Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to pay the full asking price of any product again? Well, that’s something you can make a reality quite easily, just by employing a few simple tricks.
These techniques can help you cut the cost of everyday spending on things like groceries, clothing, and travel, though they can also be used when buying big-ticket items like televisions, cars, and more.
The first trick to spending less on whatever it is you’re looking to buy is to shop around, comparing prices from multiple companies. You can do this the old fashioned way, visiting each shop in person, or you can do it online using comparison sites like Google Shopping, Kelkoo, and PriceRunner.
It’s not just physical products either. You can compare prices for just about everything online, such as insurance, utilities, mortgages, and mobile phone contracts. For this, you can use sites like MoneySuperMarket and Compare the Market.
In addition to comparing different retailers, you can also compare prices against historical trends. Using services like CamelCamelCamel, you can see the price of most Amazon products over the past several months, years, or even longer. You can use this to see if the current price is a good deal or not, and if it’s higher than usual, set an alert to notify you when it drops again.
You may not know it, but you can actually barter with salespeople in many shops.
In some cultures, bartering is a huge part of commerce, with traders and customers haggling over everything from the price of vegetables to the cost of washing powder. In the UK, bartering isn’t something we’re comfortable with because it’s not something we do very often. You probably won’t get very far trying to negotiate the price of carrots in Tesco, but you may wangle a discount while you’re buying a new TV.
So when we do finally come to barter, we’re often rusty and ineffective, resorting to tired lines like “but I’ve been a customer for 10 years”, or to being rude and aggressive.
Instead, use facts. Show the salesperson you can get it cheaper elsewhere. Ask them, “Is there anything you can do for me?” or “Are there any discounts you can offer me?”. They often have offers available, but can’t give them unless they’re asked.
Use Promotions, Discounts, and Vouchers
While the UK doesn’t have the same “extreme couponing” that’s seen in the United States, you can still save a lot of money by taking advantage of promotions, vouchers and other discounts.
You can usually find them for just about everything too. Restaurants often offer vouchers to new customers or offer a discounted menu at certain times of the day, while you can save money on your groceries by finding manufacturer and retailer vouchers for money off or free products.
It’s not just food either. You can cut the cost of entertainment by taking advantage of promotions like free spins in online casinos, two-for-one offers in many cinemas, and Groupon discounts for activities like spa treatments, go-karting, and much more.
Sometimes, you can’t get a discount or barter, but that still doesn’t mean you need to pay full price. By collecting cashback, you can still save money on practically any purchase, provided you can pay online or via a credit card.
Firstly, sites like TopCashback and Quidco allow you to earn cashback on purchases from thousands of online retailers. To get started, you just need to create an account and visit their website before doing your shopping.
If they don’t offer cashback for the particular site or product you’re shopping for, you can still earn through your credit card. Cashback credit cards allow you to earn a small rebate on your shopping. The more you spend, the more you earn. Of course, you shouldn’t spend extra just to get more cashback, as this would mean you’re still spending more money than you would have.
Unfortunately, cashback rates on credit cards aren’t very high in the UK, and with interest rates on savings very low, there’s little chance of that changing any time soon. However, even 0.5% is better than nothing.
Where you can, combine many of these tricks together and the savings will be even bigger.