Although I’ve always enjoyed being thrifty, a few months ago I really started to pay attention to my finances and how much I was spending. We were thinking of selling our flat and moving to a bigger place, and it was of course sensible to take a look at outgoings and see how I could cut back in areas to get together a bigger lump sum for when we move. There were also renovations that we needed to do on the flat before we could put it up for sale, the washing machine broke down at Christmas and we needed a new one urgently, various forgotten bills drifted in, and we also needed to save for a holiday we’d booked in April. It was time to up my thrifty game.
While looking for a new washing machine online, I started noticing how many ways and means there are out there to get good deals on purchases. There are so many ways to not pay full price on items you need. I think it’s also really important to treat yourself every now and then, even when you’re trying to cut back, to keep you on track and help give a little boost every now and then during the money saving process. You can save money on treat items and it still feels special. I rarely pay full price for anything these days, and want to share my favourite ways to save money:
Car boot sales / charity shops / eBay / Preloved
This might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you go along to a car boot sale and have a sift through the stalls you’ll be amazed how many ‘brand new with tags’ items people are trying to flog. I mean, we’ve all bought things in shops, left them in our wardrobes for months and never ever worn them. I would also say that secondhand clothing makes up around 50% of my wardrobe these days. I for one don’t have a problem with wearing things from charity shops and car boot sales which have been worn before. You just need to be super selective and take a good look at the whole garment before buying. Even if you get it for 50p, it’s a waste of money if you get it home and find a hole in it (that’s happened to me). I also like eBay and Preloved when looking for things I need. Quite often eBay is cheaper than Amazon for beauty and household items. Most of the books I read these days come from charity shops too. Amazon is cheap, but when you can get decent books at three for £1 it’s hard to pay much more than that unless it’s a new release you really want. There’s also quite a lot of free stuff on Preloved, and you just need to search for local deals. I’ve seen amazing almost new sofas, dining sets and dressing tables go for almost nothing on these sites. It can be worthwhile having a look as you could save a small fortune.
Use a price drop site
It can be frustrating visiting different online retailers looking for a good deal on a certain product. This is where a price drop site comes in very handy. Every Day Is Black Friday is a price drop and sale detector site, which means you no longer have to wait until Black Friday in November to get a good deal on an item. Every Day Is Black Friday monitors online retailers in the UK and detects every time an item goes on sale. It then displays this on the site with the percentage of discount. The homepage shows you a constant feed of items which are going on sale, so if you’re just having a spendy moment but don’t know what to buy, you’re bound to get some inspiration here. The UK’s major retailers are also selectable. Let’s say you have some vouchers for John Lewis. You can select John Lewis from the list of retailers and the page brings up the latest items to go on sale on their website. If you have a certain type of purchase in mind you’d like to make, you can also select from the categories to see which retailers are having sales on that type of item. Every time I make a purchase in future I’ll be checking here, as I just love a bargain.
I started mystery shopping a while back using various companies. One of the best things about it, aside from the extra income of course, is that often you get to go and have a meal and drink at a restaurant for free or at a discounted rate. Often mystery shopping companies will want you to review a restaurant for them and will reimburse you for the cost of the meal and often for a drink or two. I’ve had trips to supermarkets and drugstores with a purchase to make as well, which you also get reimbursed for as well as being paid a sum for undertaking the job. It means I’ve been able to treat myself here and there to meals and bits of makeup and other toiletries. My favourite mystery shopping companies are Grass Roots and GFK.
Couponing is still something that hasn’t fully taken off in the UK yet like it has in the US, but which is becoming more prevalent. One of the most popular sites and one which contains the links to most coupons available to us in the UK is Extreme Couponing. I no longer get embarrassed at the supermarket tills getting out a bundle of coupons to get money off my shopping. After all, if you don’t need to pay full price for something, why would you? There are often local Facebook groups you can join as well which can support you in your quest for a thriftier lifestyle, by posting the latest deals, coupons and even freebies to be had online and in the shops. I’ve had some brilliant free items lately, including a mini Chanel mascara and a mini MAC mascara, so sites like this are well worth signing up to and checking regularly.
My hobby of entering competitions, or ‘comping’, is something I don’t think I can ever give up. It’s one of the ways I earn extra income and treats – check out my money making blog At Home & Online for more comping tips. It’s the kind of hobby you can get completely immersed in when you have the time, and then leave again for a while as life gets busy. For the most part it’s completely free, as competitions can be entered online on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and on blogs and websites. You can also enter them through magazines, in shops and at events. The best part is, you will ultimately win something the more competitions you enter, and you never know what it might be that you’ll be lucky enough to win. I’ve won some fantastic prizes over the years, including a hotel stay, vouchers, clothes and jewellery, so it can be such a rewarding hobby and for such little investment you could end up with a very valuable prize. It’s a nice hobby to have while you’re actively not going out and spending money too. One of the biggest tips I can give you is to buy Superlucky Secrets by Di Coke, a popular and famous comper who has herself bagged some incredible prizes over the years and is now helping others to do the same. By employing some of the methods she details in her book, I’ve increased the number of wins I’ve had this year of prizes that I actually want and have searched for, so I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Those are just some of the ways I’ve been able to save a bit of extra money this year by spending less on necessary purchases and getting amazing discounts on those little treats we all need in life. Do you use any of these methods? Have you got any tips you can share for other bargain hunters?
This post is in collaboration with Every Day Is Black Friday
Never Miss A Post
Delivered straight to your inbox: product discoveries, my favourite tips and tricks, new giveaways, and before and after photos of my house.