Do you get excited by the thought of saving money on your petrol? Do you faithfully shop at the big grocery stores in order to collect the discount vouchers, even though you may be able to source your groceries cheaper or at higher quality elsewhere? Let’s see whether or not that magic discount voucher is worth the thermal paper it’s burnt onto:
|Litres Purchased||Undiscounted Cost||Cost with 4c discount||Cost with 8c Discount||Savings (4c disc.)||Savings (8c disc.)|
Let’s see now…the average family car holds between 50 and 60 litres of petrol, so if you fuel your average car with a 4c/litre discount voucher you are “saving” between $2.00 and $2.40. Double the “savings” for the 8c/litre deal.
This would be fantastic news if the companies offering 4 and 8 cents discount per litre on their fuel just gave you that discount ’cause they’re nice. But you don’t float a company like Woolworths or Coles on the stock market and keep your shareholders happy with billions of dollars of profits each year by being nice.
In order to take advantage of this amazing and astoundingly generous offer, you need to spend money with these companies. The last time I checked, you had to spend at least $30.00 on groceries to qualify for the 4c per litre discount. This means that unless you deliberately combine your grocery shopping with fueling up the car to take advantage (thus forcing you to shop at the big chains) then your “saving” of $2.00 at the pump on 50 litres of petrol is costing you $28.00.
I read this article detailing how the big chains will no longer be allowed to offer discounts above 4c/litre on fuel using shopper dockets “funded by other arms of their business”. That is, grocery shopping mainly. They are still allowed to offer discounts above 4c/litre if the discount relies on stuff you buy at the servo while you’re fuelling up. This explains why when I got fuel the other day, the advertising above the pump informed me that with my existing 4c/litre fuel docket (that cost me $30.00) – if I was to spend $5.00 in the shop after fuelling up I could get a MASSIVE 8C PER LITRE OFF!! Wow. I was impressed. What savings!
So let’s recap. 4c/litre discount costs $30.00 for a $2.00 saving. That’s a net of $28.00 I have paid to the supermarket giants in order to cultivate the feeling that I have actually saved money, when in fact all I have done is contributed to their massive bottom line. I then buy $5.00 worth of the most expensive retail goods anywhere in the world (ie the inside of a service station) in order to get my 8c discount. So I have spent $35.00 to make a “saving” of $4.00 on 50 litres of fuel, which is a net spend of $31.00.
Folks, don’t get caught by the whole shopper docket thing. You’re not saving money. Buy what you need when you need it, and buy fuel from the retailer with the lowest price.