5 ways to save money while you shop

My shopping addiction has been well documented across this blog, but over the past few months I’ve been trying to get a lot more savvy about where and how I spend my money to make it go that little bit further. I’ve put together a few of my top tips on how to bag the best deals and discounts, both in store and online.

Loyalty cards for the win - many stores now offer a loyalty card programme where you can build up points on the purchases you make, which can later on be exchanged for other goodies in store. Some are more generous than others, but over time, the points really do build up. Whip out your loyalty cards for even the smallest of purchases – for example, anything over £1 will give you points in Boots – they will add up quicker than you think! I made the most of my Debenhams Beauty Club points recently for a post-pay day treat – I’d saved up my points to the point where I was able to buy a YSL eye shadow I’d had my eye on for the grand total of £3. Bargain!

Use cashback sites for online shopping – cashback sites are a great way to earn a little money back while doing your normal online shopping. Topcashback and Quidco are all pretty popular and will pay out a percentage/amount of cashback for different retailers when going via links from their site. Now, the cashback can take several months to clear through so it’s not exactly speedy, but if you’re planning to do an ASOS order, you can earn anywhere up to 10% cashback! Hello free money.

Make the most of the freebies – if you’re a Lush fan, or a MAC addict, save all those used up products as you can take them back to the store in exchange for a free one! Swap 5 full-size black Lush pots for a free fresh face mask, or 6 finished full-size MAC products for a free lipstick.

Sign up for newsletters – brands will often reward you with discount codes in exchange for your email address. I’ve set up a designated email account for newsletters to avoid my regular inbox being clogged up with junk, but it’s well worth the hassle of an extra email log in for 2 for 1 food deals, beauty discounts and bargain shoes.

Step away from the store cards – store cards definitely shouldn’t be confused with loyalty/points cards; in fact, they’re little more than a high interest credit card and are far too easy to get. You might be offered a lovely discount on your shopping at the till in exchange for signing up for an in-store credit card, but if you don’t pay the balance off at the end of the month, there are usually high interest charges which can stack up quickly. My advice would be to always say no to these when offered, but if you have been stung by one, consider transferring your outstanding balance to a 0% credit card instead. That way you’ll have time to pay off the monies owed, without racking up lots of extra interest.

And one more for luck…

Abandon that shopping basket – this one is a little bit sneaky, but always worth a try! Online retailers hate it when you put lots of stuff in your shopping basket and then leave their website. Some of them will try to entice you back to finish your purchases with a spur of the moment discount code if they happen to have your email address. It’s not fool-proof, but well worth a try on items you aren’t worried are going to sell out in the next 5 minutes!

What are your top tips for saving money while you shop?

*Written in collaboration with TSB


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