No, don’t close the post just yet. This isn’t going to be one of those ‘tips to save you money, that won’t actually save you money but I have been paid to write this’ kinda posts. Firstly no one is paying me for this, I am sharing this information out the goodness of my heart. AKA it really fluffing bothers me that people don’t do these really simple things to save money for themselves. Man, it annoys me so much that I will offer to buy it for them for the cheapest price I can find and then they can give me the cash. Secondly, I’m ridiculous lazy/efficient by nature so if it wasn’t rewarding I wouldn’t be doing it! So if you want to be a frugal over spender like me then keep reading.
As I’ve said I’m lazy, so all these tips are predominantly related to online shopping, ain’t no one got the energy to be trawling round the shops with full time work and full time parenting, no. Online shopping it where it’s at! It’s usually cheaper anyway.
Also, I should point out I am a chronic (addict) online shopper, if you think about it, the best way to save cash would be for me to never open my internet browser, I mean really, does anyone need rose gold polka dot Toms? Yes, of course they do. And they need them with a discount. Bitches don’t be paying full price for anything (other than emotionally and psychological paying for child birth and the subsequent years dealing with the child and handling a strong willed toddler that NEEDS a biscuits).
♦♦Tip 1 – Set up a Cashback Site, or two – and be patient!♦♦
Sign up to a cashback site, it’s usually free, and do your shopping through that site. Typically, you login to the cashback site, search for the online store you are looking for, if they have it you can be directed via the cashback site and start shopping. Easy peasy, IF they have the site you need. When they do you will be offered a ‘cashback’ incentive to shop. Cashback amounts vary greatly, most online chains will offer a percentage cashback, ranging anything from 1% to 25% cashback of your purchase. The average amount is 1-10%, which might not appear to be a huge sum, but if you do the majority of your shopping via the cash back site then you will soon begin to accumulate cash.
Often, insurance sites, hotel and travel sites will give a defined cash amount, such as £35 for buying a product from their site. If we all need to purchase car, life, home insurance anyway why not get a few quid back in return? If you are lucky you might even earn a pound or two just for creating a new insurance quote.
The one negative of cashback sites is you may need to wait a while before you can collect your cash, anything from days, weeks to months. Declined cashback is also a problem, however appealing a ‘declined cashback’ is quick and simple and usually results in the cashback being awarded to your account.
If you are going to online shop, you may as well chance your luck at gaining some cash back, better in your pocket than theirs I say. Plus, some cashback sites offer rewards for shopping in certain high street stores in the flesh if you link your bank card to the site. Just be sure to check the site is secure if you are thinking of linking your card.
♦♦ Tip 2 – STOP! Search and listen! Promo and Discount Codes ♦♦
See that little box at the online checkout ‘Discount code’? Try your best to fill it. I’m not suggesting we go all ‘Rain Man’ here and try to decipher online shopping codes in our head, no, that’s what search engines are for. Never click ‘complete order’ without checking for a discount code in a search engine. Never. It takes all of 2 seconds to open the search bar and type the store and ‘discount code’. Not a purchase goes past my tips without a quick search, usually of a certain pizza chain, but it works for everything and anything.
Free delivery codes are usually out there in the big wonderful world of the web, who likes paying for delivery?! A particular pet peeve of mine, I might be spending £60 on boots but there is NO way I will be paying £3.99 for delivery, hell no!
Mix your cashback sites with a discount code and your a winner! Even if you have already applied a discount, try to apply another on top, what do you have to lose? Recently I received 10% off a hotel stay and another 10% again via a discount code, and it was purchased via a cashback site – the cashback remains to be seen as I need to actually visit the hotel first, but either way I saved a few hundred pound on my stay – that’s not an exaggeration.
♦♦ Tip 3 – Sign Up ♦♦
As mentioned above, I saved over £200 when booking a hotel recently. The site offered a 10% ‘members’ discount – which was applied just by signing up to the site, then I cheekily added another discount code on top – and it worked.
Lots of sites will provide you with a discount code if you sign up to their mailing list, on average it’s a healthy 10-15% off. Usually they have annoying pop ups that we quickly dismiss, they get in the way of our frantic shopping. Don’t dismiss them.
Some sites only offer a discount for new shoppers….which you will be, if you provide them with a new, never been used on that site, email address – easily done. It’s only a little bit of effort to save a bit of money. Plus once you have signed up to a site, they will spam send you discount codes or incentives to shop again. Keep your eye out for them, most come with a time constraint. That doesn’t mean you need to use it or lose it, rather, be smart and think if you need the product or you will in future, then buy it now with the discount c ode. I use this method for buying mascara, I have a favourite brand from a certain ‘high end’ chain which costs more than I want to admit, so buying it with a discount code helps to heal the purse wound – I haven’t paid full price for it in years. Use your smarts people.
♦♦ Tip 4 – Bluff Buying ♦♦
After you have signed up to site, go ahead and pretend shop. Make a nice healthy shopping basket, make sure you are logged in and then leave. This doesn’t always work, however, on many occasions the store have emailed to ‘remind’ me that I have things in my basket and proved a dangling carrot in the form of a discount code to help me with my spiraling downward slide into debt purchase.
♦♦ Tip 5 – Use a ‘Wish List’ ♦♦
Add everything you ever want to buy on to you Amazon wish list and leave it there. Of course this is for the more organised online shopped, but again it can yield you some savings. You won’t be provided with discount codes but you will be able to see the fluctuation in price of the items. More often than not, after adding an item to my list the price reduces in a day or so – I don’t know why. This is very useful for birthday and Christmas shopping. It doesn’t necessarily mean I will buy the item from Amazon though…
♦♦ Tip 6 – Search and Search Again ♦♦
If you know what you want, search the whole web for it. Don’t just take one sites price as gospel. Often searching will provide a cheaper price or the same price but no shipping costs – so you are still saving cash. Even better, you might be able to find a site that provides a sign up discount code and it’s available via a cashback site – win, win! Those rose gold Toms I mentioned earlier are from a site I hadn’t heard of before, yet I was able to apply a discount and get cashback!…..I bought 2 pairs…..don’t judge! I got a discount, cashback AND they had the second pair on sale, whereas the rest of the internet had then for full price. And no, they aren’t from a fake shop in China.
♦♦ Tip 7 – Check the Delivery Method ♦♦
Recently I was using a site and the cheeky bugger automatically used ‘Next day delivery’. Oh hell no, my friends. I don’t pay full price and I don’t pay delivery, let alone next day delivery. This really did bother me, but as I was buying boots and getting a discount I was prepared to refrain from closing the site in complete protest – I am easily bought. One reason I hung about, is that free delivery was available. This is becoming more and more common online.
Many site’s will give you the option to ‘click and collect’ at the nearest outlet based on your address and usually it’s for a reduced price, or even better it’s free! This might sound like a whole lot of faffing, you just want it delivered to your door right, you can’t be bothered making your way to the store? Well, increasingly click and collect locations are creeping into supermarkets, which is mega useful – two birds with one stone. Plus, if you need to return the item it’s convenient too.
Getting to a store to collect a package just to save a few quid seems like a bit of a pointless task. Granted I will only use this method if all other ‘free delivery’ attempts have failed, and I will make sure that if I am going to drag my ass to the store then I will be doing so with good reason. If you are going out shopping anyway, then it makes sense to use the free click and collect. Plus half the time my delivery is in a neighbours or, the worst of the worst, in the nearest delivery sorting office, sigh. Might as well have saved the cash and chosen ‘click and collect’.
♦♦ Tip 8 – Buy Gift Vouchers for cheap to purchase items ♦♦
Okay, okay, this one is a bit high maintenance, but I’m telling you it’s worth it.
If all the tips fails, if you can’t get a discount, if there are no free delivery options, if you are sitting face to screen at the gut wrenching prospect of paying full price for something you have your heart set on, then this is your last and final option – buy a gift card.
By far this is the most time consuming tip and a right pain in the arse, but I’m nothing if not deathly stubborn! I do NOT pay full price and I WILL find a way round this.
A certain auction site is a great place to find reduced price gift cards and game network vouchers. For example, instead of paying full price for PlayStation or XBOX network membership, there are usually deals to be found online. You can shave a few quid off membership prices and online games if you buy pre-loaded network gift cards which can be used against purchasing games and all that other online nonsense that is required to be a modern day gamer. You buy a £35 network card for £32, £3 quid better in your pocket. Easy peasy.
This process is fairly simple and straight forward. You pay for a voucher, they send you the code, you enter the code on the network and you are a few quid in. Simple…unlike the next way to utilize gift vouchers.
Last year I was faced with paying full smackaroons for David’s birthday present, a Bose speaker (which was actually a gift for me disguised as a awesome ‘how nice am I’ present for Dave). Every day I would check the price of the speaker and not a jot did it move, in fact, the thing sold out on more than one occasion, which added sweat to my frown brow. No discounts could be found, from any supplier, I was face to face with my nemesis – full price purchase amount. In absolute horror I frantically searched online for a code, in return I found that I could purchase gift cards at a reduced cost….intriguing…and very doable.
All you do is purchase a gift card, equaling or as close to the amount of cash you need and use it towards your item, either in store or online. I found that there are many sites that will allow you to buy a gift voucher with a 5% discount, meaning you are gaining more than you are spending. Literally quids in!
In the end I saved over £20 on the speaker, result!
If you are going to do this then:
Check with the site that the voucher can be applied for the item.
Correctly calculate the amount you need before buying the gift card(s), as many only come in 5, 10 and 20 dominations.
Check you can apply more than one voucher/gift card at a time at check out.
And check, check, check the site you are buying the vouchers/gift card from is legit, you don’t want to spend and have nothing in return.
I know, I have more time on my hands than I should and I can faff about online searching all this, but honestly it’s not that labouring (other than the vouchers) and it does save money. Even better if you find a discount code, shop via a cashback site and don’t pay for delivery, well, that kind of euphoria can only be matched with a long lie next to the Hemsworth bothers on a Sunday morning.
If you have tips to save money online shopping then let know, I’m a complete money miser and I love nothing more than saving and keeping as much as I can in my pocket and not in the retailers pocket – unless that retailer is a private, small business that doesn’t offer free delivery. Then I will cut my loses and justify my spend on the fact that I am helping someone build their business empire…..hopefully big enough that they will offer free delivery and discount codes soon!