Gift cards good for giving again

We’ve already explained how gift cards can help you make the most of your rewards cards. But as actual gifts, they haven’t always been great value, especially if they have short expiry dates or charge activation fees. (Coles outrageously used to take $4 off people’s gift card balance if they made enquiries at the call centre!) Some big retailers are now lifting their time limits and earlier this month NSW Fair Trading extended the expiry date on most gift cards and vouchers to three years, with businesses also banned from applying post-purchase administrative fees. The lesson here: always request that your retailer honour an expired gift card; apply slight pressure as required.

Fly, be free! (or at least, be cheap)

This week Virgin’s been pimping cut-price flights for May/June. Using 24 May 2018 as an example, you’ve got fares starting at $89 for Gold Coast to Sydney, including 23kg of luggage and free seat selection.

The cheapest Jetstar flight for that day is $71; but when you add $21 for 20kg of luggage, $5 to choose your seat – you’re at $97, so Virgin’s looking good.

However, if you’re a Club Jetstar member, some flights could save you $15.20, taking your total cost down to $81.80, beating Virgin. But Club Jetstar has a joining fee of $49 and an annual membership fee of $49.99 (waived for the first year). So you’d need to buy a Club Jetstar fare more than three times a year to make your membership worthwhile.

Catch a tiger by the tail

An industry insider tells us that if you can find a Jetstar flight departing from the same airport at the same time, and going to the same destination as a Tiger flight, Jetstar might match Tiger’s price. Call them and find out.

Aldi gives us butterflies

Aldi’s Special Buys for 11 April include their $199 replica leather butterfly chairs which were snapped up by savvy home-makers when they were offered in July last year. Elsewhere similar chairs can cost more than $450. No wonder the Aldi versions were featured in some interior design articles. But be prepared for a scrum at the shops.

Australia’s original Tesla family

Tesla is about the sexiest word in energy right now but what does the tech actually save you? Choice has a story about the Pfitzners, the first Australian family to have a Tesla Powerwall. In both 2016 and 2017, they saved almost 90% on their 2015 annual electricity bill, with the cost reduced by about $2000 each year. The Pfitzner’s $16.7k system looks like it will pay itself off within 10 years, taking into account their ability to sell electricity stored in their battery back to the grid.

Grocery vigilantes

Those feisty, deal-hungry shoppers at OzBargain have identified half-price Raw C Coconut Water at Woolworths, (save $2.50), 20 percent off Lego at Target (save $8 on an Ambulance Helicopter) and other savings from Coles. Drop by and benefit from their collective wisdom.

‘Leave your goods in the cart’ – an oldie but a goodie

This hack has been around for a while (see this UK forum devoted to it). Create an account with an online shop, put items in your cart, click to view the cart, then leave without purchasing. Many (but not all) stores will send you a reminder in the coming days/weeks offering a discount code to encourage you to move those items to the register – could be 5% off or more.