Since the start of 2018, I have been writing the Bargain Hunter page in The Metro newspaper. Each week I pull together ten handy money-saving hacks – and it has proven so popular, I thought I would share some of my favourites.
Do you have any clever ways to cut costs?
1 Ex-display footwear for a fraction of the cost
Fancy a new pair of red Hunter wellies for £52 instead of £95? Or what about a pair of women’s Adidas Stan Smith’s for £33 rather than £74.99?
High street chains Office and Schuh each have a website – separate from their normal online store – where you can pick up some mega-reduced, ex-display shoes that may have suffered some minor wear-and-tear after being tried on in store. What’s more, it’s not just those with small feet that can make serious savings – a quick search on the sites show ample selection of a very average, size 6.
2 Shave years off your mortgage for just £100 extra a month
Paying a bit extra each month can cut your mortgage term and save you thousands of pounds in interest payments.
For instance, if you had a home loan worth £150,000 with an interest rate of 3%, you’d pay £711 each month for 25 years. But if you pay a bit extra, say £100 a month, you would save £11,835 in interest and clear your debt four years and three months earlier.
Always check with your lender to see if any early-repayment charges apply.
3 The free legal advice you might not know you have
As legal disputes can be costly and stressful, many people are deterred from acting because of the financial risk. But this is where legal expenses insurance can help. It is a cheap way for people to speak softly but carry a big stick.
The best part? It often comes free with home insurance. The bad news? You probably have no idea that you even have it.
Typically, legal costs between £50,000 to £100,000 per dispute are paid directly.
Despite being associated with home insurance, this cover will protect you for problems outside the home too. For instance, it can help if you are negotiating a contract when returning to work after maternity leave, applying for flexible working, or if you feel you have been wrongfully dismissed.
4 Don’t cry over lost parts
If your child loses a part of their favourite Orchard Toys game, don’t toss it in the trash. If you contact the company, they will replace up to three lost game pieces for each customer each year, for free.
This means that games that would be once unplayable, no longer go to waste – and saves you a fortune. Visit the Orchard website to find out more.
5 Check the World Food aisle for extra savings
If you know where to look, you can often bag better bargains by looking in other aisles in the same supermarket.
If you were after coconut milk, for instance, you would find a 400g tin of Blue Dragon Coconut Milk for £1.99 in Asda. Head over to the World Foods section and it is a fraction of the price at just 80p – a savings of 60%.
While a 36g jar of Tesco Ground Coriander sells for 85p (£2.36/100g), a 100g packet in the World Foods aisle is priced at just £1.15 (£1.15/100g) – or for less than half the price.
6 Get a takeaway prescription
Just because you get your eyes tested at one optician does not mean you must buy your glasses or contact lenses there. By law, once you have had an eye test, the optician is obliged to provide you with a prescription, but you are not required to make a purchase. Make sure you understand it, as it will enable you to shop around for the most competitive prices.
Find cheap frames at Glasses Direct and get two pairs for as little as £19. What’s more, I was given an offer for my friends to get £30 off any frame priced £49 and above. Just the promo code Kara Gammell during check out
7 Free online complaint tool
Consumers must deal with customer service daily, and often this experience is negative. Whether we are trying unsuccessfully to return an item, negotiate a better deal or question an incorrect bill, a growing number of us are getting fed up with feeling fobbed off.
Complaining isn’t always easy, but if you use Resolver it will take the hassle out of making your voice heard. The free-to-use website will not only help you draft a letter, but it will send it, monitor replies and then escalate it to an ombudsman or complaints body if it’s not sorted.
8 Get creative with childcare
According to the Family and Childcare Trust, it now costs around £222 on average to send a child aged under two to nursery for 50 hours a week in Britain, a total of £11,563 per year. While those that live in London face much higher costs with a full-time nursery place averaging £291 weekly – or £15,132 annually.
If you are looking to cut costs, a childcare swap could be the answer – where you look after your friend’s children and, in return, your friend looks after your children and no cash exchanges hands.
In recent years, there have been headlines stating friends were not allowed to offer each other reciprocal childcare without Ofsted approval and whoever was looking after the children registering as a childminder. Thankfully, this loophole has been closed.
9 Buy books at a fraction of the price
If you love reading but don’t want to spend a fortune on your habit, check out www.bookpeople.co.uk for best-selling book collections at a quarter of the price.
If it is children’s books you are after, check out the Collections section where you can find bargains on a 10-book Julia Donaldson Picture Set for just £12.99.
10. Free photos every month
If the thought of all your unprinted photos on your phone fills you with anxiety, why not make a start with an app that gives you freebies each month?
With the Freeprints app, you can get up to 45 free 6×4 prints every month – all you pay is shipping and handling.
Standard postage and packing starts at £1.49 and is never more than £3.99, no matter how many prints you order!