A woman pushing a trolley browses the fruit section in a supermarket

Cash-strapped Brits use store loyalty points as financial safety net, Microsoft Rewards survey reveals

Almost half of cash-strapped Brits are using store loyalty points as a financial safety net by spending them when they run out of money, a new study has revealed.

The Microsoft Rewards survey also found that 96% of adults in the UK actively look for ways to reduce how much they spend on a daily basis.

Signing up for a shop’s rewards card and using the points you earn instead of your pounds can help reduce the cost of items. Eighty-six percent of people said they had subscribed to such a scheme – on average they are a member of five different plans – while 47% admitted saving up their loyalty points to spend them when their funds are low.

The survey discovered that browsing the reduced section in a store, using price comparison sites and taking out cash to track spending were among the top ways people try to save money. Buying non-branded ketchup or beans, making coffee at home before leaving the house instead of buying one and travelling “off-peak” were also popular.

Seven in 10 Brits browse the internet for discount codes to make luxury items – such as spa days, meals out or trips away from home – more affordable, and will do so more than once a week, on average.

How do you expect your spending to change on the following categories in the next 12 months? (Source: PwC)

How do you expect your spending to change on these categories in the next 12 months? (Source: PwC)

Emma Kenny, a behavioural psychologist, said: “It appears that in modern consumer society, customers are demanding better deals when making the majority of their purchases. The positive emotional connection and reward that customers receive after discovering a discount reinforces subsequent shopping behaviour and is a powerful motivator in returning custom.

“Undoubtedly, the average consumer no longer feels constrained by the price tags they are presented with and they are happy to spend time online and in the physical world searching for discounts and vouchers, meaning their money goes further. The savvy shopper is fast becoming the largest consumer demographic.”

The survey also found that four-fifths of people enjoyed saving money on everyday items, and two-fifths had boasted to friends and family when they had bought a bargain.

The latest Consumer Sentiment Survey from PwC found that people in the UK are prioritising spending on essentials such as groceries and their home, as well as going out to pubs and cinemas. Looking ahead, marginally more people think they will be better off in the next 12 months than worse off, with young people (those under the age of 45) more positive than ever before.

sale 50% off label in a clothes shop

Two-fifths of people boasted to friends and family when they bought a bargain

That chimes with the Microsoft Rewards study, which found that more than a quarter of the 2,000 people surveyed believe they have more disposable income today than 10 years ago, with 28% claiming one of the key reasons is there are now more ways to save money.

Microsoft is playing its part in helping the public save money. Rewards is a free program that gives people points for doing what they already do every day, such as searching on Bing.com and buying things from the online Microsoft Store and in Windows 10. As you earn more points, so do the opportunities to get great rewards. Microsoft Rewards makes it easy to track your progress towards anything you’ve got your eye on, including gift cards, sweepstakes and donations to charity.

Brian Kealy, International Consumer Audience Marketing Director for Bing, said: “Our study shows that Brits are being more conscious about how they spend their money, and it makes sense when even simple, everyday items are becoming more expensive. At Microsoft we wanted to make sure customers earn as they search with Bing. Microsoft Rewards lets you earn rewards for doing the things you already do, like searching the web and buying games and apps. More and more people are using rewards schemes like Microsoft Rewards to continue to be savvy with their spending and save for the bigger luxuries in life.”