The rapid spread of price-comparison websites means most people no longer go for the first energy-provider they see or insurance policy they read about, but shop around for the best-value.
The biggest personal finance comparison sites, such as Confused.com and GoCompare.com, help save drivers, home-owners and travellers thousands of pounds on their insurance premiums. In a Which? Money magazine survey of 1,700 people, 77 per cent said they had used a comparison site during the past six months.
But just because the most common searches are for energy deals and insurance, don’t restrict comparison site searches to just personal finance products. They exist for a huge range of goods and services.
Next time you’re in the market for theatre tickets, check out Comparetheatretickets.com, theatrebillboard.com and SeatChoice.com. The sites don’t all cover every show but between them should serve your needs. Want to buy a book? Don’t just visit Amazon – Bookfinder4u.com lists results from 130 book shops, new and second-hand.
For music, avoid heading, robot-like, to the biggest name. Tunechecker.com lists the up-to-date price of both singles and albums from the likes of iTunes, Tesco, Play and HMV. It shows Rihanna’s album Loud, for example, costing £5.49 to download from TuneTribe, compared to £8.49 from Orange.
Travel is another big source of comparison bargains. Why pay more for the same room in the same hotel? Both Tripadvisor.co.uk and Trivago.co.uk allow users to compare hotel costs from brokers like Hotels.com and Opodo.co.uk to track down the cheapest. Kelkoo.co.uk and Skyscanner.co.uk does the same for flights.