Shopping Around

Raiding the piggy bankThere’s no doubt about it, things have been tough the last few years and they are rapidly getting tougher. Food prices are rising steadily, fuel costs are going up and the last fortnight has seen the top energy suppliers in the UK putting their prices up by 8%-11%. This means that no matter how careful you are in the rest of your life, your household bills will rise regardless  and unless you’re in one of those professions that have seen a wage increase in line with the cost of living (anyone?) then everyone is going to feel the pinch.

So while there might not be much you can do to improve that situation, there are ways to minimise some of the damage. Over the last few months, cost-saving ideas have been regular features in conversations and some of our Victory friends had some great tips for where to find top quality bargains.

For household and grocery items, it’s a good idea to make a list of your staples along with the retail prices. Make sure the list includes prices for any preferred brands and the weight or quantity of your usual purchase. Take the list with you whenever you go shopping (or add it to your phone) so you’ll always have it handy. That way you can check quickly and easily whether the deal in front of you is a good one or not.

Below are a few links that we found to be useful or that offered surprisingly low prices.

Google (other search engines are available) – If you’re after a specific item, check the recommended retail price first, then do a search for [product-name]+discount and see what comes up. Might seem obvious but often there are websites you’ve never heard of before offering very good discounts on specific brands or product types. – There is nowhere better for finding money saving advice, tips and discount codes than Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert site. There are also the tools for you to run a complete finance health check on your household finances – we did this last week and it’s going to save us over £500 a year on our bills. – A good place for discount codes and vouchers across all types of purchase, from clothing and electronics to meals out and holidays. – Don’t assume that just because something is on Ebay, it’s automatically cheaper than buying from the shop. Do your research and set your bid limits carefully. – If you don’t already use this site, it’s a great place to check like-for-like costs on branded products. It’s hard to gauge the exact nature of the savings on non-brand items though, so it’s worth running a check on the basics too. – As they seem to sell everything these days, Amazon is a good place to go.  As a lot of their products are discounted, it is particularly good for price and bargain comparison. – This website sells named brand or ‘designer’ clothing and footwear at a discount and there’s no denying that the discount is significant. In most instances I looked at, it brought the product down to a price I would actually consider paying for a change. – I found this site while looking for a properly waterproof winter coat for my daughter and the discounts on branded  outdoor wear were pretty good and definitely one to visit, if only for price comparison.

Poundland – It’s easy to assume that if all products cost a pound, they are all cheaper than you could buy elsewhere but that’s not always the case. However there are some amazing savings to be made if you seek out the right products.

TK Maxx – Well known on the high street, TK Maxx offers branded products at discounted prices.

Factory Shops – Like some of the links above, if there’s something specific you’re after, it’s worth checking their websites to look at the latest offers. They often have unexpected, season-appropriate lines at good prices.

If you have any suggestions for other useful websites, get in touch and we’ll add them to the list.

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One Response to “Shopping Around”

  1. Rabby 14 August 2013 at 5:31 am #

    Oh no, rough to hear that your hydro’s going up…

    I use eBay quite a bit for shopping – I’ve been amazed at some of the savings I’ve found – particularly on clothing and accessories. I remember seeing some earrings, for example, at our local Asian mall, which I had intended to buy for about 11$, but when I returned to the store to pick them up they had closed – luckily for me, it turned out! I later found the same pair on eBay for… Wait for it… 99 cents and free postage. They were cheap little things, and I knew that from the offset, so it was certainly welcome to pay so little!

    Learning to use online search tools properly really can help people get their search on more easily too! It turns out that many people don’t know how some simple characters can help them to find precisely what they’re looking for! For example, putting the words that your search results MUST have “in quotation marks” to ensure only results with those words together will appear, or -putting -the -minus -symbol before words you do NOT want in your results! The amount of results that do not pertain to your search you can weed out is incredibly helpful! Only recently taught my mum about it, the thought having never occurred to me that she might not know! I’ll bet many of your readers would also benefit from that!

    Again, another victory for eBay, for me at least… Is that I am subscribed to a couple of TeamBuy sites, where groups of people team up together through the deals being offered and buy items for less than normal. While these schemes can be useful sometimes, I’ve taken to double-checking those items against eBay results – and often find the same thing for much less money than the “normal price” OR the “deal price”!

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