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Feeling the pinch? You’re not alone

The majority of Brits are still living in the ‘age of austerity’, more than 10 years after the recession, a study has found.

A term popularised in 2009 during a keynote speech delivered by ex-Prime Minister, David Cameron, the ‘age of austerity’ was coined to highlight attempts to curtail government spend and stabilise the economy following the recession.

But a decade on – following closures of many publicly-funded initiatives such as libraries, museums and leisure centres – many are still looking after the pennies so the pounds look after themselves.

In fact, 96 per cent are looking for ways to reduce their spending on a daily basis.

Shopping in the reduced section, using price comparison sites and withdrawing cash so you can track your spending were among the top ways the nation is keeping a close eye on the purse strings.

And seven in 10 will search the web for discount codes to make ‘luxuries’ more affordable, including treats like spa days, meals out or trips away from home.

Buying non-branded foods such as ketchup or beans, making a coffee at home instead of buying one and travelling ‘off-peak’ are other ways Brits are reducing their outgoings.

The study by Microsoft Rewards, the rewards program from Bing, found more than a quarter of people think they have more disposable income now than 10 years ago, with 28 per cent putting this down to there being more ways to save money nowadays.

Behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny said: “It appears that in modern consumer society, customers are demanding better deals when making the majority of their purchases.

“The positive emotional connection and reward that customers receive after discovering a discount reinforces subsequent shopping behaviour and is a powerful motivator in returning custom.

“Undoubtedly, the average consumer no longer feels constrained by the price tags they are presented with and they are happy to spend time online and in the physical world searching for discounts and vouchers meaning their money goes further.

“The savvy shopper is fast becoming the largest consumer demographic.”

The study of 2,000 adults also found 38 per cent think they get a better deal online, with the average adult hunting for discount codes online more than once a week.

A whopping 86 per cent of people are also signed up to an average of five different reward cards or loyalty schemes.

And 47 per cent will save up these loyalty points to spend when funds are running dry.

Four-fifths enjoy saving money on everyday items, and two-fifths will even boast to their peers when they’ve bagged a bargain.

But 84 per cent of those polled via OnePoll, reckon that no matter what happens in life, they will always look for means to spend less than they need to.

Brian Kealy, international consumer audience marketing director for Bing, said: “Our study shows Brits are being more conscious about how they spend their money and it makes complete sense when even simple, everyday items are becoming more expensive.

“At Microsoft we wanted to make sure customers earn as they search with Bing.

“Microsoft Rewards lets you earn rewards for doing the things you already do like searching the web and buying games and apps.

“More and more people are using rewards schemes like Microsoft Rewards to continue to be savvy with their spending and save for the bigger luxuries in life.”

Top 20 ways adults look to save money:

1. Using a voucher or discount code
2. Shopping in the sale
3. Cooking at home rather than going out for dinner
4. Buying from the reduced aisle in a supermarket
5. Saving up loyalty points to spend when money is running low
6. Buying non-brand products such as beans, ketchup, toothpaste etc
7. Use price comparison websites when buying insurance
8. Taking lunch to work instead of eating out
9. Walking or using public transport instead of taxis
10. Making a coffee at home instead of buying one
11. Keeping your pennies in a coin jar
12. Buying second class stamps instead of first class
13. Setting a budget
14. Meal planning to buy exactly what you need
15. Buying in bulk
16. Shopping second-hand
17. Travelling ‘off-peak’
18. Batch cooking
19. Comparing petrol prices at different garages
20. Taking out cash so you know exactly what you’re spending

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay