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- Frugal Living
Cash Saving Online
We all know that there are always great deals online. A website is generally cheaper to run than a shop, as there are fewer staffing and maintenance costs, so it is totally understandable that items can be sold at a great discount than in the shops.
There are plenty of websites out there designed to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible- comparison sites that are dedicated to finding the best quotes, as well as voucher sites that give extra discounts in the form of promo codes or printable vouchers. There are also freebie sites that actually give products away, survey sites that pay you to take short questionnaires online and competition sites where you can win flashy prizes! However you do it, there are plenty of online resources to save cash, it's just up to you to decide how much effort you want to put into them.
Tips for Risk Free Savings
In amongst all of the sites, there are bound to be one or two scammers out there, so beware! Here are some tips to ensure that your money saving activities are safe.
- Create a "spam" email folder.
- Install some "autofill" software so that you don't have to repeatedly type in your details. Some computers have this automatically installed, but it should be easy to find online.
- Be careful who you give your details to. As a rule, I never give my phone number or mobile (unless i know it is a safe company- eg a reputable TV programme competition) as I don't want cold callers. I also avoid any premium texts being charged to my bill- this can happen easily, particularly with some competition sites and Text to enter competitions.
- As a rule, if you don't trust the company/ website simply don't submit any details. If you have never heard of a particular company, and google searches are fruitless, then it is probably smart to avoid them.
- Read the Terms and Conditions as these will reveal whether you pay a subscription fee- this can be a common scam among competition sites and some survey sites. The T&C's will also reveal how likely it is to win a comp, how you will be notified, whether a purchase has to be made to redeem your prize or discount etc- while they are very boring, they are useful, at least until you get used to the sites that you will be using regularly.
- Stick with the same sites- if you find a good survey site/ competition site/ discount site, then stick with them! You are less likely to be scammed if you stick with a site you have used plenty of times before. In saying that though, feel free to enter other sites for more chances to win, just be careful.
- Take recommendations from friends. You will probably find that one of your friends will do online surveys/ comps/ coupons- ask them what they recommend!
Everyone loves a freebie! What better discount than 100% off! These type of sites take your details and in return, send you a free sample of products you are interested in. They also typically list items you can get for free when you "like" a facebook page or collect tokens.
I love to get a freebie, and my favourite freebie sites are:
These websites compare the prices of service providers to show you who is cheaper.
While they are valuable as a guide, remember that some providers aren't on comparison websites, and could still offer a better deal. Similarly, the quote you get on the site may be improved upon if you contact the provider directly, as you remove the "middle-man" and therefore remove any commission they were going to earn from your referral.
I have a hub here that gives various tips for bargaining with companies, using a mobile phone provider as an example. This can be put into practice with most financial service providers.
Remember to use the comparison websites as a tool initially, but be sure to check everything thoroughly. If you truly get the best deal there, then go for it.
My favourite comparison sites are:
This isn't everyone's thing, but these websites provide vouchers, either in printable form, or posted to your address, or as code form for use online. These vouchers are then used to get a discount off a certain product, or from a certain seller or provider.
There is sometimes a catch- either a minimum spend, or having to buy a certain product, or a time limit, so it is worth checking the vouchers terms and conditions to avoid any embarrassment.
My favourite voucher sites are:
Daily Deals Sites
These sites provide limited time offers with what seems like huge savings on anything from beauty appointments to holidays. These are often 3-5 day offers, and at the end of the timeframe you receive a code to redeem the offer with the provider.
They are typically easy to use, but again, be sure to check terms and conditions, and be sure that you are definitely getting a deal.
My favourite daily deal websites are:
What is your favourite type of cash saver site?
These websites offer payment in return for completing market research surveys.
Some sites offer cash rewards, others use a points system where you collect points and swap them for online shopping vouchers. They may also provide free products that you get to keep in return for completing the survey.
If you have at least half an hour of spare time each day, these sites are a worthwhile way of getting some extra luxuries- I love using my free Amazon vouchers to expand my CD collection.
My favourite Survey sites are:
These aren't so much money savers, but more a bit of fun with the opportunity to get a freebie!
Competition websites are generally dedicated to listing all the available competitions in your area/ country, and don't charge for this. However, be vigilant for any sneaky companies who charge a "subscription fee" in return for you being on their lists.
To enter each competition, you could be asked to enter your details, or answer a question, or "like" a facebook page. It is usually easy to enter, and as a rule of thumb, I avoid anythingI have to pay to enter- especially via Text message- those charges can add up fast!
Bear in mind that you can also enter competitions from edible products easily online. Many companies run competitions on their packaging that is no purchase necessary to enter!
I like to stick to TV advertised competitions, but a quick google search will provide hundreds of results for competition sites. Just remember to read our be safe section at the top of the hub!
My favourite competition sites are:
As you can see, there are loads of ways to save cash online. I'm sure I haven't even listed all of the possibilities- I wanted to list only the websites that I personally use, and know to be trustworthy. If you would like to recommend another, feel free to leave a comment and I will check it out!
© 2013 Lynsey Harte