Shop wisely

By fine-tuning your shopping habits you can buy the things you really want, with the added bonus of knowing you've got a great deal too.

Comparison sites are a good place to start. For financial products, as well as's compare and buy tool, sites such as, and allow you to compare the deals on everything from credit cards and insurance to your gas and electricity supply.

For more general shopping, use sites like and

But don't stop there. You can bump up your savings by using discount vouchers., and pull together hundreds of discount code vouchers, enabling you to get up to 75% off your online shopping.

Or make your online purchases through a cashback website. Whenever you use one of the retailers listed on a cashback site you get paid for doing so. Go to sites like, and to register your details.

A spot of old-fashioned haggling doesn't go amiss either. It won't wash when you're getting your groceries or popping out for a paper, but if you're buying something bigger like a new bed, a car or sports kit, ask whether you could get a discount or if they'll throw in a few freebies, such as some bedding with your bed or some tennis balls with your sports kit.

If the thought of this leaves you shaking, try negotiating with your existing providers for better deals.

Just telling your home insurer or mobile phone company that you can get a better deal will often mean a slice off the original price. And if they say no, you haven't lost anything.