We all love a bargain! And the good news is that there are more bargains out there to be had than you may realise. Money Saving Expert has dug out some fantastic loopholes that will kick start your bargain hunting and save you some of your hard earned cash.
1. Decipher hidden discount codes on price tags at Next and more
Store tags can be a hidden information treasure trove. In preparation for sales, shop staff scribble numbers, letters or dots on price tags. If you spot these mysterious markings on a full-price item you want to buy, hold off – they often mean the item's about to be reduced.
2. Keep an eye on shop layouts too
Often shops arrange clothes by colour or this season's look, rather than categories such as jeans and tops – a technique designed to drag you deeper into the store. However, a few days before a sale, staff often re-sort garments by type. So if you spot them fiddling with the racks, wait before purchasing.
3. Trick Amazon into giving you free delivery
Amazon used to offer free delivery on its goods (not those from third-party Marketplace sellers) if you spent £10, but in May 2015 it increased that to £20. Delivery costs anything from 99p to £6.99, but clever tool Super Saver Delivery scours Amazon for filler items.
As an example, a £19.73 hairdryer came with a £6.01 delivery charge, so costs £25.74 total. But the tool showed you could add a 33p Snickers, so you'd only pay £20.06, saving £5.68 and getting a chocolate bar into the bargain.
4. Many high street shops give 10% off, just for asking
There's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a discount. In fact, it's built into some shops' official policies. To test this, in May 2016 Money Saving Expert asked people who tried to haggle at over 40 high street stores in the last year whether they were successful. At some shops, more than 60% said they'd managed to get a better deal, with Carphone Warehouse, Homebase and Tesco among the best places to bag a bargain.
5. Bag a longer guarantee with John Lewis (you can combine this with its sale or price promise)
Most electrical goods come with a one-year guarantee, but buy them from John Lewis and it gives a two-year guarantee. (It's three for John Lewis own-brand home appliances and five for all TVs.) This can be combined with any offer it's running or, to get cunning, its 'never knowingly undersold' policy.
It promises to match the price of identical items that you find cheaper at any retailer with physical stores in the UK.
6. The John Lewis refund trick – check the price AFTER you've bought it
If you buy anything from John Lewis (not just electrical goods), in store or online, check the price afterwards to see if it drops. While the 'never knowingly undersold' slogan is famous, the fact it applies AFTER you've bought the item is less well known. Find an identical item on sale for less within 28 days after purchase, and you get the difference back using the method you paid by. The cheaper price can be at any UK retailer with physical stores or at John Lewis itself.
7. Special offer run out? Get a rain check voucher
If a special offer item is out of stock, Asda staff are allowed to give out 'Spark Vouchers' (previously called 'Smiley Vouchers') worth up to £1, when a customer's had a problem or something isn't right.
One of these reasons is that a special offer product's out of stock. Again, vouchers are at shop assistants' discretion, so a friendly smile goes a long way.
8. You have 28 days to return goods bought online... if you do it right
Unlike buying in store, buy online and the Consumer Contracts Regulations mean you can cancel the order within 14 days of arrival for any reason. You've then ANOTHER 14 days to send it back. So be sure to email them before the first 14 days are up. The exception is personalised or perishable items. In store, you're only due a refund on faulty goods, so buy the wrong size or colour and you've no rights (though some stores' returns policies allow it).