How to be a smart supermarket shopper

How to be a smart supermarket shopper

Are you wasting your money on convenience when it comes to feeding your family? Pre-prepared meals could be making a dent in your savings account. Here are some tips to get saving!

Australians shopping more often

According to Roy Morgan Research, meal preparation often gets kicked to the kerb, with more Aussies turning to frozen and ready-made meals than even before. In the year to March 2014, almost one in ten individuals (14 years or older) had eaten a frozen/chilled ready-prepared meal in the last week.

“Frozen/chilled ready-made meals represent a convenient shortcut for busy Australians who don’t have time to cook their own meals every night,” said Angela Smith, Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director for Consumer Products.

On top of that, the latest Woolworths report stated Australians spend just over one-third of their grocery budget on their primary shopping day, suggesting that people are frequenting the supermarket multiple times per week, popping in whenever they get a chance after work. Plus, individuals are cutting corners when it comes to what they buy.

But you should be adding up how much you’re spending on such meals — it may be cheaper to bulk-buy frozen vegetables and meat, and freeze portions to cook throughout the week.

Here are a couple of tips to being a smarter supermarket shopper, potentially leaving more money for your savings account.

Don’t shop when you’re stressed

New research shows working Australians are more and more pressed for time — so it’s no wonder they’re turning to dash-in, dash-out food shops and frozen meals.

Morgan McKinley’s 2014 Working Hours survey found 91 percent of Australian professionals work more than their contractual hours, with 45 percent of respondents working 10 or more hours beyond what’s stipulated in their employment agreements.

However, you should avoid shopping when you’re tired, hungry or grumpy — such as after a long working day — as you may find yourself more inclined to throw snack food in the trolley. It could be worth revising your supermarket trips, too. Instead of heading in after work each weekday night and paying for pre-prepared meals on your credit card, try and do one big shop on the weekend.

Simmer your way to savings

Once you’ve set yourself a dedicated shopping day, you might be wondering whether you’ve got time to prepare a meal each night.

This is where a hearty stew or family-favourite lasagne can be real time-savers. Prepare multiple batches of these meals on a Sunday night and freeze them in family-size portions to pop in the oven or microwave on the busiest nights of the week. Cooking in bulk is often more cost effective, so you could soon see a positive difference in your savings account.

On evenings when you’ve got a little more time to spare, opt for meals like stir-fries loaded with seasonal vegetables, creamy pasta or spicy chicken drumsticks with fresh salad.

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Monthly repayment

This is how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis off your credit card. You can enter any amount you wish; but to make the balance transfer worthwhile the default is $200.

Current Annual Fees

These are the current annual fees on your existing credit card.

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

How to increase the NAB credit card limit?

If you use your NAB credit card regularly, you could consider requesting a higher credit limit. The good news is that it's fairly easy to do so using either the NAB app or NAB internet banking. 

NAB app: 

Step 1: Download the latest version of the NAB app.

Step 2: Select the ‘My Cards’ menu. 

Step 3: Select the card you want to increase the credit limit for. 

Step 4: Select ‘Usage Controls’ and then click on ‘Change Credit Limit’.

NAB internet banking: 

Step 1: Log into your account. 

Step 2: Choose the ‘My Cards’ menu. 

Step 3: Choose the card for which you want to increase the limit. 

Step 4: Choose ‘Change My Credit Card Limit’.  

If you don’t have the NAB app or cannot access NAB internet banking, you can even visit your local branch or call their contact center. 

Once you’ve applied to increase your NAB credit card limit, you’re likely to be asked for your

  • current employment details  
  • total income, before and after-tax deductions  
  • assets, liabilities, and expenses information

NAB will then assess this information to determine if your current financial situation suits the increased credit limit request, and your application will either be accepted or denied.

However, this process will only work if you’re attempting to increase your personal NAB credit card limit. For a business credit card, you can contact the NAB Corporate & Business Servicing team or speak to your NAB relationship manager. 

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

Current Interest Rate

This is the current interest rate on your existing credit card.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

Increase your credit card limit with Westpac

A credit card can be a useful tool to access extra cash when you need it. Sometimes you may wish to increase your credit card limit for greater financial flexibility. For example, to realize your immediate goals faster, such as planning for an international holiday or making a big purchase.

You can apply to increase your credit limit at any time, and most credit card providers have made it really easy to do so. You can use your online banking portal, the credit card provider’s mobile app, or even the telephone. 

Applying online to increase your credit limit with Westpac is the easiest option if you’ve already activated Westpac Live Online Banking. All you need to do is fill in the required information and then hit ‘submit’ to apply for an increase in your credit card limit.

Most banks will ask for details of your financial situation at the time of applying for a credit increase. This is done to ensure your new limit meets the lender’s criteria. 

You can apply for increasing your credit limit in any of the following ways:

  1. Visiting your nearest Westpac branch
  2. Calling Westpac on 1300 651 089
  3. Logging in on Westpac Live Online Banking

Can I get a credit card on part-time/casual work?

Yes, as credit card providers look at your annual income amount as well as your occupation. Minimum income requirements tend to be between $30,000 – $40,000 for standard and rewards credit cards, however low income credit cards can have minimum income requirements as low as $15,000 per year.

Why should I check my credit rating?

There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.

Lenders use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.