It's a chicken-fest this week, with not one but two ways to get your hands on some free chicken - from both KFC and TGI Fridays. If chicken isn't your thing, then you could always go for free popcorn and a movie - or settle down to enjoy a comic or two completely free.
The users of Latestdeals.co.uk have spotted that KFC is hosting its Open Kitchen Day - presumably to reassure customers about what goes into their food. You will need to go to the website to sign up, and then pop along on Sunday 6 May for a look around and to build your own burger. Anyone who takes part will get a free box containing their burger, chicken, fries, a drink and a side.
More free chicken
TGI Fridays is getting in on the free chicken action too. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, you can get a free chick-cone appetiser. It sounds fairly unusual, because it's a sweet waffle cone with Cajun chicken, pico de gallo, spicy guacamole, and Monterey Jack cheese - topped with chillies. However, it's free, so what have you got to lose?
To take advantage, you just need to download the TGI Fridays app (or open it if you already have it) and claim it this Bank Holiday weekend (or the next one).
The users of Latestdeals.co.uk have spotted that Tesco is giving away a free bag of Popworks popcorn when you place an online order. Just add a bag of Apple Pie, Peanut Butter, Sweet and Salty or Sticky Toffee Pudding flavour popcorn to your basket, and use the code GRHYJ7 at the checkout.
The users of HotUKDeals.com have pointed out that British Gas has launched a new rewards programme, for customers. As ever with these things, it's never worth choosing a supplier purely for the freebies, but if you are already a customer, you may as well take advantage. The first offer is a free movie from Sky - to download (you'll also get a DVD in the post). You just join the reward scheme, claim your £13.99 Sky Store Voucher, and choose your movie. You'll need to redeem your voucher by the end of August.
The users of HotUKDeals.com have issued a timely reminder that the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day (it's around May 4th - as in 'May the 4th be with you'). Just visit your nearest comic book shop (most of them will be participating) nice and early, and pick up your freebies. The idea of the day is to show people the enormous range of comics available - so they should be able to pick out something that appeals. You can find out more about the day on the official website.
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.