In a recent issue, we published Part 1 of our guide to a few things we think you should never pay full price for. Here’s Part 2. If these tips have worked for you, or you have suggestions of your own, why not tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll pay £100 for the star letter we publish.
Eating out can be pricey, so many of us indulge only for a special occasion, but even then, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Before you go, check out the restaurant website to see if there are promotions or rewards schemes you could sign up to, and join the mailing list so you never miss out on them again. Some places will bake you a cake or give you a celebratory drink on arrival if it’s a special occasion, so it might be worth ringing ahead to ask what they offer.
Take advantage of any early-bird discount menus or two-course specials, and keep an eye out for any coupons or competitions with dining prizes you may see in magazines and newspapers. Get money off deals at vouchercodes.co.uk and myvouchercodes.co.uk. Or if you eat out regularly, it may be worth joining the Gourmet Society for up to 50 per cent off at thousands of UK restaurants.
If you have a way with words, your community newspaper may offer the odd meal in exchange for a restaurant review. You could even consider becoming a mystery diner and get reimbursed for meals out in exchange for assessing your experience.
Some first time buyers and renters are given second hand furniture and white goods from friends and relatives to save cash. But if that isn’t an option, find your local auction house or house clearance specialist, or use the online auction site eBay.
There are discount furniture shops and warehouses all over the country which sell items which were overstocked by branded retailers, or slightly damaged. And high street chains Tesco, Comet and Argos all offer outlet or clearance arms.
Look in your local newspaper or corner shop window to get wind of car boot sales. Plus Gumtree, Preloved and the marketplace on Facebook are full of ads for unwanted items. Better yet, pay nothing by using sites such as Freecycle, Freegle and SnaffleUp which offer items people no longer want for free!
Film buffs could be forgiven for watching the latest blockbuster from the comfort of their own sofa – we don’t have to wait as long as we used to before a movie graces the small screen. And if you’re already paying a subscription for satellite or cable TV, it can seem pointless just weeks earlier to spend extra cash on a multiplex experience.
If you’re a regular cinema-goer however, it may be worth signing up for the rewards scheme your local theatre offers. Odeon Premier Club for example gives members 10 points for every £1 spent. So it may only take three or four visits before you have enough for a standard 2D film ticket. But remember to take your own snacks and drinks to save some pennies.
If you join mycineworld for free, you can book tickets online with no fees at 10 per cent off. Cineworld also offers an Unlimited Card for really avid film fans. You pay £14.99 a month for 12 months (£17.99 in the West End of London), for unlimited tickets with no day or time restrictions. You’ll pay £1.50 extra per ticket for 3D screenings however, and unless you have your own, a pair of specs is another 80p.
Unlimited customers also get invited to exclusive advance screenings, and receive preferential discounts at local retailers, on food and drink, and on live HD opera, live National Theatre performances, live 3D sport and live gigs. Odeon Plus also lets you see non-film events on the big screen.
Those on mobile phone network Orange can take advantage of the weekly Orange Wednesdays deal for two for one cinema tickets every Wednesday. Just text ‘film’ to 241, or call 241 from your handset. You’ll be sent a discount code to show at the box office or type in online.
And now you can get two for one on food too. Orange has teamed up with Pizza Express to offer a two for one pizza and dough balls deal, just by showing the same code. If you’d rather stay home, Orange also offers a weekly movie download each Thursday through iTunes. Just text ‘FilmToGo’ to 85060. Sign up for reminders so you don’t miss the film.
Most multiplexes offer cheaper early screenings, kids clubs and showings restricted to the over 60s. At Vue and Odeon, teens get a permanent discount, and a family of four with at least two kids will only pay the child ticket price for all. And Vue’s Kids AM tickets are just £1.50 each on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and every morning during school holidays (£2.75 for 3D).
If you’d rather not part with any cash at all, students can become reviewers on their uni newspaper to see preview press screenings. Or you could see if your local newspaper accepts reviews. Websites such as See Film First and Momentum Pictures also offer free preview screenings without charge if you sign up on a first come first served basis.
Remember that pre-ordered and brand new console games will usually be more expensive than those that have been out for a while. Shopping online at sites such as Play.com can be cheaper than using a games shop, especially if you use its warehouse clearance store. And pre-owned games are available through Amazon. For deals worth up to 90 per cent off, visit cheapfindergames.com or find-game.co.uk. Many game apps are now also available to download for free on your smartphone and online. And gamers can swap with friends once they’ve finished with their games.
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Links to external websites are for information only. Virgin Money receives no income from them and accepts no responsibility for the website content. The information in this article is correct as at 13 June 2012.