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Alison Cork
Alison Cork

Alison Cork’s 


Top Tips for Bargain Hunting



Property and interiors expert, Alison Cork has made getting the best for less nothing short of an art form, and for Hints and Things readers, she's offering her top tips on how to get the most for your money. Follow these 10 pieces of advice, and you'll be well on track for saving hundreds of pounds.



1)     Shop off the beaten track

The high street is fine for seasonal sales but shopping off-piste will, more often than not, yield the best of the bargains all year round. Out of town warehouses and dealing direct with manufacturers and wholesalers will bring you considerable savings before the mark ups of the high street retailers.

2)    Be cynical about cyber savings

The internet has justifiably earned a reputation for offering good value for money but never assume that you will be getting a good deal with the first click of your mouse. Shop around and be wary of common check out add-ons like delivery and VAT.

3)    Never be afraid to haggle

Provided you’re not bartering with a bar code, you should always ask for a discount. Retailers would rather have 5 in their pocket than the possibility of 10 later in the week; a fact that consumers should always use to their advantage. Retailers make their money from their margins and it’s our prerogative if not our responsibility to get more for our money.

4)   Keep your ear to the ground

There’s nothing worse than paying full whack just before a sale starts, so keep close tabs on sale dates to avoid your wallet taking an unnecessary hit. Some companies are secretive and sporadic, others are like clockwork but it’s always worth finding out when and where the sales are and co-ordinate your purchases appropriately.

5)    Steer clear of the herds

Predictable purchases will always carry a seasonal loading, so you will invariably pay through the nose for fires in winter and garden furniture in summer. But if you turn that spending pattern on its head, you’re on the way to bagging some bargains. Retailers know when their busiest times are, catch them during leaner times and you’re more than likely to save some money.

6)     Rationalise your investments

Some things are worth investing in; others will be dated or need replacing in a matter of months. Items which only improve with age like good quality wooden flooring or a solid stone fire surround are always worth splashing out on, free standing furniture will wear and go out of fashion quickly so bear that in mind before you part with serious money.

luxurious stylish bathroom

7)    Use the next best thing


If the real deal is out of your price range, reproduction or imitation products can look and feel just like their genuine sibling. Good quality veneered furniture, reconstituted stone, granite sheeting do a job and will tick all the boxes for the discerning yet canny shopper.



8)    Try channel hopping


Some great deals can be found abroad, and with France only a short car journey away, we’d be fools not to take advantage. Of particular interest may be D.I.Y products, which have been discovered to be as much as 70% cheaper than you’d find this side of the Channel. Better still, with day trips starting from as little as 20, your foreign foray will pay for itself when you fill up at the petrol station.



9)    Make a factory find


The majority of top-end homeware retailers will have a factory shop which stocks cancellations, clearance stock and discontinued lines. Although they are often found in remote locations, savings of up to 80% more than justify the schlep. 







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