Never pay full price again: How discount deals, voucher codes and special offers mean we should always be able to pay less for goods and services

shoppingMost people do know that clipping coupons and shopping around can save them money. If they still stay away from these saving ideas, it’s because they see these activities as a waste of time. They don’t have to waste your time though, if you use the latest technology and go about them in an organized manner.

Shop around to switch to better deals on energy, insurance, phone service and broadband

A large number of British households simply accept whatever price their current suppliers demand for their gas, electricity, car insurance or anything else. It’s understandable that they would do this – regulated, single-supplier prices were the reality that they grew up with. In today’s liberalized market though, shopping around for a better deal is important for reasonable prices in nearly every kind of daily need. When you compare gas and electricity prices at UK Power, for instance, you can easily end up saving hundreds on your energy bills.

Here are other ways to save.

Get grocery coupons

Shop Scan Save: This is a free smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) that gives you discounts on products at grocery stores that have PayPoint machines (Spar and Cost-Cutter, for example). Once you install the app on a device, it gives you a regularly updated list of possible discounts at stores near you. You usually get about 30p to £1 off on various food staples like ketchup, beans and tea. When you select a product, you get a barcode to scan at the PayPoint machine at the store’s checkout. If the checkout clerk doesn’t know about Shop Scan Save barcode discount coupons, the app comes with an introduction video for store personnel.

Shopitize: This coupon app is even better than Shop Scan Save. It gives you 50% cashback on several grocery store brands at major chains like Tesco and Asda. Your cashback arrives in your Shopitize account a few days after each purchase. You get to withdraw it by cheque.

Store magazines can be a rich source of store-specific discount coupons. If you have a couple of stores that you go to regularly, getting their store magazine can be a good idea. The following ideas can make sense, too.

.   Find a coupon recommending service to send you coupons on a regular basis.

.   Subscribe to as many store newsletters as you can. To make sure that they don’t clutter up your inbox, you can sign-up to these newsletters with a separate email account. You can then set up alerts to make sure that you don’t waste your time scanning through all of them each day. Each time a newsletter mentions a product, you’ll get an alert.

Finally, if a store is out of a product that your coupon entitles you to a discount on, you should ask for a raincheck voucher – permission to access the same deal on another day.

Set up price alerts

Since the prices on many items constantly change with product cycles, times of the year and store policies, waiting for lower prices is often a good idea. If you need a new computer, clothes or anything else, you can use a price alert website such as camelcamelcamel.com or prispy.com and set up an alert for it. The site will automatically set up a regular check on the item and inform you when prices come to your level.

Harry Lawrance is a money-conscious consumer and often writes about techniques to live well on a tight budget..

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