25/09/2022

Tech: The best deals platforms for saving money on everyday purchases

Inflation is at a four-decade high. Salaries are (for the most part) staying put. That means everything is looking a little more expensive than it did one or two years ago.

You can respond to this in a variety of ways. You can monitor your spending, and you can make more out of the things you already have. Another effective way to save money at the moment is through deals apps and services for not only everyday essentials, but also the little enjoyments in life.

Although the prospect of using deals to save money might seem uncomfortable to some, a variety of platforms make the whole process a lot quicker and easier. There’s no trawling through endless websites to find minor 3% discount tokens. It’s all arranged for you.

Here's our suggestions:

  1. Dusk

Dusk is designed to connect you with cool bars, pubs, and venues in your area. It offers incentives - like free drinks and discounts - to encourage you to do so.

Since autumn is upon us (our favourite season for evening pub visits), it’s the perfect time to start using the app. You might even find a new favourite local. Or a new favourite tipple, failing that.

  1. Karma

We’re all looking for a touch of good karma at the moment. Karma (the Chrome extension) helps you shop online by allowing you to save items you’re interested in. It will then alert you when said item falls beneath a certain price, according to the parameters you set.

Karma even donates $1 to a cause of your choice for every purchase worth over $40. So you’re helping others too.

  1. Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is one of the best ways to save money on your food shopping. All you need to do is download the app and choose a bakery, supermarket, or other food outlet to collect a ‘magic bag’ from. It’ll come at a third of its retail price.

Since it’s actually designed to reduce food waste, you’re also helping the planet when you use it.

  1. Honey

Honey provides a traditional coupons and discounts service in a modern format. Add its extension to your Chrome browser and wait for a popup when you’re checking out from an online store. It’ll offer you automatic discounts based on its web-wide searches.

  1. VoucherCodes

VoucherCodes is one of the better traditional deals sites. It provides discount codes and offers from all the biggest retailers and brands on its website. Before buying something, make sure you check its website first. You might come away with a cheeky deal.

  1. Hopper

One of the most frustrating results of the energy crisis has been the rising cost of holidays. Transport has become more expensive. So have hotel stays and other activities.

Hopper is the deals site for travel. It works in the same way as a travel agency. But you’ll find seriously good savings there for everything related to your holiday. 

  1. Shopmium

After housing, food is often the most expensive category in my spending history at the end of the month. That’s why apps like Shopmium can be really helpful. Shopmium offers you discounts on a variety of products in your local area through its app. You can choose which ones you need the most and plan your shopping around those.

Even if the discounts are small, high food costs mean you can end up saving a lot. There are even 100% cashback offers on some products.

07/09/2022

Tech: 5 budgeting apps to help make the most of your money

The concept of ‘financial freedom’ has attracted a lot of interest over the past few years. It feels liberating to buy rounds for friends with the quiet response: “This one’s on me.” But it’s become clear that many of us will need to start monitoring our income and spending as inflation rises in the UK.

The thought of monitoring my spending struck me with fear especially when I saw my flatmates mammoth spreadsheet tracking every penny. But soon I noticed the multitude of budgeting apps that make personal finance much simpler. They quelled my anxieties. And could save me £££ too.

These are some of the best.

1. Nous

Nous is an app that helps you better understand your changing household bills. This is particularly useful at the moment following the announcement that Ofgem would be raising the household energy price cap by 80%. But also if our new prime minister decides to act on that.

New Nous users need only connect their open banking account through the app to start the process. Nous will then evaluate your bills and forecast their future changes. You can even add other members of your household to improve the accuracy of the forecasts.

2. Snoop

Snoop is another app that helps you track bills. But it also tracks your other spending too. It will then suggest ways for you to reduce certain bills like mobile service providers in line with current offers from other providers.

Snoop’s various free functions make it a brilliant option for people who want to monitor their spending across multiple accounts on a single platform. There is a premium version (only £3.99) that enables enhanced functions like unlimited custom spending categories.

There are many other similar apps out there. But Snoop provides some of the best functions on its free membership level. All you need to do is connect the bank accounts you want to track through the app.

3. MoneySavingExpert

There’s a good chance you’ll already know about MSE. And if not, you might have heard of Martin Lewis, MSE’s founder. But it always surprises me to find out how few people I know use the website. It’s just released a new app too, and that's why it makes our best budgeting apps list.

The new app, called MoneySavingExpert, helps people access MSE content through an easier format. The content is all related to reducing bills and making more of your money available for the spending you care about. It provides invaluable advice about managing personal finances during the current cost-of-living crisis.

4. Loop

You might have once deemed energy bills a ‘low priority’ if you live alone or in a house share. But there’s a good chance that, wherever you live, you’re thinking about them now. If you only download one budgeting app, we suggest it's this one.

Loop’s app helps you track your household energy usage. It works by connecting with your smart meter, which, if you don’t have one, energy providers often offer to install for free. The app then offers energy-saving insights based on the data.

Loop claims that it helps users reduce their electricity usage by 10% on average. And the app is free, so it really is an easy decision to make.

5. Moneyhub

Moneyhub works somewhat like Snoop. It tracks your spending and bills across multiple accounts to provide detailed analysis about where you spend your money. This can help you better understand your finances and reduce costs where possible.

Moneyhub’s principal difference is its goals-based approach. You can use it to set specific goals across multiple categories to track your status as a month progresses. It makes personal finance a lot easier to keep track of.


Liked this blog on budgeting apps? Check out our 6 fashion tech apps that will help you to save money on clothes while also protecting the planet!

19/08/2022

Tech: Crunching the cost of living crisis with 6 apps to keep your wardrobe fresh 

 Fashion tech is keeping you trendy through more sustainable fashion consumption.

When reassessing our spending habits, it’s often the trendy or non-essential clothes that are one of the first to be red lined. But the Gok Wan inside all of us is dying to escape at the prospect of four summer weddings, a work-do and Christmas celebrations.

For many Gen Z and millennial consumers, there’s an interesting paradigm that occurs when consuming fashion, and deciding when and how to do so.

 Caught between a rock (environmental foreboding, issues of climate change and the impact of fast fashion on the planet) and a hard place (societal pressures to buy new, because new = trendy = cool), these consumers now have the added complexity of the cost of living crisis, and their ability to use disposable income on clothes. 

We’ve outlined six of our favourite fashion-tech apps to help you save money, stay stylish, and minimise your affect on the planet:

1. By Rotation 

By Rotation was the world’s first social fashion rental app, launched in 2019. It is focused on creating a community of like minded people, conscious of the environment but still fashion-lovers. By Rotation offers renters the opportunity to wear both luxury and high street clothes for a fraction of the price to suit their budget.

2. Hurr

Hurr, like By Rotation, is a clothes rental app designed for women. They believe that getting women to rent instead, meant they could still get their kicks from the latest luxury trends and pieces, without burning a hole in their pocket or the planet. 

You know that £150 dress sitting at the back of your cupboard? See what you could make: 

3. Sojo 

Sojo founder, Josephine Philips, believes that second-hand shouldn’t mean a compromise in great fitting clothes that make you feel really good.

After many years of frustrating charity shop gems that didn’t fit quite right, Josephine decided to build the technology to make clothing alterations and repairs mainstream. With a Deliveroo-like model as the basis, the app connects customers to local Seamster businesses, The result? People could get their clothes altered or repaired with a few simple clicks. 

4. Nuw 

Nuw is the clothes swap app. Users earn coins for every item they list to swap. Users then use their coins to swap an item from another member, or request to borrow for as long as you like. Each swap is only £0.99. Each time an item is borrowed or swapped on Nuw, they offset 25% of the resources that would have been used in the production of a new item. 

5. Depop

Depop is a reselling app which allows your friends and creative influencers all over the world to see the things you like, buy, and sell. Buyers can browse for pre-loved electronics, clothes, accessories and more. You can refine your search with their filter functions, you can find the exact brand, size, colour, and condition item you’re looking for. 

6. Vinted

Just like its counterpart Depop, Vinted is a clothes reselling app. Without sellers fees, users can list and sell their items for free. To boost their items, sellers can choose pay to promote their items to get in front of the right audience. 

21/07/2022

Insight: From grad to intern: What it’s really like in PR

Hello hello hello! I’m Hannah, a Summer Placement PR intern at Words + Pixels here. It has been 3 weeks since I started and I can’t wait to give you a snapshot of what it has been like working in PR, from the perspective of a PR & Advertising student.

How to put my knowledge and skills into practice

From conducting research into insights about the clients to crafting a media list, my knowledge of PR  and Advertising was transformed into a series of practical techniques and skills that I can now implement in real-life business scenarios, all thanks to my internship.

However, it's been much more than that. I've learnt new things such as keep up with the news on a daily basis... and drafting pitches is very different from what I was taught in university.

As Steve Jobs said: “Learn continually - there’s always “one more things” to learn”, the world of PR constantly evolves and surprises me.

Understanding workplace culture

Culture influences communication, and as an international student, I learned that every company or organisation has its own culture. It’s essential to observe others and learn how they engage and interact with co-workers, or help them with projects and tasks. I quickly learned that whenever something is unclear for me, or I don’t understand, it’s fine to ask for clarification. I was lucky that everyone at W+P is very considerate when it comes to explaining and clarifying my doubts.

Enthusiasm is invaluable

As a PR intern, I discovered it’s essential to be enthusiastic and open to learning new skills, asking for more work and being curious to learn and ask questions. This attitude will show that you enjoy being part of the team and that you're keen to help. Having curiosity and enthusiasm also means that, as an intern, you get a lot out of what you’re doing, which opens lots of opportunities.

The benefits of taking on feedback

Asking for and receiving professional feedback is very important. It is essential to take note of both the positive and negative points for the future, so you can grow and excel in your career. Asking for feedback is always helpful because at the end of the day, there is always room for improvement.

I learned that sometimes asking for feedback or receiving feedback is difficult to hear, but it will have a significant impact on your future career and success.

 How important good communication is

Communication is the key to success in a professional environment. I learned that it’s important to communicate with my manager via phone, email or Slack if I have questions or if I don’t know how to work on a task.

Asking for help and clarification is better than pretending you’ve understood what you need to do, no matter what. Avoiding asking questions if you can find answers elsewhere is part of being a good communicator – keep in mind that everyone’s time is valuable. As an intern, good communication will help with productivity, efficiency, engagement and growth.

It has been a very exciting experience as a PR intern and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and develop the skills needed for working in PR. I cannot wait to see what the remainder of my internship has to offer. 

13/07/2022

Insight: Weighing in on politics – is it right for my brand?

With Bojo finally accepting his fate and addressing the nation of his resignation, many businesses saw this as an opportunity to leverage their brand on social media.

But how do you know when political commentary is right for your brand? Should you engage with political discourse by any memes possible?

Well, here's a roundup of some fab, and not-so-fab attempts at reactive social content and PR.

Brewdog's BOJO BOGO beer

Brewdog bring out 4 new beers amid Boris Johnson's resignation

Boris first in line at Blackpool's Job Centre

Blackpool's Madame Tussauds take Boris Johnson's statue and place it outside of the Job Centre after his resignation announcement

Iceland solves the cabinet problem

Iceland (the supermarket brand) jump on the bandwagon and use Boris Johnson's resignation as a meme

What to do (and what not to do)

Be quick BUT accurate.

Newsjacking only works when the story is still being talked about.

There's nothing worse than getting to the joke too late. The moment has passed. The topic has moved on. But you're still clinging on to it like Gary Barlow and his glory days of Take That.

But ensure you're well versed. Do your research so you can defend your position.

Whether you swing left, right or sit right in the middle, diving your brand head first into the political agenda can have consequences. Be careful not to alienate supporters, unless this is the objective, of course.

But if you're keen to make a stand, here are a few things to think about:

  • What are people saying? Look at what other brands in your industry are saying. The opinions of your customers and the general viewpoint of the population.
  • Is it relevant? Your brand has a voice, personality and values. Consider if the issue is relevant to your brand before you jump on the bandwagon.
  • Does it affect your audience? If it's going to positively or negatively impact their lives, this could be the time to take a stance - but be prepared to be challenged.
  • Are the facts clear? Avoid petty party politics, heresay, and rumours and stick to the evidence

07/07/2022

Insight: What I wish I knew before I started my career in PR

Dan, a words + pixels team member

Hey, I'm Dan, and I've been working with Words + Pixels for almost four months now.

PR is a fast paced, reactive, and creative industry and I'm absolutely loving it. BUT, there are a couple of things I wish I knew before starting my career in PR.

Getting started in PR can be a daunting prospect, especially when you come from a background of journalism and your sole PR experience is one module on a three-year course. So, after a third of a year in PR, what have I learned? And what do I wish I had known before? 

Here are some things that would have benefited me before starting my career in PR:

PR is not advertising

From a place of very basic understanding it can be easy to see PR as advertising for your clients, but this is not the case. PR is about creating campaigns (by providing insight and value to your clients' audience) with the goal of creating organic brand awareness.

It’s about working around the clients’ goals and values to help share their message.

Be persistent

Now that I have a few months of pitching under my belt, I have come to understand the importance of being persistent, and patient! Even the perfect pitch can be ignored by journalists so it is important not to get hurt by that.

Often, reporters will ignore, turn down, or rudely reject an opportunity. It is vital not to become dejected by this. Instead of thinking ‘this is all wrong’, it is better to think ‘what can I do to make this more appealing?’ This way, you can adapt your pitching style to make it alluring to journalists.

Build relationships

In journalism, building relationships is everything, and PR is no different. Having contacts in high-profile roles and/or suitable people in relevant titles makes it SO much easier to get coverage. If everything goes smoothly when working with a journalist to publish a piece, then they are more likely to work with you again.

Demonstrate that you are capable of working professionally within their time frame. Why? Because they are much more likely to open your email the next time you need coverage.

Become familiar with a range of titles

Consuming news is incredibly important in PR. Staying up to date and continuing to be reliably informed on current events is hugely beneficial. Understanding what content is in particular titles, as well as the style they write in, makes it a lot easier to determine where to pitch certain stories and clients.

Don’t become too comfortable with one major publication since it is not always going to be suitable with what you’re working on. Having a well-balanced media diet will go a long way into being successful in PR.

Expect the unexpected

When working most jobs, it becomes easy to fall into a general routine.

Knowing what you’re likely to be working on each day. This is NOT the case in PR. You have to be prepared for everything, even when it appears to be running smoothly. You have to be ready to drop whatever you had planned to do in case there’s an urgent email you need to address, or there’s a complication in the campaign you’re planning.

It is vital to understand early on how to stay organised and work out the best way to react and adapt to sudden changes.

Preparing for your career in PR

Adapting to a new craft is always going to be tricky at first, and there’s a long way to go before being comfortable in all areas relating to PR. Even someone who’s been in the industry for years can still have issues and complications.

So don’t panic.

It’s a learning process and the only way to get better is to apply yourself, learning from what you do right, and what you do wrong. However, having an understanding of these tips before starting will go a long way in managing your expectations, and preparing you for a role in PR.

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