This is a guest post by David of Cartridge Save. He shares tips for getting more while paying less.
Businesses and individuals alike have been impacted by the recession. The cost of living has skyrocketed and buying even the most basic of necessities has become a costly affair. It’s not all doom and gloom though as service and goods providers are in fierce competition to get you to spend your hard-earned cash with them. Here are some of the ways you can pay less and get more for your money.
1. Bulk buying
The cost of food has risen considerably in the past few years and buying in bulk can see you reduce your food bills dramatically. Although these warehouses were generally developed to serve business, families can take advantage of their lower prices as well. An ideal solution to maximizing the benefit of buying in bulk is to join a local buying group. That way not only do you save by buying large quantities but the cost is split according to your share of the bulk purchases.
2. Farmers markets
Buying direct from the provider can prove to be less expensive than from a supermarket as you are cutting out the middle man. Many stall holders will even be prepared to negotiate discounts with you, especially if you buy large quantities. Best of all you are guaranteed fresh produce and you are supporting your local community.
3. Wise supermarket shopping
Even if you prefer the convenience of doing your weekly shopping at the local supermarket, there are still ways to save money. Swapping your favorite brand for the supermarket’s own brand can save you valuable pounds and often the quality is just as good. Look out for special deals and use the promotional coupons often found in magazines. The best way to avoid spending money unnecessarily is to make a shopping list before you go to the shops, and then stick to it.
4. Avoid main street prices
Instead of shopping on the main street, try factory outlets which offer the same types of clothes but at far better prices. Better still; try shopping at a charity shop. It may conjure up images of old, poor quality second hand clothes but generally the quality is very good and you can find some really unique items in these shops.
5. Dining out cheaply
You can still entertain business colleagues or treat your loved one to a nice dinner out even if you are watching the pennies. Most restaurants run promotions to entice diners to their establishments, keep a look out for advertisements in newspapers promoting restaurant deals. There are also several websites which offer special deals at popular restaurants. Just make sure you read the fine print on the voucher as some of these deals are only available on certain days, or between certain hours.
6. Saving money on gas
A good way to save money is to ensure that you fill up at the cheapest gas stations. Of course riding around for miles just to go to a cheap pump will end up costing you more in the long run so why not visit http://www.gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest prices in your local area.
7. Shop on the internet
Some of the best deals to be had can be found on the internet. Visit product comparison websites and find retailers offering the best discounts for the item you want. In addition to helping you save money, these websites often display feedback on the retailer service as well as product reviews; so you can be confident that you are buying the right product, from a good retailer at the best price.
8. Replacement ink cartridges
Replacing manufacturer printer inks can be expensive. Instead of buying the manufacturer’s own product, why not consider using refill cartridges or generic replacement cartridges. Companies in particular will benefit from buying in bulk as the more you buy, the less it costs per cartridge.
9. Switch utility company
Residents in the UK and US enjoy a free market in gas and electricity suppliers, it is highly competitive and deals are constantly being offered to the public. Shop around for the best deals and switch. Some may even offer you a cash-back deal which means you could end up with money in your pocket just by changing providers.
10. Combine television, telephone and broadband bills
Paying different companies for different services soon adds up. Several companies are now offering very good deals if you transfer your television, telephone and broadband accounts to them. Shopping around for the best deal could easily save you several hundred dollars a year.
11. Replace your light bulbs
Replacing your old light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs can save you money on long term replacement and helps to lower your energy bills. These light bulbs can last up to ten times longer than regular light bulbs and as they are energy-efficient, they also help you reduce your carbon footprint while decreasing your energy consumption.
12. Transfer your credit card balance
If you have a credit card with a relatively large balance, it may be a good idea to transfer the balance to a new provider and save on interest repayments. Many credit card companies offer an interest free period if you bring transfer your debt from your current provider to them. This will give you a chance to pay off the balance, however check to see if there are any fees to pay for the initial transfer before signing any agreements.
13. Rewards on credit cards
Shopping around for a new credit card? Why not go for a card that offers rewards. Several credit card companies now offer a points system on some of their card packages. Once you have saved enough points you can use them to purchase an item you really want such as an air ticket. It is always a good idea to compare the different reward systems on offer by the different credit card companies, so that you can select the one which matches you regular spending patterns and enable you to rack up points more quickly.
14. Cash in on your cell phone
Don’t just automatically renew your cell phone contract once the initial agreement term ends. Chat to the provider and see what options they are prepared to give you in order to prevent you from taking your business elsewhere. Often they will be more than happy to give you extra free talk time, text messages or even offer monthly fee reductions. Some providers are now even promoting cashback schemes.
15. Pay bills by direct debits
If you are still paying your bills by checks or bank transfers, consider switching to direct debits. Most companies actually prefer you to pay by direct debit and offer discounts as an incentive to change your payment method. Not only this but you will also save by avoiding late payment penalty fees and you may even find yourself eligible for additional early payment discounts.
In a highly competitive market, companies are eager to win and keep your business so remember to always shop around for the best deals and negotiate the best price where possible. Following these simple principles could save you a bundle at the end of the day.