Thursday, 25 July 2013

A-Z of saving money

Airmiles. If you or your partner travels for work, check whether you're allowed to keep and spend the airmiles personally. Avios (BA) now lets you redeem them against flights, hotels and car hire. We once enjoyed a 4 night break in a 5* hotel in Jersey with flights and car hire for £56, for both of us. What a bargain.

Budgeting. It's kind of obvious, but if you don't work out how much you've got to spend and on what, how much control have you got over your finances? I know it's utterly dull, but go through your bank account in detail over 6 or 12 months and you'll build up a very clear picture of where all your money goes.

Clubcard points. If you shop regularly as Tesco, you are missing out if you don't get a clubcard. The points soon add up and are nearly always worth double their monetary value when you spend them. The places that they can be redeemed are pretty good too.

Delivery charges. It's getting easier to avoid paying these. A lot of shops offer a 'free to store' delivery option and many offers are either dropping their charges completely (Amazon) or will run 'free delivery' promotions.

Ebay. Buying or selling - you can still get a bargain or make a few quid on this old favourite.

Freecycle. Sign up to the one in your local area to get rid of things you no longer need (one man's junk is another man's treasure) and to pick up bargains, for zero cash. 

Groups, specifically Facebook selling groups - they're hot with secondhand bargains. Find and join your local groups to find the best deals in your local area.

Handmade. If you're a genius in the kitchen, a master of a sewing machine or an absolute pro with a camera, they why not offer up your skills as a Christmas or birthday present?

Insurance. While paying out a (steadily increasing) annual premium might seem like somewhere you could save money, don't be tempted. Most people can't afford to not have insurance. And if you can, then you are probably wasting your time reading these tips!

Jewellery. Got some old jewellery that you don't wear anymore? Gold in particular is easy to trade in for a bit of extra cash. A travel website (flights, hotels, car hire, holidays) with lots of lovely filters, including a trip advisor rating.

Loyalty cards. Is there a shop that you shop in on a regular basis? Then make sure that you get a loyalty card. They don't cost a thing and you will eventually build up enough points for a freebie. A fabulous website. Sign up immediately to the newsletter and don't consider making a financial investment (be it something to do with savings or a big purchase like choosing a new phone contract) without visiting the website first.

No. Sometimes you have to say no, which feels uncomfortable. And for us Brits, we really really don't like this, which is why we so often say yes when what we want to do is say no. No works particularly well in cross-selling situations, special offers on things you don't really need and auto renewal on services you don't need or use.

Oyster. If you're visiting London either as a day tripper or as daily commuter, you need to get an Oyster card. It's the cheapest way to pay for single journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. I love this website for two reasons - 1. They produce top quality products and 2. They regularly run really great offers. Make sure you sign up to hear about their promotions.

Quidco. My preferred cashback website.

Recycle. There are so many things that can be used more than once and save you money at the same time. How about cutting up your old Christmas cards to use as gift tags for next year's presents?

Shop around. It's so simple, and it doesn't just apply to online shopping. Many retail shops offer a price match guarantee, and even if they don't, it's worth asking if they can offer you a deal.

TK Maxx. I flipping love this shop. You need patience to sift through the rails, but the pay offs are great - anything from 50%-70+% off high street prices on quality clothes, shoes and homewares. Make sure you're on the right deal for your gas & electricity, broadband & phone and mobile phone contracts.

Vouchers. When I eat at a chain, I rarely choose somewhere without checking for discount vouchers and special offers first. The vouchercodes app is pretty good when you're out and about. Subscribe to this brilliant little website and instantly get entered into thousands of online competitions. I've won some amazing prizes courtesy of this website.

X Ok, I'm stumped with this letter! But it's a perfect gap in the market if you want to set up a penny saving website!

YouTube I'm stretching this slightly, but did you know that YouTube, as well as featuring lots of hilarious videos of bad dancing and cute kittens, also contains product review videos and 'how-to' guides? When I was pushchair browsing, I used the dedicated Kiddicare channel to watch demos of different pushchairs being folded and unfolded and their unique features being highlighted. You can also look up videos of all kinds of random things like replacing a cracked screen on your iPhone.

Zzzzzzs (cop out, I know, but this is a hard letter!) Make sure you get enough sleep. Shopping in a sleep deprived state of mind will lead to you making bad choices. You might buy something you don't really need or you'll fill your supermarket trolley with convenience food, which always costs more!

Share your top tips

Phew! Well that was 27 ways (ish!) of saving money. What's the biggest amount of money you saved, and how did you do it?

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