WEARSIDE’S queen of hagglers is sharing her wisdom to help other Echo readers become super-savers too.
Rebecca Craft saves herself hundreds of pounds every month by counting the pennies.
The 23-year-old, of Columbia, Washington, started searching for the cheapest deals for rent, fuel, grocery shopping and train fares while studying at university.
Now, the frugal marketing executive, employed by online marketing company Mediaworks, puts away about £300 a month in a savings account, only spending about £60 on groceries a week.
“You get used to being more conscious of counting money,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it was difficult.
“Growing up with my mum, she was always wanting to save money and used vouchers, and when I was at uni, I became more aware of what I was spending.
“Being frugal pays off anyway because you can put your money into better things.”
Rebecca shops at supermarket Aldi and greengrocers in a bid to save money, as well as only taking cash with her when she shops to avoid overspending on debit and credit cards.
The penny-watcher, who lives with boyfriend Anthony Casey, 27, a computer programmer at Sales Cycle, also split the cost of shopping with her other half.
The pair have also refrained from having the internet fitted in their home, choosing instead to tether a connection from Anthony’s EE network mobile phone.
Rebecca, who moved to Wearside last year, spends about £300 on travelling each month, including trips to Devon to see her family, and manages to reduce that cost by shopping around for ticket fares and making transfers between trains.
“You might have to wait around between trains, but you do save a lot of money,” she said.
“Other advice I would give people is to double-check your bills.
“Even when I was a student two years ago, we checked and our bills were wrong, and we got a refund and a few bottles of wine as an apology from the company.
“Be prepared to stay on the phone and battle through the process.
“My top money-saving tips would be to always check online for vouchers. A simple Google search usually brings up valid vouchers.
“I then secondly always cut out vouchers or coupons from magazines and newspapers and keep these in a handy place.”
Research by webuyanycar.com, through its online resource The Negotiation Academy, has revealed that if Brits negotiated on every possible purchase, their disposable income would increase by an average of 26 per cent. The average disposable income is £11,865, and the research shows that the average North-East worker could increase that by £3,035.
Savings, ranging from £100 a year on lunch at work to £1,350 off annual payments for a new car, can be made if you’re prepared to negotiate.
Top tips for saving money
•To save money on your weekly groceries, shop at low-price supermarkets and your local greengrocers.
•Always withdraw the exact amount you want to spend and don’t take a debit or credit card.
•If possible, tether internet from your mobile phone network rather than having it installed in your home.
•Check online, magazines and newspapers for vouchers and coupons.
•Be prepared to haggle in shops.
•Research the price of things online before making purchases.
•Hunt out the best travel deals and be prepared to make transfers during journeys.
•Double-check your bills and be prepared to challenge them.
•Always say if you are not happy with your meal or service. Although you may not get a refund, you might be offered something else as compensation.
•Be conscious of what you spend and count your money.