Bricks and money New ways to shop online and smart meter advice
Internet shopping has gone up a gear, with cheaper and more efficient ways to make more major purchases. Here’s how…
Claiming to offer savings of up to 30 per cent on comparable big-name brands, companies such as kitchencollection.co.uk are pioneering a different way of choosing a new kitchen. The process puts you in control, with no sales tactics. You can send anything from your basic kitchen shape to a detailed plan online, and your kitchen is made to measure.
As well as saving money, you can have a sofa bought online custom-built to your requirements including seat height, cushion depth and length. Try designersofas4u.co.uk and sofa.com. Always ask for a sample fabric swatch to be posted to you so you can check the colour and texture, and be prepared to wait for delivery. It can take up to two months for a hand-built sofa to be made.
Compared to showroom prices, there are serious savings of up to 70 per cent to be made on showers, baths, vanity units and accessories from sites such as victoriaplum.com. After-sales service is crucial with plumbing, as some of these savings are only possible because items are bought in bulk from overseas suppliers. Make sure that spare parts and replacements are easy to obtain.
CARPETS AND FLOORING
Companies such as flooringsuperstore.com mail free samples and promise discounts of up to 50 per cent on list prices. Compare prices at DIY superstores such as Wickes and B&Q, which often have deals of 10 or 15 per cent off if you purchase online rather than in-store. Invest the money you’ve saved on paying for the best fitter you can find. See the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers’ website, nicfltd.org.uk, for industry-recommended local tradespeople.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND ART
Visit truprint.co.uk or photobox.co.uk to have photos printed directly from your mobile phone, tablet or laptop, from basic prints up to huge canvases. Look for discount codes. For bespoke reproductions of classic paintings, modern art, line drawings and more, see surfaceview.co.uk, which can also print images onto splashbacks, lampshades, wallpapers and tiles. From £150 for a 500 x 500mm National Gallery canvas.
BEFORE YOU SHOP
• Look at customer reviews and check out Trustpilot recommendations, advises consumer expert Jasmine Birtles of moneymagpie.com. • ’Use a credit card as then you’ll be covered from £100 up to £30,000,’ adds Jasmine.
• Pay by a secure means such as Paypal or Apple. • Buy from a cyber-safe site. Look for the green padlock in the address bar.
Websites can offer better value than the high street