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The Bargain Hunter: Save money on food, cars, toys and tax

Don’t cry over lost parts

If your child loses a part of their favourite Orchard Toys game, don’t toss it in the trash. If you contact the company, it will replace up to three lost game pieces for each customer each year, for free. This means that games that would once be unplayable now aren’t. See

Free legal help you might not know you have

Legal disputes can be costly and people are often deterred from acting because of the financial risk. But this is where legal expenses insurance can help. It often comes free with home insurance and will protect you outside the home. You probably have no idea that you have it. Typically, legal costs of £50,000-£100,000 are paid. It can help if you are negotiating a contract when returning to work after maternity leave, applying for flexible working, or if you feel you have been wrongfully dismissed.

Get eye tests from your employer

Thanks to health and safety regulations, if your job requires you to work with display screen equipment such as a computer, you should be provided with an eye test paid for by your employer. What’s more, if you need glasses solely for screen use, your employer is obliged to pay for them. Get more details from your HR department.

Save money at the garage

If you’ve ever wondered if you have been ripped off at a garage, why not try a comparison site to cut costs? is the quick, simple way to compare prices and reputations of garages near you. Provide details of what work you require and where you live, and you will receive quotes from your local area via email. You can compare prices, reviews and locations.

Say goodbye to expensive weight loss programmes

A quick search on Google will throw up several ‘lose-weight-quick’ schemes — but these are often not only costly, but can also be bad for your health. The good news is that the internet has some excellent free advice on offer. The NHS, for instance, offers a 12-week weight loss programme that’s free and very safe. While charities such as the Diabetes UK ( and British Heart Foundation (—your-simple-guide-to-healthy-weight-loss) have guides to healthy weight loss that you can download for free.

Go flexitarian to cut food costs

The average person eats around 84.2kg of meat per year, according to the most recent data from the Food and Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations. But meat is expensive — costing the average Brit around £15 a week. In a bid to cut costs, a growing number of Brits are going flexitarian — or semi-vegetarian. According to Mintel research, a third of us are now flexitarian. Follow #MeatFreeMonday on Twitter for some tasty meal ideas you won’t be able to resist.

Check your tax

Your tax code is used by your employer to calculate the amount of tax to be deducted from your wages or pension. says millions of us have been given the wrong code and can be hundreds of pounds out of pocket. Check you are on the right code at

Turn off that heating

More than half us admit to heating our homes when we are out. A study from Direct Line Home Insurance, shows that British homeowners heat their properties for nearly 59 hours per week, with the heating on unnecessarily 11 per cent of the time. With an average annual heating bill of £747, turning off the heating when not needed could save a household £82.52 each year.

Protect your personal details

Identity fraud is at an all-time high, according to fraud prevention service Cifas. One of the easiest things you can do to keep your private info out of the hands of fraudsters is to use an identity theft prevention roller. These stamps use ink to cover information on bills, credit card offers, bank statements and junk mail, keeping it hidden from dumpster-diving crooks. Stamps can be found for as little as £7.99 on