UK Shoppers Spend One Billion Pounds Less on Clothing

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Minimalism is hitting the UK, with Millennials spending in excess of One Billion Pounds less on clothing last year. With firms such as M&S, French Connection failing to turn a profit and High Street stalwart Jaegar going into administration – it really seems that the tide is beginning to turn. Fashion is just not in fashion any longer!

So what exactly are UK shoppers spending their money on instead? The answer is experiences. The High Street chains are now getting in on the act aiming to flood you with a choice of ‘shopping experiences’; with nail bars popping up in Superdrug. Mintel reports that people are spending much more money on going out and eating out. Retailers are looking for ways to encourage people to come into their physical stores, since the explosion of online shopping. Each is looking to create a unique shopping environment, to encourage you to part with your cash.

Next are planning to incorporate florists within their stores, along with upmarket restaurants and a Prosecco Bar. River Island has a style studio, complete with a personal shopper. They will whisk you into a VIP area, ply you with Prosecco and then you’ll get to try on lots of personally recommended products. Trainer retailer Superga has introduced artists into store, so that you can select a trainer and have the artist paint it for you. Topshop have employed virtual reality in their stores, to take things to a whole new dimension. Their Oxford Street store has recently had a virtual water slide installed which includes a virtual whale – the experience is called ‘Splash’! Along with pumping the smell of suncream into the air. It’s all to promote their swimwear range.

Oasis have ‘Saucer and Spritz’ cafes in some stores now; offering cake, champagne, cocktails, afternoon tea and Unicorn Toast (no I don’t know what that is either!?!) Activewear brand Sweaty Betty offers free in-store exercise classes. Beware though – obviously these brands still want to actually sell you stuff. These exercise classes will not only take place in-store, so everywhere you look, you will be exposed to temptation. But the instructors will not only be looking svelte and toned; they will of course be clad from head to toe in Sweaty Betty! These are the new lifestyle ambassadors, also put forward through online associations with lifestyle bloggers. All in a bid to help push their stuff.

What do you think of this change? I have mixed feelings about it because I know there is an underlying motive. However, it does at least encourage people to acquire less (in part anyway, depending on the store). I guess I’d just rather see people using their spare cash to more profitable ends, like building community and helping those in need.

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Online Voucher Codes

Following on from my recent posts on Shopping Apps and Cashback sites , today I’m going to cover voucher codes. These represent a minuscule amount of my extra income, but they always worth looking for if you are going to buy something. It’s worth looking on the cashback sites first, as they will often list available voucher codes. Bear in mind that some sites will specify that if you use a code that isn’t listed on their website, then you may not be eligible for cashback. My advice is to search and see if you would save more money with the voucher code. This is because voucher codes are guaranteed, if they apply successfully at the checkout then you’ve saved that money there and then. Whereas with cashback sites you’re not guaranteed to get the pay out (you have to wait and see if it tracks correctly and if the site agrees to pay out, plus it often takes months!)

I can’t really recommend a voucher code site, there are tonnes out there but I frequently find them unreliable and out of date. Your best bet is to Google for a code for the specific retailer you’re trying to buy from and see what comes up. Be prepared to trawl through pages, as loads of these sites seem to manipulate search results by promising current vouchers which they don’t have. www.moneysavingexpert.com has some threads in its forum that will list codes, but unfortunately a lot of retailers prevent them from publishing codes there. They advise that you should try blagging a code by going on live chat, or by abandoning your basket in the hopes that you get emailed one. Another good way to get codes are to sign up to companies newsletters (you can always unsubscribe after you’ve used it!) Some retailers will email you codes for special events, or free shipping- so be vigilant and check them.

You can also look for voucher codes to save money on meals out and days out. I often use these and there are lots about. www.moneysavingexpert.com is a great place to start for restaurant deals. My life motto is “never pay full price for anything” and I’ll be back with more ways to help you achieve that soon!

How often do you eat out?

I was chatting to my mum recently and for some reason we got to talking about her childhood. She mentioned that, for her family (she was born in the late forties) it was a rarity to go out for a meal. It would happen about once a year and it was a big event! Even then, they wouldn’t go anywhere fancy- it would just be a canteen, for some fairly simple, yet tasty food. Now, they were a family of 5 on a very modest income. The only reason they ate chicken, was because they had a chicken farm and they killed the chickens for the table, at the end of their life. Must have been tough old meat! It may have been different if you were higher class.

Somehow it’s become more ‘the norm’ to go out for meals regularly in our society, no matter what class you are. I wonder if this is so much of a good thing? I mean, it’s easily £25- £40 for a couple to go out, for what is often a very standard kind of meal. If you want anything special/ tastier/ fancier then you’re talking upwards of £60 at least. Of course, that all depends on what you eat, drink, when, where and so on.

But I am convinced many people would be so much better off if they just cooked simple meals, from scratch for themselves at home. If they would just get rid of the takeaways, fast food, ready meals and take out coffees, they would be so much happier, inside and out! What if we went back to eating out just once a year? It would become something very special.