AIR MILES® Cash Financial Success Poll finds Canadians missing key opportunities to save money

- Financial expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq offers five easy tips to improve spending habits, including taking advantage of loyalty programs -

TORONTO, May 29, 2013 /CNW/ - What if a loyalty program could help with everyday purchases? Saving money and smart spending are often top of mind for Canadians, and yet many consumers continue to make simple spending blunders, including missing out on the opportunities to save on everyday purchases. The AIR MILES Cash Financial Success Poll revealed facts about the spending habits of Canadians and areas for improvement including that roughly two-thirds (65%) of Canadians say they set a budget and 43 per cent say they buy on impulse. With tips to help, financial expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq shares ways to spend smarter.

"Most Canadians want to save more and spend less but don't know how to make it happen - especially if our paycheques are already stretched to the limit," says Rubina Ahmed-Haq. "My philosophy is simple: use what you've got. That applies to the tools at your disposal, such as a loyalty program with a feature like AIR MILES Cash that lets you use your reward miles in-store on your purchases. It can't get any easier than that!"

Many Canadians could improve their finances with some simple adjustments, and with the popularity of loyalty programs, it makes good sense to start by taking advantage of the tools that are likely already at their disposal.

Spending Smarts: Five Tips from an Expert
Rubina Ahmed-Haq says Canadians can easily start to make little changes to their money management and every day spending to help them on their way to achieving financial success.

TIP #1: Use the tools most readily available.
Why not take advantage of a loyalty program? The average Canadian household belongs to eight loyalty programs1 and, used effectively, they can help them to get rewards such as vacations and so much more. For example, the AIR MILES Cash program feature lets Canadians redeem 95 reward miles for $10 off at the check-out at participating retailers across the country, up to $750 per day. AIR MILES also has the added benefit of offering thousands of retail partner locations across the country where you can earn reward miles, from Shell to RONA and everywhere in between, like grocery stores and pharmacies, so Collectors are not forced to shop at one location to earn their reward miles.

TIP #2: Get friendly with your monthly spending plan.
Only 65 per cent of Canadian consumers set budgets so it is no surprise that half (50%) of consumers admit to spending more than they should. Setting a budget - or spending plan - is only the first step - consumers need to stick to it when making purchases. A little effort to keep track of spending throughout the month can help prevent losing control.

TIP #3: Don't go into the store without a shopping list.
Making a list is one of the most effective tools to prevent over-spending - if it is adhered to. Of those that say they don't overspend, 84 per cent say that they make a list and try to stick to it. Without a list, chances are good that shoppers will have purchased items they do not need and that they will have to make an inconvenient second trip!

TIP #4: Clip coupons.
Already, 86 per cent of Canadians say they use coupons - and why not? Coupons are a great way to save money on items a household regularly uses and, when combined with a sale, can mean extra savings.

TIP #5: Save where you spend the most.
Canadians (41%) want to save money at the grocery store more than anywhere else. And with 84 per cent of consumers shopping at grocery stores every week, this can mean a lot of savings. AIR MILES Cash enables Canadians to redeem up to $750 worth of reward miles from their AIR MILES Cash balances every day, right at the check-out of participating grocery stores, such as Metro in Ontario and Sobeys in Atlantic Canada. Eighty-four per cent of Canadians purchase gas at least once a month and, of those, only 77 per cent agree that they use loyalty program points to pay for their purchases. AIR MILES Cash is available at Shell stations coast-to-coast to help Canadians pay their gas costs.

The AIR MILES Cash Financial Success Poll Highlights
The poll found several financial trends among Canadian consumers:

With age comes wisdom (and spending restraint):

  • As Canadians age, they say they are less likely to buy on impulse - from 55 per cent of 18 -34 year-olds declining to 26 per cent of 55 and older
  • Canadians aged 55+ are least likely to say they set a budget (58%), but are most likely to say that they don't over-spend (79%)

Women are more likely to take advantage of several opportunities to save:

  • Women say they are more likely to:
    • Make a list and stick to it (85% versus 76% men)
    • Use loyalty program points to pay for purchases at check-out (80% versus 69% men)
    • Use coupons (78% versus 62% men)

Canadians are looking to save money in familiar places:

  • Saving money at the grocery store is the priority for 41 per cent of Canadians and with 84 per cent of Canadians making grocery purchases every week that can really add up
  • Half (50%) of Canadians say they buy gas at least once a week, so it is not surprising that 20 per cent say that saving money at the gas station is their main priority
  • Twenty-five per cent of Canadians are missing an opportunity to save money at check-out by not using loyalty program points

About AIR MILES Cash
With AIR MILES Cash, Collectors are provided with added flexibility and choice to select how their AIR MILES reward miles are earned and redeemed. Now Collectors can redeem instantly at the check-out of participating retail partners such as Shell gas stations or Rona home improvement stores. To activate their Cash balance, Collectors must visit airmiles.ca/cash to set a preference. This preference will divide future earned reward miles between two balances in their account - AIR MILES Cash and AIR MILES Dream. They can then shop as usual at more than 220 online and retail partners, with thousands of locations across Canada, to earn reward miles and build their balances.

About the AIR MILES Reward Program
Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program with more than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to earn reward miles simply by doing their everyday shopping at more than 220 leading brand-name Sponsors, representing thousands of retail and service locations across Canada and leading global brands online. The AIR MILES Reward Program also allows Collectors to indulge in more than 1,200 leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and a range of accredited, environmentally-friendly lifestyle rewards. With AIR MILES Cash, Collectors can also have the flexibility to instantly redeem their AIR MILES reward miles in-store towards many every day and high value purchases like gas, grocery, drug store items and home improvement purchases at participating Sponsors.

About the AIR MILES Cash Financial Success Poll
From April 16th to April 17th, 2013, an online survey was conducted among 1,010 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a business journalist with more than 13 years of experience. She reports on issues relating to personal finance, economics and business news. She has received financial compensation from the AIR MILES Reward Program for her participation in the AIR MILES Cash Financial Success Poll program.

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1 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census as reported by LoyaltyOne / Colloquy. "Gaining Wallet Share Amidst Loyalty Program" loyalty.com. 9 April 2013. 22 May 2013 <http://loyalty.com/about/news/gaining-wallet-share-amidst-loyalty-program-consolidation-cma-blog>

®™ Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V.  Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc.


SOURCE: AIR MILES Reward Program

For further information:

To discuss the AIR MILES Cash Financial Success Poll further or to arrange an interview with Rubina Ahmed-Haq, please contact:

Anne Locke or Stephanie Dale
Environics Communications
416.920.9000
alocke@environicspr.com
sdale@environicspr.com


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