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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Money saving ideas

If you're counting the pennies and trying to control your spending, you might be on the lookout for some top tips on getting more for your money. Here's some great ideas on how to make your cash to go further.

Shopping online

You can often get a better deal by shopping online for everything from CDs and books to large electrical goods.

To use an online shopping site you'll need to have a bank account, as you'll have to fill out a registration form with your bank details on it.

If you do shop online, it's important that you use a site that ensures your card details are kept safe. This means that the website uses technology that protects your bank details from online fraudsters and hackers.

A small padlock icon in the bottom of your browser window and a website address beginning with 'https' are signs that the website is a safe and secure one.

Loyalty cards

It's not just supermarkets that operate loyalty schemes. Many high street stores now do them as well, but don't confuse them with store cards as they're not the same.

Joining a loyalty scheme means that every time you shop at the same store, you'll be given a number of points depending on how much you've spent. Once you've collected enough points, you can use them to pay for your shopping in the same way that you'd use cash.

Your points will be held on your own loyalty card that you give to the cashier whenever you pay for your goods. You'll also be able to check how many points you've got in the store or online.

Loyalty cards are handy if you buy a lot of things from the same shop, and you'd be surprised to see how quickly points can add up.

Magazine vouchers

Keep your eyes open for any money-off vouchers in magazines that you read.

There are always lots of discount offers if you spend a certain amount in store, especially on things like toiletries, music and DVDs. You can also pick up 'buy one get one free' vouchers that you can use to get more stuff without paying any extra for it.

Going out and spending your money just for the sake of using the voucher isn't a good idea, but if you were planning on a shopping trip, make the most of any vouchers that you can pick up.

Cheap cuts

If you're after a good haircut or fancy a bit of pampering, but can't afford to go to a top salon, find out whether there are any hair and beauty schools near you. There could also be one you never knew about in your college.

Many hairdressing academies are always on the lookout for people who are willing to let a student cut their hair for a reduced price. This may sound a bit risky, but there's always a lecturer on hand to make sure that no mistakes are being made.

It may take longer than a usual appointment and you may only be able to go during the day, but the discounts can be huge.

Selling your old stuff

If you're looking to raise some extra cash quickly, find out if you've got anything that you can sell.

Have a good look around your bedroom. You're bound to discover some unwanted stuff that you don't use anymore.  Instead of just throwing them in the bin, unwanted CDs or old furniture can give your bank balance a much needed boost. You may surprised at the amount of money you can raise.

Once you've got some things together, put an advert in your local paper or use one of the many online auction sites on the internet. If you're after a quick sale, describe your items accurately and set a realistic asking price.

Make sure that you ask if it's OK before you sell anything. Getting rid of something with sentimental value to someone else or something that a younger relative might be able to use will probably cause arguments.

Charity shops

If there's a good cause that's really close to your heart, try your local charity shop. You can often find books, DVDs and accessories at real bargain prices.

As well as saving money on what you buy, you'll be giving money to charity at the same time.

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