You don’t’ have to look far before you see some news about the challenging times the world is having financially. Everywhere – television, magazines, newspapers, radio – is filled with news about economic downturns, government cuts and budgets. This, coupled with the forever rising costs of food, petrol and general living costs has given rise to a new trend: penny pinching.
While there have been times when people have made a joke out of my fondness for money-off vouchers and coupons, now it seems that counting the cost and saving the pennies to look after the pounds is in.
So imagine my excitement when I opened the May 2012 issue of Glamour magazine to find a feature made just for me telling me that cutting coupons is cool.
Paying full price for things is something that some 63 per cent of savvy shoppers would rather not do, preferring to wait until a sale or promotion and 58 per cent of people surveyed by Glamour said that they dislike paying full price for anything.
Things like Living Social, Groupon and Vouchercodes.co.uk have made it easier for consumers like me to bag a cheeky deal on things like beauty products, food shopping, holidays and fun days out. While there is the temptation to buy something “just because it is 45 per cent off”, the really savvy shopper knows when to say no and when something is just too good to miss.
I admit, the daily Groupon roundup is always tempting and I didn’t really need a cake decorating kit, but it was only £13 and I felt like I’d bagged a right bargain.
So how do you wean the real bargains from the ones that are just out to tempt you?
The latest issue of Marie Claire says that good, old-fashioned scrimping need not be the answer to money worries and that good sense and organisation could help you save a fortune. Sure, the experts asked suggest that setting up savings accounts, clearing credit card debt and shopping around for the cheapest price just like super scrimpers would say, but they also claim that modern tools like online organisers, comparison apps and mobile banking alerts could really help you to get on top of your finances.
Meanwhile, getting rid of store cards, credit cards and outstanding bills, as well as staying with the limits of a contract will help to save money in the long run, even if the initial financial outlay is quite large.
Both magazines gave an in-depth guide to saving money and tips to making the most out of a pay cheque that will not alter your normal social life and shopping habits too much. I for one couldn’t have been more pleased to find that cutting coupons, saving store points and Googling for promo codes is not just for tight wads.
Alexandra Richmond, senior consumer and lifestyle analyst at market research company Mintel, told Glamour: “The rise in coupon sites such as Groupon, Wowcher and Living Social has led to a mentality where people know there is a deal to be had and they’ll look out for it.
“And there’s a plethora of apps, such as Vouchercloud, that offer location-specific deals, which can be the difference between getting a customer who’s shopping nearby through the door or not.”
And I totally agree. While I will buy items and pay for meals without a voucher or code, the satisfaction of getting money off is hard to beat. Give me a double-points offer, half price coupon or 2-4-1 deal and I’m game. You’ll find me by the till brimming with delight at the latest bargain.