How to be a savvy shopper in the summer sales

Summer sales can be a great time to bag a bargain. But research commissioned by Harvey Nichols has found that, sometimes, these bargains can turn out to be a real waste of money – to the tune of £9,000. So how do you shop wisely in the sales?

Savvy Shopping BlogSummer is traditionally one of the best times for sales, although in reality there are discounts to be had on the high street and online pretty much all year round – which makes the following advice all the more relevant.

The lure of hefty discounts and knockdown prices means the average Brit wastes £142 a year buying items they never wear – which is equivalent to a staggering £9,159 over an average lifetime*.

Here’s how to make sure you (not your local charity shop) get to enjoy those bargains this summer.

The early bird catches the worm

It almost goes without saying that the best bargains and the most popular sizes always sell out first, so it pays to head to the sales during the first few days. You might need to brace yourself for a bit of a scuffle but it will give you the best choice of sales offers.

Know what you want (what you really, really want)

Remember, nothing’s a bargain unless you were going to buy it anyway! Have a list of things you need and don’t stray from it – that way you’re less likely to go home with something you don’t really need just because it was cheap.

Pick on something your own size

When faced with a coveted item of clothing, a size too small but at a bargain price, the research found that around a quarter of women will think ‘diet’ as they reach for their credit card. But, as very few of us actually manage to slim to fit, it’s best to avoid this strategy.

Try before you buy

Let’s face it, queueing for the changing room in a busy shop can be tedious. But a third of shoppers in the survey admitted items bought this way looked awful when they got home, and nearly a quarter said they didn’t fit. Remember this when you’re next eyeing up the queue – just a few seconds in front of the mirror could be long enough to turn a must-have bargain into a well-dodged fashion mistake.

Compare and contrast

There are strict rules requiring retailers to be honest about the discounts they’re offering in the sales, but just because something has been reduced by 50% or more doesn’t mean you can’t buy it cheaper elsewhere. A quick check online through comparison sites such as Google Shopping or PriceRunner will show you if you can get it for less.

Take the right friend

A second opinion can be really useful in the sales, but only if it’s someone who’ll give you an honest opinion rather than encourage you to spend more.

Turn waste into wealth

It can also help if you have an incentive to stop you splashing out on spur of the moment sale items. If you saved the average £142 wasted each year at the sales, it could grow into a significant sum.

As an example, assuming you saved £142 every year and your money grew at 4% a year, after five years it would be worth nearly £800. After 10 years, it would be worth just over £1,770 – not bad for money that could have been wasted on fashion mistakes.

*Research commissioned by Harvey Nichols, undertaken by Vision Critical amongst 2,027 UK adults between 16-18 June 2014.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.

7 Reasons a Friendly Society could be the Place for Your Savings

If you’re wondering what a friendly society is and how we differ from other financial providers, here are seven things that make us stand out

Deciding where to save your money can be daunting when there are so many different types of financial institutions to choose from. Read on, or take a look at our video, to find out more about what makes Foresters Friendly Society different.

We have a long track record

Friendly Societies are one of the oldest types of financial services providers and have been around for hundreds of years. The original idea was simple – that if a group of people contributed to a mutual fund, they could receive financial and benevolence support when they needed it – for example, in times of ill health. These were often the only way that a working person could receive help before the introduction of the welfare state.

Many Friendly Societies, including Foresters, still exist today. In fact, we have been supporting families and their finances since 1834, that’s over 180 years!

We focus on affordable saving

Foresters offer a range of medium to long-term savings and investment plans, which are simple and affordable. Our aim is to make saving for the future an attainable goal for as many people as possible, and so our children’s savings plan starts from just £10 a month when taken out online, and our adult plans from £25 a month. It might not sound like much, but it can help to build up a nest egg over time and the important thing is, its manageable.

Profits go back to our members

Another benefit of our mutual status is that we are owned by our members, which means we don’t have any shareholders to pay. Instead, our profits are used for the benefit of our members, for example in the form of policy payouts, our Foresters Extras membership benefits package, or by re-investing them to enhance the customer service we provide.

A responsible approach to money

Because we are owned by and operated for our members, we take a responsible, long-term approach to savings and investments. Our With Profits savings plans sit comfortably between no-risk cash savings and higher-risk stocks and shares and are an option for anyone who wants to save regularly and give their money an opportunity to grow.

Customers are at the heart of what we do

We ensure our staff and systems really do all that we can for you to enhance the customer service we provide, which is reflected in our high levels of customer satisfaction.

Extra tax-free savings options

Friendly societies have a unique legal status, and this allows us to offer tax-exempt savings products that aren’t available to many other financial providers such as high street banks.

We want to help people to help themselves

When you take out a savings plan with Foresters, you become a member, which means that not only do you have access to a range of benefits at no extra cost but that you can even have an input in to how we are run. There aren’t many financial organisations that can say that.

Please Note:

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

The value of investments may go up or down and for some products you may get back less than you have paid in.

Tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances.

The membership benefits we provide aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and are regularly reviewed by us to ensure they are relevant to our members.