Shrewd shoppers save £1,000 a year

It's always a good feeling when you've bagged yourself a good deal and ongoing financial hardship has turned Britain into a nation of savvy bargain-hunters.

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A survey of 2,000 adults found that the average Brit is now saving £1,196 a year by searching out the best special offers and taking advantage of discount vouchers and freebies.

Almost half of those polled said they rely on cheap deals now that times are tough and nine out of 10 are now actively participating in the "freeconomy", using money off vouchers to bump up their purchases.

Bargain hunting is no longer kept quiet either as 99 per cent of those questioned said they were not embarrassed to take advantage of cheap deals and discounts.

In fact, there's evidence to suggest that shrewd shopping has become something of a national pastime.

Almost half of those surveyed (44 per cent) said they shared the good deals with friends while a serious seven per cent admitted to competing with pals to see who could bag the best deal.

Britons are no longer too shy to haggle either - 12 per cent admitted they would happily try to drive the price down and 20 per cent say they avoid buying anything at full price.

All this bargain hunting does have a downside, however, as nine per cent said they became irritated when their partner paid full price for an item, causing friction between loved ones.

Lindsay Forster, of Halifax Home Insurance, said: "The recent downturn has made us more careful about what we spend and more savvy in searching for savings. Getting a good deal matters.

"People now quite rightly expect a good deal and feel comfortable shopping and even bartering to make sure they get the best price whether for a meal, a flight or even insurance."

And why not? Some 27 per cent of the adults polled claim they are now able to do things they otherwise couldn't afford, thanks to their ongoing search for a cheaper deal.

What do you think - are you a savvy bargain-hunter? Let us know below...