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Black Friday 2016

This year, I didn’t take part in Black Friday. Though I have done so previously, it became painfully obvious that this was the year that Black Friday truly jumped the shark in SA.

When I left for work at 05:15 Friday morning (yay Cape Town traffic) and drove past our local lifestyle Checkers, people were lined up with their trolleys. For what? To pay R75 for R109 toilet paper which comes down on sale to R79.99 every few weeks anyway?

Pfft. I was not impressed. The husband and I went to Stellenbosch that night, and picked up some of that paper in an almost empty Checkers. We didn’t need to take off work, or risk being trampled or pickpocketed. Checkers was restocking throughout the day.

I’m not even going to get started on the shameful deals by the online stores. I did end up buying my husband a pair of shoes which I added to my Zando wishlist in December last year. That’s because it was now R199 instead of R499, and it was the kind of thick, sturdy shoes he needs because my word, I have never seen someone destroy so many pairs of shoes just by wearing them normally.

We were holding onto our ebucks in case Makro vouchers came back but they haven’t and it’s been almost 5 months now *sob*. I took the plunge and converted some to Dis-chem vouchers, to get the husband the Mont Blanc Legend: Spirit fragrance he has been eyeing. We also bought a tower fan and a new microwave (desperately needed since my one from university has been making “explodey” noises for quite a while now) from the ebucks store.

Overall, a dismal showing from everyone involved. As I have been monitoring prices on things we want/need at various stores for over a year now, I knew that the “deals” were simply non-existent.

 

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Sticking with eBucks…for now

After having a minor meltdown about the eBucks rule changes announced on 1 June, and then realising I was overthinking it and it was actually fine, I revisited the idea of upgrading to Platinum again.

With the new rules coming into effect on 1 July, it will be much easier for me to calculate my rewards since the Gold rewards are now capped based on fixed amounts and not percentage anymore.

For example: I ran my app on my June transactions this morning, and realised that my Checkers spend is currently sitting at 25% of my qualifying spend. Since the (current) Gold rule is capped at 20% of QS or R7000, whichever comes first, I need to get my QS up to get my Checkers ratio down.

Fortunately, since payday is on Friday, there are some bills I need to swipe, some additions to the home gym need to be purchased, and we should probably fill the jerry can and cars with fuel before the price increase.

From July, it will be nice not to have to worry about that kind of thing, since Checkers is now capped at R4000. The downside of these rules means that, based on our current (slowing) spend, the maximum eBucks we will get each month will be about R1100.

On Monday, I did a quick Excel analysis of our average monthly spend, and the rewards we could expect based on new rules for Gold and Platinum. Taking into account monthly fees, despite receiving more overall rewards on Platinum, we still lose out because of the cheque account fee (double Gold).

In conclusion, we will remain on Gold. There’s less hassle with more rewards and it aligns with our reduced spending habits.

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Now this is how you purchase a home gym

Yesterday, the SO and I popped around to Makro to get the components for his (our?) home gym. After cancelling my gym membership, we were eager to get the parts in place so that he can cancel his and I can finally return to my roots.

Since we’ve tightened our belts over the last two months, our eBucks rewards have also dropped, because not spending real money always trumps getting fake money back for spending more. Seriously, our total monthly spend has dropped by about R4000, so our qualifying monthly spend is even lower.

Nevertheless, we did have some rewards as I was able to convert my 11191 eB into a R1865 Makro voucher. This, in conjunction with the health equipment sale, allowed us to obtain a bench with an included barbell and curling bench, as well as a set of plates for free. We were also able to get two more sets of plates at a reduced price, as well as mats for the tiled floor and a core stretcher band thingy for me.

Overall, an excellent haul, and I’m super psyched to be able to do my workouts again. I’m also looking forward to adding some barbell work in addition to my dumbbell exercises on my strength days.

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Black Friday 2015: A retrospective look

I wasn’t planning on taking part in Black Friday this year. I’ve long since held that SA does not truly “do” Black Friday, for a myriad of reasons (including our particular history, social factors etc).

My suspicions were of course confirmed by 8% off sales trumpeted as if it were heaven-sent. Canal Walk was already full at 10am when I slipped away from work with a colleague to get supplies for our function on Friday afternoon. I wanted to go to Checkers to buy lip balm and withdraw cash, but had to turn back because the doors were closed and there was a huge crowd standing outside waiting to get in.

The “5 Cokes for R50” was just too much of a bargain for those people I guess.

The difference in Takealot’s Black Friday offering this year compared to 2014 was also noticeable. Last year they went head to head with Kalahari, with both sites going offline throughout the day. Now that Takealot has acquired Kalahari, this year’s deals were less than impressive.

The shop which really brought it this year was Spree. I didn’t even know they were doing Black Friday, but they went all in. After I got over the disappointment of Takealot, I was clicking through my other favourite online haunts when I saw Spree unloading tops and dresses for R40, R50, R60…The faster I tried to add to cart, the faster the items disappeared.

I managed to snag two dresses, a pair of pants and a skirt for R250 (!), and three work shirts, two pairs of jeans and casual slip ons for the SO for R600. As noted previously, clothing was the only thing I was looking out for in the sales since the SO and I both need to replace our wardrobes due to the physique changes we have undergone over the last year.

I also snagged a backpack off Zando for the SO, as a “yay on starting your first job” present. It’s a good bag, and I was willing to pay its R800 price tag, but I decided to wishlist it and wait a day. I then paid R479 for it the next day, and will get my 4% partner eBucks + 3% FNB ebucks of course.

Overall, Black Friday turned out quite well for me. Now that it’s Cyber Monday, I used Spree’s 30% off to purchase the gifts for my bridesmaids (which I will personalise later myself). I honestly see no reason to ever set foot in a shopping mall again.

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I’ve reached new couponing heights

This month, all my obsessing has paid off: I’ve reached Level 5 on eBucks rewards. I took the time to create a spreadsheet, studied the new rules like a maniac and made preparations in June.

So it was with delight over the weekend that I took all my eBucks and converted it to a Makro voucher at 40% off. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss. I also realised that now that I enjoy shopping at Makro, I am officially an old person.

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Now this is how you purchase a connected scale

A few weeks ago I purchased a connected scale. I also just realised I have to post a review of it still. Oops.

I mentioned in that post that Incredible Connection was running an online promo at the time. Now, I am not one to advocate for shopping at IC, it’s just that I have learnt during my couponing adventures that you should not block out certain shops based on reputation/prior interactions.

All the shops (online/off) that I checked out had the Withings scale for R2500. I think one shop had it for R2000, but there was a 5 day delivery time or something. IC had it for R2500 + R500 off my next online purchase.

Yes, I know it’s a trick to ensure repeat business, but it was the best deal going at the time. Here’s why I count this as a couponed experience:

  1. Online purchase with credit card -> highest bank eBucks reward
  2. IC is an eBucks partner -> partner eBucks reward
  3. A branch close to me had stock -> no delivery cost as I was going to that mall anyway
  4. Bonus voucher

I ended up using the voucher to purchase GTA V for the SO for R299. Another online purchase, so all the reasons above apply, plus the SO gets a legit game to hammer the GTX 970.

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If you think you’ve read the fine print, read again.

I’ve been working on optimising my eBucks lately. Part of that has been to relink my credit card to earn eBucks, and to swipe for everything the SO purchases as well, with the money being transferred to me afterwards.

I was quite irritated to discover that, after optimising for the month of April, that I was still on Level 3. After scrutinising my point allocation, I realised that I had been given 1000 points for “withdrawing less than R1000 at the ATM”, when I had not withdrawn money at all the entire month. I should have gotten 4000 points for swiping only, and since I was 2000 points short of Level 4, this oversight had cost me another month.

Now that I was properly miffed, I got onto my high horse and called the eBucks contact centre. After the guy let me rant a bit, he then directed me to read the rules.

Cash usage for the month
ATM withdrawals is R1 000 or less. 1 000
ATM withdrawals is R1 000 or less and use Cash@Till™. 2 000
Swipe your card and use Cash@Till™ only.
(Only Cheque Cards accepted at Cash@Till™)
4 000

Swipe your card AND use Cash@Till only.


So out of spite, I’ve now drawn R50 using Cash@Till, and swiped the rest of the month. I will not be caught out like that again.