Everyone loves a good bargain. There are lots of wonderful pleasures in life. But one of them which is really sustaining is that feeling of having saved money, especially when it requires little effort or sacrifice. In fact, when good deals allow you to do fun things or purchase items you covet, then it really does feel like you’re winning.

With the advent of the internet and technology, marketplaces across the board have become ever-more competitive. Bad news for their profit margins, but for us consumers, it’s a big win, and means there are a million different ways to make useful savings.
While there are options aplenty, here are five which you might not have been familiar with…

Restaurant deals
Restaurants are clamouring to get families through the door, and that means there are good deals to be had. You can get kids-eat-free deals from the likes of La Tasca, Chimichanga (via the O2 app), the Real Greek and Bella Italia, while your youngsters can eat for ‘pretty close to free’ at other places like Toby Carvery (£1), Byron (25p) and Hungry Horse (£1).

Switch bank
Banks are hardly in anyone’s good books after the financial crisis, and the savings rates they offer are truly dire. However, they’re actually very keen to attract your business, which is why there are some exceptional deals on switching. HSBC offer you £150 for switching to them, and another £50 if you stay for a year. Co-op offer £125 (plus another £25 to charity, and £5.50 per month). First Direct offers a bit less at £100, but with them you benefit from award-winning customer service. Whichever way you go, rest assured that switching is hassle-free. Legislation since 2012 puts the onus on the banks to take care of everything – you just need to initiate the switch and sit back as your bank balance swells.

Day trips and travel
Keeping little’uns entertained can seem an expensive business. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, when it comes to trips to the movies, Vue does weekend/school holiday tickets for just £2.49, while there is also a deal with participating cinemas where you can win free tickets when you buy chocolate pouches (eg: Maltesers). Or you can buy a bottle of Carex Handwash and win half-price tickets to Alton Towers and/or Sea Life Centre. And, if you look into it, you’ll find all sorts of free activities for kids during school holidays: football coaching for girls, junior parkruns, ‘swim safe’ sessions, tennis coaching with Tennis for Free, and much more!

Cutting the cost of credit cards
Credit cards can be wonderful things. It’s a convenient way to fund spending, and, for those who use it properly, it can help build your credit rating. But for those who don’t clear their balance at the end of each month, the interest you are liable for is extortionate - and is essentially a waste of money. That’s because you can minimise this cost by simply transferring the balance onto a 0 per cent credit card, or taking out consolidation loans with a much lower rate. Minimum effort, maximum saving on your credit card debt – can’t argue with that!

Fashion and the high street
There are some price-busting sales going on in department and retail stores at the moment: House of Fraser (up to 60% off), H&M (up to 70% off), New Look (up to 70% off) and Oasis (up to 70% off). Another interesting one is John Lewis, who are doing a price match on all (“unnamed”) competitors’ sales. There are also discount vouchers of up to 30 per cent off for outlets such as Boohoo, Gap, Body Shop and River Island. It’s all out there if you put the feelers out – now it’s time to get savvy, and start saving!

 * Collaborative post.

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