The truth is, those everyday essentials aren't getting any cheaper and you may need to do more to stretch your cash to cover rising costs.
Taking a little time to manage your money more effectively can really pay off. Well if you shop smarter, you can. Here's how...
Register for free with one of the big cashback websites like TopCashback and Quidco, and you can earn between 2% and 12% cashback on all kinds of online purchases - from trainers to takeaways. And if you're searching for a new TV and broadband deal, or a mobile phone contract, you could earn over £100. Here's how it works...
You're on a retailer's website and you've about to "buy now". Don't. Sign in to your cashback account and click through to the retailer's website from here. The cashback website gets paid commission by the retailer for directing you to their site, and you earn a share.
You can also search for special deals within the cashback site. But before you get carried away by the size of the offers, just make sure the item you're buying isn't available elsewhere at a lower price. To make sure you're getting a good deal, search retail price comparison websites like Kelkoo and Pricerunner.
Cashback credit cards
With a cashback credit card, you earn money every time you use it. Most cards offer cashback rates of either 0.5% or 1%, which may not sound a great deal, but if you use it regularly, the pennies and pounds will soon add up.
Some cards offer higher cashback rates in return for a monthly fee, which may sound tempting, but if you don't use the card regularly you could find yourself out of pocket. So if you're considering a card with a fee, work out how much cashback you'll earn on your typical monthly spend and see if it's more than the monthly fee.
If you want to boost your cashback, switch your regular debit card spend to your cashback credit card. But make sure you pay off the bill in full every month. Because interest rates on cashback cards are usually quite high, and one month's interest could wipe out your cashback for the entire year.
Search online for voucher websites and you'll find a whole list of companies offering money-off coupons and discount vouchers for just about anything you could ever want. Groupon and VoucherCodes are the two biggest operators, with offers of up to 70% off standard prices.
But be careful not to get wowed by the size of the savings. Stay focused on what you came looking for, and don't be dazzled into buying something you don't really need. Because a 70% saving on something you never use, is really just a 100% waste of money.
Article published on 4 January 2018
Lisa Ward is a Senior Marketing Manager in the Brand and Membership team and is based at the Lichfield office. Lisa enjoys watching gritty dramas and spending time with her family.Read more of Lisa's articles