This week's money saving tips explore how to get cheaper deliveries and how to make some extra cash by selling your old mobile phone.
1. Low cost delivery
If you need to have a package delivered within France, Cocolis.fr may be a low-cost option.
It claims its delivery fees for heavy or fragile packages are up to 80% cheaper than traditional transport firms.
It works by putting people who want a delivery in touch with private or commercial vehicles with empty space that are making the trip. It is similar to car sharing websites such as BlaBlaCar, but instead of finding rides for passengers, it finds space for parcels.
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The French start-up was created in August 2015 by Eliette Vincent, in partnership with Julien Lardé, after she spotted a cheap chest of drawers she liked on Le Bon Coin but had no way of getting it to her home without paying far more than it cost to buy.
Since its launch, the start-up has won several awards for innovation and last November it was recommended by the government to businesses wanting to sell to customers who could not come to them during confinement.
Anyone who wants to receive or send a package puts an advert on the website with details of route, dates and a photo of the object if possible.
The site then gives the average price you should offer to pay for that type of delivery.
Typical prices on the site when Connexion looked were a surfboard from Trélazé, Maine-et-Loire, to Paris, a distance of 300km, for €29 and a desk from Saint-Marcel, Eure, to Paris, 83km for €24.
You then receive propositions and can text via the site to finalise details.
Payment is online, but Cocolis does not hand over the money to the transporter until it has received confirmation of receipt of the package.
The goods will be automatically insured up to a value of €150. There are then rates to insure packages up to €1,500, €3,000 or €5,000.
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If you have room in your car for a package, you can either register the details of your trip on the site or look through the ads to see if there is one which matches your journey.
Cocolis claims the average price for delivery of a guitar on a 113km route between Nantes and Rennes would be €18, compared to €40 from competitors.
It would be almost impossible to find anyone to move a sofa the 9km from Bayonne to Biarritz, but you could find someone on Cocolis who would transport it for €39.
2. How to save on money on a locksmith
In need of a locksmith (serrurier)? Did you know that unwittingly choosing the wrong one could end up costing a significant amount of money, especially if it involves an out-of-hours callout fee.
However, there are ways to keep prices reasonable.
One tip is to search for a locksmith who owns a shop and works in collaboration with networks of lock manufacturers, such as Point Fort Fichet or Bricard.
Read more: Why are French locksmith charges so high?
If you are looking online for a reputable firm, include the make of the lock, in addition to your location, in the search.
There are no regulations regarding the price of emergency repairs, which means you can face high invoices without it being considered an offence.
So, even after agreeing the rate over the phone, it is a good idea to confirm it again once your locksmith has arrived – and beware those who discover ‘problems’ that need additional work.
Most of the time, a good locksmith has no good reason to destroy your lock or your door.
Afterwards, keep the estimate, the invoice, and all the parts that were changed.
Do not let the person in charge of the work dispose of the parts once finished, using the justification that you will no longer need them.
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You can find out afterwards the cost of, and need for, any parts that the store said were necessary.
If they prove unnecessary, you have a period of one week to refuse to pay the additional price.
3. How to sell your old mobile phone
Mobile phones up to six or seven years old can be sold for sums ranging from €50 to more than €400, dependent on condition.
A French Sénat report estimated that at least 100 million phones are lying unused in drawers and only 9% of people sell their old ones.
Several companies that sell reconditioned phones also buy, such as Back Market and Smaaart.
Read more: Can I use a French SIM card in a phone bought in the UK?
CompaRecycle (comparecycle.com) is a start-up comparison site that helps find the best price.
Director Gaël Brouard told Connexion it works with 40 companies that recondition phones in line with environmental regulations, guarantee wiping all personal information, and are based mostly in France, and all in Europe.
“Around 80% of second- hand phones are reconditioned in China or the US, which is not good for their carbon footprint.
“On our site, you enter the type of phone, answer simple questions about its condition and we give you two prices.
“One to go to a partner shop, where you receive a voucher for that shop, plus often a reduction on certain phones.
Read more: Make sense of France’s rollout of new 5G mobile phone technology
“For the second, we give a pre-paid sticker to send the phone through the post to one of our partner companies, who will examine the phone and send your money via a bank transfer.”
Connexion found offers to buy an Apple iPhone XR 64Gb on the site ranged from €185 to €299.
Bouygues will buy your old mobile for up to €400, with €100 off a new one.
Orange will give you money off a new phone or vouchers for accessories, and SFR will give vouchers for its own accessories.
Retailers such as Auchan, Fnac and Boulanger will usually offer vouchers to customers who want to sell their old mobile phones.
You can also sell your old phone on platforms such as Leboncoin, but you will be responsible for deleting all personal data.
Chains including Cash Converter, Cash Express and Happy Cash will buy your old phone. Again, you must wipe your personal data.
If your phone is too old, or in bad condition, you can send it to be recycled.
4. Games for free
There are an estimated 1,400 games libraries, known as ludothèques, in France.
Families and friends can meet to play with toys and games they might otherwise not be able to afford.
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Many also run a lending service so you can take games home for a set period.
A trip to the ludothèque can make a good outing during the school holidays. If you do not know what to buy for your children at Christmas, it can also be a way to find out the types of game they like.
Antonin Merieux, from the Association des Ludothèques Françaises, said: “They are all run differently and many are free but you might have to pay a small fee in some. They are present in cities, small towns and also in rural areas, where sometimes they are itinerant. The aim is to provide a place where everyone, regardless of income or age, can benefit from playing games.”
To find out if there is a games library near you, see alf-ludotheques.org.
5. Take advantage of free seeds for the garden
One way of cutting gardening costs is to use the growing number of seed libraries.
Read more: Gardening tips for growing and grafting apples in France
Anybody can take seeds home from a grainothèque in a public library. If they want they can also take in seeds from their garden and leave them for others.
Some libraries set out seeds according to the month they should be planted in, others according to variety.
Some set them up in partnership with gardening or environmental associations.
With both urban and rural libraries now involved there may be one near you. Some local associations also organise seed exchange banks.
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