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Rewards for your online family shopping

I was clearing out some cupboards recently and found a stack of unused discount vouchers -- some of them over 10 years old -- including five golf lessons and three rounds of golf with the club pro.

No wonder my golf suffered! "What a waste," I said to myself, but this is normal. Apparently, 3pc is the standard redemption rate taken up on paper-based discount vouchers. This means more than 97pc of these vouchers wind up in the bin or the crevices of cupboards to be unlocked and discovered years later by the unwitting recipients.

With the advent of the internet, shopping has taken on new meaning -- we here in Ireland are now the 10th biggest online spenders in the world per capita, while the first Sunday of December is the busiest day of the year in Ireland for online shoppers. Statistics include such facts as 50pc of Irish consumers research their item online before they buy, and a whopping 27pc of all consumers buy their Christmas shopping online. Of course, the internet usage rate is growing -- in 2004 only 14pc of consumers bought online, while in 2008 it was 36pc -- and when you have all the search engines guiding you to your chosen product or service in an instant, I am reminded of that age-old strapline, 'let your fingers do the walking!'

Here are some facts about internet usage in Ireland:

Ireland is the fourth highest in Europe for online buying and we are number one for online travel bookings (might have something to do with Ryanair).

So it makes great sense to source discounts online and reward programmes. Already, there are many online discount deals to be gleaned -- check out 5hop5.ie, onoffer.ie, couponmaster.ie, myvouchercodes.ie, clicknsave.ie, citydeal.ie to name just six -- but I was impressed with www.fatcheese.ie. This is a free-to-use shopping portal which offers cash rewards for online shopping. Referred consumers click through the Fatcheese website to more than 800 retailers from Sky, Tesco, Apple and O2 to the eight different retail sectors. On purchases, Fatcheese receives a commission which is 100pc passed on to the consumer in the form of a cashback account.

It certainly meets with the Money Doctor philosophy of saving money and making money at the same time!

www.moneydoctor.ie