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How to become the ultimate deal-hunter

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14
September

Woman with girl in shop - E.ON

Whether it’s holidays, clothes, gifts or gadgets, we Brits do love a good deal. So much so, we’ve found that we’re spending lots of time shopping around to get them.

Whatever your motivation – saving money, being in control, feeling reassured – it’s clearly more important than ever to bag a bargain. There are lots of comparison websites around to help you, and with all the choice you’ll either find it easier to search through the options or more confusing than ever.

Either way, by shopping around for just an hour a week, people say they’re saving around £660 a year. So if you can spare it, the time’s well worth the effort.

But you could still be missing out.

While we love to search for the best city break deal, we’re not deal-hunting all the time. Energy and insurance are just some of the areas where people say they don’t like shopping around, but often where big savings are made.

We asked finance expert Jasmine Birtles, founder of MoneyMagpie, for her top tips on becoming the ultimate deal-hunter.

Man with boy and shopping trolley - E.ON

1. Haggle on and off the high street

Almost a third of people believe it’s harder to get a good deal when shopping now than it was five years ago. But there are still clever ways to get a good deal. For example, when buying online, get as far as the checkout and then simply log off.

Some online retailers will then contact you to see why you didn’t buy. You can say you felt it was too expensive and then haggle with customer service in their chat room to get them to take some money off.

2. Be clever with coupons

Before you get to the online checkout, put the name of the retailer plus ‘voucher code’ into your search engine to see if there are any money-off codes you could use to save money on the final purchase. Sign up to cashback sites to get extra money back when you buy, but use a different email address from your normal one to avoid any spam mail.

3. Buy in bulk

Even if you live on your own, you can make savings by getting together with friends and neighbours, buying certain goods in bulk from wholesalers and then sharing them out between you. Do the same during the sales, at street markets when they sell off boxes of fruit and veg, and whenever supermarkets have special deals.

Girl looking through shop window - E.ON

4. Time your purchases

If you have the time to think ahead you can get great bargains by being contrarian and making purchases against the season. So in the summer, get the boiler fixed, the pipes checked and get the place made energy efficient.

Energy companies often have special boiler deals in the summer and local plumbers have less work so they will charge you less. Also, buy garden furniture in August and make sure you stock up on Christmas cards, presents, decorations and even food in the January sales.

5.Switch and save (money and time)

Even though switching energy suppliers sounds boring, it can save the average family hundreds over the year. Almost two thirds of people have switched energy supplier just to get a better deal.

For those who find this a hassle or don’t have the time, consider E.ON Cap and Track, a new tariff that monitors the market for you, using an independent energy retail price index. It’s reviewed every three months to make sure it stays competitive, so it does the work for you.

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