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How To Save Cash While Shopping
I often find that I am drawn to special offers and deals, and it has been said that I'm a master discounter! So, I thought I'd share some tips with you so that you can stretch your cash that little bit further, without neglecting the things you need.
Credit is a no-no
The first thing I will say is- avoid buying on credit. Whether that be on a credit card, catalogue or other payment plan- you will normally end up paying more because interest is added. Unless you are one of the few who can pay off the balance at the end of the month- leave those cards at home!
Food & Household
Next, lets tackle the most important stuff. Food shopping can eat up a lot of our income, so if we can save cash here, it can be used elsewhere. One tip is to use supermarket's "own brand" products rather than brand names- particularly with the basics such as pasta, rice and bread. "own Brands" don't taste much different, and they are usually about 1/3 of the cost of the branded equivalent.
Where possible, buy in bulk. This depends on whether you have the storage space, but bulk buying is usually cheaper, and lasts longer. To ensure that you are getting the best price, work out the price per unit, eg price per 100g or per litre. This can be calculated by dividing the price by the number of units- i.e £2.47 for 3 ltrs milk= 2.47/3= 82p per ltr.
Large supermarkets always have offers, such as 3 for the price of 2, or Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) and these offers are regularly changed. Remember that offers will only save you money IF you were intending on buying the item anyway. It helps to go shopping armed with a list, as you are less likely to digress from that.
If you have to travel to do your shopping, cost this into your overall total spend. While a certain supermarket may save you an extra £5, you could end up spending more to get there!
For Scottish readers- try to avoid buying alcohol in store. Due to Scottish licensing laws, promotions on alcohol are forbidden. However, if you go onto the supermarket's website, you will be able to get discounts and promotions there. This is simply because the websites are often maintained in England, where the licensing laws are different, and the company can justifiably argue that they haven't broken the law. Again, factor in delivery costs- if there is a minimum spend for free delivery, consider doubling up with a friend?
When buying clothes, shoes, coats and other seasonal things, try to wait until the end of season sale. You can save up to 75% on the original price- and the waiting period allows you to evaluate whether you actually need the item, or if it was just a possible impulse buy. Avoiding an impulse buy saves cash! Plus, if you save a lot on one item, you could put the saving towards another... bonus bargain!
Gifts & Treats
Speaking of bargains, there are tonnes to be had online!! Group discount websites are a great way to save cash on luxury items, getaways, experience days and electronics. Just be sure to research the product or service to ensure that you are getting a deal, rather than just an advert. You can also save extra cash on these sites by referring friends to the offers, but check that your friend doesn't mind a bit of spam first! Check out Groupon or Wowcher for personalised offers in your area.
You can also be reimbursed for some purchases if you register as a secret shopper. You can find out more about this in my hub here: http://sparkleyfinger.hubpages.com/hub/Battle-Against-The-Recession-By-Secret-Shopping.
Finery & Leisure
If you don't fancy that, there are still plenty of savings to be had. If you haven't already- look at ebay. It is now safer than ever, with tools such as the resolution centre, and payment via paypal, where your details are not shared with the seller. This great site can put you in touch with manufacturers worldwide. Jewelry direct from China, clothes from Thailand- all at a fraction of what you pay at home for the same products! You can also buy one of a kind creations from up-and-coming designers, and can find almost anything! You can either chose an auction format, or use the buy-it-now feature. Just bear in mind that some items can be liable for importing fees, and postage costs, so be sure to add these into your sale for the true cost. You are also able to earn nectar points, and even boots advantage points with every purchase!
Amazon is another great site, particularly for books and art materials. You can buy "bargain boxes" of CDs or DVDs for as little as a penny, again just look out for postage costs.
Hopefully, these tips will help you save a bit of cash without having to alter what you buy too much! ALways remember to check that a deal IS a deal, and only buy what you need!
© 2012 Lynsey Harte