How to cut your bills by hunting for discounts

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One in four households depend on money-off deals to get by: How to cut your bills by hunting for discounts

  • Almost half of households are ‘discount dependent’
  • 80% will choose a particular store simply because of the discounts on offer
  • Cashback websites are a popular way for people to save money 

Everyone loves a discount but for millions of people they have become a necessity to help make ends meet.

New research reveals that one in four households would struggle to afford everyday basics without using money-off deals.

Bargain hunting is now common practice, with the average person spending three and a half days a year looking for offers to cut their shopping bills. 

As many as 80 per cent of shoppers will choose a particular store simply because of the discounts on offer.

Each month households spend £104 on clothing and shoes but would pay £48 more without discount deals and cashback

Each month households spend £104 on clothing and shoes but would pay £48 more without discount deals and cashback

The findings, from a study carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of TopCashback, a cashback website, found that almost half of households – 13million – are what it describes as ‘discount dependent’.

These tend to be people on incomes of between £20,000 and £30,000 who find their outgoings regularly exceed their income and so feel compelled to hunt for discounts to make up the shortfall.

The report also suggests one in four are ‘discount supported’. These are people who rely heavily on discounts to go towards meeting essential bills.

Even the so-called ‘discount independent’ – those who are typically full time professional workers who can easily afford to pay full prices – still prefer to seek out discounts and use the money saved towards household essentials such as food and utility bills. 

On average, consumers spend £67 on food and drink each week – but this disguises the fact that a large portion of these purchases are discounted. About £52 has been saved by the careful use of discounts. If they were paying the full amount they would be spending nearer £119.

Cashback websites, such as TopCashback, have grown in popularity in the past decade

Cashback websites, such as TopCashback, have grown in popularity in the past decade

The greatest money savings come from the array of discounts offered in stores – such as ‘buy one get one free’ deals. Loyalty programmes are also important where points are earned every time purchases are made in a particular store. These include Tesco’s Clubcard and Sainsbury’s Nectar cards.

Loyalty cards are also important for getting clothing and footwear cheaper though online voucher websites and cashback websites have become increasingly routine routes to getting money off. 

Each month households spend £104 on clothing and shoes but would pay £48 more without discount deals and cashback.

Students back at university for the autumn term should remember they can access discounts easily across a range of retailers. Clothes shops such as Topshop, Asos and Timberland offer 10 per cent off on presenting student ID.

Another way to cut bills is to take advantage of ‘refer a friend’ schemes. For example, at White Stuff if you recommend someone, they get 20 per cent off their first order and once they have made their purchase you get £10 off next time you spend over £50.

Cashback websites have grown in popularity in the past decade. By making your usual purchases from womenswear to washing machines and beer to broadband via one of these websites you receive a percentage sum back in to your account. 

The best known are TopCashback and Quidco, with shoppers earning an average annual cashback of about £300. 

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