OK, OK, I know some people will be thinking if you want to save money, don’t shop at Waitrose!
I admit it doesn’t have a reputation for being a cheap place to shop, for good reason. But it often scores higher than other supermarkets from a sustainability and ethical perspective so I do like to shop there for some items and it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d imagine.
I also have a soft spot for Waitrose as I had my first job there as a teenager. I was flattered when they said I’d be good for the deli counter “as I had good skin”. Many a Friday evening was spent serving taramasalata and lamb samosas to the good people of Kingston-upon-Thames.
Anyway, here are my favourite ways to save if you like to shop at Waitrose. Some of these hacks will apply to other supermarkets too, so I hope this is helpful even if you never shop there.
Sign up to the MyWaitrose Loyalty Scheme
The MyWaitrose scheme has really improved since being introduced about ten years ago.
At first, the main benefits were a free hot drink in store and the occasional discount.
The hot drinks have been paused for now, but the discounts available are much better, including 20% off the meat and cheese counter every day, as well as 20% off the fish counter on Fridays.
In my view the best part about the scheme is the weekly personalised vouchers offering substantial discounts off the items that you actually buy all the time. You are shown offers based on previous shops and can choose two vouchers to use each week.
If you also happen to have a health and/or life insurance plan with Vitality (which I used to do through my work) you can earn up to 40% cashback on up to £100 of healthy food a month, or £200 if you have a joint plan.
Lastly, vouchers for huge savings on large shops (e.g. £20 off a £120 shop) are regularly sent out, including around Christmas.
Choose from the Essentials range
This is Waitrose’s “value” brand, but the range of items is far wider than you’d find in other supermarkets. As well as the basics you would expect, the range also includes more exotic items like…frozen edamame beans. Only in Waitrose would that be an “essential” item 😉
As an example, 4 pints of milk in the essential milk is £1.55, which matches the same product in other major supermarkets such as Tesco and Aldi.
Shop towards end of day for yellow stickers
Like at many supermarkets, you’ll find dramatically discounted food with yellow stickers on. The best time to find deals is about 30 minutes before closing time.
Use the Jam Doughnut app to get a 4.1% discount
If you sign up to the free JamDoughnut app you can buy discounted e-gift cards (or “prepay codes”) to spend in store and online. If you know the amount you are going to spend you can buy a voucher for that amount beforehand. You can also keep a balance on there, in case you do not use it all in one go.
When you buy a gift card you get a certain amount of “points” as cashback and can cash out when you accumulate 1000 points (the equivalent of £10). By using the referral code N3NK when you first sign up, you will automatically get 150 points to start (worth £1.50).
Use Greenjinn and Shopmium apps for free or discounted food
Both of these apps offer free or heavily discounted products that you can pick up in Waitrose.
For example, today a jar of vegan Wagamama Firecracker Mayo, usually £2.25, was on offer for £1.00. How it works is that you buy the product full price, then submit the receipt and you receive the cashback to your Paypal account.
The products tend to be more quirky things that you might not think to try, which is why they are offered at such a discount.
If you’d like to sign up to Shopmium, if you use this link you’ll get a free pack of Pringles. If you go on to refer a friend, you’ll get £3 when they first cash out (which is what I would also get if you used my link).
Get a John Lewis Partnership Credit Card and earn John Lewis and Waitrose Vouchers
The John Lewis Partnership Credit Card is a cashback card, which means that you receive a £5 John Lewis or Waitrose voucher for every 500 points you earn. You earn points through spending on the card:
- You earn five points for every £4 spent at John Lewis or Waitrose
- You earn one point for every £4 spent elsewhere.
This means that if you did a £40 shop at Waitrose or John Lewis, you would earn 50 points – the equivalent of 1.25% cashback.
There is no annual fee for the card. However, like all credit cards the interest rate is horrendous if you carry a balance, so I’d never recommend using this way of paying unless you always clear your balance in full.
Look out for huge discounts for your first online shop
Waitrose regularly offers large discounts for your first online shop, such as £10 off an £80 spend. If you are in a couple, I’d recommend making sure you’ve each done a “first shop” rather than always paying with one account, to maximise this.
Check site for 50% off deals
There is a whole section on Waitrose.com for half price offers. This includes everyday items such as teabags.
Expect good customer service
If you order online, don’t hesitate to complain if there’s something wrong with your delivery. Obviously, you shouldn’t lie and abuse this as they may change their policy, but if your veg is on the brink of going off or something else is wrong then do call in and complain.
They usually have good customer service and are quick to refund. Once the whole fresh portion of our shop was refunded because quite a lot of it was close to going off.
Sign up to Monese and get 15% off
If you have an account with Monese you can occasionally buy heavily discounted John Lewis gift vouchers, which you can also use at Waitrose.
Monese also has a generous referral bonus from time to time, offering at least £30 when you sign up. They do not allow people to post their referral codes online, but if you are interested in finding out more then do get in touch via the contact form or my Instagram account.
Get 10% cashback when paying with a Santander account
Santander are currently offering 10% cashback if you shop at John Lewis with your Santander 1-2-3 card. I just took advantage of this this morning to get a desk for my daughter for her birthday.
Shop via KidStart to boost your children’s savings
John Lewis doesn’t usually feature in major cashback sites, such as TopCashback or Quidco. However, you can earn cashback there through the KidStart site, which works in the same way. Whenever you want to shop on the John Lewis website, you go through the KidStart (referral link) website, and you will earn a cashback amount which you can put towards your children’s savings.
One of the nice things about the site is that you can add family members to your account, so they can also contribute cashback towards your children’s accounts. You can either manually move the cashback into a separate account, or set up a Junior ISA with Beanstalk, a partner of KidStart. When you use my link and do this, we both receive a £5 bonus.
Choose John Lewis vouchers if you earn a reward at work
If your work has a recognition scheme, John Lewis is often one of the retailers available. This allowed me to get some garden furniture this year, even though we are doing a Low Spend Year.
Get a part-time job at Waitrose or John Lewis for a 20% staff discount
I used to benefit from this one myself when I worked on the cheese counter as a teenager.
Waitrose staff discounts are more generous than most (if not all) other UK supermarkets, at 20% as opposed to the 10% you would get at Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, Asda, Lidl or Tesco. M&S is the only other supermarket that offers this level of staff discount, that I’m aware of.
This perk also includes 25% off John Lewis and 12.5% off electronics.
Final thoughts on saving money at Waitrose and John Lewis
I hope this post gave you some new ideas of how to save at John Lewis and Waitrose, just in time for Christmas.
Many of these hacks can be stacked. For example, you can order something through the KidStart website, using a John Lewis credit card, and also use some John Lewis vouchers to cover some of the costs.
If you have other tips, please leave them in the comments for other readers!