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Money: The Bargain Hunter

Get lucky

For almost 20 years, Di Coke’s hobby of entering prize draws and competitions has resulted in her winning more than £300,000 in prizes. She has travelled the world for free, from Brazil and New Zealand, to Japan and New York, won a VW Beetle, walked the red carpet at the BAFTAs, and funded her wedding with a £7,500 cash win. With tips for new ‘compers’ on her blog (superlucky.me), you could soon be a winner yourself.

Get your hands on a £10 voucher

Online shopping giant Asos is ending its A-List loyalty programme next month, and it’s sending all members a £10 voucher as compensation. The scheme comes to an end on October 24, and if you have points saved you’ll be sent a voucher for their value, as well as the £10 voucher. The good news is that any Asos A-List vouchers already issued but not spent will remain valid, and you can spend them until their expiry date.

Food for thought…

Too Good To Go is a great app for frugal foodies. Restaurants and cafés use it to sell off remaining food cheaply at the end of the day. Download the app via toogoodtogo.co.uk, search your local area, pay for the food online, then head out to pick it up. With Yo Sushi!, Patisserie Valerie and Benugo on board, there is something for everyone.

Words mean prizes on eBay

The trick to earning more on eBay? Killing it with key words. According to research from Birmingham City University, certain keywords are more likely to entice buyers. For instance, shoes labelled as ‘sneakers’ sold for £32, while those labelled as ‘trainers’ sold for a third less. Similarly, perfumes with the word ‘authentic’ in their description sold for £34 on average, while those that used ‘genuine’ made just £21. And listings with the word ‘thong’ brought in £41, compared to ‘knickers’, with an average sale price of just £10.

Trade essential items with other students

Now you’re settled at uni, you may have noticed that you left a few much-needed items back home. But, don’t ask your parents to deliver your favourite goods, you might be able to do a swap with a fellow student.Paperclip (paperclip.co), the online university marketplace, has 30 universities signed up, so chances are you will be able to source a trade on campus.

On your bike…

Cut your commuting costs through your company’s Cycle To Work Scheme, even if only part of your commute is on two wheels. If your company has signed up to this tax-efficient scheme, you can buy a bike and related safety equipment worth up to £1,000 via the salary sacrifice arrangement, which could unlock savings of up to £400 for higher-rate taxpayers. The remaining cost is spread over a year in monthly, interest-free payments.

Value your gems

If you love sparklers, make sure they are protected. The value of jewellery can change over time due to fluctuations in the cost of precious stones and metals. It’s wise to have your items valued regularly, and keep your insurance up to date so your valuables are adequately insured in the event of theft or loss. A good rule of thumb is to do it every three years.

Need a bank? Head to the Post Office

Research from consumer group Which? says bank branches are now closing at a rate of almost 60 a month. However, you can do most of your day-to-day banking at the Post Office for free. The Post Office says it can serve 99 per cent of UK banking customers. And considering 93 per cent of the UK population live within a mile of their nearest branch, you are bound to have one close by.

Improve your Energy Performance Certificate to boost your property value

When selling your property, you do everything you can to make it an attractive purchase. A new coat of paint, making repairs and tidying up are all usually on the list, but have you considered improving your energy rating? MoneySuperMarket has found that upgrading your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) — the government’s rating of a property’s energy efficiency — from an average D to a high-end A can have massive financial benefits. An increase from the lowest rating, G, to as little as F can have a six per cent price increase on average, while raising it to an A or B can give a 14 per cent boost to your potential sale price. Find out more at moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/value-of-efficiency/