Stephanie lives in Manchester, England, and loves to share her money-saving tips on living frugally.
1. Vouchers, Coupons and Loyalty Cards
You've all heard of extreme couponers, I'm sure. Well, you don't need to quite go to those lengths (unless you really want to). There are a few ways to get some handy coupons such as:
- Sign up for the free shop loyalty schemes and bonus cards. They send you coupons through the post and by e-mail from time to time. If the cards also accumulate points, you can sometimes use these in-store or increase their value and use them elsewhere, such as restaurants or the cinema.
- Sign up to saving websites, such as SuperSavvyMe, where you can choose from a selection of free coupons and just print them off.
- Get the free magazines in stores. They usually have a page dedicated to coupons for their shop.
- When shopping online, Google "voucher codes for (shop name)". You can usually find a code on the first link or two you click on.
Cashback is also a welcome bonus to my bank balance, and I achieve this in a couple of ways:
- Cashback websites (such as Quidco and Topcashback)
- Through my bank
Quidco is my favourite cashback site as you can register your debit and/or credit cards with them, and any high-street stores they're partnered with may give you cash back for spending in their store and not just online. Sometimes I earn cashback without even realising!
It's worth noting that cashback tends to be below 5%, but if you spend somewhere regularly, or you make a big purchase, it is worth the return. This is definitely worth doing when booking a holiday and flights.
My bank also offers cashback when I spend on my debit card in certain places. It's usually restaurants they offer this in, but they constantly change, with each opportunity lasting approximately 4–6 weeks. As I eat out about once a week, this cashback is a lot more significant than that I receive from cashback websites, especially as the incentive is usually 10%.
3. Credit Cards
Really?! I must be joking, right? No, I am completely serious. Obviously, I am only advising this route if you intend to pay off the card in full each month. I primarily use my credit card for everyday spending to prevent the hassle of having my card cloned (I haven't lost any money from my account if this happens and can keep afloat financially) and due to the following:
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Many credit cards reward you for spending. You can gain points which you accumulate and spend on various rewards ranging from meals out, family days out, holidays, flights and more.
My credit card allows me to reap back £1 for every point I earn. However, for certain rewards, I can triple or even quadruple the value. To get the most out of your points, I would definitely recommend focusing on these rewards if you have a need for them.
As I'm impatient, I can't wait for my points to build up enough for a holiday, but I have had numerous free meals out bought on points. The advice you constantly get to cook at home to save you money can be thrown out of the window when you know you're getting your meal for free!
Many of my friends and family have now moved over to similar cards to mine after they've seen the free rewards I get.
Other credit cards may also provide you with cashback on your spending. However, there is usually a minimum spend to activate this, or it is a short-term offer to entice you into applying for their card.
These are still tempting, and although I wouldn't advise against them, I would advise ensuring you meet any minimum spending criteria without frivolously spending and to watch out and ditch the card if the cashback offer ends.
There are a few more laborious ways to save money whilst spending, but these methods don't even require much thought or any changes to your current habits.
For store loyalty cards, I recommend seeing if they have an app to use instead of a physical card or a keyfob card with a barcode on it; otherwise, you will end up carrying a lot of cards and struggle to find them when you need them.
Feel free to comment below on any other methods you use to save money whilst also spending it!
Kathleen Cochran on October 25, 2016:
Great ideas. The easiest way for me to save is a simple trick. At the end of the pay period, if I have any (!) money left in my checking account I move it over to savings and start spending with my new pay check.
My checking actually has a better rate than my checking but they are both pitiful. And if I leave that money (as little as it is) in checking, it gets spent, which carries no interest rate at all!