Smarter shopping – tips and tricks to save money

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Make sure you don’t pay over the odds for your shopping by comparing prices

Money Advice Service

Make sure you don’t pay over the odds for your shopping – by comparing prices and buying online, you could save hundreds of pounds a year on everything from food shopping to clothes and electrical goods.

Use price comparison websites

When it comes to shopping online, there’s one basic rule – whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s likely a site to help you find the cheapest price.

Just by visiting a price comparison site and tapping in what you’re after, you can start comparing dozens of prices in minutes.

Always check more than one site to be sure you’re getting a competitive deal, and don’t forget about postage and packaging costs.

Save money on your home appliances

It can be all too easy to buy on impulse when you’re in a shopping centre or out on the high street, especially if you spot something on offer.

However, next time you’re tempted to buy something which seems like a good deal, take a few minutes to see if you could get it for less somewhere else. 

Price comparison sites – all usually accessible by phone – let you compare the cost of anything from fridges and washing machines, to digital cameras and TVs.

Also handy is the fact that these sites often contain user reviews from other customers to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.   

Save money on your food shopping

Comparison sites are a great way to save money on all your supermarket shopping too.

You can compare the price of your weekly shop across many of the big stores and see when your favourites are on offer

And comparison sites aren’t just limited to food shopping – you can often use them to compare the cost of health and beauty products as well.

When it comes to payment, buying on your credit or debit card gives you greater protection than cash or cheque payments if things go wrong. 

Credit cards offer the most protection – as long as the item or service you bought cost over £100, you can claim against your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to get your money back.

Supermarket special offers – buyer beware

Special offers can be a great way to save money, but not always – you can sometimes end up paying more than you normally would.

Make sure you work out whether a deal really is as good as it looks and if a ‘2-for-1’ or ‘3 for £1’ offer will actually save you money.  

For example, you see your favourite cereal on a ‘3-for-2’ offer, when each box is normally £1.50. Three boxes will cost you £3 so you’ve saved £1.50, right? Not necessarily. If another supermarket is selling the cereal for 80p a box you’d actually get 3 boxes for £2.40 – a saving of 60p by buying it there and ignoring the offer.

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Did you know?

Brits spent around £78 billion shopping online in 2012 – that’s more than £1,000 for every person in the UK.

Source: IMRG – online retail industry association

 

 

Another way you can save on shopping and eating out is through online discount vouchers.

Many shops and restaurants offer coupons you can either redeem online or print off to take in person.

There are a number of different websites which pool together vouchers and coupons from a variety of companies, keeping you up to date with weekly email alerts. Some restaurant chains also offer vouchers if you sign up to their site.

Get money back when you shop online

Cashback sites which reward you for shopping with shops and chains are another great way to save money on your shopping.

Just by clicking through to a site and making a purchase, you’ll receive some money back for your efforts. 

Remember – just because there’s cashback involved doesn’t mean you won’t find a cheaper deal elsewhere, so always shop around as much as possible first.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.


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