How Using A Nielson Homescanner Saved Us Money (Thrifty Thursday)


A bit of a different Thrifty Thursday post this week.  If you are not familiar with the Nielson Homescan, you are sent a Nielson Homescanner, a little machine where you scan all of your purchases.  When I say all – I mean ALL.  They want to know if you went to a restaurant, where you shopped, what you bought (even unmentionables).  This is where we have found we save money on buying “stuff”.  I have this vision in my head of the person collating the data thinking “she bought how many chocolate bars?”.

If you want to sign up as a Nielson Homescanner, you can do so by clicking here.  You get points for scanning you purchases but it takes a long time to save up for anything decent, especially given the amount of work that goes into scanning everything you bought compared to completing a normal survey – but the data they collect helps marketers know what Canadians buy and trends to help stores and manufacturers.

You don’t need to be a Nielson Homescanner to benefit from this though, like the cash envelope budget system, it is about being more accountable for your purchases.  For me, it is about the person on the end of that scanner thinking I eat too much junk or must be a crazy hoarder when in reality, I found a great deal and bought for my stockpile.  For others, separating each budget works great (we actually do have a budget system that we track but no longer do the cash system, I like my reward points!).

As much as my stockpile has saved me money, I did find on occasion I was spending more because the items were going to waste.  I bought more than we would use before expiry or I had so many I would give them away to family and friends.  Now we have limits for items – enough for 6 months maximum in the stockpile (or expiry if shorter) and we do not buy more than that.

When grocery shopping, I am less tempted by those bad at the cash register purchases and stick to my shopping list more because I  have to keep the wrapper to scan or my purchase won’t balance and I hate it when it doesn’t balance.  Nielson has no issue with it not balancing, they just assume you bought something without a barcode or had a discount – but I like to do things properly.  Plus I think of that person shaking their head because I ate crap (yes I am well aware the data collector has better things to do but you never know lol).

What makes you accountable when shopping?

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5 Replies to “How Using A Nielson Homescanner Saved Us Money (Thrifty Thursday)”

  1. Victoria Ess says: Reply

    Having a list and a plan for the week is a great way for me to stay on track when doing the grocery shopping.

  2. Nena Sinclair says: Reply

    This is a very interesting post! I used to be part of the Neilson Homescan panel years ago, I should get into doing it again!

  3. Oh dear. I use a Nielsen scanner and never really THOUGHT about who was on the other end :)) Thanks for the paranoia!

    1. Tea & Nail Polish says: Reply

      haha, you’re welcome LOL
      It was actually my partner who started my paranoia about it. I found something on amazing clearance and was scanning them and he was all “do you really want them to know you bought like 50 of that”

  4. I have been a member for around 10 years now. i t has become part of our family’s habit to scan everything..yes, does take alot to add up point and I end up getting the gift cards! love being part of the Neilsen community and doint the little surveys to get bonus points.

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