The freebie that will pay for your summer holiday

Free takeaway coffee

Every year, we're told that if we make small sacrifices, we could save a small fortune during the year - and solve all our financial headaches. The experts argue that just by giving up our takeaway coffee, for example, we could save enough in a year to pay for our summer holiday. The problem is, of course, that our indulgent daily coffee gives us something to smile about, so giving it up is no mean feat. Fortunately, there is a solution.

See also: Emotional spending costs £26.5 billion in credit card debt

See also: Revealed: the supermarkets with the fastest queues

See also: Where to shop for the best deals and discounts

There's no denying that giving up an expensive coffee habit can save a small fortune. If we, for example, spend £2.50 a day on coffee, we fork out £912.50 a year on our morning pick-me-up. Even if we only spend it on working days that's £720. That would easily jet us away for a holiday to remember.

If we could bring ourselves to give up for longer, the savings are extraordinary - and we could theoretically buy ourselves a swanky new Apple Mac every few years with the money we don't spend on coffee.

The solution

If you're having difficulty considering going without a daily takeaway coffee, then the good news is that you don't actually have to give the coffee up at all - you just need to get it for free.

Magic Freebies has tracked down free coffees that will take you through the year - with no need ever to pay for your caffeine fix ever again.

1. Free coffee at KFC
If you download the free app, you can get a free tea or coffee every day until 26 February. The app will provide a barcode, which the cashier will scan, and you'll get a tea or coffee for nothing.

2. Free coffee at Waitrose
If you shop at Waitrose, you can pick up a free hot drink with your shopping. You do have to buy something in the store, but one lesser-known secret is that towards the end of the day, Waitrose will offer huge discounts on food that is due to go out of date by the end of the day. It means you can trawl the 'red sticker' section of the shop for a bargain, and get a free coffee for your efforts.

3. Free coffee at Booths
If you live in the North West of England - near a Booths store - and you get yourself a Booths card, then you can pick up a free tea or coffee without spending a penny. You can get a takeaway coffee without a purchase - or a freebie in the cafe as long as you buy something else.

4. Free coffee at Cafe Nero
If you are on the O2 network (including if you have a pay-as-you-go SIM), you can download the Priority app, and go into any Cafe Nero to claim your free coffee every Tuesday.

5. Free coffee and cake at John Lewis
If you sign up for a John Lewis card, you'll be sent special offers a few times a year. This includes a voucher for free coffee and cake once every few months - no purchase necessary.

Supermarket shopping mistakes
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Supermarket shopping mistakes

The supermarkets invest in enormous shopping trolleys, and then put bulky special offers by the door - like packs of beer or enormous cereal boxes.

The idea is to tempt you into taking a big trolley, because tests have shown that it’s likely to make us buy more. Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed, found that by doubling the size of trolleys, customers would buy 19% more.

This is a disaster for a couple of reasons. The first is that you’ll end up buying things you don’t need - because you already have plenty in the fridge or the cupboard. You’d be surprised how many people come home with tomatoes every week, then throw out the ones that have gone rotten in the fridge. They'll do this every single week without ever spotting that they don’t eat as many tomatoes as they think they do.

The other problem is that you’ll end up forgetting things, and have to go back to the store, which will leave you susceptible to the next common mistake.

Apparently we’re giving up the weekly grocery shop in favour of a number of trips to different stores to pick up bargains.

If you do this right, it can be a great way to save. However, if you don’t plan it properly, you’re just giving yourself more opportunities to buy on impulse.

In the book ‘America’s Cheapest Family’ the authors claim that more than 50% of what we buy in store is on impulse. The authors actually only go to the supermarket once a month to cut back on impulse purchases.

If you browse at eye-level using your peripheral vision, that’s where you’ll find the expensive brands.

Look around at the top and bottom of the shelves for the own-brand versions or the cheaper brands - and try out the cheaper versions of your usual shopping.

Aside from Christmas, stores will play quiet and relaxing music, with a slow tempo. This is designed to make you shop more slowly, and take the time to spot the impulse buys.

If you put headphones on and play something with a faster tempo (it doesn't have to be any particular type of music), then you’ll pick up the tempo, and studies have shown you’ll buy around 29% less.

On the one hand, if you do the maths, you might find that buying a larger pack means that each packet of crisps or can of coke costs less. However, Vestcom, a retail services company, has found that when we buy bigger packets, we consume more.

It means that when you’re buying things like toilet rolls and washing powder, straightforward maths will tell you the cheapest size to buy. When it comes to crisps and drinks, consider carefully whether you will just end up eating and drinking more.

Sometimes that big red sticker is a great discount on something you need: usually its not.

Don’t let special offers tempt you into buying things you don’t need, and don't assume that anything with a big red sticker is a bargain. It’s worth taking your receipt from your previous shop with you when you go shopping, so you can easily compare whether the new price is a good discount or not.

The end of the aisle gets more of our attention, because it's where we need to turn the trolley, so we’re going slower.

However, this isn’t always where the stores put the incredible bargains. They often sell these positions to companies trying to promote a particular product. When the company has the budget to spend on this sort of promotion, it means they may not necessarily be the cheapest option.

If your cheese has been grated, your salad washed, or your carrots chopped, then you’ll pay the price for it.

Not only will you pay significantly more for your shopping, but in many cases you'll get an inferior product too. Grated cheese has additives to stop it sticking, for example, while bagged salad will go brown significantly faster than a head of lettuce.

Frozen food is often far cheaper, so people assume it’s likely to be inferior. However, the fresh fish at the counter has often been frozen, so you’re gaining nothing for paying more here - in fact you're losing out because you have to use it up more quickly.

The other things that are well worth considering are frozen vegetables. These are much cheaper than fresh vegetables, and are often frozen at the peak of their freshness, so are better for you too.


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