Page 3 of 22

10 Tips for Saving Money

For those that know me, I’m often seen as a very frugal… (okay, tight!) person. I’m always looking for ways I can save money.

Anyway, here are 10 tips I’ve found useful.

  1. Pay subscriptions in USD where possible

    1. Most global businesses have their base pricing in USD, so other currencies will face less preferential pricing.
    2. Whilst this doesn’t save as much as it used to (due to an ever worsening exchange rate), it can be around 10% cheaper to pay in USD (even taking into account GBP>USD conversion fees).
    3. For example, Spotify charge US customers $9.99/mo (~£7), whilst Brits pay £9.99/mo.
  2. Use cashback sites

    1. Sites such as TopCashback and Quidco ‘track’ your purchase and give you a percentage of the sale back in cash a few months later. There’s really nothing to lose, so sign up if you’re not already using a cashback site.
  3. Audit your monthly expenses

    1. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare on a Sunday afternoon, take a look through your bank statement or PayPal account, looking for any odd transactions. You’ll thank yourself later.
    2. Also, decide if you really need that Spotify Premium, Amazon Prime, Netflix or Sky TV account.
  4. Buy own-branded products where possible

    1. There’s often a stigma around buying own-brand goods. However, the difference is generally insignificant – apart from the fact that brands have massive marketing budgets that they need to pay for somehow!
  5. Prepare your own packed-lunch

    1. You’ll be amazed at the amount you can save. If you’re in the office 240 days a year, buying a £3 sandwich everyday will set you back £720. If you prepare a packed lunch (~£1) instead, you’ll save £480/year.
  6. Buy used or refurbished products instead of new

    1. For high value items such as an iPhone, it’s worth buying new so you have the warranty.
  7. Add more to your basket to qualify for free delivery

    1. If the online store offers free returns, you could even return any unwanted items later.
  8. Buy essentials in bulk (if you’ve got the space!)

    1. For household essentials such as kitchen roll, toilet paper and dishwasher tablets, you’ll often find bulk packs are discounted.
  9. If you’re not in a rush, consider buying from China

    1. Using websites such as AliExpress, you can buy almost anything that you’ll find on Amazon, eBay or in retail stores, but often at half the price. You just have to wait a few weeks for delivery.
  10. Make use of any other discounts that might apply to you;

    1. Student Discount
    2. NHS Discount
    3. Emergency Services Discount
    4. Armed Forces Discount
    5. 60+ Discount (OAP)

ALWAYS haggle if you’re

This excludes Chinese sellers – you’ll usually end up with a lower quality product.

The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Ad Extensions

If you’re a user of Google’s AdWords (PPC) platform, you’ll likely be familiar with the selection of ad extensions available to choose from. However, you might not have seen the newer extensions which offer more features to make your Ads even more engaging!


Before I jump in though, it’s worth reminding ourselves the benefits of using ad extensions:

  • Increased visibility
    • Ad extensions generally increase the size of your Ad, giving you a bigger presence and increasing CTR
  • Higher visitor relevance
    • By including more information about your product or service, you’re giving potential visitors more insight before clicking the Ad (and costing you a click!)
  • No additional cost
    • For any extensions that provide alternative methods of interaction (such as call or message extensions), you’ll just pay the price of a click if they click Call.


Sitelinks extensions

AdWords sitelinks extension

Let’s say you’re an eCommerce site running an AdWords campaign with an Ad Group broadly targeting “blinds”. As well as talking about the different types of blinds, you could also add sitelinks for Roller Blinds, Roman Blinds, Vertical Blinds and Blackout Blinds.

While it’s fairly safe to assume visitors will be aware you sell all the above types of blinds, it’s more about making the whole experience as frictionless as possible. By letting them click straight through to the category they’re interested in directly from the Google SERP, you’re saving them having to navigate through your website menu.

Call-out extensions

AdWords callout extension

Think of these as USPs. If you’re an eCommerce store, you might want to set some general account-level call-outs as:

  • Free UK Delivery
  • 7 Day Returns
  • Gift Wrapping Available
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Price Match Guarantee


It’s also best practice to create more targeted call-outs at campaign, or even ad group level to override those generic ones you added at account level. Especially if you’re selling many types of product.

Structured snippet extensions

AdWords structured snippet extension

Structured snippets are a way for us to provide a list of terms which will be comma separated. In the example above, I did a search for “blinds”. To ensure I’m aware of all the different types of blinds they stock, Hillarys have used a structured snippet.

Google gives us a drop-down list of a few types of snippet to offer. These are:

  • Amenities
  • Brands
  • Courses
  • Degree programs
  • Destinations
  • Featured hotels
  • Insurance coverage
  • Models
  • Neighborhoods
  • Service catalog
  • Shows
  • Styles
  • Types

You could create multiple structured snippets, though Google will only show one structured snippet per Ad.


Call extensions

AdWords call extension

Not to be confused with call-outs, these are instead a place to add your telephone number which will be displayed as part of the advert. On mobile devices, this can also display as a clickable button for people to call you without having to type in your phone number.

In addition to using your regular number, you can also choose to use a Google forwarding number (free of charge). I’d recommend this option as you’ll receive calls as normal but it also allows you to track calls as conversions (if over xx seconds etc).

Message extensions (New – Oct ’16)

If your customers need a quick response without the hassle of filling out an enquiry form on your website, the message extension in AdWords is a recently introduced extension which aims to fill the gap.

As with all of these extensions, there’s no additional cost; you’ll just pay for a click if someone sends you a message.

Location extensions

AdWords location extension

If you’ve got a bricks-and-mortar shop, location extensions allow you to show the nearest location to your users.

Affiliate location extensions (New – Oct ’16)

Similar to the regular location extension, however these are better for bigger brands which are not only stocked directly from the manufacturer, but also available in supermarkets etc.

Let’s say Argos stocked your product; in the affiliate locations section, you’d add the location of Argos’ stores (since potential customers can pick up your product from any of those locations).

Price extensions (New – July ’16)

AdWords price extensions

Let’s say you’re a barber shop. Here you’d have the opportunity to add prices for your most popular hair cuts.

Admittedly, I haven’t actually seen any price extensions here in the UK, so the example above is from Google’s blog post back in July.

App extensions

The app extension allows you to promote your app.

These are only relevant if you have an app.

Review extensions

If you’ve had a great testimonial on an influential news website, review extensions give you a way to paste in a snippet along with the URL of the site it appears on, and it’ll appear as a quote in your Ad.

Seller rating extensions

AdWords seller ratings

These are automatically pulled in from a selection of trusted review providers. You generally need at least 150 reviews (in a 12-month period) on a website such as Trustpilot, and you’ll start to see the orange star ratings appear within your AdWords Ads.

Automated dynamic snippet extensions

AdWords dynamic snippets

These are automatically created ‘dynamic’ snippets which appear in your Ads. In terms of control, we only have the ability to disable these.

I’ve mostly found these can reduce the professionalism of Ads, so usually disable them.


Further reading:

For further reading on the benefits of using ad extensions, take a read of the Google article here.

Company Behind Narrative Clip Files for Dissolution

Just now I got this email from Narrative, the Swedish company behind the Narrative Clip; “The World’s Most Wearable Camera”.

Hello dear Narrative user,

We have some important information for you.

On September 26 2016, the company Narrative AB filed for voluntary dissolution. While this means that the Narrative team can no longer continue sales and support of the Narrative Clip, we are committed to secure the future use of all existing products currently in customers’ hands. 

We will release a tool to allow you to download your existing content from Narrative’s servers and to access new content on your Clip. Keep a look out for further details on where and how to get this tool. Our main focus now is to make sure your content is safe.

For future support on your product, please join the user supported Facebook Group “Narrative Lounge“.

We started Narrative in 2012 with the vision to make moments more easily memorable and enjoyable. It has been an amazing experience to make this vision materialize over the years, with thousands of Narrative users all over the world wearing the Clip on their most precious moments. We hope and believe we have changed something for the better.

Thank you for all your support,

The Narrative Team


Sadly, despite gaining multiple funding rounds over the past few years, it looks as though the road has come to an end, though at least they seem to be making an effort to ensure their existing userbase still has a useable product.

I never bought a Narrative Clip, though I loved the idea. Perhaps I might’ve bought one eventually.

Don’t Pay FedEx’s Customs ‘Advancement’ Fees

For a while now, FedEx has applied an ‘advancement fee’ of £12 to shipments arriving in the UK which have customs charges applied.

The reasoning for this is half-valid in my opinion. When a shipment gets off the ramp at the airport, if arriving from outside the EU, all need to pass through Customs (shipments from within the EU may be X-rayed, but aren’t liable for any import fees).

Rather than HMRC handling the shipments directly, FedEx employs their own clearance agents to work on behalf of HMRC (likely to expedite shipments), the wages of which need to be accounted for.

Also, unlike some other carriers, FedEx pays any fees immediately to HMRC, which enables them to deliver the shipment with minimal delays.

However, my reasoning against this fee though has always been that FedEx should factor in any clearance fees to the shipment cost.

So here’s a solution if you’d rather not throw £12 away in addition to your VAT. Important to note that Import VAT is legally required to be paid – there’s no reasoning for this to be avoided.

Their ‘advancement’ fee on the other hand is totally unenforceable, and quite cheeky in my opinion.

So simply put together an email (I’ve provided a template below, just add the invoice number and tweak parts as needed). Use the subject line ‘Customs advancement fee’ or similar, then send it to send an email to [email protected] (if you’re in the UK. Other countries will have a different email).

Dear FedEx,

This is in reference to invoice #xxxxxxxxxx.

After having bought xxxxxxxxxxx from China, I understood there would be the possibility of VAT due on receiving them.

I was however surprised to see an additional section for a clearance administration charge of £12.

Since China is outside of the EU, I of course will pay the VAT due.

However, I refuse to pay the clearance admin charge of £12, since at no point was I made aware of, nor did I agree to, any terms and conditions which clearly stated that I would be liable for any such charges.

At no point in the transaction and subsequent delivery was any contract for a clearance administration charge made between FedEx and myself.

I paid the supplier for delivery, and would expect that any international clearance fees be factored into the initial cost of such a shipment.

If you want to pursue further charges for delivery or administration or the terms upon which goods are shipped, I suggest that you take it up with the company who shipped the goods initially.

Therefore, I request that you update this invoice to reflect no admin fee, and once that has been done I’ll make immediate payment.

Please let me know when this has been done.

Kind Regards,


Note: The above worked for me on 5 consecutive occasions with FedEx, though I can’t vouch for it with other carriers. Definitely worth a shot though.

Let me know of your successes!

© 2022 Adam's Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑