Wahanda

Until a colleague mentioned it to me recently, I’d never heard of Wahanda. Up till now I’d been searching for hair salons near me on Google, then trawling through each site to compare prices. Wahanda does all of this for you, and offers discounts on top. You can list nearby salons in order of price, read reviews, and decide whether you’re getting good value by going for one of the cheaper options. I managed to get a haircut for £20, when I’d been expecting to pay at least £40 in Central London.

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In addition to the discounted prices, when you leave a review they’ll give you £5 off your next appointment. This voucher only lasts for a month, so it’s not so great if you only get your hair cut a few times a year, but as Wahanda covers beauty treatments and spa days as well, there are plenty of other ways to spend it if you’re into waxing, threading and manicures.

I spotted that a spa day I purchased a few months ago through Lastminute.com was about 40% cheaper through Wahanda. I can’t guarantee that all the discounts are that good, but it’s an incredibly useful tool for comparing prices either way.

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Ed Sheeran’s album X (deluxe) £8.95

If you want the deluxe version of Ed Sheeran’s new album X, you can save money by buying the original album for £4.99 from Amazon and the 4 extra tracks separately for 99p.

It will cost you £8.95 to buy it this way; the cheapest I’ve found it elsewhere is £9.99 at Sainsbury’s.

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N.B. Although it says ‘I See Fire’ is an album only track, you can buy the version on The Hobbit soundtrack.

Tips For Swagbucks

If you’re new to Swagbucks it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are my tips for making as much money as possible:

Daily Goals

You can boost your swagbucks (SB) by meeting your daily and weekly goals – this will give you a bonus which is paid into your account once a month. The goals will change depending on how much you earn, so if you have a really good day and earn 300 SB, your goal the following day is likely to go up. Some people deliberately keep their daily earnings low for this reason – if you focus on just meeting your goal and not going too far over, it will be easier to maintain a streak. I prefer to earn as much as possible even if I struggle to meet my target the next day.

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Surveys

Surveys are the biggest earners, so it’s best to focus on them first when trying to reach your daily goal. They vary a lot, sometimes you’ll be able to earn 150 SB in 5 minutes, other times you’ll have to spend 30 minutes earning much less. Make sure you pay attention as you complete them – there’ll often be security questions hidden in there to make sure you’re not just skipping through.

Special Offers

These are very hit and miss so I’m tempted to say you shouldn’t waste your time on them. The problem is that many of them don’t credit after you’ve gone to all the effort of filling out your details. When they work though, you can earn a fair amount, so if you’re careful they’re worth the effort. The best thing to do is participate in this forum and share which of them credit and which don’t.

N.B. Set up a separate email account to make sure you don’t have to deal with all the spam emails.

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You can run SBTV in the background while you do other things – just go back and click on a new video every minute or so. You don’t even need to let the video finish before moving on to the next one, you can see from the percentage bar at the top when you’ve watched enough. You get 3 SB for watching 10 videos, which isn’t much, but it’s useful if you’re trying to reach a goal and you’ve run out of surveys.

There are also videos to watch on the Swagbucks homepage – usually worth 1 SB each. Once you’ve watched them all, try refreshing the page to get new ones.

Search

You don’t earn swagbucks every time you search, instead you’ll be rewarded randomly – usually 7 or 11 SB. Some people claim to have won much more, so it’s worth trying to use it as your default search engine.

Toolbar

There is a Swagbucks toolbar you can download and using it each day will earn you 1 SB. It looks different in each browser – in Chrome it’s a small button in the top right corner which opens up when you click on it. In Firefox it takes over a bit more and on mine it’s made the Swagbucks search engine my home page – not necessarily a bad thing if you need a reminder to use it.

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Games

They’re not the most exciting games but you can earn up to 10 SB each day by playing them. Try Swag Jump as it doesn’t go on too long – you can usually earn 2 SB for every 2 games, so you’ll need to play it 10 times to reach the 10 SB limit for the day.

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Swag Codes

A few times a day, Swagbucks posts a code either on their blog or facebook/twitter accounts. If you have the toolbar it will alert you when a code is available – search online for ‘Swag Code’ and you’ll find websites where people post new codes almost instantly. Post the code into the box at the top of the Swagbucks homepage and you’ll get around 3-6 SB.

Superdrug vs Boots

I’m a big fan of Superdrug for its deals and low prices – I once bought 3 shower gels there for the price of 1, and it’s been one of my favourite shops ever since. Boots has a far superior loyalty card however – so where should you shop to make the most of your money?

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Superdrug Beauty Card

You might have only picked it up for the handy mirror, but does the Superdrug Beauty Card really give you anything back? At just 1 point per £1, in a store with low prices, this is one of the slowest earning loyalty cards I’ve owned. I only got mine 8 months ago but I would have expected to have earned more by now – I haven’t redeemed any points yet, even though I shop there a lot.

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Boots Advantage Card

On the other hand, the Boots Advantage Card is by far the best loyalty card I own. It gives you 4 points per £1 and, just like the Beauty Card, every point is worth 1p. So to redeem £1 with your card, you would need to spend £100 in Superdrug but just £25 in Boots. Another big ‘Advantage’ to Boots is that you can redeem as many points as you need to make a purchase, whereas at Superdrug you have to redeem your points in 100s, so for most purchases you can only use it for part-payment – which is much less convenient.

So where should you shop?

The best way to save money is to shop in whichever store has the cheapest price for the products you want to buy. This means it’s important to compare before you shop – I recommend mySupermarket for this. Stock up on cosmetics and toiletries when they are on the best offers – usually this will be 2-for-1 or half-price. That way you will spread your shopping out over both stores and make the most of both reward schemes. If the product you want is the same price in both however – that’s when you should go with the best loyalty card.

How I Persuaded Apple To Replace My iPhone Out Of Warranty

iphoneIf the buttons on your iPhone have stopped working and it’s less than 2 years old, you may be able to get a new handset, completely free.

Here’s how I did it:

The home button on my iPhone 4 first stopped working when it was still in warranty, so I took it to the Apple Store and was given a new handset without any trouble. Then it stopped working on my new phone as well, after the warranty had ended, so I searched the problem online and discovered that the home and lock buttons on iPhones wear out very quickly and Apple has done nothing to solve the problem.

(N.B. If your home or lock button stop working, there is a temporary solution – the AssistiveTouch button. You can enable this by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch)

So I’d discovered that Apple were not only aware of the problem, but had faced legal action from some iPhone users who were less than happy that their phones were not designed to last more than a year. I also discovered some very useful advice on statutory rights on MoneySavingExpert, which say that a product must last ‘a reasonable amount of time’ – and considering some iPhone contracts are for 2 years, it seems reasonable to expect the phone to last at least that long. According to EU Law, we also have a 2 year warranty in the UK which goes beyond the 1 year warranty that Apple offer.

So armed with this knowledge, I called up Apple customer support and presented my case. I first spoke to a very nice gentleman who said he would just need to talk to his manager and arrange for me to pick up a new phone. I was then passed around 3 different people and had to be called back twice, but in the end I spoke to a manager, who told me that I had been given incorrect information at the start, that they don’t normally replace handsets after the warranty period, but as I had been led to believe I would receive a replacement, they would put an exception on my account to allow me to go to the Apple Store for a new iPhone.

I didn’t question this because I had got the result I wanted, but I didn’t believe him for a second. It seemed to me that Apple just didn’t want to admit fault over the issue with the buttons, or make it obvious that they are willing to replace handsets which are out of warranty, because then they will be inundated with requests. So they replaced mine to keep me happy, and told me it was a goodwill gesture to keep me quiet.

Tips:
If you own an iPhone 5 and have experienced problems with your lock button, Apple have just set up a replacement program, available now in the US and Canada, and from 2 May 2014 in the UK

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Nectar Rewards Double Up

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23 April – 13 May 2014

Exchange your Nectar points for double their value at Sainsbury’s until 13 May.
You’ll receive a £10, £20, £30 or £40 Double Up voucher to spend in one of these departments: Beauty, Electricals, Home, Tu Clothing or Magazines.

Vouchers are valid until 20 May 2014.

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MySupermarket is a comparison site which helps you compare the cost of your grocery shopping across 7 major supermarkets – Waitrose, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Ocado. They also include Boots and Superdrug so you can compare the cost of toiletries and cosmetics.my-supermarket

You can do your grocery shopping through the site – you just select your preferred supermarket, add groceries to your trolley, and before you checkout it will tell you whether you could save money by shopping at a different store.

When I first discovered this comparison site a few years ago, they didn’t include all the major supermarkets, so it had very limited use for me. Now they’ve expanded it’s a lot more useful, particularly for checking where the best offers are. There are some things I buy regularly, like Pepsi, which I never need to pay full price for, because they always seem to be on offer somewhere.

MySupermarket say that on average, customers save £17 when they shop with them. As well as their overall comparison tool, they also help you save while you shop, by suggesting a ‘swap & save’ if there’s a similar product you could buy which is better value. They offer cashback on some brands, and there are vouchers available which give you money off if you spend over a certain amount in a particular store. They’re not exclusive to this site however – I’ve seen similar offers elsewhere.

Tips:

  • TopCashback currently give £5.25 cashback to new mySupermarket customers
  • Download the app – mySuperList, to check the price of your shopping on the go. You can create a shopping list on your phone, and find out which supermarket would be cheapest to shop in that day. There’s also a barcode scanner which you can use to find out if items are cheaper, or on offer, in other stores.

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Waitrose

Waitrose-logoIt might seem strange to write about Waitrose on a money saving blog – this is a shop which includes couscous in its Essentials range after all, but the best way to save money is to shop around and take advantage of all the different offers and reward cards available. So I’m not suggesting using it as your main grocery shop, but I want to show you a few ways to save money if you shop there occasionally.

The myWaitrose Card
The Waitrose loyalty card is different to other store cards because you don’t collect points on your shopping. Instead you receive a number of benefits:

  • Free tea or coffee every day – if you live or work near a Waitrose it’s worth signing up just for that
  • 10% off selected branded groceries
  • 20% off selected household products – it’s just until 29 April, but I imagine other similar offers will follow
  • Essentials Waitrose milk (4 pints) for £1, (this is actually the price in most supermarkets now)
  • Win back the value of your groceries – each time you shop and use your card you’ll be entered into a draw to win back a month’s worth of groceries, up to £500

The Waitrose Refund Policy
I discovered this by accident, but the Waitrose refund policy is the best of any store I have been to. They refund the full amount of the item you are dissatisfied with, and either give you a replacement OR give you double your money back if you don’t want a replacement.

The best example of this was when I bought two multipacks of Kettle Chips, which were on a BOGOF offer. One of the individual packs had a hole in it, so I took it back and was refunded the full price (regardless of the special offer) and given a new multipack to take away – this meant I ended up getting 3 multipacks for free.

It shows that Waitrose really care about customer satisfaction, and their policy definitely makes it worth your while to make a trip back when you’re not happy with something.

Audiobooks…And The Benefits Of Walking Everywhere

I don’t read as much as I would like to at the moment, which is why I love audiobooks. I usually listen to them while walking to work, which is a great way to save money – it helps me spend less on public transport, and I don’t need a gym membership anymore because walking is great for keeping fit.audible-co-uk

I don’t find it a struggle to walk instead of taking the bus because audiobooks make the time fly. I’ve been buying them from Audible, and it works out a lot cheaper with their £7.99/month subscription. MoneySavingExpert also have a discount code available until Monday 21 April, which lets you have a three-month trial at 99p/month. You’ll get one credit each month, which you can exchange for an audiobook. As most cost between £15-20, this is a very good deal.

If you want to save even more money, podcasts are another great way to stay entertained – and they’re free. I recommend Simon Mayo’s Confessions, The Scott Mills Daily and Friday Night Comedy from Radio 4. They’re all very funny and usually a bit dangerous to listen to in public – where apparently it’s not normal to laugh out loud when you’re walking alone.

Tips:

  • If you don’t want to commit to a three-month trial with Audible, you can get a FREE one-month trial here
  • Check the length of audiobooks before you purchase – you’ll pay one credit per book, regardless of the book’s original price, so if you pick a longer one (around 15+ hours) you’ll get a lot more for your money
  • You can freeze your membership at any time, just begin the cancellation process and Audible will offer this as an alternative