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Over half of Brits are missing out on opportunities to save money

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
Britons miss out on easy opportunities to save money because they fail to cash in on sales, offers and loyalty points. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Britons miss out on easy opportunities to save money because they fail to cash in on sales, offers and loyalty points. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Britons are too polite to make the most of savings and discounts on offer with more than half admitting they are not good bargain hunters or savvy shoppers, a Santander survey (BNC.L) has revealed.

The research, which polled 2,000 British consumers, found more than half (57%) miss out on easy opportunities to save money because they fail to cash in on sales, offers and loyalty points, and don’t haggle with salespeople or ask for a discount.

Referring to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Santander said: “The findings come at a time when many families’ finances are stretched as never before and highlight the opportunity many are missing to use money-saving hacks as they begin budgeting and planning for Christmas.”

A money-saving hack most commonly missed out on, despite being easily accessible, is cashback, claimed through banks or a third-party website.

Cashback is the most lucrative money-saving hack and Brits who use it report saving £375 ($494) per year or £31.30 per month.

Customers of Santander UK, for example, could collectively be earning tens of millions more in cashback every year through the bank’s Retailer Offers programme, it said.

During Black Friday week last year (28 November to 4 December) Santander UK’s customers collectively overlooked £2.7m worth of offers from retailers they bought from because they didn’t activate their cashback offer within the bank’s Retailer Offers service prior to making their purchase

People most commonly use loyalty or reward schemes to save money on their shopping, with more than half (53%) always or regularly using them.

But even so, they are missing opportunities to save because they forget to use their loyalty points, membership card discounts and gift vouchers.

Embarrassment is another barrier. According to the research, the most embarrassing money-saving hack is haggling with salespeople, followed by asking for a discount on a damaged product or ex-display item, and not paying full price for service that doesn’t meet a good standard.

Meanwhile, 27% of UK adults said they didn’t use printed vouchers because they carried a stigma, with men more likely to think this (28%) than women (25%).

In romantic settings, people are far less likely to be embarrassed about using a money-saving hack when going out with their long-time partner or spouse (6%) than when on a first date (24%).

Kara Gammell, author of a blog called Your Beat Friend’s Guide to Cash, offered some other helpful tips to save, apart from cashback. For instance, setting up e-mail alerts for relevant brands and products, and including words like ‘discount’, ‘promo codes’, ‘sales’, ‘freebies’ and ‘giveaways’ can help consumers take advantage of savings on offer.

READ MORE: One in five Brits have no emergency savings

Another way to find the lowest price is to use a browser add-on for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome that supports Amazon (AMZN), said Gammell. The Camelizer is one such extension that shows historical pricing data for products available on Amazon without having to leave the tab. Consumers can use this to understand if they are getting a good deal.

Considering refurbished products is also a great way to save, said Gammell. Refurbished electronics can function perfectly – but because they are products that have been damaged and repaired by the manufacturer, they are often significantly cheaper.

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