Never pay full price for anything is a good maxim. But going for one discount is not enough. Try hard and you can get far more than that.
The easiest way is to collect vouchers and then use them only when the item the voucher’s for is already discounted. That’s a bit organised for me – and frankly who wants a handbag full of bits of paper? The easier way is to go the wrong way with your trolley in the supermarket – and pick up its free magazine (which in my local Tesco are behind the tills; at Waitrose they are beside the tills- and the mag is only free if you’ve one of their cards) before you start shopping. Rip out and use the coupons there and then.
For non-food items, internet shopping wins for me. And you can easily get several bits off purchases. Recently I wanted one of those coffee machines advertised by George Clooney. John Lewis had one with £30 off, reducing the price to a shade under £90. At the same time, the capsule company was offering £75 off vouchers off purchases of the pods. That cuts the price effectively down to £15 (ignoring that you can buy ‘white label’ capsules cheaply at the supermarket). And I paid for it on my John Lewis Partnership credit card, which gives me one point per £1 spent in John Lewis (and once you’ve got 500 points, you get a £5 voucher). So that gives me just under 90 points – worth a whole 90p.
Another tip is to use a click-through cashback site – TopCashback* and Quidco are the best-known ones. Setting up takes no time at all and after that, you just have to remember to go via the site whenever you’re shopping. You then get cashback payments on your purchases: the amount depends on the retailer and site. I use Quidco, which is really easy. Admittedly, you’re never going to make your fortune unless you are a serious shopper. But still, it’s something: sometimes you can get 10pc cashback though usually it’s less than that. And it can take a while to get payments (which you can choose to go straight into your bank account).
But it’s totally painless and if you’ve paid on your cashback card and got a discounted item, then the savings are racking up. However, remember all such savings are wiped out unless you pay your credit card bill off in full – otherwise the interest you’ll pay cancels out any of the savings you’ve so carefully sought out. Check out our Be Card Sharp guide to credit cards.