Winner Winner - how to score a free roast chook for dinner (& other grocery saving hacks you've never heard of!)

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, after accommodation, Australian’s biggest expense is food. That’s a fair chunk of income being dedicated to keeping us all happy and fed.

Podcast hosts Dan & Blaize invite Amanda, the brains behind bargain.boss to share her tips on the best ways to cut down on grocery costs. Amanda is an expert at saving at the shops and even shares a hack on how to score a free roast chicken from Coles (yes, seriously!).

The following is a transcript from Episode 17 of the We Talk Cents podcast.

Transcription software is used to create this blog. 


Blaize Pengilly  00:09

Personal Finance budgeting cash flow and investing don't have to be scary words. The We Talk Cents podcast is here to help you learn more about money and take control of your personal finance.


Blaize Pengilly  00:29

This podcast is made for entertainment and educational purposes only. All information shared is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and where appropriate seek professional advice from a financial advisor.


Dan Jovevski  00:45

For more information, please check out /disclaimer.


Dan Jovevski  00:52

G'day, welcome to another instalment of We Talk Cents a podcast presented by WeMoney As always, you joined by me Dan, the resident finance guru,


Blaize Pengilly  01:01

and me Blaize your resident spendaholic. Now on today's episode, we will be talking to bargain boss who as I'm sure you can guess by the name is an absolute boss at getting bargains. So she's gonna drop by and tell us how you can score a free roast chook when you do your grocery shopping. But before we get into that, can I get a drumroll - we have an announcement. We recently got some feedback from you, our lovely listeners. And what you said to us is that you'd like shorter episodes focusing on one topic. So that's exactly what we're going to do. So from here on in, we will be focusing our mini chat on one topic each week, we'll still be delivering you the news to keep you up to date. And every now and then we'll have a guest drop by to share their thoughts on a particular topic. Now, if you would like to give us some feedback, because like we said, it's very, very helpful. And we love hearing from you. I will put a link to the survey in our show notes. So you can also share your thoughts and make any suggestions on what you do or don't want to hear on the episodes. Now, that's all done and dusted. Dan, what did you say in the news this week? or What did he say in the news this week seeing as we can't see news on Facebook anymore.


Dan Jovevski  02:24

That's such a good such a good point. Well, because I think the one that really stood out to me was the fact that job keeper is now is going to come to an end in the next month or so. And what's super interesting is that if you think about jobkeeper, and all the government stimulus programs have been around for about a year or so. And that's a pay down our debt, as people have got access to things like purely superannuation payouts to tune like 20 grand, I think that we're going to go to a really interesting period of the Australian economy, we're gonna really see the effects of COVID in the way that the government's are only going to be supporting people as much as they did before. And that may put some additional stress on people's households, in terms of how they make their commitments to their household budgets. So I'll be waiting with a little gritted teeth to find out how that data pulls out. And I'm sure a lot of people at home that are listening also as well, I'm gonna be thinking about a situation where, you know, the government isn't splashing around the cash like they did last year, which will be super interesting to see how that plays out.


Blaize Pengilly  03:29

Yeah, they've really stopped making it rain, which is, I'm interested as well to see how it plays out. Because, you know, there's been a couple of snap lock downs in the past few weeks. We're not really over COVID, yet anything can still sort of happen. So, yeah, it'd be really interesting to see how we bounce back. And I wonder if all the stimulus and everything that we got from the government last year, was really beneficial and help helping the economy stay afloat? Or if it's something that's just delayed the onset of the effects of COVID. So yeah, I'm with you, Dan. I'll be waiting with bated breath to see how things play out. As for news on my end, then, I had a little look again, and our friend Stefan Thomas, the US programmer who lost his password to his bitcoin wallet. It's week four, he still hasn't figured out the password. He's got two attempts left to access over $300 million worth of Bitcoin so Stefan, you know, we've got your back we we are waiting and refreshing the new sites daily to see if you find your password because how it goes out to him must be so painful having all that money sitting there and not not having a way to access it.


Dan Jovevski  04:38

Well, it's probably more painful by the day Blaize because the bitcoin price has gone up to $66,000 per one bitcoin, just in the last couple of days. So Stefan made that last two password attempts. I think you're going to be looking back in the next two to three years as being the world's Probably first trillionaire but not being able to actually access your money.


Blaize Pengilly  05:04

So we hope you know we are thinking of you, Stefan.


Blaize Pengilly  05:14

Dan I got stuck in a YouTube hole last night. Can you guess? I know it's a very broad topic, but can you guess what I ended up watching? Because I think you'll find it pretty unbelievable.


Dan Jovevski  05:27

Knowing you goodness may have no idea. But isn't that new like, like, old school like 1980s? Were people wearing frills? Everyone's talking about I can't remember what it's called bridgerton or bridgerton or something? Yes. Was it that?


Blaize Pengilly  05:45

It wasn't Bridgerton. I think that's actually Netflix. I was on YouTube because a friend put me on to this ridiculous, ridiculous series. Have you heard of extreme couponing?


Dan Jovevski  05:59

No, I haven't. But I can already tell what it's probably going to be about.


Blaize Pengilly  06:04

Seriously, my mind is blown. I watched the very short episodes of just seven minute episode last night of this one woman who saves over 5000 coupons each and every week. She has a room full of coupons where she's put them all into crates. They're like downhill hallway that all through her house. And she coupons, the crap out of all of these supermarkets. So her garage looks like a supermarket you walk in and she's got hundreds and hundreds of every item. She is like an absolute discount diva. She opens a linen cupboard and it's got 300 bottles of one type of soda in it. She like does all these insane deals where she'll take in these coupons when the items on sale. And then she'll end up getting paid for the items she's buying. The videos got like her to train of about six trolleys full to the brim of it's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. In episode I watched she got $1,061 worth of items to pay after her coupons. Guess what she paid?


Dan Jovevski  07:10

100 bucks.


Blaize Pengilly  07:12

They owed her dollars and $8.84. So she had so many coupons got so many discounts the store owed her $8.84


Dan Jovevski  07:26



Blaize Pengilly  07:28

Like, what, what the heck and crazy. And then the reason I mentioned couponing and extreme couponing is because today we are talking about how to save on your groceries. So joining us today on the show is the absolute Queen of the safe market, a woman who knows her way around getting the absolute best bargains out there. In the past, she has specialised working in Consumer Law and domestic building contracts complaints for over 11 years. And now she runs an Instagram sharing the hottest bargains and money saving tips around. She's no stranger to a bargain or a side hustle. Her first ever side hustle actually, is that she sold virtual products on a game called Everquest for real money. So if you can make money from a virtual product, I mean good on you. That's incredible. Originally hailing from England, and now based out of Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two beautiful kids. Joining us now via the magic of the internet is the discount diva herself Amanda from bargain boss. How are you Amanda?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  08:28

Hey, guys, I'm good. How are you going?


Dan Jovevski  08:31

Great, Amanda,


Blaize Pengilly  08:33

 Very, very good. Amanda, thank you so much for joining us. First off. Have you ever fallen victim to watching extreme couponing couponing? Like I have? And have you ever managed to make money back of a purchase? Or is that something that only happens in the United States?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  08:49

I can't say I've ever watched that show. No. But I can say that I regularly make money from using discount codes. One in particular, I use concierge vouchers, which is essentially the good guys. extended warranty. And I basically you get sent a $20 voucher every now and then I use that combined with cash rewards or ShopBack and I purchase something so by the time I get my cash rewards or shop back, I end up making money from the transaction.


Dan Jovevski  09:26

Amanda, that's absolutely incredible. And have you followed your journey now for over a year? It's absolutely incredible to find out the things that you can get discounts on save a lot of money. I'm really interested to hear your story like what was the evolution of bargain bars and how you came to now have 12,000 followers on Instagram and this obsession now with discounting and coupons hadn't all come about for you. How did this become an area of interest for you personally?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  09:54

Oh, that's a really good question. Actually. Um, I don't actually know where it started. I I come from a background where my my grandma was very much into saving money. My mom raised me by herself. So being from a single parent household, there were a lot of things that you know, we needed to do to cut costs. And one of my favourite memories growing up was going down to the local petrol station of all places, and getting takeaway for dinner, they would do $1 hotdogs, and you could put anything you wanted on these hotdogs. And that was the best night out of the week. For me it was not because it was, you know, cheap, it was just fun. It was so fun to go and do that. And I think I realized at that point that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun and to enjoy yourself. Simple things, cheap things can give you just as much joy.


Blaize Pengilly  10:49

Amanda I as a big fan of the old Bunnings sausage sizzle, what a what a disaster it was when COVID stop that from occurring. And a big fan of the IKEA sausage sizzle as well, I can totally understand why going to the local survey would be a very fond memory for you. Amanda, what is the best hole you've got when it comes to saving on groceries or making any sort of bargain purchase?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  11:18

I think one of my favourites would be shopping late at night for markdowns. I really enjoy coming home with a huge haul. My husband does a specific diet. It's called the carnivore diet. So he basically eats just meat. So going to Woolies and Coles and getting a whole heap of markdowns, it saves us heaps of money. So I try to go quite late in the evening around seven, eight o'clock, when they've just reduced everything down from from the you know, no one's bought it for dinner. So they're just trying to get rid of it. And I have a specific freezer setup for those markdowns. So it just saves so much money. And yeah, that would probably be my best ones.


Dan Jovevski  12:02

That's amazing Amanda I actually uncovered that myself, I went to a shop last week. And usually we don't buy you know, salads that you get at the delis. And sometimes they're pretty expensive in those tubs. But I saw the person with those yellow stickers on the gun they put out to her to mark down stuff. And I didn't think they were marked out it's really expensive grain cous cous. But I thought I'd just cheekily sort of ask "hey is that on discount" and he goes Yeah, after 830 there's all this stuff is half price. So I'm gonna time my my shops that last 30 minutes before close time to get to get awesome discounts. That's, that's phenomenal. Amanda on, I'm keen to say is how people can get involved with coupon and you mentioned a few platforms before where cash rewards and all these other providers. How do you manage all this stuff? Went to Blaize's example of like that lady who's got a full linen cupboard of like soda cans. I mean, I'm pretty envious. I don't think I've got the real estate for to get those holes. But it reminds me of George Costanza in an episode of Seinfeld, where he opens up his wallet. And it's breaking from the seams because it's got all these coupons flying out everywhere. But how do you manage everything to do with coupon he sounds like us technology. But for listeners have they make the journey of collecting coupons or getting discounts really efficient?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  13:26

Well, I tend to use my phone for a lot of it. So with with the coupons like the concierge rewards $20 off coupons, I will set reminders in my phone to ensure that it doesn't expire. I did lose a couple initially when I first started because I didn't set the reminders. And I would just forget I don't give you a very long timeframe to use them. And the things that I do a write it in my planner, I have a magnetic board that's in our pantry which has stuff on there, I usually just try to use them as soon as possible. My phone is absolutely chock full of reminders though, at the moment I have reminders to pick up pesto jars, like something as simple as that. It's just to avoid forgetting prior to a promotion ending. But in terms of the technology side of things, I I think at a stage it got to the point where using cash rewards and Shopback just became second nature. So if I forget, I get quite disappointed with myself because I could have saved that little bit of money. I also try to check my emails quite regularly because often there are extra bonus deals in there in relation to cash rewards and shop that which I like to use to purchase things in advance. So for example, if they've got a if they have a bonus $10 off. Often they do that places like Book Depository, I'll use that and purchase a gift, put it away and what I refer to as my gift cupboard, and I've got that for when the kids get invited to a birthday party or something I've got Already there and it saved me.


Blaize Pengilly  15:05

So Amanda, you are not only a bargain Queen, but an organisation queen? Because it sounds like there's a lot of planning that you have that goes into this. I love the idea of a gift covenant. It's very, you know, it's forward thinking and helping you save money in advance. I love it. Do you find that? Because you're so hyper aware of all the bargains of operations going on that you're actually spending more money than you would otherwise? Or like you buying things that you don't necessarily need or stocking up more so than necessary? Or do you find that it is really saving you money in the long haul.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  15:40

Initially, yes, I was buying things that I didn't need. So prior to moving to this house, in our old house, I actually had a cupboard which was filled with all the extra items, rice, paper towels, all the things that I could buy in bulk and keep I did stop doing that to a degree because I found that I would forget what was in there and I would end up re buying anyway. So I tried not to do that when we moved to the new house. But it's it's just about being on top of it. It's about keeping on top of it and only buying things that in terms of the gifts only buying things that I can resell if needed. I try to avoid buying too much now because the whole process of reselling, while I do enjoy making the money, it is quite time consuming. And it is a side hustle in itself. So in order to avoid having to just you know resell everything I have, I do try to avoid buying too much now.


Dan Jovevski  16:41

That's amazing, Amanda, talk to us about specifically in supermarkets, because there's actually a lot of hacks that people can do and actually go to the supermarket the one that we talked about earlier was going through and waiting until close time to pick up those bargains. But there's some other ways to go about doing that as well what are some of the ways that you've done to get stuff for free?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  17:04

Well, there's quite a few free grocery policies that people don't really know about. The first is the scanning policy, which I've done a blog on essentially that I'll just go through a quick version of that the scanning policy is when an item scans incorrectly, so it scans higher than what the advertised prices or what the shelf price is. So for example the shelf says $2 but you take the item to the register it scans for $3 the first item is actually supposed to be yours now for free any subsequent item that is identical so it has to have the exact same barcode should be given at the cheaper price. But that first item being free can actually save you quite a lot of money especially if it's an item like mate another policy is with fresh or free policy so that one is a really good one if you buy something that they deem to be fresh fruit or sorry fresh food. So fruit vegetables mate along those lines and if it's not fresh, you're actually entitled to return it get the item itself again and get your money back so you're getting the whole thing free and you're getting the item to


Blaize Pengilly  18:17

Wait what? You get it for free you get money and then you still get it?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  18:22

You still get they'll replace it with the exact same product that is fresh. So say you bought a brisket and there was something wrong with it when you opened it up you take it back they give you a brand new brisket approximately approximately the same size and you get your money back that you paid so that's


Blaize Pengilly  18:46

that is outrageous that are you just going around the supermarket like I used to go around when mars had their one in five bars free deal where you you're holding the chocolate up trying to say the if it's a winner on the rapper or are you just going around going oh god I hope I hope this brisket isn't quite up to scratch so I can take it back and get my money's worth and the extra free one how do you how often are you able to claim things like this?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  19:09

Well with that one I don't claim it regularly it is more you know that that's just a chance one if you've picked up something and you take it home you open it up I think I've used it more often with chicken there's been a couple times that I've purchased chicken brought it home it just doesn't quite smell right taking it back to the shop that gives me a brand new I'm giving me my money back and awkward to I'm pretty happy with that but yeah it's it's any item it's bought in store if it's bought online, it doesn't matter it can be fruit vegetables, whatever. But yeah, it's a pretty good policy.


Blaize Pengilly  19:45

Chicken is definitely not a made that you want to take a gamble on. So it's a very good policy when it comes to when it comes to chokes.


Dan Jovevski  19:54

Amanda that's so cool. The other day I had this exact same thing you know when you buy a watermelon and you Hoping that it's going to be nice, juicy and luscious. And everything's gonna go perfectly. I came home with a watermelon and I did the first last thing, okay, it's looking pretty good, it's looking pretty good. And I go to the core and inside was completely rotten, they must have got some air into it. And it was all moldy and crusty I thought. And it was like 23 bucks. It was like a massive watermelon that we were preparing for, like a family outing. And I thought to myself, we're gonna go back to Coles and Woolies now present them this mouldy watermelon, that I've just spent 30 minutes lugging from the supermarket or home. But it's very true, I had no idea that you can actually go back and do that I thought it was a chance of the drawers. That's, that's super awesome. That's good to know that people and supermarkets, I've given people a pretty fair deal. If you pick up something that's rotten, you'd have to live with that you can go home and get for free. So that's awesome.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  20:50

If you don't want to actually take it back, what I recommend doing is calling the store because with certain items, it's just not feasible to lug it back to the store huge watermelon, make the smells funny. Like you don't want to put that in your fridge, keep it for the next day. I have regularly called my store and said, Look, this is the situation. I don't want to keep this in my fridge. I am going to throw it out. And they've said just bring back the receipt.


Blaize Pengilly  21:16

That's awesome. And then I supermarkets that are better for these kind of policies. Is it across the board? How does it work?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  21:26

I find Coles and Woolies very good when it comes to their policies. I find Aldi is is good, but it seems like often their staff put up more of a fight, whereas Woolies and Coles are quite, quite lenient. If it's not fresh, just that's it. It's fine. They don't expect you to keep that. But there are a lot more policies available at Coles and Woolies. So that's why I tend to shop there.


Blaize Pengilly  21:54

What would be a more obscure or unusual policy that we might not have heard of that we can adopt?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  22:02

Well, that that would probably be the Coles free hot roast chicken promise. So the Coles free hot chicken roast promise is essentially if you go into a store between certain hours, and they don't have a hot chicken available, you can get a voucher to claim a free one on your next Isn't


Blaize Pengilly  22:19

You're joking?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  22:22

I'm not joking. And I love they have chickens they have chickens are delicious. I use them in everything. Pasta soup, just with chips. It's amazing. So I am always on the lookout for a free hot chicken. But I actually called them today because I'm writing a blog on exactly this how to save money at grocery stores. And I received some information because there's a lot of debate about the free hot chicken promise. If you look it up on the internet, it can be quite confusing. So some of the questions people ask are, is it available in all stores? Does the promise still exist? Post COVID? Are Queensland stores actually involved in the offer? Is it only available between certain hours? And do these hours change at each store? So I caught them this morning. And I was told that yes, it is in fact still in place. It is available nationwide. So Queensland is included. And they even gave me the hours which I was really surprised about. Now obviously these can change because you know, sometimes it depends on who you talk to in the store as to the information you get. But yeah, they said that Victoria and most New South Wales stores if you go between 9am to 8pm Tasmania and Northern Territory between 9am to 6pm, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland stores between 11am and close. And there's just a few stores in New South Wales and one in South Australia that have different hours to those bulk hours.


Dan Jovevski  23:53

That's amazing. I could just imagine somebody listening to this podcast right now probably in the home on the way to work, even myself, you know what, I'm not gonna go home. I'm gonna go to buy at my local shopping centre and see if I get myself a free chalk that is absolutely amazing.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  24:08

It's definitely a good policy.


Blaize Pengilly  24:10

So Amanda, we've got the policy of if the item that you take to the table doesn't scan at the same amount that it's advertised, you get the first item free, fresh or free at Woolworths or if your item isn't fresh, you get it free and you get your money back, total bargain and a free rose chalk, which is as we've just discussed, incredible, what would be your final tip for getting cheaper grocery saving on groceries? Is there anything else we can be watching out for to make the most of our grocery shop?


Amanda - Bargain Boss  24:43

Yeah, absolutely. So it's really important to remember that the grocery stores all have their own version of the satisfaction guarantee. So 100% satisfaction guarantee on their own branded items. This can save a lot of money because often I don't know about you But when it comes to certain things, I'm not prepared to try what I guess I refer to as an inferior product, Tim Tams being one like I'm buying the real Tim tips. But if if you go to Woolies, Aldi, Coles, and you purchase their own branded item, you get 100% satisfaction guarantee. So you can take it home, you try it, you don't like it, you take it back when your next shop, they give you your money back, there's no questions asked, it's just done. One thing to remember here, though, is that you can try the product, a lot of people have said to me in the past oh, I just threw it out. Because I didn't think I could do anything about it. I used it, I opened it. So I just threw it out. And in order to actually be 100% satisfied, you have to have tried it. If if it's an item where you can't actually return it. For example, I bought little mini chicken kievs. And I cooked them, we started to ate them. And maybe half of them actually had the garlic filling inside the rest would just round glorified chicken nuggets. I ended up taking back just the packaging, because I can't really take back what we've just eaten. So just the packaging was sufficient. Got my money back for it. It sounds strange, because obviously it's been eaten. But when you think about it, what else? How are you going to? What else are you going to do with it? you've cooked it for dinner? Yes, it's not exactly right. You're not happy with it. But you're not exactly going to put it to the side cook a different dinner. So I called them and said, Look, I just wanted to let you know this for feedback, not even realising at that time that I could take the packaging that and the guy said yeah, no, that's fine. Just you have the box. I said, Well, yeah, it's in, in the recycling bin. And he said, Yeah, just take it back in. That's it. That's all you have to do, they'll give you your money back. So this is no harm in trying their branded products. There's literally no harm, you can get your money back if you don't like it.


Dan Jovevski  27:08

Amanda, I don't have the perfect title for this podcast. It has to be Winner winner chicken dinner, because we're getting free chickens. We're having a great meal at home, and we're not paying for it.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  27:23

I like that that's a good name for it


Blaize Pengilly  27:25

love the name Dan. I did a little bit of research. And I had a look at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And according to them, as of April 2020. The second biggest category of household spending off to housing costs is food. And the average food spend per Australian, so not per household, but per Australian is $91 per week. So how much would you say your spending per week or per fortnight on you, your family,


Amanda - Bargain Boss  27:57

I've managed to reduce our grocery shopping down to around $150 a fortnight. And as I said, my husband needs just meat. So that's quite a reasonable cost for a family of four when one of them's primarily eating meat. But some of the ways I have saved there is by using these policies there's there's just so many things that they the grocery, the supermarkets offer to save you money, you just have to know about them.


Blaize Pengilly  28:26

Yeah, that's awesome. Thank you, Amanda, for joining us today to share those those policies and these tips and tricks that you use to save so much on groceries. Amanda if our listeners want to find out more about you or follow the incredible bargains that you find and share. Where can they go.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  28:42

I have an Instagram page. It's called bargain.boss. So you can find me on there I regularly post tips on how to save money information on side hustles my markdown hauls so that people can see exactly how much I have saved. And it's also on Facebook as well.


Blaize Pengilly  29:00

And I've also seen Instagram that you share incredible cocktail recipes Amanda so if you if you're a fan of making cocktails and you want to make one tonight, I highly recommend you go and check out her story because you've got some awesome recipes on there too.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  29:13

Thanks Blaize. Yeah, I used to be a bartender so I enjoy putting up cocktails, especially with remote learning. It was definitely something that we needed in our house.


Blaize Pengilly  29:22

Remote learning remote cocktail learning, you can do it all. Amanda, thank you so much for joining us today. It was a pleasure having you on We Talk Cents.


Amanda - Bargain Boss  29:29

Thanks so much for having me guys.


Dan Jovevski  29:31

Thanks, Amanda.


Dan Jovevski  29:38

If you love the show, and you want to learn more about money, give the WeMoney app a go. Use our code podcast to sign up and you'll get $5 on us just for simply signing up and understanding your money a little better.


Blaize Pengilly  29:54

Thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of all We Talk Cents We love having you join us


Dan Jovevski  29:59

We'll be back again next week for another instalment of We Talk Cents.


Blaize Pengilly  30:04

Don't forget, if you'd like to take control of your finances give away money app ago, it's free to use and if you download using the referral code, podcast, then you'll get $5 on sign up.


Dan Jovevski  30:16

And if you've got any feedback about the show, he else that you want us to talk about, please get in touch with us directly via Instagram at Gateway money.


Blaize Pengilly  30:25

Thank you so much for tuning in. We'll catch you later.


Dan Jovevski  30:27

See you next time.





We Talk Cents is not a financial advisor and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This podcast should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on the podcast as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation.


Turn your learnings into practice
Try WeMoney today.