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Are you spending when you think you’re saving?

Everyone likes to be able to make decisions that will save themselves a few pennies. But how much money do these common practices really save?

In our fervour to find cheaper petrol, 43% of us would drive out of our way to save just 1p per litre when filling up at the pump, according to MoneySuperMarket research out today.

Driving the extra miles in search for cheaper fuel could be costing UK petrol driver £11 a month – and even more for diesel drivers, who could be wasting £16 every month doing this.

This isn’t the only time we could all be wasting money while trying to save. Here are three other ways you could be accidentally splashing the cash.

1. Promotional offers

We’ve all done it. Multibuy offers and supposed price cuts are easy to spot in the supermarket, but in reality, they don’t always represent the best use of your money. In fact, an investigation on supermarket offers showed that in reality we could only be saving pennies.

Before you go ahead, bear in mind whether you really need all the products you are buying. Are you really going to use all the items in a multibuy before they go off? Do you really want the item on offer or are you just tempted by the slashed price?

2. Discounts or upgrades

Mobile phones are a good example of this. If you’re paying for minutes and texts you don’t use ‘just in case’, it’s likely you’re spending money where you don’t need to.

Other examples would include upgrading your TV package to get more channels, or buying more than what you need in order to qualify for free delivery. Getting more for less than full price is great – but only if you’re going to be using the extras. 

3. Store cards

Store cards offering you introductory discounts in your regular shopping haunts may seem, on the surface, a good idea.

However, many don’t realise they’re similar to credit cards. While they can be useful if you’re disciplined enough to always pay back what you owe each month, it’s easy to rack up debts. Often, if you don’t pay off your entire balance, the interest could end up costing you more than the discounts helped you save.

Consider whether you could be getting a better deal with a cash-back credit card, which offer cash-back at all stores.

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  • Alan Hearn / 6 September 2015

    It's well past time realistically punitive laws were passed against Supermarkets ripping us off every day i.e. work out much money they've robbed us of, double it & make that figure the fine!

  • Farai Biza / 6 September 2015

    Very good advice and handy