Smart Consumer: Early bird catches the best bargains of all
Having a few quid to spend is a precious thing. But that hard-earned cash is wasted if you're not getting bang for your buck.
Whether you're left waiting to talk to someone in a call centre, queuing for a changing room or unable to find a sales assistant, the pain of parting with your euros when you're not getting the service you should can become unbearable.
Equally, the thrill of haggling your way to a price cut always quickens the pulse.
If you can be flexible and engage in a little forward planning, you can have a better consumer experience. It's all about doing it at the right time of day.
For instance, the best time to phone a call centre is first thing in the morning. Calling at 8am might not be your idea of fun but it's precisely because it's no one else's idea of fun either, that you should strike then.
Aim to be the first call of the day and you can avoid telephone queues and speak to a customer service agent who isn't yet fed up. It can also be a good idea to phone during the most popular TV programme or sporting event.
The best time to shop for clothes is also first thing in the morning. It will be quiet; there will be plenty of assistants free and no queues for the changing rooms.
We all want a better deal on white goods and big purchases, but if the shop is busy or it's just before closing, you don't have the best chance of getting something knocked off the price. Instead, try mid-morning.
Sales staff will be fresh from their morning meeting on targets and will be eager to get a good sale under their belt. The shop will be quieter too so plenty of time to work your haggling skills.
Fast forward to the evening and now is the time to do your grocery shop if you want to make savings. The later you shop, the better the savings -- as fresh food will have made its way to the bargain bins. From late afternoon many supermarkets start discounting products.