Friday, 15 May 2009

Shop more, save more.

Internet shopaholic?

I used to be. Maybe not to extremes where I was spending hundreds of pounds a month, but definitely a good tens of pounds on things I just didn’t need. If I saw something I liked and I had a few spare pennies in the bank account I would have it. Though never really clothes, I think the TopShop logo is appropriate.

A new vice.

However, since starting university, I no longer spend my money on things I don’t need (read that as “not as often as I used to). My spare pennies from my student loan and job go on DVDs a lot now. Why? Well because HMV always have at least one I want that’s only a couple of pounds. Also I have my HMV student card loaded on to my online account so it takes a further 10% off the price of anything I want (including sale items!). My last unneeded DVD purchase? Toy Story 2 for £3.59 or so. I dread to think how much I have really spent on DVDs since September, especially during the time when Zavvi was in liquidation and they had some amazingly cheap items.

Spend, but save.
This post isn’t going to be about my extravagant tendencies however. No, this is about how to shop on the internet and save a bit more than you would on the high street (though postage costs need to be taken into a count and how lazy you are as well). When I shop on the internet now I have two port of calls to click on to before I actually part with my hard earned cash.

Visit HUKD here.

Deal anarchy from the masses.
hotUKdeals does not only deal with cheap tips and deals online and on the high street, though from the front page that it was it might appear as. It’s much more than that. It lists deals, yes, but it lists vouchers to use in store and online and freebies you can sign up for so you get a little smile when they finally arrive in the post.
It may now be obvious why I go here when I’ve found something I want to buy online – I like to search for vouchers to see if I can get some more money off, even if it is just a measly 5%. For example, Dorothy Perkins are doing free delivery, while HQHair are doing 15% off (subject to expiry as no date is listed). While both may only save a few pounds in the long run, it’s still worth it – it takes literally seconds to have a quick search using the voucher finder which is on the front page at the top right. The one time you don’t search may be the time when there’s an amazing voucher which you’re missing out on!

Visit Quidco here.

Cashback as you shop.
There’s a few of these “cashback” sites on the internet now, but I’ve been using Quidco for a good couple of years now. In fact, logging in to it now I can see that I’ve received £24.68 back since I started using it. The only draw backs with Quicdo is a £5 admin fee taken off your “earnings” every year – however they will not take anything until you have earned £5, and also the payment can take a couple of months to come in to your PayPal account (that does mean you get a nice surprise of a couple of pounds when you least expect it). I don’t shop online as much as I used to and so far this year have only earned £6.02, but for someone who shops online a lot (or is maybe buying Christmas presents online) this site could potentially save a lot of money. Some of the cashback rates are pretty high – though with some there is the catch of using a voucher results in a lower cashback rate.
HMV for example, have 5% rate of cashback on DVDs, so 5p for every £1 you spend, but if a voucher is used the rate drops to 1%, potentially creating a payment as low as 3p for me. I still go through them though as that 3p in better back in my pocket that theirs!
La Senza is another site I shop on often, especially when they have a sale since I have a small back, but large bust size and they cater for that. Their cashback rate is 12% and is not affected by any vouchers (though they usually only offer free delivery vouchers). The cashback rate is also not altered by sales items. 12p back for every £1 is pretty good though, since I spend about £30 in one go usually.
Even eBay can be accessed through Quidco with a cashback rate of 40% when you win an item, however the cashback is based on the revenue eBay makes for the sale, not the price you paid. I received 12p for something I bought which cost about £6, but hey 12p is 12p!

The rest.
There are of course many other internet sites that can help you make money off of your purchases, but I’m not familiar with them and would much rather stick with what I know. A popular forum for saving money, not just from internet shopping, is Money Save Expert, however I don’t like it very much – the front man of the site just annoys me and it’s full of people who are trying to get out of debt, which I am not.

And so.
With just a few clicks to other sites before you hit the checkout button, you can save yourself a few pounds, which may not seem like a lot, but will quickly add up to a new top or a night out on the town (at least it will on Student Night)!

Does anyone else have any tips they'd like to share?

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