The following is a post for our UK readers…
Some people claim that the recession is on its way out and that the economy has started to turn into a positive for the first time in a couple of years. When you look at the balance on your bank statement each month, you may disagree with such claims. Why? One major reason is that the cost of living is continuing to increase while the earning power for many is not.
With prices climbing and wages and funding seeming to be at a stalemate, frugal living is still a necessity. A few simple money saving tips can help you keep those purse strings tight without losing out on the items that you want.
1. Shop Around
Convenience is a major benefit of shopping online. Heck, it’s nice to be able to shop for pretty much anything that you are looking to purchase without leaving the house. The drawback to online shopping is that it can lead to a dangerous mentality – lazy shopping.
When looking to make a purchase, don’t just buy the item from the first site your search returns. Do a little digging to find the best price on the web. Increasingly, retailers and brands are looking to raise their visibility within the shopping community and that means that they are more likely to sell their items in third party retailers such as House of Fraser, Debenhams or even a local boutique.
See whether you can find a couple of stores that stock the item you are looking for and compare their prices, including delivery charges as some retailers will offer discounted or free delivery to win your business.
2. Don’t Buy on Impulse
Much like when you head out to the supermarket to do your shopping while hungry, there is a chance that simply jumping into a shopping spree without knowing what you are looking for can result in you buying much more than you would if you shopped with a list.
Keep your shopping search targeted to what you need and avoid going on an unintended (and un-budgeted) shopping spree. Remember, just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you should buy it.
3. Make use of Voucher Codes, Money off Vouchers and Reward Points
Most online and brick and mortar retailers are now looking to create repeat customers and in order to do that they know that they need to offer you incentives that will make you want to come back so they will offer rewards, cards and discounts scattered around the internet to keep you spending your money with them. Scour the leading coupon websites before any purchase as you’ll find savings on many retailers including House of Fraser, Virgin Media and the Adidas Shop.
4. Don’t Just buy Online
Buying online is not always the cheapest place to make your purchase, especially if your chosen retailer is known for hosting various in-store only offers.
Make sure that you take a look at the prices that they have in-store too, even if you have to call up your local store to ask customer service to check as there could be some great money off deals that have not been added to the website yet. While you’re standing in line waiting to make your purchase, pull up the store’s website on your smartphone and check the price of your items online to make sure you’re getting the best deal. The retailer may match the price posted on their website, leading to more savings for you!
5. When Gift Shopping, Buy a Gift Card
When you’re shopping for someone and you don’t know what they’ll like, give them a gift card. Don’t waste your money on something that you ‘think’ they may like. Instead, give them a gift card for the amount of money that you are looking to spend to either fully cover the cost of the item that you thought about buying them or just to aid them on their way to making a more expensive purchase.
With money tight, the worst thing that you can do is purchase something that isn’t going to be used by the recipient, so let them purchase something that interests them the most.
When possible, look to be as generic as you can with your purchase of gift cards as limiting people to where they can spend your gift could also have the same affect, so make sure you purchase a gift card that does not have a lot of restrictions and is something the recipient would enjoy.
By implementing these money saving tips every day, you’ll help keep more of your hard earned money in your bank account, which goes a long way toward helping you stay afloat regardless of what the economy is doing.
Photo courtesy of: Tax Credits