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MISS MONEYSAVER: Buy a sofa in January, but a laptop in late May… one of the best ways to be clever with cash this year is to know the best time to buy certain things

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One of the best ways to be clever with your cash throughout the year is to know the optimum time to buy certain things, so here is my month-by-month guide…

SAVE ON A SOFA IN WINTER

January is the best time to buy discounted Christmas cards, wrapping paper, giftsets and decorations. But did you know it’s also a good time to buy a new sofa and dining set? Retailers push both of these products in the run-up to Christmas and then have to discount what hasn’t sold in January.

BEST TIME TO BUY A SECOND-HAND CAR

February is a good month to pick up a second-hand car bargain, according to Lucy Sherliker from car finance marketplace Zuto.

She says: ‘This is because new number plates are traditionally released in spring. Also, some people may have been struggling with an older, unreliable model through the winter, but were unable to replace it over the expensive Christmas period.’

One of the best ways to be clever with your cash throughout the year is to know the optimum time to buy certain things, so here is my month-by-month guide¿

One of the best ways to be clever with your cash throughout the year is to know the optimum time to buy certain things, so here is my month-by-month guide…

GET A WILL DRAWN UP FOR NOTHING

March is free wills month (free willsmonth.org.uk), when you can get a will drawn up for nothing. MoneyHelper states that a simple will might cost between £144 and £240, so it’s a decent saving.

LOOK OUT FOR DIY BARGAINS

Easter Monday is on April 10 this year, and the Easter bank holiday weekend is traditionally the time when DIY stores such as B&Q, Homebase and Wickes often discount DIY products to attract those doing up their house. Check online to see what bargains you can pick up.

SNAP UP A LAPTOP FOR LESS

If you need a new laptop, May 31 is the best time to buy, according to comparison site idealo.co.uk. After that, prices increase by 40 per cent, and are at their highest by November 6.

Get paid to stay in a hotel

Fancy being paid to stay two nights at a top hotel? Market research company Give Opinions is looking for recruits who are willing to stay at Heythrop Park Hotel in Oxfordshire for free and be paid £65 for their opinions on their experience. You need to be available for two nights from January 16 and be willing to travel to Oxfordshire for the job.

To sign up for this opportunity, register at giveopinions.co.uk.

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There’s an extra bank holiday on May 8 for the Coronation. Why not declutter and bulk-sell whatever you find on sites such as textstuff.co.uk and vintagecashcow.co.uk?

FIX YOUR BOILER IN THE SUMMER

Summer is the cheapest time to get your boiler fixed or replaced. Companies such as British Gas and Npower often have big discounts on boiler installation at this time, so get them to quote you their best price then compare that with what plumbers in your area are offering.

SUMMER HOLIDAYS FOR A LOT LESS

If you think you can’t afford to go away, look into house-swapping, as you only have to pay for your travel and food. Check out lovehomeswap.com (free two-week trial) and homeexchange.com (annual fee for unlimited swaps).

If you are jetting off, get cheaper airport parking at yourparkingspace.co.uk, where locals offer their private car-parking spaces.

FORAGED FEAST

August is a great time for finding free food in the hedgerows, such as blackberries, raspberries, nettles and elderflowers. Try Richard Mabey’s book Food for Free, which is available on Amazon for just £5.75.

CASH IN ON THE iPHONE PRICE DROP

The end of September onwards is a good time to buy a new iPhone, as Apple tends to bring out new models around the middle of September. When that happens you can expect the value of any older Apple models to decrease by 23 per cent on average in the three months afterwards, according to Music Magpie.

VISIT THE RELATIVES WITH A DISCOUNT

Book train and coach tickets for the Christmas holidays in October, when you can usually get cheap offers direct from rail companies such as Eurostar or your local train operator.

For coach travel, book with megabus.com, as advance tickets can cost less than £5.

REMEMBER ‘TRAVEL DEAL TUESDAY’

The last Tuesday of November (the one after Black Friday) is known as ‘Travel Deal Tuesday’ because it is the best time to book one-off holidays, according to the travel app Hopper.

It advises that the cheapest month to travel to popular destinations such as Paris, New York and Amsterdam is March.

NAB YOURSELF A BROADBAND DEAL

Straight after Christmas is a good time to switch your broadband deal, as providers including the likes of Sky, BT and Virgin vie with each other to grab customers, so they tend to offer attractive deals. Sites such as expertreviews.co.uk track the offers so you can compare.

Make the most of the many January restaurant deals at the moment. For example, Brewers Fayre restaurants have two mains for £8.99, plus a starter or dessert for £2.49. Children can order a three-course meal for £4.99, so you could get a meal for four for less than £20 if you’re clever. The offer is available from 12pm to 6pm on Monday to Friday. Steak chain Gaucho, meanwhile, is offering £10 off any bill over £40 from Monday to Wednesday until January 31. 

January is a great time to pick up a new, discounted kitchen, but you can get cheaper kitchens all year round at theusedkitchencompany.com. They sell used and ex-display sets at up to 70 per cent off. Not only that, but you can sell your old kitchen units there, too, and put the money towards the new one, making it even better value. 

Do you work for a charity? If so, you could qualify for money-off codes at charityworkerdiscounts.com for various outlets such as Clarks, Butlin’s and Hotels.com.

The website claims that members can save up to £2,626 per year through its offers by signing up.

Stick with it – We can use old stamps until July

A number of confused readers have got in touch about how long we have to use up old-style non-barcoded stamps.

As I mentioned in my last column, the offical cut-off date is January 31, but according to a spokesperson at Royal Mail, there is now a six-month ‘grace period’, during which ‘customers can continue to use stamps that don’t have a barcode as normal without incurring a charge for insufficient postage’.

This means that you can continue to use your old stamps until July 31. After that, using non-barcoded stamps on letters and parcels will incur a charge. But Royal Mail will continue to offer its Swap Out scheme, so that you can exchange old stamps for the new ones.

A number of confused readers have got in touch about how long we have to use up old-style non-barcoded stamps

A number of confused readers have got in touch about how long we have to use up old-style non-barcoded stamps

As I mentioned in my last column, the offical cut-off date is January 31, but according to a spokesperson at Royal Mail, there is now a six-month ¿grace period¿

As I mentioned in my last column, the offical cut-off date is January 31, but according to a spokesperson at Royal Mail, there is now a six-month ‘grace period’

A spokesperson said: ‘The process of swapping out is free, and we have tried to make it as easy as we can. There is no end date as to when customers are able to swap their non-barcoded stamps.’

You can swap up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps with a form downloaded from the Royal Mail website. Send the form and the stamps — free of charge — by writing on the envelope ‘Freepost SWAP OUT’. No other address details or postcode are needed.

If you have more than £200 worth of stamps to swap, use the ‘bulk stamp’ Swap Out form. It is recommended that you send these stamps via a secure service with suitable cover. The address to use is: Royal Mail, Swap Out, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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