June 14, 2024
Alexandra and Zach Cain from Melbourne have revealed how they save money using loyalty programs and other budgeting strategies like cooking in bulk


A young family has revealed how they save a fortune each year by using loyalty programs – as experts prove why using them properly is a ‘no-brainer’ during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Speaking to FEMAIL Alexandra and Zach Cain from Melbourne’s western suburbs revealed they have been feeling the pinch despite earning a combined income of $190,000 per year.

The couple, who have three children under eight at home full time, and two teenagers, 14 and, 17 from Zach’s previous relationship, use loyalty programs to help manage their budget.

At first glance the programs save them ‘about $600-$700’ a year – but once the rewards are calculated on a ‘per-shop’ basis the family actually end up saving thousands of dollars and hours of time.

‘We use Flybuys because we shop at Coles and OnePass because it gives us unlimited delivery from all the shops we like for $4-per-month,’ they said, adding most of their shopping can be done from home. 

Alexandra and Zach Cain from Melbourne have revealed how they save money using loyalty programs and other budgeting strategies like cooking in bulk

Australia’s leading independent customer loyalty specialist Adam Posner told FEMAIL there’s been a trend towards Australians using the programs as the cost of living crisis continues.

He says the trick to maximising savings is to ‘stop shopping around’. 

Alexandra, 39, and Zach, 38, are the perfect example of how to use the programs to save not spend.

‘We really have to plan ahead, buy in bulk and have a plan because it can be a struggle sometimes,’ Zach said.

He has learned how to budget under the watchful eye of Alexandra who ‘did it long before she had kids’.

Zach is naturally a spender so trips to the shop are often much more expensive than they need to be. By shopping online he can’t make impulse decisions. 

‘With five kids a quick trip to the shops to get a few things turns into hours, and way more expensive then they need to be because they all want something. Then by the time your finishing up they are hungry, so you need to buy food,’ he said. 

Alexandra is much more savvy than her husband, she has always been good at saving, and said she would prefer to go on a holiday than to blow the budget on everyday items. 

Expert reveals the top ten Australian loyalty programs

Adam Posner says using loyalty programs is a no-brainer for savings

Adam Posner says using loyalty programs is a no-brainer for savings

1 – Flybuys

2 – Woolworths: Everyday Rewards

3 – OnePass

4 – Amazon Prime

5 – American Express Membership Rewards

6 – Medibank Live Better Rewards

7 – ANZ Rewards

8 –  Petstock Rewards

9 – eBay Plus

10 – Uber One 

Source: For Love or Money 

She explained they use OnePass which gives them free shipping on anything from Kmart, Target, Bunnings, Catch and Officeworks (to name a few), and Flybuys, the Coles loyalty program.

‘We get most of the kids clothes from Target, buy everyday items and snacks in bulk from Catch and often pick things up from Kmart or Office works as we need them,’ she said.

A recent Catch haul set them back $313 – and was delivered free as part of their OnePass membership.

Buying the same or similar items would have cost them $544 at Woolworths, and they would have received 60 fewer dishwashing tablets.

The family use Flybuys which is Coles' free program and paid service OnePass which allows them to get unlimited shipping from retailers like Kmart, Target, Priceline and Catch for $4 per month

The family use Flybuys which is Coles’ free program and paid service OnePass which allows them to get unlimited shipping from retailers like Kmart, Target, Priceline and Catch for $4 per month

‘We also do shopping for things like Christmas and birthdays on there,’ Zach said.

The family get a delivery a week in quiet periods but can have ‘many more’ before birthdays or in busy school periods.

‘Average delivery would be $8-10 a pop but we pay $4 a month. It is super handy because we can just get one thing delivered without having to think about what else we need to save on shipping. And it stops us from spending more money to get free shipping,’ Alexandra said. 

The couple cook in bulk and plan ahead as much as possible to make the most of their savings. They admit their garage is more of a stock cage for their bulk goods. 

‘We went through Maccas recently and it cost over $120 and it was disappointing,’ Zach said. 

This dash through the drive-thru hit home for the budget savvy couple who typically cook cheaper meals like spaghetti Bolognese in bulk for their family. 

The family usually shop at Coles earning Flybuys each time, they then try to fuel up at Shell service stations to maximise their points.

‘We usually save all of the rewards for Christmas time – then we use it for the catering. It is usually about $300 worth of vouchers which is great at that time,’ they said.

Mr Posner explained how he, as an expert, uses loyalty programs for maximum benefit.  

Zach is the natural spender in the couple - while Alexandra would prefer to save money on the basics to 'go on a holiday'

Zach is the natural spender in the couple – while Alexandra would prefer to save money on the basics to ‘go on a holiday’

The couple use Catch - which is part of their unlimited $4 delivery - for things like school snacks and cleaning supplies

The couple use Catch – which is part of their unlimited $4 delivery – for things like school snacks and cleaning supplies which they buy in bulk a couple of times each year saving hundreds each time 

‘Personally, I choose loyalty programs that are based on our shopping behaviour where there will be maximum benefit both financially and an easy experience. For me, Amazon Prime provides a simple one-click order experience, quick free delivery and hours and hours of movie streaming,’ he said.

‘Based on the volume of orders we do and shows we watch, the value is a no-brainer.’

In his For Love or Money consumer research study Mr Posner found more Australians are leaning on loyalty programs as the cost of living crisis continues.

Flybuys came up on top in Mr Posner’s loyalty program experience study followed closely by Woolworths: Everyday Rewards and OnePass.

Amazon Prime and American Express Membership Rewards completed the top five. 

‘Consumers should look for the brands they really prefer shopping at to maximise their opportunities to save at that brand through their loyalty program, if they have one,’ the expert said.

‘For example OnePass provides their members, for a small monthly subscription, free delivery from some of Australia’s most popular retailers such as Bunnings, Kmart, Officeworks, Target and Priceline.’

A similar shop would set them back around $550 at a major supermarket

The couple use Catch – which is part of their unlimited $4 delivery – for things like school snacks and cleaning supplies which they buy in bulk a couple of times each year saving hundreds each time 

Mr Posner says there’s no ‘maximum’ amount of loyalty programs people should have – people should simply build them around how they already spend. 

The Cain family said they put their savings toward making memories with their children.

They have also been known to sign up for fruit and vegetable subscriptions though admit they only work if you are flexible with what you want.

They’ve also gone three-ways in a cow from their butcher – splitting the cuts and costs with family members and popping it in the chest freezer. 

Alexandra is also sure to keep an eye on the spending and makes sure they are only bulk buying necessities.

‘Its usually the school snacks, toiletries and cleaning products. Things we always uses,’ she said.

One in five Australians have taken second jobs to keep their heads above water during the cost of living crisis.



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