Boxing Day sales: Simple move taking just one minute can unlock ‘discounts and rewards’

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Boxing day sales will launch from today and the financial experts Local Financial Advice have issued guidance on how to make the most of the offers. This includes tips on how to stick to a budget and ensure the prices one is seeing are in fact the best available.

Stick to a budget and earn cashback as you spend

It’s easy for one to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of offers available and as such, shoppers can get carried away with their spending. A Local Financial Advice spokesperson warned: “Sale shopping can be dangerous.”

They continued: “All those bargain buys can tempt you into spending more than you can afford or on items you don’t need. Before you go on a shopping spree do your research, make a list and set a budget to avoid temptation.”

Additionally consumers may want to find ways in making even more savings where they can: “To maximise your savings whilst shopping, use cashback and voucher sites like Quidco and TopCashback that will help you earn back some pennies from high street and online purchases.”

While Boxing Day can present people with bargains, it can also heighten the risk of falling for marketing hype. With this in mind, Local Financial Advice also urged caution.

Compare prices and shop safely

Many consumers may be wary of some of the offers they find online, as it is often reported that the “deals” advertised do not offer the best prices. Fortunately, the prices seen online can be checked in the real world.

The spokesperson continued: “Online shopping is great to save you time, energy, and money. You could even use hotukdeals, a great deal sharing community where people share deals online and in-store. This will ensure that you are getting a great money-saving offer.

“If you spot a bargain from a retailer, you’ve not heard of before, you may be able to ask a high street retailer to match the price. Retailers such as John Lewis and Currys PC World both offer price match guarantees.”

Going “incognito” could also help with this, with the move often taking just a few seconds to carry out.

“Many online retailers offer dynamic pricing based on your browsing history. The site recognises if you are an ‘old’ customer and will increase the prices accordingly. Shopping incognito or clearing your cookies will help to show the retailer that you are a ‘new customer’ and could lead to discounts and rewards.”

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Shielding oneself from fraud is also a priority for many and Local Financial Advice urged shoppers to focus on the crucial elements: “Protecting yourself when making payments is vital. You may lose a bit of money if you buy from a fake seller, but you can lose even more if your details are stolen. Be extra vigilant when shopping online and never communicate with someone outside of the site you are purchasing from.

“If you are buying something over £100, then pay using your credit card to benefit from Section 75 protection.”

Nigel Borwell, founder of Local Financial Advice, concluded: “We want to take this opportunity to stress that you should not feel pressured into spending more than you can afford at this time of year.

“We hope that these simple tips will help you to take advantage of Boxing Day sales and not fall for dubious offers.”

Heeding this advice may prove to be crucial as research from comparethemarket.com showed millions have fallen victim to online fraud in recent years.

According to the company’s research, nearly one in 10 (nine percent) UK adults had payment methods compromised by fraudsters in the past year or so, equating to almost five million people nationwide. In the majority of cases (90 percent), money was stolen via online fraud and victims lost, on average, £608 each. Half (50 percent) fell into debt as a result of the theft.

Unfortunately, coronavirus led to a significant increase in the number of fraudsters seeking to exploit people. Previous research by comparethemarket.com showed over one-third of people across the UK (36 percent) saw a rise in scams last year during lockdowns.

With more sales pushed online, comparethemarket.com also urged spenders to stay vigilant on the internet. More than a third of people plan to purchase items (36 percent) over the sales period, spending on average £164, with almost half of transactions (47 percent) planned to take place exclusively online.

James Padmore, head of money at comparethemarket.com, commented: “Despite the temptation of big deals and discounts, it’s worth remembering that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“Some fraudsters are clever with the way they can make scams and websites seem genuine, and with online fraud increasing, it’s vital that people remain vigilant.

“Citizens Advice and Action Fraud offer good advice about protecting yourself from fraud and how to keep up to date with fraudsters’ tactics.

“Prudent household financial management is important; checking your bank accounts regularly for any suspicious activity, ensuring your contact details are up-to-date in case your bank needs to alert you, and having separate passwords or pins for different accounts can all help keep your money secure.

“By using comparethemarket.com’s password generator tool, you can quickly check how secure your current password is and create a new strong password to help prevent security threats.”

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