Nine mistakes with money people are making every month and how to fix them

People across the country are trying to deal with a triple whammy of financial blows this month – Ofgem’s 54 per cent energy price cap hike resulting in the typical, average household bill going up by nearly £700, inflation soaring to a 30-year high of 7% and the increase to National Insurance Contributions.

Millions of households are trying to find ways to offset the cost of living squeeze, with many cutting back on luxury items such as holidays, streaming services and dining out.

However, there are several financial mistakes people are making every time they buy a product or use a service which is below par, faulty or just downright costly and could be another great way to start making savings over the coming months.

The experts at money-saving website have shared a handy checklist to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

1. Do not ask for compensation when a company has wasted your time

If you need to make a complaint to a company and you’re left waiting on the phone for a long time, or you’ve had to repeatedly email to chase up an issue, make sure you ask for compensation.

If you have a strong enough complaint, many companies will give you something – either a credit on your account, a partial refund, a gift voucher or even cash.

2. Not comparing garages for the cost of vehicle repairs or MOT’s

So many people make the mistake of taking their car to the same garage they’ve always done without checking what it would cost elsewhere.

Costs of repairs and MOT’s can vary massively, so it’s always important to check and get quotes from other garages before you get work done.

3. Not asking for a partial refund when you’ve bought something that goes on sale

If you buy something in a shop or online and find it on sale from the same place a couple of weeks later, get in touch with the retailer and request a refund for the price difference.

Although they have no legal obligation to do this, most retailers we’ve tried this out on obliged our request.

4. Not haggling with your gym about membership fees

Gym memberships are very rarely a set price, and there’s always a wiggle room. Ask for a couple of free months or a free PT session, or negotiate the number of guests passes they’re willing to give you. Pay upfront for the year for the best savings and check that your office doesn’t have a corporate discount rate.

5. Not calling your providers to haggle

First, go online to research the best deals and then put your fears of talking on the phone aside and dial your utility, bank or insurance providers.

Explain that you’ve seen a better deal online – if they can’t match it exactly, don’t be afraid to haggle on either price or length of the contract. In our experience, you’ll always get a better deal this way.

6. Not asking for a refund on delivery fees if an item hasn’t turned up on time

If you’ve paid for the delivery of an item and it’s not turned up by the promised date, email or call to ask for a partial refund of the goods or refund of the delivery charges as compensation.

7. Do not negotiate a better price before your contract ends

Many people wrongly assume you have to wait until the end of your contract before you can haggle for a new price. This isn’t the case – especially with mobile phone providers.

8. Not asking for a discount on damaged goods

If an item in a shop is slightly damaged, but it’s the last one, make sure you ask for a discount. Virtually every retailer will give you something off, although most will tell you that doing so means you waive your rights to bring it back, so make sure you definitely do want it.

You can do the same if you buy something online.

9. Not using comparison sites to save you money

Comparison sites are your friend when it comes to getting the best deals.

Never allow your provider to auto-renew your contract without first checking the other deals on the market on a comparison site. Even if your auto-renew is cheaper than you paid last year, there could be even better deals waiting for you with other providers.

Financial help in Scotland

Commenting on the tips, editor-in-chief of money-saving website,, Michael Foote, said: “I understand that for some, the thought of haggling or negotiating prices can feel awkward and won’t come naturally, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. The worst that can happen is you won’t get what you want, and that’s when you can vote with your feet and switch provider or retailer.

“Large corporations are making huge profits, so don’t feel embarrassed about negotiating what you pay or demanding a better service. Once you start to stand up for yourself, you’ll wonder why you ever paid full price or put up with bad experiences.”

To keep up to date with the cost of living crisis, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group here, follow Record Money on Twitter hereor subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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