Frugal Living Tips- Spend Less, Live More!

Minimalism includes the idea of spending less on consumer items and more on experiences. This month I’ve been thinking  about the necessary (I believe) expense of insurance. Here in the UK it is a legal requirement to have car insurance and after the recent occurrences of extreme weather, which have left people flooded out of their houses and far worse- I think you would have to be foolhardy not to have home insurance. This month is the unfortunate month in the year, when all our insurances come up for renewal, along with all our car insurances, car services and MOT, plus road taxes. It most sincerely was not planned that way, but we manage by saving all year.

Even so, you do not want to spend more on these things than you have to, but you still want a reasonable level of cover with decent customer service, in the event that you should need to claim. I have always subscribed to the school of thought that you should shop around for these things and it has never let me down, as I have always been able to save money and not always needed to change provider. It takes a small amount of time, particularly in the age of comparison sites. I have even found that you can get paid to both shop around for prices and disclose your renewal price, or allow your details to be used to obtain quotes (usually under a false name). To do this, you will need to register with various mystery shopping companies and survey sites. I earned £25 the past 2 years, just to shop around certain providers for quotes on the telephone and complete a short questionnaire about my experiences.

Not only this, but the savings from shopping around can be significant. This past year I kept £136.62 in my pocket. Here’s how I did it:

I shopped around for home and car insurances, mostly using comparison websites. I ended up switching home insurance provider and saved £71.56. I rang up my current car insurance provider and asked them if they could give me a better price (as I knew there were only savings of £30 to be had by switching). Simply for asking, they knocked £52.56 off my renewal price. It makes you feel like they simply are trying to fleece people who aren’t brave enough to ask. It’s possible I guess, that I could have haggled further. But I knew that was a better offer than I was going to get anywhere else- so I took it.

I have a courtesy car whilst my car is in for its service and this has always been free, until now. The garage wanted to charge me £12.50 for a day’s insurance with a £500 excess, should I have an accident. I came home, rang up my current insurer and they set up a day’s policy for FREE, just because I asked with a £150 excess!

I may have been able to get a better price for my car service too, since my local main dealer offers to price match any service using genuine parts. But I would have needed to obtain a written quote and I personally don’t know which other garages I would have approached that I felt were trustworthy. I checked around with friends in the know and made sure that they were offering a fair price for the work needed. In addition, after all this shopping around for insurance- I didn’t really have time to fit in the research required as well. I need to plan better for that in the future!

I am planning to take a mystery shop for the other car’s service, which means that I will get the service for a lot less. In the past, this has sometimes meant having a video researcher accompany me with a hidden camera! (I had to pretend they were a friend who I was dropping at work afterwards). I am not sure yet what is involved this year, but I feel answering a few questions is a small price to pay for a chunk of money off! With this particular car (a Nissan), if we get a main dealer service (not only do we get the chance to mystery shop them), they also throw in a year’s free breakdown cover. It’s not expensive and basically a very good deal!

I hope these tips help you to save more money on the essentials and more on great experiences in life!