Like father, like daughter

7 October 2010

My father is one of those money-saving sorts. Having four children means you have to be thrifty to some extent, and every week he used to sit at the dining room table and cut out coupons from newspapers and supermarket magazines.

He used to work for Tesco and so he knew when each and every BOGOF (that’s ‘buy one get one free’ to you and me) was about to happen, and also knew when a store had over-ordered blueberries or Chelsea buns and would therefore be reducing their stock.

Visiting rival Waitrose 15 minutes before it closed on Saturday was also a weekly ritual as he grabbed bunches of grapes ("10p for a whole bunch! Your mother will be pleased"), asked for slices of cheesecake at the patisserie counter that were reduced from £1.50 to 15p ("Let’s keep this between the two of us, you like cheesecake don’t you? No need to tell your mother") and chucked a few baguettes ("5p! Crikey how does Waitrose stay in business?") in the trolley.

He also likes to complain. He isn’t the aggressive sort, but he does like to pen a nice, satisfying complaint letter once in a while. I’m the same. Living in London is expensive enough so I’m always on the hunt for a special offer or two. Pizza Express, Slug and Lettuce and Giraffe are just some of the chains that always seem to have a deal on. Why pay full price?

And yes, complaint letters can be incredibly satisfying. My recent successes include £60 back from Monarch when a flight was delayed by 11 hours and three bus tickets from Transport for London when I waited 40 minutes for a bus that supposedly ran every 6-10 minutes.

It seems I’ve become one of those ‘money-saving sorts’ too. My friends may laugh at me but standing up for consumer rights and printing off the odd voucher have saved me hundreds of pounds over the years.

Maybe I’ll treat my father to a slice of reduced cheesecake when I see him next.

I'd be interested to hear what you do to save money - did your parents or grandparents pass on some useful tips? Let me know below.