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Money saving

How to find the best deals

Posted 21 December 2015 by Christine Walsh

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Do you know how to find the best deals? Sometimes the simplest things can make a big difference to your finances. Make sure you know how to find the best deals out there.

Now and again a little bit of thrifty and savvy shopping can really help you out. Maybe you’re trying to save for something special, or you’re focussing your financial efforts on clearing those credit card debts as quickly as you can. Maybe you’re just looking to tighten the purse strings because of Christmas. Whatever the reason, if you’ve already made the decision to buy a specific thing, it pays to find the best deal out there. 

So we’ve put together a little guide on how to find the best deals out there. These tips may help you stretch your finances to cover all the creature comforts you’re used to, whilst saving a pretty penny too. And, if you’re battling problem debts, it could help ease your situation a little.  

Now, it may be that you’ve been unable to manage your problem debt situation for a while and you’re at the stage where you need professional advice. If that’s the case, don’t worry. Use one of the options to the left and speak to a trained debt advisor who can help. Or alternatively, click on the link below to get a personalised money report so you can really see the situation you’re in and how you can go about fixing it. 

 

find my solution

Ok, so let’s get stuck into what you need to do to find those deals!

1. Groupon. 

Groupon is a great site that will alert you to deals on all kinds of things including holidays, restaurants, electronics and days out. It’s free and simple to register, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t benefit from some of the best deals out there.

 

You do, however, have to be patient and flexible, this is just a general deal finding tip, but it’s so important. The very best deals for anything aren’t really around all the time and to take advantage of them does sometimes mean being patient and flexible about when you buy something or go somewhere. For example, there’s currently a deal on Groupon for 40% off standard national express fares – that brings the price down to £2 for your journey! 

 

But, to gain from this deal you’d have to be able to travel between the 4th January and the 28th February 2016 (excluding the 13th to the 21st February). There might also be some conditions about the time that you have to travel, maybe it will be earlier in the morning than you’re used to, or from a specific departure point and you’d have to make your way there. It’s important to note that these deals are time specific, so always watch out for when the deal ends. If you click on the link there’s a helpful countdown so you know how long you’ve got. 

 

However, you can’t really argue with £2. And, if you’re willing to be flexible, it’s a great deal. Visiting a friend in another city for a night or two might not turn out to be as expensive as you thought.

 

To get in on these deals you’ll need to register with Groupon and input a specific code while you’re making your purchase – always be sure to read the fine print carefully before buying anything. 

 

There’s also Quidco and TopCashback, two of the most popular cashback and voucher sites in the UK that you may have heard of. They work by displaying thousands of different offers from a huge range of different retailers. When you choose to buy something, Quidco and TopCashback receive a commission from the retailers and then they can pass that back to you as a saving. Registration is free for both of them, so there’s no reason not to use these sites to shop a little smarter. 

 

If you’re going to sign up to anything it’s always a good idea to do your research. Which? has a helpful page all about cashback sites, how to use one and any pitfalls you should watch out for. 

 

 

2. Use comparison sites. 

By now it’s probably safe to say that most people use comparison sites to make sure that they’re getting the best deal out there - but if you don’t already do so, you should start. And, if you do already, use them more! 

 

There’s a comparison site out there for most of life’s major expenses, but let’s run through the most popular ones.  We’ve got Uswitch which is great for gas and electricity, Compare the Market for all your insurance needs and Money Supermarket and Confused.com for pretty much everything, including loans and credit cards. A lot of people take some time at the start of the New Year to look over their finances to see whether there’s any areas in which they could save. If you decide to do this, make sure you’re comparing as much as possible.

 

3. Use a shopping App.

When it comes to convenience you can’t get any better than a shopping app. When you’re out and about on the high street and you spot something you want, you might start to wonder if it’s the best financial decision to buy it there and then – what if it’s cheaper somewhere else? In case you didn’t already know, there are apps available that allow you to scan the barcode and hey presto – no more wondering! You can find out where you can get that item for the best price. Redlaser lets you do just that, as well as finding out whether you can buy something you’re after nearby. 

 

One area that people always seem to want to save on is the weekly food shop. And why wouldn’t you? It’s pretty essential, so you want to make sure it isn’t eating into your budget more than it needs to. Why not download My Supermarket to compare the major supermarkets on thousands of products? 

 

4. Haggle.

This is a strange one, as some people often don’t think of doing it at all, or they think that somehow they’re not supposed to be doing it. This isn’t the case and haggling can end up getting you a better deal than what has originally been offered to you – it just depends on the type of product and the timing. 

 

Here are a few things that you can haggle over:

• TV subscriptions

• broadband

• car breakdown cover

• gym subscription

 

Companies that sell these kinds of products and services will be used to people haggling and sticking to a certain price that they’re not willing to go over. It can sometimes work to tell the company that you’re haggling with that you’ve found a better deal to see if they’re willing to price match  (if you genuinely have of course, if they’ve got access to the internet they will be able to check!). Have a look at our blog on haggling for your breakdown cover. 

Timing can be a vitally important factor in whether or not your haggling is successful. Towards the end of the month, companies may be trying extra hard to hit their targets and will be more willing to negotiate on price just to sign you up. This can work for shopping face-to-face as well sometimes. Although, big retailers may be more reluctant to reduce products any time of the day or night, smaller independent retailers or a market stall seller can be a different story. If you were at a marketplace or car boot sale towards the very end of the day, you might have more luck haggling. Smaller independent sellers may simply want to be rid of their stock, so they don’t have to take it home. 

 

5. Go online and be patient. 

Of course, you may find that some of the best deals are available online. But be careful, just like in the shops, just because something says “discounted” it doesn’t mean that it’s the very best price you can get. What’s discounted with one retailer could be cheaper altogether with another retailer. You should still shop around. 

 

Be as patient as you can and see whether you can wait for the cyber-sales or get an alert when a product comes down to a price you’re willing to pay. Prices can go up and down erratically online and it can be frustrating if you miss a really great deal that didn’t hang around for long enough. Camelcamelcamel is a site that tracks the prices on Amazon – the biggest online retailer in the game. You input the item you want and the price you’re willing to pay and get an alert when it hits that price. No more missing out for you!

 

Knowing that you’ve got a brilliant deal on something that should have been a lot more expensive can be such a great feeling.  And who doesn’t want to save, especially in January. Why not try out five best tips in the new year and see whether there’s a great bargain out there with your name on it?  

 

by Christine Walsh

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