Life

The money-saving websites you didn't know you needed

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The best things in life come for free, or at least significantly discounted. There's no finer pleasure than chancing across a cut-price pair of Jimmy Choos or picking up a retro cabinet for a fraction of its high street price, after all.

And happily for us, the web is a great place to indulge our inner Belinda Bargain-Hunters. The online universe is positively overflowing with discount, voucher, auction and price comparison sites that lay bare the very best deals out there right now, from travel to restaurants and beyond.

But you have to be savvy and really know where to look to snap up the best bargains.

With the arrival of BookBub, the daily deal site for free e-books, in the UK, we take a look at other emerging money-saving websites. From Bubblebee Auctions, the site that sells off unwanted items collected by Britain's police forces, to designer rental hub Girl Meets Dress, these are the slightly off-radar destinations that promise to save you money and share some fun along the way.

Discount flights, champagne afternoon tea deals, free furniture and luxury fashion flash sales - you name it, these websites have it covered.

So throw your credit card to the wind and come indulge in some purse-friendly retail therapy...

  • BookBub

    Best for: free e-books

    BookBub, the daily deal site for e-books, has now officially launched in the UK to the delight of book lovers everywhere.

    Publishers and authors submit time-limited offers on discounted and free digital titles which the people of BookBub then whittle down to a daily email of the best deals out there.

    Once you sign up to the site, you can enter info about your interests and BookBub will filter their deals based on what you like to read.

    BookBub.com

  • Girl Meets Dress

    Best for: hefty discounts on designer gowns

    Need a fancy frock for a big night out but can't afford to splurge? Girls Meets Dress is here to help.

    With access to over 150 high-end brands such as Victoria Beckham and Marc Jacobs, they let you order and try on three dresses - you then choose one to wear and return them all after the event, with a full refund for the two you didn't wear.

    The scope of labels available means you can rent a designer gown for around £50 - a fraction of its retail price - with the price increasing the longer you need it.

    girlmeetsdress.com

  • Momondo

    Best for: discounted flights

    Time and again, Momondo is rated as one of the best flight comparison sites out there and yet it's still relatively unknown next to competitors such as Google Flights and Hipmunk.

    Because it's not linked to any third party aggregator, this easy-to-navigate site is able to find you separate one-way tickets on different airlines that are significantly cheaper than return flights.

    Its calendar feature lets you see the cheapest days of the month to travel and each flight comes with a "happiness rating" that takes into account factors such as long stopovers.

    momondo.co.uk

  • Secret Sales

    Best for: discounts on luxury fashion goods

    Secret Sales is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of luxury clothes, accessories, beauty and homeware products - all available for bargain prices.

    Its team works with over 600 brands, from Gucci to Jimmy Choo, to offer daily discounts of up to 70%.

    Flash sales typically last 2-4 days so you have to get in there quick to make the most of it. You can sign up for their daily email for a round-up of deals.

    secretsales.com

  • FreeCycle

    Best for: free interior items

    Want to jazz up your house with a coffee table or a couple of vintage lamps? Save yourself a good few bob and the shopping trip from hell by entering into the freebie spirit.

    FreeCycle is non-profit organisation offering unwanted items in communities all over the world. Simply sign up to your local branch and you'll receive a daily email with alerts on "offered" "wanted" and "taken" items.

    The freebies on offer cover everything from dogs beds to decorative Samurai swords - the beauty is, you never know what you're going to get.

    freecycle.org

  • Read It Swap It

    Best for: free paperback books

    Don't be put off by the amateurish website layout - this is a great service for people who don't own Kindles and like to read a wide variety of actual books, completely for free.

    It basically does what it says on the tin: you sign up and create a library of books you can exchange, then peruse other members' libraries for titles you want to swap them with.

    The service is entirely free and based on a ratings and feedback system, in a similar way to eBay. With over 300,000 books to choose from, you're more than likely to find something you like.

    readitswapit.co.uk

  • Amazon Local

    Best for: restaurant deals and discounts

    Calling all die-hard foodies... Amazon Local gives you a rundown of all the best restaurant deals in your local area, from Michelin star cuisine to champagne afternoon tea.

    Sign up to receive daily alerts on discounts and bargains that cover all kinds of venues from high street to high-end.

    The site also covers spa packages, entertainment and travel deals.

    local.amazon.co.uk

  • Bumblebee Auctions

    Best for: cheap bikes

    Every year, millions of pounds worth of goods are either seized by the police or handed in to stations across the UK.

    Bumblebee Auctions is a place where police forces can auction off their unclaimed items, from cars to luggage, jewellery and even antiques. The funds raised go back to the force in question and are often put towards charitable causes.

    You can pick up anything from a Dyson vacuum cleaner (one sold for around £27 recently) to a second-hand bike - of which this website has many.

    bumblebeeauctions.co.uk

  • VoucherCloud

    Best for: discounts on high street brand items

    VoucherCloud pulls together the best deals, offers and discounts from a somewhat random selection of leading UK brands, whether that's Robert Dyas, SpaceNK or Made.

    Search by whatever you want, from electronics to beauty products and experiences, and the website will pull up its daily updated list of deals in that area, with vouchers you can download direct onto your mobile.

    vouchercloud.com

     

  • Applause Store

    Best for: free entertainment

    Applause Store is the official site for all free radio and television audience tickets in the UK. It pulls together thousands of free seats for music, comedy, chat, sitcom and entertainment shows on BBC, ITV, Sky and more.

    Visit their website to see what's on and book a free place for live events. Or you can check the calendar to see what's coming up and make group bookings.

    Current hot tickets include The X Factor live finals, Top Gear and next year's run of Britain's Got Talent.

    applausestore.com

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