We are always on the lookout for ways to curb our spending, and this year, we’ve found some clever tricks.
From protecting your car from theft to making sure you are never knowingly ripped off, these are effective ways of making your money stretch that bit further.
Read on below for more money-saving tips.
Healthcare 24/7? Check your policy
Reluctant to visit the GP or A&E due to the threat of Covid? You’re not alone. Official figures from November show attendance in A&E departments across England are down by 30.7% per cent compared to the same period last year.
But did you know that you could have access to remote services such as 24/7 GP access, support for mental health concerns, a second medical opinion and even physio through certain income protection and critical illness policies?
For most of these value-added benefits, your spouse and children could also be covered. Plus, there’s no limit on how many times you can access this service. It’s time to check that policy…
Keyless car crime, be on the lookout..
Did you know that last year motor insurance claims for theft increased by 11 per cent, thanks to keyless car crime? Cars with passive keyless systems, which allow drivers to open and start their cars without removing the keyless fob from their pockets, are most at risk.
Here, thieves take advantage of a vulnerability in the keyless technology by finding a car parked close to the owner’s house and assume that the keys are hung by the front door.
The criminals work in pairs – one will hold an amplification device up against the front wall of a home. This enables them to search for the signal from the fob. The device then relays the signal to an accomplice, who is holding another device against the car door.
The Association Of British Insurers recommends your keys are kept as far away as possible from doors and windows and, if possible, shut inside a drawer when you are at home. You can purchase a Faraday pouch to keep your keys in, which helps to block the signal.
Trick yourself – rather than treat
If you can’t resist a so-called bargain but want to control your spending, try this neat psychological trick known as ‘the stranger test’.
The idea is simple. When you’re deciding on a purchase, imagine a stranger in front of you holding a handbag with a hefty £500 price tag. Now close your eyes and imagine them holding the bag in one hand and £500 in cash in the other. Which would you want more?
Research shows you’ll likely opt for the cash, making it a clever tool to make you resist impulse buying.
Use a clever tool for bargain lovers
Everyone loves a bargain, but sometimes this causes us to panic buy so we don’t miss out on a good deal. But there’s a clever trick when it comes to finding out when discounts are about to end.
Simply find a secret code on the price label, by looking for a six-digit code on the bottom of a discount price label. There, you will find the date in reverse.
Retailers, such as Tesco and Waitrose, have the date written backwards. Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to spot how long you’ve got to stock up on cut-price items before they go up in price.
Need help sticking to that resolution?
With nine out of ten New Year’s resolutions set to fail this year, according to Hargreaves Lansdown, vows to rein in your spending might seem destined for failure.
But there is a chance to turn that promise around – and it’s painless and won’t cost you a penny.
Emma, the money management app, uses open banking to combine your information from your bank accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and any investments, meaning you’ll soon be able to cancel those wasteful subscriptions, avoid overdrafts, track debt and increase your savings.
By analysing your personal finances, it’ll recommend ways to conserve money so that you can get back on track. The best bit? Setting it up is fairly straightforward and takes just a few minutes.
Why it pays to check your smoke alarm
We all know it’s important to have smoke alarms and to check that they are all working properly for safety reasons. But how many of us have taken out the batteries when it starts chirping because it’s driven you mad?
However, be careful. If you declare you have a smoke alarm on any future insurance application, and it’s later found not to be working, your insurer may not pay out on a fire claim.
Have you bought anything from John Lewis in the last four weeks? If so, the good news is that John Lewis will still price match for 28 days after you made your purchase.
So, if you buy a product only to see it go on sale a few weeks later – even if it’s at another high street retailer – you can make a claim for a refund.
You must ensure that the retailer you’re reporting has a high-street shop, and is not online only. Make an application here:johnlewis.com/customer-services/prices-and-payment/never-knowingly-undersold-claim
Listen for less
Before you spend money on that novel, audiobook or magazine that you’ve been tempted to buy, check out the free digital lending apps available from your local library – from the comfort of your own home.
Here you can borrow an abundance of reading material and entertainment, for both adults and kids – with just a few flicks of your finger.
All you need is a library card number and Pin to get started.
Remember that it’s free and easy to become a member of your local library, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home, you can do it online.
The app you use depends on where you live, but the most popular are BorrowBox and RBdigital – both of which are available on Fire, Android and iOS. And the savings aren’t to be scoffed – if you are an Audible customer, you could save £100 a year just on membership alone.
Fresh isn’t always best, or cheapest…
We assume that fresh is best when it comes to fruit and veg, but buying from the frozen aisle can be better for your health – and your bank balance.
A quick look at a leading supermarket’s website demonstrates the kind of savings possible: a 375g head of fresh broccoli costs 49p (£1.31/kg), while the frozen version costs just 53p for a 900g bag (or 59p/kg).
The savings are similar when it comes to peppers: a 500g bag of three sweet peppers will set you back £1.35 (£2.70/kg) but, head to the frozen aisle and you’ll find a 500g bag of sliced mixed peppers for £1 (£2/kg) – a 35 per cent saving.
What’s more, with frozen vegetables, the seeding and cutting are done for you.
Plus, the flash-freezing process means the produce is often fresher and can retain its nutrients better, too. And, of course, it lasts longer too.
For more money-saving advice as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join Metro.co.uk’s Facebook group, Money Pot.
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