This article has been sponsored by Sainsbury’s Energy.
‘Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have an end to lockdown in sight. One of the silver linings of lockdown has been that it has given us time to assess our previous spending habits and adopt some healthy top financial habits. My financial five are surefire tips to help you continue making savings as we leave lockdown behind’.
1. Always Use Loyalty Schemes
It is always worth signing up to the loyalty schemes where you regularly shop to take advantage of the freebies as you build up points with your spending.
One of the most well-known is Nectar, where 500 points turns into £2.50 vouchers to spend in Sainsbury’s or Argos. I saved up my points during 2020 and had vouchers worth £90 to help pay for Christmas.
There are also ways to boost Nectar points, for example Sainsbury’s Energy offers double or triple points on Sainsbury’s shopping when you sign up to one of their fixed tariffs, so you could end up getting another 7,000 points (which is 4,375 Avios).
Other great loyalty schemes at popular retailers include Waitrose, Co-op, Boots and Tesco.
Many food outlets offer a loyalty scheme too via apps, including Costa, Subway, McDonalds and Toby Carvery. It might take a while but save up those points to get some free food. Most loyalty schemes are now app based so gone are the days of filling your wallet with 20 different loyalty cards.
2. The 24-hour Rule For Online Purchases
A rule that really works! You have just spotted something online that you love and want to buy it. Pop it into that online basket and wait 24 hours before you think about clicking on that buy button. This break in the mindset process will really help you to assess if you really need the item or just want it. 24 hours later the purchase want will likely have reduced, and you are less likely to make the purchase.
This is a great tool if you identify as an emotional spender. If you are feeling happy, sad, angry or excited you spend money to ease the feeling of the emotion. Take that 24 hour break to cut back on some of the impulse spending. A highlight of this method was last summer where I was super keen to buy a swinging garden egg chair for £300. I resisted temptation and 24 hours later I change my mind.
3. Cashback Sites For All Online Purchases
If you still want to make that purchase, then you will want to save as much as possible on that purchase. Cashback sites such as TopCashback and Quidco are a brilliant way to save an extra few £ on your purchase. Go to the cashback site, set up an account and search for your chosen online retailer or service provider. Click through from the cash back site to your retailer and make the purchase as normal.
The discounts can be significant, I recently saved 8% on a Flowers delivery and 10% on a purchase from Schuh. I also received £90 cashback for switching broadband and saved an extra £14 or 7% on my Shark hoover purchase. The cashback is paid into your customer account, once marked payable you transfer it to your bank or convert into gift vouchers for many retailers.
4. Make Sure You Have The Best Deal For All Your Regular Bills
If you have been with the same energy, broadband, insurance, mobile phone provider for years then it very likely you are paying more than you should be.
All these service providers will offer a good deal for the first year of the service, then they rely on their customers staying loyal and not switching. This is when the service stops being the best value for money.
At the end of every contract, they normally last a year, do one of two things.
Firstly, call up your current provider to see if they can offer you a better deal. Or secondly do a comparison and see if you can switch and find a better deal.
The ten minutes it might take to compare your energy bill could save you hundreds.
The last time I switched my energy I saved £30 a month, or £360 a year. And the last time I switched broadband I went from £56 per month to £26, another £30 saving per month and £360 per year.
Some energy providers also offer sign up bonuses, for example Sainsbury’s Energy is currently offering up to 10,000 Nectar points upon switching – if you sign up before 18th March, so be quick!
You also get double or triple Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping if you are on one of their fixed tariffs.
5. Do A Direct Debit Audit Every Three Months
Another quick check that could save you lots in the long run is to check through your direct debits every three months. Have any sneaked in that are now unnecessary. Maybe you signed up to a free trial that you no longer need, food boxes, beauty boxes, magazine subscriptions, TV subscriptions the list goes on and on. Cancel those that no longer serve a purpose and add up the savings.
My last audit was in January 2021 and I cancelled three direct debits. I no longer needed my paid for zoom account. I found a way to make my paid book-keeping subscription free and I wasn’t using Audible enough so cancelled it. These three direct debits being cancelled have saved me £53 per month.
Terms & Conditions:
Full Terms and Conditions apply – see www.sainsburysenergy.com. Bonus points offer ends 18th March 2021. Only available to new customers switching to Sainsbury’s Energy. Allocated Nectar points dependent on chosen tariff. No cash alternative is available. Energy bills are calculated based on unit price plus your consumption. Fixed price tariffs and offer details correct at time of press release production (25/03/2021). Sainsbury’s Energy reserves the right to alter, cancel or withdraw this offer and/or tariff without notice.