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SPENDING IT - saving when you spend...

4th March 2013

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Nights out, clothes shopping, holidays – there’s no doubt that living the life we want is expensive, especially when you’re on a tight budget. But, according to personal finance expert Lucy Tobin, that doesn’t mean it has to be rubbish.  Treats can stay on the agenda if you trim your costs elsewhere. Here she explains how.

In the supermarket “Every time I’m in a supermarket, I mentally cut out ten per cent of my trolley and imagine chucking it in the bin. Not because of some anti-Tesco psychosis, but because that’s how much the average British shopper ends up throwing away every single week. For most families, all that waste tots up to chucking more than £50 a month down the drain.”

On hotels “To be absolutely certain that you’re getting the very best deal around, it’s worth contacting the hotel direct. Even if the price isn’t cheaper they will often consider throwing in extras such as free breakfasts or airport transfers that could lower the overall cost of your break.”

On nights out... “Pre-book cabs at home before you go out so you can search for the best prices and don't pay over the odds outside a club.”

On a car “Blue is the most popular choice of car colour. Brown is the least popular choice, followed by gold and yellow. What you may think is a simple aesthetic choice could actually play a major factor in bartering with a seller, and when you come to sell it on.

“Remember to haggle when buying a car. Start at a low opening price but be realistic. Let the other person negotiate you up to a price you are both happy with. Deliver an ultimatum. If you are getting close to a deal, say that you will buy a particular car at a particular price – if they agree now. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re not 100% sure. There is always another car and another deal.”

On hosting dinner “If you’re hosting a big meal, don’t feel that you have to buy the most expensive brands – let decanting become your best friend. Those fake After Eights you can buy from Aldi? Lay them out prettily on a platter and no one will ever know.”

Lucy Tobin’s book Ausperity: Live the Life You Want for Less is published by Quercus Books and is out now.

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