Friday, 22 August 2014

6 Shopping Hacks for the Money Concious Fashion Lover

1. Get cash back on purchases.

When purchasing items online instead of purchasing directly through the sellers website, click to the company via a cashback site and you get paid for it. Although it does sound too good to be true, all parties benefit: the referrer gets a commission on your sale from the retailer, the store gets your business and you get cash back on your purchase. Find a list of various cashback sites here.

2.Ask for a discount.

Store managers usually have the ability to give up to a 15% discount on an item at their discretion, so if you're going to ask make sure you're speaking to the manager first! If the item is slightly defective and you believe you could fix it at home, tell the manager you would like to take it if you can have a discount. If you’re too embarrassed to ask for a discount directly, ask about upcoming promotions or sales. Try the line, “I’d love to remain a loyal customer, but I don’t have the budget for this now.”

3. Find out when the best discounts happen.

If you know retail, you know that certain items go on sale during very specific months, as long as you're prepared to wait you'll be sure to bag a deal. For example buying summer items in July and August will lead to massive discounts.

4. Don't buy stuff online straight away.

If you aren't in a hurry to purchase the items, put them in the websites shopping cart and leave them for a few days. Several retailers will email you a coupon code to entice you to go back and spend. It's in no way guaranteed buy doesn't hurt to be patient!

5. Get to the front of the queue for discounts.

Most stores usually do their reductions and mark downs on a certain day of the week. Make friends with someone at the store, and if you're lucky they'll let you in on the day this goes into effect. Armed with this knowledge, you can be the one to come back with a haul of goodies first.

6. Check out the price of items, even after you've bough them.

Almost all stores will refund you the difference if the item you recently bought is reduced, especially if they want to keep you as a customer and maintain a good image. If you bought an item at full retail price and it goes on sale within a certain time period (check individual store policies), you can get the difference refunded. There are several apps available that can keep you alert to prices changes in items you're after and can be useful in this occasion too.

Monday, 18 August 2014

7 Money Saving Tips for Students

The chances are if you're a student, you're poor. Unfortunately, unless you invent Facebook from your halls, the two go hand-in-hand. Plus if you're going to go out 4 nights a week and spend all your money on junk food, the student lifestyle can be detrimental in more ways than one.

To help us make your money go further, we've put together some handy tips to get the most out of your student loan...

1) Travel Cards

The 16-25 Railcard is designed for young people in full-time education (although all students should be eligible). It gives you a third off rail journeys all across the UK and can be purchased for one or three years at a time. It also allows you to gain partnership offers and competitions, including west-end theatre discounts and holiday offers.

A one-year card costs £30, and a three-year card costs £70. You can buy it at: This is worth looking into even if you're not a student as there are various deal for people travelling in pairs or groups.

Most big city bus operators also offer travel cards, they may not be specifically for students, but they offer a discount by buying for a month or a year at a time. If you travel into university by bus, it's almost guaranteed that the travel cards will save you cash in the long run.

2) Watch TV for Free 

The BBC license fee stipulates that you must pay the license fee if you watch or record television as it is broadcast. This means you don't need a license if you're just watching on-demand TV over the internet. The simple way around this is to buy a cable and connect your laptop to your TV, you can then get lots of free, good-quality viewing without spending anything. There is loads of amazing TV content that you can watch on demand through your laptop, from paid services like Netflix to all the terrestrial channels catch-up services. If you happen to have a license already, make sure you claim back a quarter of the fee for the summer months you're probably not in the house.

3) Bulk Buying

If you've been following this blog at all, you should know by now that cooking from scratch is not only more fun, but also much much cheaper than buying one-off meals at the supermarket. Admittedly it is more effort and involves some trial-and-error to get it right, but it's much better for your health and your bank balance in the long run. Buying in bulk makes sense especially when you're purchasing non-perishable foods like pasta and tinned foods, which you could buy as a flat or household. It lasts longer and works out so much cheaper.

4) Your NUS Card Makes Everything Cheaper

Make sure you take your NUS card everywhere you go, it can make your money stretch further than you'd think. Many shops do discounts but don't actually publicise this fact, just make sure you always ask if they do student discount. You'd be surprised where actually does a student discount, from coffee shops to swimming pools and more. There are also several specialist student money saving and discount sites worth investigating.

5) Get a Job at your Favourite Shop

Do you have a favourite shop that you keep going back to time after time? If you like shopping there that much, you should try getting a job there! Most students rely on flexible part time jobs whilst they're at university to keep them afloat financially. Most importantly the majority of retail jobs will give you a great discount, jobs at Topshop for example could bag you 25% off. In some stores like New Look and The Body Shop you can get up to an amazing 50% off! If you love and know the company, this passion will probably help you in the job interview too. Make sure you research your favourite shops and find out what staff discount schemes they offer.

6) Contents Insurance

Before buying fresh contents insurance for your student house, its worth checking with your parents first. The 'contents away from home' section of your parents' policy might already cover you, or you could possibly extend it at a small cost. Although, as with any insurance its worth ensuring the full value of your items is covered.

7) Pre-Drinking is Cheaper

Even the cheapest student bars and pubs can be expensive if you drink there several nights a week. Although it might not sound exciting, drinking at home is the cheapest way to drink with your friends before a big night out. You can even make it even more fun by playing drinking games or making your own cocktails. If you want to underline how expensive it is, just think of how much a beer or a shot and mixer is at your local, and then consider the price a whole bottle costs at the off-license at the end of the street.