Top ten expenses to reduce on comparison websites
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Reducing expenditure - Coupons, vouchers and discount codes
It’s not just the essential purchases that you can save money on. Nearly everything you buy could be bought a little cheaper if you made the effort. For example, a trip to the cinema can be quite expensive if you paid full price, but there are usually half-price deals, and two for the price of one deals, available throughout the week if you look for them.
Theme parks are again quite expensive if you pay full price, but there are always some sort of deals going on, usually buy one get one free, kids go half price, or even kids go free. Look out for “cut out vouchers” on the back of breakfast cereals, crisps, or try searching on-line.
Eating out is a nice treat once in a while, and again there is always a deal on somewhere. The great thing about the mobile internet is that you can search for money off vouchers, and discounts even whilst you are standing outside the restaurant. I have done this many times before, and made some great savings, all for 60 seconds effort on Google!
Most electronic purchases such as a new TV, mobile phone, computer, games console, laptop, printer, hairdryer, etc. can usually be bought online, where you can also pick up a discount code if you search for them. You won’t get them half price, because they are low margin products, but you should be able to get 5% or 10% off them.
The same goes for pretty much anything else you decide to buy. Try and search for a discount or voucher code, or if it is a big-ticket purchase, such as a car, caravan, motorhome, new sofa, motorbike, bicycle, or even a holiday, try and negotiate directly, you may be surprised at the savings you can make, just by asking for them.
Reducing expenditure - Out of season
Some products can be bought much cheaper if you buy them out of season. For example, I secured a half-price air conditioning unit when I bought it in the winter, as nobody else wanted one then.
The same thing happened with a huge Christmas tree I bought in a January sale. Christmas was over for another year, and the shop in question was just trying to get rid of excess stock to avoid having to take it back into storage. No-one else wanted it, as they were no longer thinking about Christmas, and I managed to pick it up with a 66% discount, paying only one-third of the list price.
Clothes are also much cheaper out of season, and you can easily fill your wardrobe for next year with end of season clear out sales.
If you can plan ahead and buy some things out of season, you can make some big savings.
Reducing expenditure - Food shopping
One of the biggest monthly expenses and an essential need for us all is food.
Food shopping is an ever-growing cost that only ever seems to increase, either due to inflation or as a result of an increasing family.
There is no doubt at all, that food prices have been increasing by an amount well in excess of inflation, for the past several years at least, making it a growing burden on our monthly finances.
One solution, which I know is sometimes frowned upon, is to change your usual supermarket for one of a lower price range. For example, if you currently shop in a high-end food shop such as Waitrose or Marks & Spencer, you move down a level to the mid-range shops, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s or ASDA.
If you already shop in a mid-range store, then move down to a discount food store such as Aldi or Lidle, the savings made are very noticeable, although I do appreciate, this move is something some people are not comfortable with.
If you already shop in the discount food stores, then you know you are already getting your food at the best price currently available, and the only way to reduce your shopping cost, is to buy less food, maybe slightly fewer bars of chocolate and biscuits?
Reducing expenditure - Special deals
Make sure you fully understand the “special deals” that are being offered to you, as sometimes the deal is for the retailer's benefit, and not yours. £4.99 sounds cheaper than £5, and it may well be enough to persuade some people to buy the product. But the price is practically the same.
Three for the price of two deals, are only worth it if you would have bought the product anyway, and the price of the two this week, is less than the price of three the week before. Increasing the prices and then making one free, is not a deal in your favour, but shops love to do it, so be careful of special offers.
Reducing expenditure - Cash-back websites
Don’t forget to sign up to “cashback” websites such as Quidco, to earn money back on most of your online purchases. If you were going to buy something anyway, then you may as well earn a little cash back each time, as it does add up.
TIP: Getting “value for money”, is often a better way to make savings in the long run, than simply buying the cheapest of everything. Paying slightly more for a product that lasts twice as long, is better value for money, than having to buy two slightly cheaper products, over the same time frame.