Save money shopping. With the arrival of autumn, and news about the state of the British economy seemingly endlessly depressing, people are naturally starting to worry how this will affect them in the colder months. Reportedly, people are delaying turning their heating on to save money. This in itself can cause problems, as you need to keep the moving parts of your boiler and heating system from seizing up when you actually need them.
You may also want to read our article on the effects of cold on the human body: sobering stuff.
And as well as energy and housing costs, food prices have been going up in recent months, now with milk and cereal prices rising noticeably in October.
So how do we save money and run our homes cost-effectively, ask the experts at Which? who have done the research on dozens of websites to see where to get the best bargains.
Danielle Richardson, Which? Money Expert, says, “As autumn begins, many of us will be scrolling through online shops for winter wardrobe essentials, or even making a head start on Christmas shopping. No matter what you are in the market for, there are ways to keep costs down and earn money as you shop.
“It’s always worth checking a few retailers to make sure you have the best price, as well as searching for discount codes – you can often sign up to retailers’ mailing lists for exclusive offers. You could also see if the item you want to buy is available second-hand- it will often be the fraction of the price of buying brand new.”
Some ways you can look to save money on everyday things:
SPEND TIME BEFORE YOU SPEND MONEY
Before you spend, check multiple shops and sites such as Google Shopping, PriceRunner, PriceSpy, Kelkoo and, for Amazon products, CamelCamelCamel. First of all, narrow down the item or model you’re searching for, and hone your search on those sites. The more specific you are, the more eagle-eyed you’ll be when a bargain pops up.
Check the sales sections too, as you can see whether the retailer has an app or scheme you can sign up to, with many offering early access to sales, or specific sales stock deals: Zara does this, for example.
DISCOUNT CODES & MAILING LISTS
On the subject of sales codes, make sure to check the terms and conditions using browser extensions like Pouch and VoucherCodes DealFinder, which automatically search for relevant vouchers which you can add to your shop and get discounted at checkout.
Sign up to retailers’ mailing lists for exclusive discounts like introductory offers and personalised codes – these are usually set to appear in your inbox once you start filling up your shopping cart. Tip: you could create a secondary email account to deal with these emails, and unsubscribe when you’re done.
CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS
Cashback credit or debit cards usually offer between 0.25 and 5 per cent on purchases: American Express Platinum Cashback and Platinum Cashback Everyday credit cards offer the highest cashback rates at the moment, and the Lloyds Bank Cashback Credit Card and Santander All-in-One Credit Card do charge a small fee (£3) so make sure you’re aware of those small costs as they mount up: and always pay your credit card off in full every month to avoid high interest charges.
Chase have a current account offering 1 per cent cashback for the first 12 months. It is also worth checking for offers with your existing card providers – you might be eligible for special rewards.
Buying second-hand can afford you pre-used clothing, laptops, games consoles, furniture and home products. Some sellers are getting rid of brand new unwanted gifts, so It is worth looking on online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon Refurbished, or apps such as Depop and Vinted. You can also sell your old clothes online to make up for the cost of buying new ones.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations give you 14 days to choose whether you want a full purchase price refund but be aware that you may not get delivery charges refunded, and returns may not be free. Return policies can change too, by adding fees where previously there weren’t any. If an item is faulty or not as described though, under the Consumer Rights Act, you are legally entitled to a full refund within 30 days of receipt, including delivery or return costs.
DISPLAY ITEM DISCOUNTS
Which? found big brands including Birkenstock, Adidas and Timberland were getting rid of display or slightly damaged items for big discounts that may suit customers. Office Offcuts sells ‘end of line, ex-display and last pairs of shoes’, and Schuh Imperfects says shoes may have ‘scuffs, discoloration, and other individual quirks’.
You can also buy ex-display furnishings, even kitchens and bathrooms for massive discounts if they’re not up to the shop’s sales standards. In the case of larger items, make sure to check them out in person before you buy, because the sellers are not necessarily going to list every defect in exact detail: but it might pass muster if you see it with your own eyes.
SPEND AND SAVE
Furthermore, cashback is available on purchases from sites such as Quidco and TopCashback. Retailers may offer cashback as a fixed amount or a percentage of the purchase, but you will need to use the link on the individual cashback site for your purchase to count.
So to sum up, always check terms and conditions of any site you’re buying from, and narrow down your searches to find the best bargains.
You can check out local bargains such as the above from InYourArea.