved over £130 or 10%!
First of all, I would like to point out that spending £2,000 to save £100 is a bit stupid. It’s like getting overly excited about getting a clubcard point for every pound you spend at Tescos when you could have saved 20p on the pound in Lidl or Aldi.
Spending pounds to save pennies is just stupid!
(but hey, we’re all a bit stupid and can be seduced by “points” or airmiles or whatever it is).
The scheme by American express is often – spend £2k and get 5% cashback, this could be like “Spend £1,000 and get 5,000 Airmiles” and I’ve used it before to earn some seriously impressive bonuses. There are some great benefits of having an AMEX card as well.
UPDATE: now you shop at ALDI & LIDL using your AMEX card.
You can even earn and extra £25 (or more) cashback by being a member of Quidco, TopCashBack or other cashback sites. Click on these links and Join Quidco and we can get a £10 bonus each and £7.50 for TopCashBack. Not bad and a good way to start saving more money – it’s worked for me.
So what did GFF do?
I had an American Express card in 2018 but cancelled it. To prevent abuse, you are not eligible for the promotion if you’ve had an account with them in the last 6 months – so set a reminder when you quit.
There is choice of which AMEX card you use – and I chose the Nectar one because I find airmiles a bit useless and at least Nectar points are easily redeemable. I also have a Nectar card already, so I don’t need to learn a new system.
I applied through TopCashBack getting £30 cashback and I got my new card a few days before Christmas and used it for a variety of Xmas spending. You can see from the pie and bar chart below that “shopping” came to about £500 of the total spend. That’s money we would have spent anyway. I booked some holidays (including weekends with friends) and money was spent on health and beauty, the house, entertainment and “other” (whatever that is) and that made up about another £800.
From keeping records of my spending and even with planning some purchases for this peroid (IKEA for example & travel), I was able to predict that spending £2000 would be a struggle. But I had a solution for that.
Especially since not everywhere accepts Amex. But maybe it’s getting more mainstream since now you shop at ALDI & LIDL using your AMEX card!
The best way to spend money is to spend someone else’s
So I was able to put about £700 of work related expenses onto the card – which is good. Part of being frugal is looking to avoid spending money and I would not want to be in the position to look at throwing money away just to get a bonus.
Anyway – within 3 months I got £2000 spent and lo and behold, I was duly awarded 20,000 Nectar points + another 2,000 for the other spend on the card. That bumped up my Nectar balance as you can see below. I’m now treated like a king in Sainsbury’s.
So, for a £1,300 spend, I got about 21,000 Nectar points which can be redeemed at Sainsbury’s and elsewhere for at least £105. Add on the cashback of £30 and I’ve made over a 10% return on spending – spending that I would hope wasn’t increased since I’d loosened the purse-strings over Christmas.
I’ve since used the Nectar points to cut the cost of shopping when I stop passed Sainsbury’s on the way home from work. Their fruit and veg is very good and if the store was in a more convenient place, I’d shop there more often (but I still prefer Lidl for its simplicity and prices).
Give it a go yourself!
*Please note that this article contains some referral links which can benefit both you and me.