Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has revealed 14 secrets which could score you some great discounts – but which retailers will not want their customers to know about.
The money guru has shared the top tips on his website moneysavingexpert.com.
Even the most savvy of shoppers may be surprised by some of these secrets, which include when to haggle, how to snap up Zara goodies at a fraction of the price and how to get discount codes.
1. Many high street shops give you 10% off – just for asking
Martin says there is nothing wrong with asking for a discount.
One former member of staff at a DIY shop even claimed that they'd been told if anyone ever asked for a discount they should give 10% off.
This means you could save money just by asking.
Carphone Warehouse, Tesco and Homebase have the best success rate from shoppers managing to get a better deal.
2. The John Lewis refund trick
If you buy anything from John Lewis, whether this be in store or online it is always worth checking the price afterwards to see if it drops.
While the 'never knowingly undersold' slogan is famous, the fact it applies after you've bought the item is less well known.
Find an identical item on sale for less within 28 days after purchase, and you get the difference back using the method you paid by.
The cheaper price can be at any UK retailer with physical stores or at John Lewis itself.
3. Abandon online shopping baskets to tease 'em into giving you a code
Anyone who regularly shops online may already know about this, but if you add a number of products to your shopping basket and leave them there for a day or two you'll find the retailer will be in touch.
This is typically by email, and acts as reminder to customers in the hope they purchase the items they've 'forgotten' about.
However, the email almost always comes with a discount code.
4. How to buy Zara clothes at fraction of the price
Everyone knows Zara is a Spanish-based brand.
And, while this detail may seem insignificant to a day-to-day shopper, it should be significantly important to anyone heading to Spain this year.
Martin Lewis says the retailer sells clothes in its native country far cheaper than here, so it is always worth waiting until you go if you're planning a purchase.
In fact, the Zara Spain website has an English language option, so you can easily compare prices before you go.
Research by the team in 2015 showed on average Zara in Spain was 38% cheaper.
5. Prices ending in 7, 8 or 1 mean it's clearance – a perfect haggling opportunity
Large electrical shops sometimes use price codes as a way of letting their staff know which products need to be shifted quickly to make way for new stock.
According to shop staff Martin Lewis and his team spoke with, the key to these codes lies in the last digit of a price.
While most prices end in 9 (or 0), if one ends in 7 or 8 e.g, £19.97, it usually means that model has been discontinued.
If the price ends with a 1, e.g, £5.91, the item is often especially old clearance stock.
6. Decipher hidden discount codes on store price tags
Store tags can often hold hidden information – much more than just the price.
When a sale is due to drop, it will be the price tags which will tell you exactly what to expect.
In preparation for sales, shop staff scribble numbers, letters or dots on price tags.
If you spot these mysterious markings on a full-price item you want to buy, hold off – they often mean the item's about to be reduced.
High-street giant Next are among retailer who use these codes, the codes you'll often find are B14, G4, P7, OB9 and S13.
If you ignore the letters, which seem to relate to where sale items are to be located in store, and you're left with just a number – that's generally the price this item's going down to.
For example, if you see S13 - will mean the new price will be £13.
Although, the tags won't indicate when the sale will start, but at least it will give you a heads up about what to expect.
7. Haggle via online help chats
Spot a window offering live chat with a help person? Don't dismiss it – this can be a route to hidden deals.
Martin Lewis' team tried and tested this method and saw success with Nike which gave them a 10%-off code, Dell and Dyson.
Although, there was no success with retailers such as Amazon, Apple, Schuh and MAC cosmetics.
8. Unwanted gift card? How to sell it or get paid £3 to 'swap' it for another store's
Among the many tips Martin Lewis has revealed, one of the best as to be his insight into online marketplace Zeek.
The website allows sellers to sell their unwanted gift cards, and e-vouchers from hundreds of retailer, usually at 2%-25% off.
Martin, from MoneySavingExpert.com said: "The discounts are not as high as they are through out the year, but what you want to do is, if you know you are going to buy something from a particular shop, buy a gift card at a discounted price, then this will work with all the other discounts and codes in store."
Meaning that you are effectively giving yourself a discount before you even step into the shop.
Although, when it comes to buying a present for someone, Martin advises against buying gift cards, encouraging people to instead give cash of the same value.
9. Find the best day to bag deals for your shop
Ever searched endlessly for an online discount voucher for your favourite store? Don't worry, your Google-search abilities won't be off, it may just be the day of the week you are looking.
Try waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday, as this seems to be when may retailers put out new discount codes.
The logic behind this isn't clear, but it is a great little tip.
10. Special offer run out? Get a rain check voucher
Okay, so we must admit we did not know about this one.
So full credit must be give to Martin and his team for these tips, the website post says: "If a special offer item is out of stock, Asda staff are allowed to give out 'Spark Vouchers' (previously called 'Smiley Vouchers') worth up to £1, when a customer's had a problem or something isn't quite right.
"One of these reasons is that a special offer product's out of stock. Again, vouchers are at shop assistants' discretion, so a friendly smile goes a long way.
"You can spend the vouchers on anything at Asda except tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets."
11. Some 'designer' clothes are manufactured specifically for outlets
You might assume outlets sell last season's stock, but some garments have never graced the rack of a posh boutique.
A Channel 4 Dispatches investigation in 2013 revealed some clothing at TK Maxx and other outlets were made specifically for outlets.
The investigation also found many items in TK Maxx were actually own-brand products – using a multitude of names such as like Arabella and Addison, Kenar, Amaryllis Amphora and Frederik Anderson of Copenhagen.
Speaking at the time of the investigation, TK Maxx said: "We take great issue with the characterisation of TK Maxx by Dispatches in December 2013, as integrity is at the heart of our business.
"The vast majority of products we sell are brand name merchandise sold at a significant discount to the high street price. A small fraction of the products we sell are in-house labels to supplement our offerings."
12. You have 28 days to return goods bought online... if you do it right
This is one of the tips which surprised us - especially as we are avid online shoppers.
The moneysavingexpert post says: "Unlike buying in store, buy online and the Consumer Contracts Regulations mean you can cancel the order within 14 days of arrival for any reason.
"You've then ANOTHER 14 days to send it back. So be sure to email them before the first 14 days are up. The exception is personalised or perishable items."
13. Returning goods? Shops can often override the need for receipt
If you have purchased faulty goods, you are entitled to a refund without the receipt, if you have bank statement as proof of purchase that will be fine.
Although, if the product is not faulty and you are relying on the store's own refunds policy, they they will almost all the time require a receipt.
But, there now seems to be a loophole meaning staff often have the ability and discretion to override the need for a receipt. So take in your credit card statement instead, flash a friendly smile and you might get lucky.
14. Don't use PayPal to pay on a credit card
A post on the website says: "Retailers increasingly encourage customers to pay via PayPal. But do this on a credit card, and it scuppers valuable extra protection for items over £100.
"Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 says if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000, specifically on a credit card, the card company is jointly liable with the retailer."
"In other words, if what you've bought is faulty, broken or doesn't arrive, the credit card firm is obliged to put you right."