Despite the ongoing war of the cost of living polls anyone who lives here long-term on a teacher’s salary knows that Prague ain’t cheap. From groceries to electronics here are some tips and tricks for savvier shopping:
Know how and where to compare. Heureka.cz is the country’s biggest price search engine and while some stores aren’t featured on the site (e.g. Alza) if finding the cheapest price is your aim, use it. Kupi.cz offers price monitoring for sales while Czech consumer blog Skrblik.cz puts out a useful weekly “Leaflet patrol” detailing upcoming promotions.
Register for a cash-back program. Cashback reward and rebate programs are a fairly new trend in Czech shopping; if are buying often and a lot (think furniture, appliances, and household goods) registering for one can net you anywhere from a 2-10 percent return. Skriblik compares cash-back systems here.
Think outside of the box. Previously unwrapped and returned items—everything from throw pillows to refrigerators can be purchased via Rozbaleno.cz (rozbaleno means “unwrapped” in Czech). Discounts start at around 30 percent; both Alza and Czech Computer also sell a selection of unpackaged return items.
Get the store card and the app. Loyalty cards offer frequent discounts, sometimes up to 50 percent, and special deals for cardholders throughout the year, on your birthday for instance (DM), or affiliate programs good for discounts at other stores—Tesco cards, for example, come with gas discounts and even discounts on utilities. Download store apps to score discount vouchers and coupons.
Shop online outlets. Ali Express and other discount Chinese portals are all the rage in Czechia these days, typically offering cheap or even free delivery (just watch out for VAT limit and customs) while German Amazon now ships to the Czech Republic. But did you know that most stores (Mango, Guess, Adidas) have branded online outlets selling goods from older collections, often in limited sizes, with discounts of up to 70 percent? See here for a list of online retailers.
Buy private label groceries. Unbranded products (e.g. Albert Quality and Tesco Everyday Value food items or IKEA-label batteries) can prove to be a better buy than premium brands as the producer spends less money on marketing in order to sell the goods at cheaper prices than standard brands.
Know your rights—and exercise them. Did you know that at Billa, for instance, if there are five people ahead of you in line and not all of the registers are open you get a voucher good for your next purchase? Or that if you discover an expired product you get a fresh one for free? In a country where customer service and food quality are constantly called into check, learning these policies and applying them can add up!
Plan ahead and shop seasonally. In the Czech Republic, sales on everything from clothes to cars begin just after Christmas and continue through January; during the warmer months the sales season (swimsuits, summer clothes, etc.) kick off in June both online and in store. Look for discounts of up to 70 percent off. See here and here for useful tips on what to shop for when.
Select off-hours delivery. Grocery delivery is another service that is currently booming in the Czech lands (see our article on the topic here; since publication, a handful of new options have cropped up). Choosing to have your groceries delivered at off times such as the 8pm-10pm time slot can shave a bit off your bill, as does ordering on certain days (Wednesdays tend to be cheaper for Tesco, for instance). New membership and annual delivery plans also have their benefits.
Rent, borrow or share to save. The sharing economy has taken off in a big way in Prague particularly with the opening of two libraries of things and regular swapping events and markets. Another innovation could be around the corner—just this week Tchibo launched a pilot program for renting clothes to its customers. Currently available only in German stores, but we’ll be staying tuned!
Hit the road. A number of our readers admit to regularly crossing borders in search of better savings and better quality groceries, preferring Aldi or Edeka in Germany to the Czech supermarket chains.
What are your tips for finding savings in Prague and the Czech Republic?