Saturday, January 31, 2009

Online Shopping Discounts and Printable Vouchers

Virtually every publication from The Independent to Womans Weekly, has recently ran an article singing the praises of another way to save on your online shopping by using a website called (link in right hand panel).

Basically, for those of you who are not familiar with this or any other voucher code site, it gives you voucher codes for certain online merchants that you can put in at the checkout stage (you will have noticed most have a box for a promotional code) and may give you various savings such as free p&p, 10 or even 20% off your order total.

Here is an example that I tested out this morning.
OK so you have seen a pair of jeans on that you wish to buy, so
1. Check out the cashback sites to see if any offer a cashback for shopping at that particular merchant by typing their name in the search box.
2. After searching you find that is the only one and gives you 4%, remember you need to enter the retailer via their site to get your cashback.
3. At checkout stage, minimise your page and then search the voucher code websites by typing in urban outfitters in search box and you will get a list of codes relevant to that merchant., chose the one you want, copy and paste into the promotional box at checkout and hey presto! Not only do you have 4% cashback on your purchase but also free p&p or a percentage off your order!

Sounds good doesn't it? but there is a downside and that is that some of the codes may be outdated and no longer apply, in this case you have a thumbs up and a thumbs down button on the page that you can click on to let the website know that this code is no longer valid. There are usually more than one code for each retailer so you usually have a few to try (I told you saving money takes time, didn’t I?).

Printable Vouchers

The myvouchercode website also has a section of printable vouchers and the ones I looked at this morning include:-
1. A free Estee Lauder moisturiser when shopping at Selfridges, London valid till (unfortunately) today.
2. 50% off your bill at Pizza Hut valid till tomorrow, so if you can’t normally afford to eat out and fancy a cheap treat for the kids today or tomorrow, this one is great.
3. 5 Coffees for £5 at Krispy Kreme - sounds good to me for a girlie day out shopping at Bluewater.

The above information is taken from myvouchercodes but there are more sites listed in the right hand panel. You feel far less guilt ridden about shopping in a recession when you are also saving!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cashback Website - Update

Futher research has shown that the Daily Mirror also has their own Cashback website at (link in right hand panel). It is worth signing up to all the ones listed as they all seem to offer a different cashback percentage, for example if you look at Boots, on the Mirror Cashback site they only offer 1.75% whereas Cashbackkings and Topcashback are both offering 3.5%!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CashBack websites and how to use them - start earning money now!

A great way to earn cashback from your online purchases is to register with a Cashback website such as Cashback websites enable you to earn money from your purchases. You pay a £5 joining fee for Quidco (which is taken out of your earnings so you don’t have to pay up front)but cashbackkings and topcashback are free to join and then you go to the retailer, bank, insurance company etc via the cashback site to earn your money as you shop. There are hundreds of merchants which are members and some are well known High Street Stores or Banks. HSBC is currently giving £40 cash back on car insurance and £50 on home, as well as for opening Bank Accounts with them. Some of the more well known retailers and the cashback they are giving are:- Tesco 7%, Argos 1.5%. Office Shoes 10%, Waterstones up to 8%, WH Smith 8%, 3 mobile up to £100, La Senza 12%, Dorothy Perkins 5%, Thomas Cook 10%, Goldsmiths 16%. You also get cash back from using the comparison sites mentioned in the right hand panel and in my previous post regarding Fuel Costs. For signing up to a deal via you get £20, Uswitch and Confused also offer cashback. So for example, you find a great deal via you will need to click on them via the Quidco website after you have become a member to get your cashback deal. You won’t earn anything if you are a Quidco member but click on without going via the Quidco site. When you have a spare half hour, browse through the Cashback sites to see what retailers they have on board and next time you need to send a bouquet of flowers, book a holiday with Thomas Cook, buy a face cream from Boots or get a gift from House of Fraser, remember to enter these sites via the Cashback site you have signed up to.
There are links to the cashback sites in the right hand panel.

Gas & Electricity Savings - We have to talk Utility Bills...

There has been much talk this week of British Gas cutting prices by 10% after many of its customers were encouraged to lock in to Fixed Rates a few months back. This brought about a discussion with my dear friend S who informed me that she pays roughly £300 a month by direct debit to her dual fuel supplier! I was astounded, as although she has a large property, she is paying in one month almost what I pay per quarter during slightly warmer months!
This is where your comparison websites come in and I logged onto to do a comparison for her. You have to enter your postcode so that it knows which suppliers are in your area and on the particular search I did, there were 45 results of cheaper quotes. Savings started at just over £300 per year at the top of the page and ended up at a whopping saving of over £2,000 per year! Just think what you could buy with that £2,000 saving! It could pay for a holiday you didn't think you could afford, a Chanel 2.55 bag (and still have change!) or pay off some debts if you have any!
Once you have done your comparision and chosen a cheaper supplier there are many other practical ways to cut back on gas and electricity usage and don't forget by doing this you are are also doing your bit for the environment!

1. Check to see if your electricity supplier operates an economy 7 tariff where electricity is cheaper after a certain time at night. If it does, then take advantage of this by putting the washing machine on before you go to bed.
2. Ask your electricity supplier if they can provide you with some free energy efficient light bulbs if you haven't already received them. British Gas and Southern Electric, to name a few, recently sent out packs to their customers (certainly in my area).
3. In rooms that are little or not used, turn the radiators right down low and keep the doors shut.
4. Only put the washing machine on when you have a full load and wash at 30 degrees or lower where possible. Don't forget if you tumble dry, this will kill any unwanted nasties on bedding, towels etc so don't think by washing at a lower temperature you are not killing bacteria.
5. Invest in a clothes airer and put near a radiator in an upstairs room out of the way. Mens work shirts and childrens school shirts dry quickly indoors when put on a hanger. I just hang mine on an upstairs door, out of the way and find this also helps to cut down on ironing of the garment.
6. Don't leave anything on standby! I am constantly walking round the house switching off mobile phone chargers with no phones attached to the end, portable t.v.s, games consoles and laptops. Also microwaves etc etc. Turn the Sky+ box off you haven't got it set to record anything after you have gone to bed.
7. Only fill the kettle up with as much water as you are going to use.
8. Take Showers instead of baths. If you don't have a shower then share a bath but make sure you don't shave your legs in it before someone else gets in!
9. We have all heard the old story about tin foil down the back of radiators - but this does work by reflecting the heat back into the room.
10. Personally I keep the heating and the hot water set to constant as it is not always convenient to have it set to come on at certain times of day but I set the heating thermostat at 15 degrees - that way as soon as the temperature drops below that level the heating will automatically come on and then once the house has reached a certain temperature, it just goes off. You will need to find out what works best for you, if you are out at work all day then you may want to set your heating to come on before you get up, go off after you have left for work and then back on again just before you get in from work.
11. A washing machine with limescale on the element takes longer to heat the water and is not energy efficient. Every two months, run an empty 60 degree cycle with 200ml of white vinegar to clean the limescale off.

More money saving ideas:-

1. You will save money on utility bills if you have both your gas and electric with the same supplier (usually 10%)
2. If you pay bills by Direct Debit most suppliers offer a discount (again usually 10%).
3. For paper bills, some suppliers offer a prompt payment discount, I am with Southern Electric and the discount is 4.3% if I pay within 8 days which then comes off my next bill.

If you have any more energy saving tips then please comment.