Voucher-code lover? You could save loads…
Are you fed up with searching online for voucher codes, only to find they’re invalid? One fuss-free way around it is to bolster your Google Chrome browser with a free extension specifically designed to find and apply these discounts. If you download Pouch (joinpouch.com/deals) or Honey (joinhoney.com) you will be automatically alerted to working voucher codes whenever you’re buying online. The code will be applied directly to your shopping basket in one click. Easy.
Check your car is in tip-top shape for winter weather
If you’re driving home for Christmas, Halfords will make sure you’re ready to face winter’s worst with a free check worth £15. It includes checks of light bulbs, car batteries, wiper blades and oil levels, as well as a free top-up of screen wash. They’ll also check for windscreen chips, too. Available from stores and Autocentres nationwide. Find your nearest centre online at halfords.com
Cash in your unused Oyster card
Millions of London commuters could get a refund on unused Oyster cards, after Transport For London’s latest figures showed the pot of unclaimed money was more than £173million.
If you no longer need your Oyster card, you can get a refund for both the deposit and any leftover, pay-as-you-go credit. The amount you’ll get depends on your balance and how much deposit you paid.
To apply online, log on to your Oyster account. Select the Oyster card you’d like to be refunded — if it isn’t registered, you’ll need to link your card to your account first — and click on ‘Apply for a product refund’. Follow the instructions to get a refund to your bank account.
Don’t lose out due to Christmas delivery dates
Christmas is coming fast — too fast for some retailers to deliver the goods. Even with more than three weeks until Santa’s big night, some retailers are already saying they can no longer guarantee deliveries in time for the celebrations.
However, home-delivery service ParcelHero has created an online tool that allows shoppers to search for their favourite retailers’ final Christmas mailing order deadlines. Before you buy, check parcelhero.com/events/christmas-gifts-delivery to see if your purchase will arrive in time.
Don’t overpay for foreign currency on your winter hols
If you’re planning on getting some winter sun, make sure you don’t overpay for your travel money. Many holiday money providers advertise the transaction as ‘free’ or ‘0 per cent commission’, when actually they’re charging a big hidden fee in a marked-up exchange rate. The Fight Overseas Fees campaign says this can amount to losses of hundreds of pounds — thousands for those retiring abroad.
If you think you’ve fallen victim to this unfair practice in the past, it’s not too late to do something about it. Go to fightoverseasfees.org to get an estimate of how much you have lost over the past 12 months, then follow the site’s instructions to reclaim your money.
Backdate your Black Friday savings
Black Friday bargains don’t just apply to new products bought on the biggest shopping weekend of the year: some retailers will price-match, post-purchase. John Lewis, for instance, will refund the difference up to 28 days after you made your purchase, although the Never Knowingly Undersold policy does not apply to items sold by stores that are online-only.
Even so, keep the price match promise in mind while you’re browsing the pre-Christmas sales: you might be able to save some money retrospectively. If you do think you have the basis to make a claim, see johnlewis.com/never-knowingly-undersold to check the small print and fill in the form.
Shopping small can bring a relatively sizeable reward
To mark Small Business Saturday on December 1, American Express customers can get £5 credit on their statement when they spend £10 on their card. Participating shops are listed (with a handy map) at americanexpress.com/uk/shop-small — you’ll need to log into the app to register the offer on your card. The offer, which applies to a single transaction instore, runs until December 16. There’s no limit to the number of £5 credits you can receive, although it’s limited to one from each small business.
Make money from your storage space
The high cost of UK housing has created a boom in self-storage: many Brits are now renting units long term because their home is too small. Hence Stashbee (stashbee.com), the Airbnb of unused storage space, is connecting people in need of storage with those who have the space (such as garages, spare rooms, parking bays and warehouses). The average annual host earnings range from £1,600 to rent out a basement for a year. Something for nothing!