Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things all year round

Black Friday, Prime Day and Boxing Day are among the numerous peak periods across the year where those on a budget can rejoice as products are heavily discounted, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a bargain across the rest of the year.

I’m a massive advocate of shopping around to get the best deal; I love following Martin Lewis’ latest tips and tricks, and I pride myself of being so savvy that I claim I’ll always be able to find a better deal than my friends and family. I’ve even written a guest post about how to use your budget wisely for Student Money Saver.

The Basket Trick

Ever put something in your basket and forgot about it? I do it all the time, whenever I like something even slightly I always add it to my basket and if I don’t want it enough, just leave it there. Unlike you though, I have an ulterior motive. Usually, within a day or two, I’ll get an email from the website in question asking me to continue where I left off and sometimes they’re generous enough to include a discount code so I complete my purchase. It’s a win win as they get a conversion and I get the product I want for less money than I was willing to pay.

Use Price Comparison Sites

Working at has helped me realise just how useful price comparison sites can be. They’re utterly unbiased, focused purely on getting you the best possible deal. In the past I went straight to the retailers website and bought whatever I wanted, sometimes using a discount code, but having loads of similar retailers listed side by side in one place makes the process a million times easier and ensures you can compare and save.

Use Affiliate links

If you have your own website, or a high social following, it’s a good idea to join an affiliate network like AWIN. I’m part of a few programmes, including one for Topshop. As of this, not only did I find out about their Black Friday offers before they happened, but I also received a code for free express delivery to share with my followers. Now all I have to do is remember to use my own links when I want new clothes!

Scour Hotukdeals

Get yourself into the habit of checking this site every time there’s an option to apply a promotional code as this way, you can spread your budget even further. It’s a goldmine with tons of deal savvy users constantly sharing the bargains they’ve found, the discount codes that have worked for them and any unmissable cashback offers. You don’t need an account, which is lucky considering I was banned after sharing a deal from where I work – how shameless of me to self promote?

Claim Cashback

I’ve talked about getting cashback on my blog before, but it’s a no brainer. If you’re planning to buy something by going direct to a retailer’s website, it’s not that much of an inconvenience to search for the brand on Quidco or Top Cashback and click through from there. Sometimes they have special bonuses on, so remember to keep an eye out and ‘opt-in’ to any that you see. Avoid including this in your budget though in case it doesn’t track!

Student Discount

I bought a 3-year NUS card just before I graduated and I would 100% recommend that everyone else does the same. There, I said it. I’m no longer a student in the eyes of the education system, but as soon as I flash that little card to the cashier, I can get all the discounts. I wasn’t ready to let go of the perks of being a student, and hanging on to my discount has proved incredibly useful.

Use Receipt Apps

Another thing you have to get into the habit of doing is taking a photo of every receipt you get. It might not seem worth the effort at first, but apps like Shoppix and Receipt Hog give you points for the ones you upload and these points an be transformed into gift cards when you reach a specific target. In the year I’ve been using Shoppix, I’ve had two £10 gift cards for Tesco, and I’m halfway to getting a third! I even take photos of my friends and families receipts and answer the surveys the app asks me to fill in to get my points up further.

Score Early/VIP access

Next is really good for this. I have my own directory account so I usually get given a VIP slot in which I can have access to the sale before the general public. Think of it as a reward for being a loyal customer – after all, why should someone new get the discounts over someone that has shopped there for a long time.

Are you trying to be more savvy when it comes to shopping? Let me know how you make your budget stretch further in the comments below!

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