No matter how much you cut costs, there will obviously always be plenty of things that you need to buy. There are also times when it is worth spending more for better-quality, and times when you just want to treat yourself because you can afford it and feel you deserve it.
There is nothing wrong with any of these expenses, but it’s nice to keep their total cost down as far as possible. In particular, it’s nice when you can get exactly what you need (or what you were paying for anyway), but pay noticeably less than you were expecting to.
Some time ago now, “affiliate schemes” started to catch on among online retailers. Through these schemes, if another website (the affiliate) sends customers their way and those customers make a purchase, the affiliate gets a cut of the money. The idea is simply to gain more customers.
Cashback websites take advantage of these schemes, splitting their commission with you or even giving it all to you and relying on ad revenue. That way, you get to save money while shopping with major online retailers, just by using the cashback website’s affiliate link instead of heading directly to the store you want to buy from. Savings on most day-to-day purchases will be pennies or a couple of pounds (which can still mount up over time), but on big things like car insurance and broadband contracts the savings can be big.
Regularly switching suppliers of energy, phone/broadband, insurance and so on has become one of the most oft-quoted pieces of money-saving advice. There is extremely good reason for this, because savings can be massive. For example, it recently emerged that a very large percentage of customers are overpaying for energy, mainly by around £160-£235 a year, simply through failing to switch.
In particular, make sure you don’t switch once and then become complacent, pleased with yourself for finding the best deal. Prices often go up as soon as a contract runs out, and even if the cost is going to stay the same markets are constantly changing and the best deals are almost inevitably those for new customers. As a rule, you should start looking for a new provider as soon as the contract with your old one runs out if you want to be sure you are getting the best deal. There are a couple of considerations to make besides price, however. Make sure you are being quoted for a like-for-like service, or the quotes may simply not be comparable. It could also be worth checking out independent reviews to make sure the company won’t provide substandard service.