5 money-saving tips

8 October2009

Although there are signs that the economy is beginning to recover, many of us still find ourselves struggling from time to time.

At a time like this, more and more people are looking for clever ways to save money. Here are a few tips for making your money stretch further.

Avoid buying in bulk

Many people are tempted to `stock up` on certain items that they use frequently.

However, this can often end up costing you more money. You may find yourself using those items more than you otherwise would, just because you have so many of them.

And once you`ve spent that initial outlay, your money is gone - and should any unexpected costs arise later on, you might find yourself short of cash. By buying things as and when you need them, you won`t be `committing` your money, and you`ll be better placed to deal with any financial emergencies that could arise.

The obvious exception to this is certain special offers - such as 3-for-the-price-of-2 deals - which we`ll talk about later on.

Use cash-back websites

Ever heard of websites that actually pay you for making purchases? Neither have a lot of people. Cash-back websites give you a small rebate for making online purchases, so if you shop online fairly regularly, this could save you a more-than-reasonable amount of money.

Earlier this year, research by shop price comparison site Kelkoo found that the average family is missing out on savings of 123 a year by not using cash-back sites.

Know when to haggle

Some people think the only place you can still haggle is at flea markets - but this is far from the truth. Granted, you probably won`t have much success trying to haggle down the price on bananas at your local supermarket - but when it comes to more expensive goods like TVs, computers and home appliances, your luck might be in.

Competition in these areas tends to be intense, and at a time when sales of expensive goods are relatively low, retailers are ultimately looking to make a sale - even if that means selling at a cut-down price.

Pay-as-you-go mobiles

In recent years, mobile phone contracts have become increasingly popular compared with pay-as-you-go deals, largely due to the lure of seemingly cheap deals on the newest phone models. However, these deals can mean you`re paying more than necessary, because you may pay a premium for the expensive handset, or because you`re buying more call-time than you really need.

Mobile phone providers may also offer SIM-only pay-as-you-go deals that offer free text messages, although you may, for example, be required to top up by a certain amount each month (which should cover a reasonable number of phonecalls, too).

If you think you need the amount of call-time that contracts tend to offer, be aware that most mobile phone providers will offer free handsets with some of their contracts, which will help to keep your costs down.

Think carefully about special offers

Special offers can be a wonderful thing, and if you were already planning on buying the item on offer, all the better.

However, not all special offers are as good value as they may first seem. Buy-one-get-one-free offers tend to be good value, as you are simply getting twice the amount of goods for your money - but offers like `three for 3` often save you only a few pence.

Before you buy something on special offer, firstly consider whether you would have bought it if it wasn`t on offer, and then consider how much money it`s really saving you.

Tags: money, saving, tips, economy

Fees payable when continuing service is provided. Repaying debt over a longer period may increase the total amount to be repaid. Calls are recorded and are usually free from UK landlines. Mobile phone users may be charged and should check with their service provider. Cards are provided by third parties and are subject to eligibility, status and terms and conditions. Applicants must be UK residents aged 18 or over.

All About Money Limited © 2013. All rights reserved. 42 Boston Rd, Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7ER.