Six ways to buy things for less

Six ways to buy things for less

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It’s always a nice feeling when you buy things for less than they should be. But are there ways you can buy things for less, or even get them free, all of the time?

Buy things for less

We’ve looked at various ways that you can buy things for less and picked six of them. Here is our guide:

Police auctions

Bumblebee Auctions sells lost property and items that the police have seized from criminals when the rightful owners can’t be found. It’s a bit like eBay for stolen goods (but legal!).

You will need to set up a Nochex account first (it’s an alternative to PayPal or Stripe). Be warned, this can take up to four days. Nochex is currently the only form of payment that Bumblebee Auctions accepts. Once the account has been set up, you then need to register on Bumblebee Auctions using the same email address you used on Nochex.

If you bid on an item and win, you can either collect it free from the property office that sold the item (no later than 14 days from the date you paid). If you can’t do this, you can ask for it to be delivered by courier, but there will be a fee.

SAVVY TIP: The website feels a bit clunky, but it is a legitimate way to save!

How much can you save?

As with any auction, it really depends how much interest there is on a lot. However, in a recent auction, a BMX bike went for £2.50 and a GHD hair straightener went for £25.50. To buy an equivalent BMX bike new would cost around £300 and to buy an equivalent GHD hair straightener new would cost around £110.

Airport lost luggage

You can bid on lost airport luggage and property through specialist auction houses. The best way to bid is to go to the auction house on the day. But you should be able to book a telephone bid or arrange a pre-sale bid if you can’t do that.

A couple of auction houses that deal in airport lost property are Greasbys in South London and Mulberry Bank Auctions in Glasgow.

SAVVY TIP: We spoke to Mulberry Bank Auctions (MBA) who told us that the airports try and find the owners of the property first (which is rather a relief!). They also told us that they don’t sell off unopened suitcases and their contents because of data protection laws, airport staff open up suitcases first. MBA then sells off items such phones, laptops or bags of clothes in separate lots.

There are additional charges when you buy at auction, which are usually a 20% premium plus VAT on the hammer price.

How much can you save?

Again, it depends, but a recent auction was selling three bags of men’s clothes, which included Polo Ralph Lauren, Armani Jeans and Ted Baker, for £40-£60 and a selection of three Kindle Paperwhite devices for £50-£70.

Discount retailers

Discount retailers such as Bicester Village in Oxford are a one-stop shop for luxury shopping at discounted prices. You can find brands such as Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Uggs and L.K.Bennett all in one place. This is great if you love buying luxury brands, but don’t like the luxury price tag.

How much can you save?

It depends where you shop, but you can save up to 60% off the RRP – and sometimes even more. Do bear in mind that many online and high street shops sell items below recommended retail price, so the savings may not be quite as good as they appear.

Charity shops

We can’t possibly write an article about buying things for less and not mention charity shops! Run by (mainly) a team of volunteers, charity shops are a way of benefiting your favourite charity and great places to find a bargain.

The Charity Retail Association is the trade association for charity shops. You can search for charity shops near you on their website. 

SAVVY TIP: Charity shops may ask you to fill in a gift aid declaration form. This allows the charity to reclaim gift aid on the amount your donation sells for. This is great in principle, but HM Revenue & Customs says that you need to have paid enough income (or capital gains) tax in each tax year to equal or exceed the gift aid tax that is reclaimed on your gift aided donations. Otherwise, you will have to pay this directly to HMRC.

Online marketplace

eBay, the online marketplace that hosts millions of products for buyers and sellers, can be a great place to buy things for less. But don’t assume items are always cheaper; it’s worth doing your research first.

That said there are a few tricks that you can try to get the best deals possible. For example, Lastminute Auction searches eBay for any auctions ending in one hour and cost £1 or less.

And sites such as FatfingersBaycrazy, and BargainChecker search eBay listings for spelling mistakes. The reasoning behind this is that if items are spelt incorrectly, they will generally attract far fewer bids because people will miss them in their searches.

SAVVY TIP: Don’t ever pay by bank transfer or send a cheque. If you’re asked to, it could be a scam. The best way to pay for goods is via PayPal, as you’ll be covered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee scheme.

Free giveaway websites 

Freecycle is a great way to get (or get rid of) items free. It’s free to join, run by volunteers from your local community and is environmentally friendly as it saves unwanted possessions going to landfill.

The Freecycle Network is made up of over 5,000 groups with over nine million members around the world. It’s a US-based non-profit organisation, but available in the UK. Everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages.

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Related articles:

Four popular cashback websites

20 things you can do for less than £5

Discounts for over 60s – where can you save money?