/ Money, Shopping

Savvy shopping: how far would you go to save?

Barcode

It looks like the effects of economic strife have had a real impact on our ‘shopping style’. Are you a savvy shopper who’s always out to get the best price? Do you have any shopping tips for other cash-strapped Brits?

In the past year alone, we apparently saved a collective £32.1bn by using savvy shopping techniques – from trawling the web for discount codes and taking advantage of high street sales, to signing up to cashback sites.

Waiting until a full-price item comes on sale is an accepted tactic. I can, rather shamefully, admit to going one step further: returning an unworn item bought full price, only to pick it up on sale from another branch down the road. Absolutely worth the effort.

A colleague of mine swears by ‘barcoding’: visiting the shop for a strategic browse, whipping out a smartphone and scanning the barcode of the desired item to find it cheaper online. A smart move, though keeping it subtle can be something of a challenge.

Truly dedicated bargain hunters can even purchase near sell-by-date food online for bargain prices. Is that savvy or a step too far? I’m on the fence, though for products like detergent and washing powder, I might give it a go.

The challenges of savvy shopping

Of course, bargain hunting isn’t without its pitfalls. Although cashback sites like Quidco can be a boon for getting money back when you spend, we’ve heard stories of it taking months to pay out. And there’s also hit or miss customer service systems to negotiate.

Equally, the stress of tracing an AWOL online order or the hassle of returning it, can sometimes negate the benefits of online bargain hunting.

I’m not ‘barcoding’ yet, and I’m a pretty far stretch from buying (nearly) gone-off food online. Nevertheless, I suppose I’m a pretty committed bargain hunter. How far would you go to save the pennies?

Comments
Member

My main way of saving is to keep household goods for much longer than most people. If something breaks down, I can often fix it. I’m sure that I save a lot more money than those who shop around and get the best bargain. I don’t do this items such as computers and cameras, where the technology is advancing fast.

I don’t shop around for supermarket items. If something looks expensive, I try and buy an alternative. I bulk-buy non-persishable products – such as detergents and toilet rolls – when the price is good.

Member

As to non-perishable popular food and non-food items stocked by all the major
supermarkets, there comes a time when they have to be discounted to half-price,
or 33.33% off OR subject to BOGOF or 3 for 2 offers OR any combination of discounts
….. smart thing to do is to time the purchases very carefully selecting the best deals,
if need be move your purchases to ethnic outfits buying in bulk if necessary…..
also if time is not of the essence, there are bargains to be had as to near sell-buy-date
foods and freeze those not immediately consumed, similarly heavily discounted too.

Member

Erratum: Shd of course be ‘…sell-by-date foods’ not otherwise
re foregoing.

Member

Like wavechange and Argunaut, I bulk-buy non-perishables whenever they’re on a really cheap offer. My cellar is currently overflowing with toilet roll and tonic water due to a couple of particularly good deals!

I also make use of online vouchers whenever I can – I’ll do one huge online shop every couple of months, stocking up on non-perishables and things that are heavy, and I’ll usually try to match it with one of the ‘get £X off your next shop’ emails that I get through from the big supermarkets every now and then. My tip for these vouchers if you shop online is to do one shop from each major supermarket, taking advantage of the better deals you get as a first time customer, then keep an eye out for unusually good ones as they all inevitably spam your inbox to try and get you to come back to them.

Member
Jose says:
29 April 2013

I do ‘barcoding’ but i’m not subtle about it. I have been confronted for doing it but simply explain that if they can offer it to me at the same price then I’ll buy it there. Why shouldn’t the customer have the power?!

Member

Absolutely…. I entirely agree.

Member

You are infringing nothing… tell them to mind their
own business…. don’t have to explain anything at
all.

Member

I have used a tablet or laptop to check prices online when shopping for electrical goods, usually in my car outside the store. When I confirmed that Comet was pricing Apple goods above the manufacturer’s own price in their closing sale, I took my iPad into Comet and showed the Apple prices to a sales assistant. He was well aware of what was happening and said that the receiver was trying to sell the remaining stock for as much as possible. Fair enough, but I wonder how many people pay over the odds in closing down sales.

I cannot be bothered to compare prices of supermarket items but would have words with the management if anyone tried to stop me from checking prices online.