Michael Foote, editor-in-chief of Quotegoat.com, provides inflation-busting tips for readers.
With inflation continuing to rise, consumers need to be savvy this year.
People should pay particular attention to rising food costs or risk a nasty shock at the till.
With inflation now at a high, there is no escaping the fact the cost of food, fuel, energy, and fun activities are rising sharply.
Therefore, if you are not careful, your household finances could quickly become overstretched.
For most of us, prices are rising much faster than our wages, so budgeting is the key to beating the squeeze on your wallet.
It is important you work out all your outgoings and incomings as far ahead as you can, not just for the next few months.
You ought to be planning how you are going to manage your finances until at least the end of the year, taking into account further hike prices.
1) Ask for compensation when a company has wasted your time
If you need to make a complaint to a company and you have left waiting on the phone for a long time, or you have 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) 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 is not the case – especially with mobile phone providers.
3) Compare garages for the cost of vehicle repairs
Many people make the mistake of taking their car to the same garage they have always done without checking what it would cost elsewhere.
Costs of repairs can vary massively, so it is important to check and get quotes from other garages before you get work done.
4) Call all your providers and haggle
First, go online to research the best deals. Then put your fears of talking on the phone aside and dial your utility, telephone, bank, or insurance providers.
Explain that you have seen a better deal online – if they cannot match it exactly, do not be afraid to haggle on either price or contract length.
Do not pay full price for gym membership
Gym membership is very rarely a set price, and there is always wiggle room.
Ask for a couple of free months or a free PT session, or negotiate the number of guests passes they are willing to give you.
Pay upfront for the year for the best savings and check that your office does not have a corporate discount rate.
Ask for a partial refund when you have 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 will oblige.
Ask for a refund on delivery fees if an item has not turned up on time
If you have paid for the delivery of an item and it has not turned up by the date promised, email or call to ask for a partial refund of the goods or refund of the delivery charges as compensation.
Ask for a discount on damaged goods
If an item in a shop is slightly damaged, but it is 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.
Use 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.