Happy St Patrick's Day! And happy, 'don't mind if I do!' day. St Patrick is technically only the patron saint of things like the Irish, Bostonians, engineers and paralegals, but he has been gleefully adopted by an entire nation of Brits, determined to find a reason to let their hair down, indulge, and spend a day saying 'don't mind if I do'.
This year, we have six freebies to help you do just that.
You can buy a bottle of Guinness from Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons or Waitrose today, and have the £1.38 refunded in full when you upload your receipt through Quidco.
More Free Guinness
As we mentioned last week, Pitcher & Piano is offering a free Guinness any time in March to anyone who signs up for the newsletter - so you can stretch out your celebrations if you choose.
If post-celebrations, you need a coffee-related pick-me-up (or indeed if your indulgence of choice is posh coffee), then you can head to Starbucks for a free tall latte. The users of HotUKdeals.com have spotted that there's a special offer running across the UK, allowing you to turn up between 1pm and 2pm and get your latte completely free. Not every coffee shop is doing this every day, so you need to pop onto the website after 2pm each day, where it will reveal the location of the freebies the following day.
More free coffee
The users of HotUKdeals.com have also found another free coffee, this time from Benugo. All you need to do is sign up for the chain's newsletter, and whenever you are in London you can pick up your freebie. If you stay on the list, you'll get another freebie on your birthday too.
If coffee isn't the same without a biscuit, then deal finding website Nationed has spotted that anyone on the O2 network can get a free Millies Cookie through the O2 Priority app. It also highlights a handy way to get a free O2 sim you can use just for accessing the app whenever you have free wifi.
Free kids' meals
If you're all partied-out on Sunday, and cannot be bothered cooking Sunday lunch, then you could take the family down to The Real Greek - and get the kids' meals for free. Each freebie needs to have a matching adult spending at least £10, but assuming that fits with your plans, you can just download the voucher, pop along, and order your freebies.
Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
The more work you are prepared to put in, the more you stand to save. If you put your shopping list into mysupermarket.com, you can identify where each individual items is cheapest, and can technically buy every single item at its lowest possible price.
If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, a reasonable compromise is to shop at two supermarkets: once at the weekend and once mid-week. You can buy each item at the cheapest of the two shops, and save money without devoting hours to shopping.
There are several deal-sharing sites, including hotukdeals.com and latestdeals.co.uk. Most of them have a ‘freebies’ section, where you can get items completely free, and all have a section where they post fantastic deals that are well worth taking advantage of.
They will often point the way to coupons for brilliant discounts too.
The more time you have spare to spend looking for these, the more you can save.
It’s worth following your favourite brands on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also important to pick up in-house magazines, try your free local paper, and check any letters from supermarket loyalty schemes for your vouchers. If you have a Nectar card, visit the website before you shop, so you can upload the latest deals to your card.
While you’re in-store, keep your eyes peeled for promotions on packets, and on receipts. Often the deal-hunting websites will offer a short cut to many of these, but if you have the opportunity to do some legwork, you will find plenty of others.
Compare the price of your branded goods (after you use the coupon) with the cheapest supermarket alternative. If the discount makes it the cheapest option, then feel free to use it immediately.
However, if it doesn’t bring the price down below the own brand price, then don't throw it away. Hang onto the coupon, and check Mysuupermarket.com every few days to see if there’s an offer running on the brand at any time before the coupon expires. A deal plus a coupon is often the cheapest option.
Prices change all the time, but it pays to have a shopping list annotated with the usual price - or an old receipt - on hand when you are shopping. When something is on sale, compare it to the usual selling price from your list, to decide if it’s really as good value as it purports to be.
The frugal experts have decent storage areas at home, so if there’s a very special deal on washing powder or toilet paper, tins or toiletries, they can stock up for a few months at a knock-down price. It’s not generally worth doing on fresh produce, or packets with a short shelf life though, because throwing something away that’s out of date will undo all of your good work.
There can be some incredible bargains in the ‘yellow sticker’ sections of the supermarket. Most stores will have a spot for fruit and vegetable reductions, somewhere for chilled food price cuts, one for bakery products, and a final one for those with a longer shelf life that may be a bit battered, or separated from the outer packaging. Check them all for a possible discount.
The ’yellow sticker’ items will usually be reduced at least twice a day: once in the afternoon and once later in the evening. If you can wait to shop at around 7.30pm or 8pm you can get astonishing discounts.
If you want to time your shop exactly, then your best bet is to ask in store when they do their final reductions - don't be shy!
Get to know the rules around freezing ‘yellow sticker’ items, so you can buy when they are cheapest and use over the following weeks and months.
Don't assume something is perishable without checking. Everything from cheese to beansprouts is fine to freeze as long as you treat them correctly (beansprouts need blanching, chilling in ice water, and freezing immediately).
It’s never worth buying something just because it’s cheap: you also have to be able to factor it into your life. If you can't immediately think how you would use that over-ripe avocado, a pack of cut-price tongue or kippers, then don't buy them.