British Savings Week offers advice and tips on how Brits can save money. Online retail is growing year on year and although it is yet to overtake brick and mortar sales part of its appeal is the ease with which you can order dozens of items with a single click. But this can really start to add up if you don't watch out, and with online shopping increasing British Savings Week has put together a list of online shopping habits every customer must adopt.
1. Use coupons and codes
As well as offering sales, many websites offer codes and coupons which offer various benefits, typically in the form of X% off your shopping, or even free gifts. British Saving Week’s top advice is to open another tab on your browser and Google the name of the store you are shopping on alongside a phrase such as ‘discount codes’ or ‘voucher codes’. Within a few minutes you will find numerous codes you can enter at the checkout which bring you additional value, sometimes it is even possible to use multiple codes on the same order: a member of the British Savings Week team recently scooped a pair of £80 Adidas shoes for £50 by taking a few minutes to Google discount codes – It is an essential tool in your online shopping arsenal!
2. Abandon your basket
Approximately £3.4bn worth of online shopping baskets do not make it to checkout each year in the UK, an abandoned basket is when somebody gets through to the checkout page and they decide against their purchase. This causes online retailers major headaches. To scrape back some of the revenue this loses many websites will alert you via email (if they have your address) or when you next visit the site, these alerts often offer you to complete your purchase (at a discount) or give you a voucher code to use next time you shop on the site.
3. Shop around
The vast majority of shoppers tend to stick to a few websites, largely major marketplace sites such as Amazon and eBay. Marketplaces are fantastic for shopping around generally, but if there is a specific item you are looking for it may be worth using Google to find other retailers. A good material-world example would be paracetamol; you can buy it at the supermarket, or walk down the high street and buy the same product for a fraction of the price.
4. Read customer reviews
Businesses are always going to describe their products in the most positive light, but it’s always worth reading customer reviews. Although you can return goods bought online within 14 days of receiving your order, the refund can take some time to process. By reading reviews you may find a customer which has bought the product for a similar purpose you intend to use it for, if it’s not suited to their needs it may not be suited to yours, and you could save yourself having to wait for a refund.
5. Shop second hand
There are plenty of websites selling second hand goods, eBay and Gumtree tend to be the most popular. There are many bargains to be found if you put the time into looking and shopping around, often you can pick up major discounts. During and after Christmas is a particularly great time to seek out bargains in the form of unwanted Christmas presents. There are a lot of people who buy items online and may be too busy to return them so list them on sites like eBay instead – pretty much brand new!
Let us know how you saved money this #BritishSavingsWeek
According to website Money Saving Expert a couple of months ago, over a third of households in England and Wales are rented, and the costs can be staggering – rents are at record highs with the
average now £846 a month or £1,273 in London, according to estate agent Your Move.
For most people, however, renting is their only option for accommodation and if they work in a big city centre like London, a large proportion of their hard earned income goes on rent, utility bills and bus/tube fares, leaving what’s left for food, clothes and entertainment and the occasional holiday; never mind saving, that’s virtually impossible. The high cost of commuting also means even if you live out in the country where rents can be cheaper, the money you save on rent goes to the train companies. It’s hard to win whichever option you choose. For many the idea of saving up for a deposit to get on the housing ladder seems an impossible dream.
Don’t despair, though; there is an option that more and more people are now turning to as word gets out. It’s not for everyone but if you’re working, flexible and have no kids, this might be your answer to putting some money to one side every month for a few years. It’s all about being a property guardian.
What do you think about living in a former church? What about an empty school building, a police or fire station, or having an entire block of flats to yourself and a mere handful of like-minded other people? In return for keeping an eye on vacant premises to deter squatters, fly-tippers, or thieves after copper piping or beautiful fireplaces, property guardian companies charge their 'guardians' as little as a third of local rents. Prices vary hugely depending on the part of the country, the location and the type of premises, but it typically works out, on average, at around £250 a month, or £500-800 a month in London.
Locations and properties cover everything from country estates to council estates, so you could end up living it up in a sprawling country pile for less than a studio flat. We’ve known dancers who love living in empty warehouses so they can practise and leap around to their hearts’ content. The same goes for musicians. They can make as much noise as they like if they’re living in a former high rise office block with no one to hear them drum or sing except the birds.
Since the law changed in 2012 to make squatting in residential, but not commercial, properties illegal, building owners and managers have seen a rise in squatters in commercial properties and are increasingly turning to guardianship to combat this while a property is awaiting sale or redevelopment. This can take months or sometimes a building can lie empty for years. This is why guardians have to be flexible, you might need to move again after a few months, but not necessarily; some people have lived in the same property for years and years.
So, what's the catch, you ask…
So, that’s all there is to it. If this sounds like something you’d like to know more about, why not get in touch with a guardian company and talk it through with them? Do your homework and make sure you know your rights and go to a reputable one that has good reviews. Try www.global-guardians.co.uk, Tel: 0203 818 9100. They are one of the leading and most reputable ones and belong to the British Security Industries Association. Make sure any company you go through has this membership.