How to spend less – part 4. Cheat.

By cheat I don’t mean steal. I mean there are many easy ways you can legitimately spend less on items you want/need. I’ll explain about a few of the ways we save money everyday:

1. Supermarket reward points – take advantage of these. There is no point in shopping in Tescos or Sainburys without signing up for a clubcard/nectar card. You get points without doing anything other than swiping your card at the till. With a nectar card you can even collect points via eBay, homebase and about a hundred other online stores. You can spend Nectar points in a lot of places such as Argos, Vue, Bella Italia or even easyjet so your points could be paying towards your next holiday. I’m not as clued up on clubcard points as some people but we do collect them and use them normally when we need to make a big purchase.

2. Price guarantee – both Asda and Sainsburys do a price guarantee. Asda give you a code on your receipt for you to check online, if there is a price difference you get a voucher off your next shop. Sainsburys simple give you a coupon at the till if you could have saved elsewhere. Bargain.

3. Find the secret spots. All stores have them and if you are thorough in your first few shops at your local supermarket you will find them. Always remember to check. I’m not talking about the short date reduced to clear sections although these are also great. Let me explain in our local Asda ( I’m not telling you which one) there is a section where there are always reduced goods normally with between 6months to a year left on the use by date. I was told that these products are usually end of line goods or simply a change of packaging by the manufacturer means they will no longer be able to sell it. I cannot tell you how many bargains I have found in this section. I have had boxes of Hershey’s cocoa powder ( amazing in cupcakes/ chocolate icing or just hot cocoa) for around 50p (rrp £3) jars of Gefen BBQ sauce for the same price (rrp £2.50) stir fry sauces for 10p etc. There are often ciders/wines etc too. These sections are never displayed prominently not do they have big yellow stickers but they are always there. Look.

4. Use your apps.

Voucher cloud – if you are out shopping or looking for somewhere to have lunch you will more than likely find a suitable voucher on this app. Just recently we had £10 off a meal for two in Chiquitos. You simply click on the voucher and show the code. It uses your location details to find the best local deals so make sure you have location services turned on.

Groupon – ok this is maybe not one for every day use but definitely worth checking out. We have purchased driving lessons, solar lights and meals using this app and all have saved us at least 50% off the actual price.

Priority moments – this is specific to O2 but its a huge selling point if you are looking to change networks. There are discounts and freebies listed every day on this app, ranging from a free coffee or chocolate orange to free cinema tickets as well as hugely discounted public transport ( £1 for an all day ticket in my area as opposed to £4.20) The freebies can be slightly random – a large bag of free Halloween Haribo sweets from Accesorize?! But heck it’s free. In December alone I used my app to get reduced entrance (45% off) at Odeon, at least 3 all day tickets with Firstbus, a free Chocolate Orange, 20% off at Debenhams and probably more. There was an advent calendar leading up to Christmas with something different every day. I really hope this is here to stay.

If you know of any more money saving apps please let me know.

5. If you aren’t fussy about having something second hand ( depending on what the item is of course and sometimes they are in fact new) it’s always worth checking eBay or your local Gumtree. We bought a gorgeous mamas & papas changing unit before Izzy was born which would have cost over £600 brand new for just £70 and it was in impeccable condition. We would have never have paid £600 for one. Ebay can be fun too just make sure you don’t get too carried away with the bargains you can find on there. We recently bought a Tommee Tippee sensor monitor which if new would have cost around £90 and we had it for just £20 in great condition. If using eBay always make sure you use PayPal for added protection, we found the customer service to be great when having a dispute over another monitor we purchased which was quickly resolved.

6.Money Saving Expert- If you aren’t already signed up to the mailing list of this pretty marvellous website then do it. You only get one email per week and its normally full of great bargains. There are a lot of great sections on the MSE website but my favourite part is the Forum. I don’t tend to post on it ( rather unfair of me) but I check the Grabbit forum most days and there are superb bargains to be had. Again the key is to not buy things you don’t actually need as this defeats the object. About 6/7 months ago there was a thread/discussion on the forum about a major clear out one big supermarket was having, it seemed they were clearing a lot of their lines of stock but not showing the reductions very clearly. Some of the regular posters had meticulously listed every reduced item in store which helped the rest of us thrifty ones massively. I went shopping with my sister and between us we found most of the items and they were huge bargains such as bottles of olive oil for 40p or bags of dried garlic & basil linguine for 20p etc. I have only just run out of oil and pasta after all this time and probably only about £10 spent. It’s worth checking the forum when you get a spare few minutes.

7. Discount/Promo codes – everytime you go to purchase something online firstly run a google search to see if there is a code. Simply type in Topshop (for example) discount code and more often than not you will get something, be it free delivery or 10% off. Be wary of the ones that are £5 off if you spend £50 etc.. If you were only planning to spend £20 this is not really money saving.

8. Avoid travel agents – sorry if you are a travel agent but it is so overpriced. I am at my worst for bargain hunting when it comes to holidays. My holidays are precious to me as I’m sure they are to everyone so I want them to be the absolute best I can get for the money I spend. I have used various websites over the years but most recently I have found that LowCost holidays tend to come out on top – plus there is always a discount code to be found meaning bigger savings. Always trip advisor your hotel before you book as the most expensive ones are not always the best rated.
I also use Homelidays for searching for house/villa rentals.Airport car parking can be super expensive but a quick search online will find you some great alternatives normally within a few minute drive and they will drop you off and pick up at the airport. If going from Bristol airport I recommend Goblin Combe Farm.

A gorgeous house we stayed at in France 2012:

20130103-212724.jpg

9. Change your tv/broadband provider every time the contract expires. I always do this and it means I get the newest, up to date equipment and normally a voucher for M&S or similar for signing up. Also if your provider increases their charges mid contract you are normally able to cancel without any termination fee. Check your terms and conditions for more details.

10. BzzAgent – there are probably more than a few different types of review services out there but I am a bzzagent. You don’t have to write about it on your blog or write sponsored posts, it’s a simple procedure where you complete surveys occasionally ( very short and not very often) to determine what kind of consumer you are and then you will be invited to join campaigns. So far I have had free products from Tesco bakery, Toni & Guy and Dove colour radiance and all they ask if you for to create Bzz by talking to friends/family about the products, normally you have money off vouchers to share with them too. I have enjoyed being a part of it this year and it costs nothing to sign up so worth considering.

You probably think I’m a lot more frugal than I actuallynam but I really do like to get something for less. Don’t we all?

I would really love to hear about your money saving tips? Perhaps comment and I will share them in a future post.

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