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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Learn more about credit cards

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.

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.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

Can I use PayPal to transfer from a credit card to a bank account?

You can easily link your credit card to your PayPal account. When you need to make a payment, PayPal makes an instant transfer from your bank account, provided you’ve linked and confirmed your credit card details.For credit card holders, you can transfer funds from eligible cards listed in the “Instant” section of the money transfer page.

Here is how you can transfer money from PayPal to your bank account:

  1. On the “My Wallet” tab, select “Transfer Money” and then click on the “Transfer to your bank account” option.
  2. Choose the bank account where you want to transfer the money and click “Continue.”
  3. Enter the amount, review and click “Transfer Now.”
  4. When you confirm the transfer, the amount should be moved to the bank account linked from the chosen credit card.

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

How can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account in ANZ?

The process to transfer money from credit card to a bank account for ANZ customers can be made online via the mobile app or over the phone. Here are the necessary steps for the transfer:

Call the ANZ general enquiries number on 132273 and verify your account information. Request to transfer the desired amount. You’ll then have to provide the bank account number and the BSB details to complete the transfer.

Log in to your online banking or mobile banking app and select the “transfer” option. Provide the bank account number, BSB details, and the amount you want to transfer. Confirm the details for ANZ to  transfer money from credit card to a bank account.

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 to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

Does ING increase credit card limits?

You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so. 

ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000. 

Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.

What is the CUA credit card increase limit process?

A credit limit is pre-assigned based on factors like your income, expenses, and debt by the card-issuing company. It varies from time to time based on credit utilisation and changes to your circumstances.

If your income has increased or your liabilities have reduced, you can request for an increase of your CUA credit card limit. You can lodge the request via online banking on the website, or by visiting the closest branch, or by downloading the application form and mailing it. While making the application, you may need to provide information about your income, employment status, desired limit, and the reason for the increase. The card-issuing company will assess your request before approval.

Before you apply for an increase to the credit limit, ensure your bills are paid in full and you aren’t asking for a very steep enhancement.

How to get a new credit card

To get a new credit card, generally you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating. You don’t need to be an Australian citizen. Usually you can apply online or in person at a branch of the card issuer. You’ll typically have to supply information like:

  • Your income and living costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off

How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?

When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.

However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.

To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.