When I say that this post has been sitting in my head for a while, I mean months. Have you ever had an idea you’re so excited about & you know you have to do but so much so that you’re immobilized by not knowing where to start? Well here goes…
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m frugal. And I’ve since then been really happy to find out that many of you guys are too. I’m a little bit addicted to loyalty programs – good ones at least but that’s another post for another day (seriously though, my favourite loyalty programs – that’s another post that’s been floating in my head for way too long!).
High on that list of good loyalty programs would have to be the Discovery Vitality program – one I know many have but few people use even nearly to its maximum benefit. And I can understand why. It’s not all that straightforward and it’s work, make no mistake. Not to mention they do change the rules from time to time too just as I’m finally wrapping my head around them.
Before I tell you how I saved this cash last year, let me set the scene:
- I’ve been on Discovery (with Vitality) for 10 years and on Diamond level/status (I don’t mean to brag but you need to understand for the context of this post that it’s the highest Vitality level there is, just in case you didn’t know) for the last 5/6 years
- Up to and including 2012 I was on a single membership as the principal/main/only member
- I’m in it (i.e. Discovery) pretty much hook, line & sinker i.e. aside from health care and Vitality, I also have their credit card (which has a R 1 000 limit & I use as a debit card), life, household and car insurance, a retirement annuity and 2 endowments. This can be a good and a bad thing.
So where did this R 35 k come from???
I’ll get right to it but I have to say that that cliché of every bit counts definitely applies. Some of the rewards (I’ve denoted the cash back % that I received in brackets below) were dictated by my Diamond Vitality status and others were not and were at a flat rate instead (I’ve marked these as*). For simplicity I have rounded off the amounts saved but they are not very far off the actual numbers…
Retail Partners ( all cash back at 20%)
- @home/Totalsports – R 5 500
- Exclusive Books – R 200
- Stuttafords – R 1 100
- Nandos – R 1 300
- Autopage – R 110
- Look & Listen – R 180
Total = R 8 390
Pick n Pay
- Healthy Food – R 2 000 (25%*)
- Multiplier – R 1 600 (10%)
Put simply, I get 10% off anything & everything (i.e. my entire shop at PnP) and an extra 25% off if it’s a pre identified Healthy Food item = 35% in those cases. Great news on this one is that they’ve now made this benefit available at Woolies too!
Total = R 3 600
- Clicks club card – R 13 00 (15%)
- Clicks Healthy living – R 65 (25%)
Like above I get 15% off my entire shopping basket at Clicks (excl. meds) and an extra 25% off if it’s a pre identified Healthy Living item = 40% off those items.
Total = R 1 365
- Ster Kinekor Movies – R 540 (varies but around 50% or more*)
- Kulula – R 3 100 (35%)
- Europcar – R 50 (25%)
- Southern Sun – R 9 700 (we took a fancy holiday at 65% off but this has since dropped to 50%)
- Adidas Healthy Gear – R 450 (25%*)
Tip: Buy your Adidas gear at Totalsports (vs. stand alone Adidas stores). If you add up the 2 discounts, that’s 45% off the shelf price! This still applies if the item is on sale 🙂
Total = R 13 840
BP Fuel reward – R 7800
TOTAL = R 34 995
- No doubt, what’s key to Discovery is integration. What I mean is that because they have a pretty darn good view of for example, the state of my health, that definitely impacts what they charge me for say, life cover. This can be a good/bad thing.
- I know that I am actually saving even more money than this, for example no/reduced fees on my RA/endowments but that’s the point at which things become too complicated for me, so I’ve just stuck to the major saving in this post
- If you already have it, you’re paying for it so start using Vitality today. You can do a lot in the month that’s left of the year…
- If you have a Discovery credit card or are thinking about getting one, don’t be duped into getting a silver/gold one etc. It delivers no extra benefits at all apart from the “prestige” of having said card and the higher annual fees. If you already have a gold/silver one, ask to be moved to a blue (entry-level one) when it’s up for renewal.
- If you can’t get your head around Vitality, get them to send a broker (it’s free) to your home/office to sit down with you and talk through it at your convenience.
- Vitality Health: You can’t do it all, so check what the items/activities are that will deliver the highest points and do those right away. Start with the online assessments.
- Book a morning and get all your tests and assessments done at once. Way better than spreading it over weeks/months.
- Vitality Drive: my husband used to complain that BP’s weren’t convenient for him. Then I logged onto the Discovery site and showed him that I saved almost R20k by filling up at BP in the last 2 years (the money sits in my excess funder account). Now he’s “found” his favourite BP about 300m from our house
- Start early. I aim to have all my tests/assessments done by the end of March and then I don’t have to even think about it for the rest of the year
- Lastly if you really don’t use it and don’t have any intention to start, cancel your Vitality and put R179pm or almost R 2 200 back in your pocket every year.
For perspective, last year I closed the year pretty chuffed with myself on well over 80 000 Vitality points (again, on a single membership i.e. I earned all those points by myself) when the requirement was just 45 000 to stay on Diamond. And that’s without going to gym by the way (usually the 1st question people ask me hearing my Vitality points). Well I did go to gym, sort of kinda. I joined in December so I had less than a months worth that contributed to this and trust me I am no gym bunny.
This year things are rather different. The rules changed a bit in 2013 making some areas tougher to achieve (but still fair overall I think). Most notably though my husband and I merged our health policies and Vitality memberships and that’s been really awful. Well for me anyway. You see, I married a person who has zero interest in filing receipts, using loyalty cards and generally saving money. He has no interest, he won’t even feign any and most days it leaves me wanting to scream.
So where do we stand for 2013? We’re on (a combined) +- 79 000 Vitality points and have saved +-R 25 000 year to date. All (& I do mean all) my doing obviously. We have to close the gap and get to 90 000 points by the end of December if we want to stay on Diamond status (trust me, when you get here, giving it up is not even remotely an option). So to remedy the situation, I’ve booked out this Saturday morning at the gym where they’re happen to be having a Vitality open day and will be having nurses, biokinetecists & dieticians etc. on hand for panic-stricken, almost-left-it-too late Vitality members like
me my husband.
I could go on, but its 5am. Glad I finally got this post out.
Happy Monday, it’s the last week of November! Hope it’s a good (and frugal) one for you!