What are the things you’re willing to cut back when you’re saving money? And what do you simply refuse to scrimp on? We show you some savvy saving tips so you can still enjoy the finer things in life without having to fork out too much of your hard earned cash.
Freebies Use one of the many fashion swap sites to get rid of old clothes and accessories you don’t want anymore and exchange them for something you do want! Bigwardrobe is free to join and all you have to do is add items into your virtual wardrobe and wait for people to offer you either cash, a direct swap, or a combination of the two. Another site to try is Swapaholic.co.uk. Alternatively, you can attend a swap party – you can either set up your own with friends, or go to one of the events organized by Swishing.
Sample sale bargains If you don’t mind a horde of people scrambling to get their hands on rails and rails of clothes, sample sales are fantastic for picking up top-end bargains. Discover where you can find a sample sale near you on sites such as, Samplesaleslondon.co.uk, Designersales.co.uk and Stylebible.com which all have their own sample sales diaries.
Online savings If you’re not bothered about labels BooHoo.com is great for fashion-focused items for women. The £10 and under section is full of mega cheap items and there is a helpful ‘Looks’ section if you’re quite sure what you want to buy, but know which look you’re going for. There is also a returns process set up with Royal Mail, which allows you to return any unwanted items but you’ll have to pay a £1 admin fee. Missguided sell a range of celebrity-led, women’s clothing, much of which is less than £10 in their sale section.
Hiring For one-off, posh events you’re often best just hiring something fabulous rather than splashing-out hundreds on a glamorous outfit. Try GirlMeetsDress.com for a range of amazing designer and non-designer day and evening dresses to hire.
You could always revamp a less expensive outfit with some fab accessories – one of the easiest things to do is team a plain dress with some funky tights or socks. Check out Mytights.com and Tightsplease.co.uk which both sell tights and socks in pretty much every colour and pattern you can think of. For handbags and shoes, we love ASOS.com, which was originally designed to help fashionistas copy the look of their favourite celebs. These days ASOS has moved away from focusing on celebs and tends to stick more closely to the latest catwalk trends. Warehouse is also great for bargain accessories: there are usually lots of heavily-reduced belts, tights, scarves and jewellery.
- Earn points every time you dine out, then once you’ve built up enough, treat yourself to a free meal!
- Use sites like OpenTable and 5pm which also offer exclusive special offers to save you even more money and won’t cost a penny to join. Also, keep an eye out for the latest meal deal vouchers.
- Lastminute.com is also great for finding restaurant bargains – including dinner deals for just £10 or less.
First of all, use Mysupermarket to compare prices at all the major supermarkets. All you need to do is fill up your virtual trolley in one supermarket, then compare the cost of that trolley in the other big supermarkets. Mysupermarket then lets you swap your trolley to the cheapest store at the press of a button.
Asda offers a price guarantee to be 10% cheaper than anywhere else and will pay you back the difference if you show them otherwise. You can compare prices online with your receipt when you get home too! Always check your receipts: at Tesco if an item is rung up at a different amount to the price shown on the aisle you are eligible for double the amount of overcharge back.
Stop buying more than you can eat and sticking to supermarket own brands will make a big difference to your bill. Spices and world cuisine sauces are generally cheaper in specialist retailers – Soy sauce from an Asian supermarket costs half the price of the bottle on offer at your usual supermarket for four times the amount!
Remember fruit and veg are always cheaper in season – it’s not so easy to know the difference now everything is available to us all year round! Get to know your seasonal produce again and look forward to eating particular fruits and vegetables when their time comes and save lots in the meantime!
Most of us tend to stick to one supermarket for most of our food shopping and these chains will usually reward customers who stick with them so get yourself a supermarket credit card or loyalty card and start earning points whilst you shop. Credit card wise, the Tesco Clubcard credit card is very competitive, offering 16 months at 0% on purchases and six months at 0% on balance transfers (with a 2.9% handling fee). You earn one point for every £4 you spend and when you use it in-store at Tesco or online at Tesco.com you also earn Clubcard points. The Tesco Clubcard is also one of the most popular loyalty cards – if you do shop in Tesco make sure you don’t bother redeeming the vouchers in store as they are worth four times more online.
Get a Sainsbury’s Credit Card and earn four Nectar points for every pound spent in Sainsbury’s when used in conjunction with a Nectar card. You also get one Nectar point for every £5 spent on your card elsewhere. Other options include the Asda Credit Card that gives you 1% cashback on your Asda shopping (including petrol and 0.5% cashback everywhere else and the Marks & Spencer Money MasterCard giving you 15 months’ shopping with no interest to pay, M&S points to spend in store each time you shop with the card and up to 55 days’ interest-free credit when you pay your balance in full and on time each month.
If you’re able to do your food shopping online, there are many bargains to be found – often on items from your weekly shopping list. You can also use these websites to supplement your usual staple buys. With store cupboard favourites at half or a third of listed prices foodbargains.co.uk will deliver anywhere in the UK and for free with a £50 spend. The site specialises in full date, clearance, short dated and out of date food & drink (fine for so many items that are labeled with company safeguard sell by dates that are way before they could perish and are misleading). All the best before dates are clearly displayed, so you can decide before you buy. They offer a full money back guarantee. Similar bargains can be found at approvedfood.co.uk, with free delivery with a £30 spend if your basket weighs under 50kg!
Once again, Mysupermarket is a godsend, but it’s also simply a great way to see where the best wine offers are. You can search under the ‘drinks’ tab and hunt down the best price for your favourite tipple.
Quaffersoffers.co.uk is a really handy website which searches for wine special offers in supermarkets and off licences – and even better, gives tasting notes on thousands of wines so you can make sure you’re not wasting your money on cheap and nasty wines!
Grab a bargain before its gone with Virgin Wines’s ‘Bin Ends’, their end of line stock selection. If you’re partial to red or white, or just like glugging the stuff down, there’s some great offers to be had.
For kids’ presents head to Hawkin’s Bazaar, which sells unusual items for kids of any age – prices start from less than 50p so it’s great for stocking fillers or putting together a gift box.
Or, if your loved one is a bit of a raver, head to GlowSticks.org for all things that glow!
It’s worth having a browse on Prezzybox which is a good all-rounder for gifts and for something a bit different, check out Lazybone, which is crammed full of weird and wonderful gifts.
NeedAPresent also has an enviable range of gifts for men, women and kids at bargain basement prices, saving money as you spend.
For stylish homeware gifts (great for mums!) try Wheredidyoubuythat.com which sources gorgeous household items from around the world.