Shopping around: How to save money

Some of us are savvy when it comes to scouring the market for the best deals. Others are not quite so proactive. If you fall into the latter category, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Some items are simply not worth spending hours of your time worrying about, such as whether your favourite shampoo is cheaper at the pharmacy or at the supermarket. However, there are some things in life that are really worth shopping around for.

Energy bills

Arguably the most important thing to shop around for: your energy supplier. We all fork out for electricity and gas on a monthly basis, so it’s worth spending time looking for potential cheaper tariffs. You can save roughly £100 per year by switching energy provider, and you reduce your bills even more if you pay by monthly direct debit. Changing your provider is a quick and easy process, so it’s a worthwhile task. Plus, some companies offer rewards for joining them, such as gift cards, meaning you can reap even further financial benefits!

Buying a high price item

Companies may sell the same high-ticket item at various price points in different areas of the country. Therefore, it’s always important to check out the rest of the market, rather than purchasing from the most convenient store in your area. Say you’re looking for a car, for example. The same make and model might be cheaper in a different postcode than it is in your area. When looking at the prices of the same second hand-car, a study found that in London you would fork out £10,399, while in Scotland you’d pay £9,411.

Insurance quotes

Whether you need home, phone, car or travel cover, shopping around for insurance policies will help you to bag the best deals. There are certain types of insurance that we must take out, such as car insurance if we own a vehicle. Many of us stick to our current provider when we receive an automatic renewal quote, but this could be costing you big bucks. Getting quotes from alternative providers could slash your costs considerably. It’s also important to shop at the right time, too. A recent study has shown when you shop can massively affect your quote. “Buying your car insurance three weeks ahead of the start day is likely to get you the cheapest price” but being “overly organised and getting your insurance too early could mean you overpay by £100s.” Timing is key, so be savvy!

So, instead of sticking to the same provider this year, shop around. Bagging the best deals is a step towards better financial management.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.