This post contains lots of the little things I do to save money on a day to day basis. These little things have helped me change my spending habits, pay off debts and save to buy my first house. So if you want to start your debt free or saving journey, start by reading this post!
I absolutely love cashback apps and have been using them for a few years now. A few months ago I wrote a post about my favourites, you can read that here. In short, I use Checkoutsmart, Shopmium and Green Jinn. You have to pay for the item first then upload a picture of your receipt, then cashback is paid within a few days. You can get a free jar of Nutella from Shopmium using my referral code: 86b5z.
Cashback apps can be used in conjunction with coupons and in store offers for maximum savings. For example, a few months ago there was a ‘try for half price’ offer on a four pack of Cirio chopped tomatoes on Shopmium plus there was an offer on Green Jinn for 80p off the same product. The tomatoes usually cost £3.49 but they were on offer at Tesco for £2, by combining all the deal the pack cost just 20p!
Sounds like a lot of work or really complicated? I promise you it’s not. If you follow me – or lots of the other fab money savers on Instagram – we always share these offers so you don’y have to keep checking deals and prices.
You can upload the same receipt to different apps, the only ones that you can’t do it on are Checkoutsmart and Clicksnap as they’re run by the same company (with the same offers) and it will flag up as already claimed.
I think a lot of people are unsure about using coupons but I think they’re great. I use websites like Supersavvyme and Caringeveryday to find a variety of product coupons. I also find some companies list them on their own websites; John West always have them on their website.
I also get coupons from sending compliments to companies through Facebook and Instagram; some companies don’t respond but others do and I find if you have a bit of friendly chat about using a product can sometimes get some coupons through the post.
You can also pick up coupons with free samples, in supermarket magazines, using Tesco Clubcard and other such loyalty schemes as well as on product packaging. I once found that a cash machine was printing out Cushelle coupons on the back of balance slips so you can get them everywhere.
I only use the coupons to buy products that are on in store offers. For example I had a £2 voucher for Jus-Rol products and bought two packs of pastry that were on a two for £2 offer rather than the usual £1.60 each.
I also use coupons sent out by Tesco that give £2 off £20 of shopping; I combine that with other coupons and items on cashback apps and tend to get shops for a couple of pounds or completely free. As long as you tell the cashier your using coupons it’s fine, they can be a bit unsure on printed coupons so always check before putting your shopping through.
I love deal stacking! It is basically getting multiple savings on one deal. I think some people will see something on offer and think “that’s a good deal, I’ll buy it” my brain however thinks “that’s a good deal, but could it be better?”. I always check to see if there are other potential savings available that I can stack on top.
When I was looking for a new curtain pole and curtains for my bedroom, I quickly found the perfect size curtain pole in the Argos clearance for £7.49 down from £14.99. I had a quick look at the curtains and noticed that there was a voucher code listed on the full priced items for 20% off when spending £25+ on curtains and curtain accessories.
I found the perfect pair of curtains also in the clearance for £17.99 down from £49.99. The total came to £25.48 and I tried the voucher code to see if it worked on clearance items and it did! It took the total down to £20.38. To save even more I used a £5 love2shop giftcard I got from Shoppix (a receipt upload app – more info below) to bring it down to £15.38! #dealstacking
It is always worth checking to see if additional discounts can be used or paying with discounted gift cards from Zeek (there’s more info on that further down this post). It can just take a few minutes to try different deals or to do a quick price comparison to see if what you’re paying is worth it.
Some people get really confused about yellow sticker shopping and I can understand why, after all who needs a load of products that are about to go off? My answer: everyone! I must admit, I don’t go mad and buy it just because it’s there but if it’s something I will use, I get it.
A lot of reduced food can be frozen, some can be used for a few days after the use by date (veg, cheese, etc but not meat) or it can be cooked the day you buy it. Things like fresh spinach can go straight in the freezer as it is, I just grab a handful and chuck it into a curry a few minutes before serving. The same goes for cheese, you can grate it, bag it and then freeze it to use on things like pizza or pasta bake.
It’s not always food that is reduced either, it can be products that are being discontinued from the store. I’ve had floor cleaner, dog food, false nails and loads more; it’s just luck of being in the shop at the right time for items being put out or being reduced.
Most stores do final reductions at 7pm but it really can vary from store to store. My local M&S started doing them at 4pm when there was a heat wave as it was quieter in the evenings so I don’t go out of my way to get yellow sticker items, I just see what is available when I hit the shops.
Mysupermarket, Hotukdeal, Vouchercloud and Vouchercodes are some of my favourite sites for making sure I get value for money. Mysupermarket is great to check where I can get best value on groceries and house items; it’s also fab for seeing where you’ll get the best value with coupons and cashback.
Hotukdeals is fab as you can set up alerts on keywords for things you might want or need. They have sections for freebies, discount codes and general deals. It’s also amazing for finding glitch deals where a company has a product listed on a few offers that allow you to get huge discounts.
Vouchercloud and Vouchercodes are my go to sites for discount codes, I don’t do any online shopping without checking for a promo or discount. I don’t understand how people don’t do this as it takes just a couple of minutes and can save loads of money. Some websites allow you to use multiple discount codes which is amazing! Pets at Home, Argos and H&M are a few I know off the top of my head that allow multiple codes to be used. It’s always worth trying to see what savings can be made.
Who doesn’t love a good freebie? There are so many freebies to get your hands on that it can become addictive, just ask my friend Freebeewitch! Some of my favourite ways of getting beauty freebies are: Sopost, Debenhams Beauty Club Card, Glamour Beauty club and in-store trials. You can read more about Beauty freebies here.
If you keep an eye on my Instagram and follow a few other money-saving accounts you’ll notice we always share the links for free items and sopost deals. A lot of things are word of mouth (or word of Instagram) so it’s a great place to find deals and freebies.
I have a big box full of free beauty products that I’ve got over the past year; it means I can pamper myself with premium products without feeling like I’ve wasted money. I could easily give myself a full facial with cleansers, toners, face masks and moisturisers followed by a full face of make up right now thanks to my beauty stockpile.
Store loyalty cards are fab, they’re free but can offer amazing savings and perks. Some of my fave cards are Sparks by M&S, Tesco Clubcard (although they have cut a lot of their offers), Debenham’s Beauty Club, Superdrug Beauty card, Boots points card and Subway subcard.
You can also get loyalty apps like H&M rewards and Pizza Express which have deals and discounts loaded onto them. You can get the Boots, Superdrug and Subway cards as apps if you don’t want to have a purse full of cards.
Even if you don’t spend much, or anything at all, in these stores it can save money when there are deals on. A lot of the loyalty cards give birthday freebies and money off throughout the year. You can read all about birthday freebies here.
I also love having apps like Groupon, Living Social, All Bar One and Zeek on my phone. Despite what some people think, money savers do still enjoy a social life! The All Bar One app is fab as you get a free drink just for signing up! They always have brilliant discounts and offers on there, you can read more about the benefits of this app here.
Groupon and Living Social can also be a money savers key to a bargain meal, cheap haircut or budget experience. More often than not, there are additional discount codes available for local deals and sometimes you even get bonus credit on your account. Of course these deals are only worth it if a) you’re planning on getting a haircut or going for a meal in the first place. And b) if it works out cheaper than going direct to the company.
I always check the prices on the retailers website as sometimes savings are inflated but more often than not the deal site price is better. I managed to have a brilliant day out with a friend last summer using a combination of money-saving tricks and a Groupon deal, you can read all about that here.
Zeek is a brilliant app for buying discounted gift cards for high street shops and restaurants. A lot of places allow gift cards to be used in conjunction with sales or offers it means you can maximise savings. For example, you can get a £25 Foot Locker gift card for £20. You can then use that in store on sale items to make even bigger savings.
Paid surveys are a fab way of earning cash or high street vouchers. Some sites and apps can be more time-consuming whereas others take just a few minutes. I tend to prefer the quick apps and I love using Curious Cat, YouGov, Quick Thoughts, Shoppix and VYPR.
Some apps are on device surveys asking questions about products, lifestyle, opinions on brands etc. Surveys take on average anything from 2-10 minutes to do, so doing these whilst you’re on the bus or tram to work or quickly doing one whilst having a brew after work can pay off.
Curious Cat pays in points and each point is worth 1p, once you have 100 points you can cash out instantly to PayPal. Quickthoughts is similar although you must have completed £10 worth of survey’s in order to cash out and you’re paid in vouchers. Android users get Amazon vouchers and Apple users get iTunes vouchers. YouGov works in the same way in that you earn points from surveys, once you earn £50 worth of points you can cash out.
Shoppix is a receipt upload app that gives points on shopping receipts. It also has quizzes and questionnaires to earn bonus points. Once you have enough points you can exchange them for vouchers or cash out to PayPal. It’s a fun and easy app to use and takes just a few seconds to upload a picture of your receipt, you can use my referral code: 8D4S51GX to get 200 points to get you started.
VYPR is also quick and easy to use as it’s a case of clicking through images and product descriptions to opinions on your preferences. This one is fab for checking when the adverts come on or dare I say it, when you nip to the loo! Once you earn enough points you can claim £5. These apps can take a bit longer to tot up the points but they’re quick and easy to use so worth doing.
I’ve heard of similar apps and sites that people use like Prolific Academic and Be My Eye but I just prefer the ones I mentioned. It’s definitely worth looking at what sites are available that will suit you. It’s the same with all aspects of money-saving, you’ll find what works for you and what doesn’t.
These are just some of the things I do to save money but there are so many other things I do; for example market research, selling unwanted clothes and household items, upcycling second-hand furniture, cooking from scratch, bulk cooking, stockpiling, buying out of season clothes in sales and so much more.
I’ll continue to write posts with tips and hints but in the meantime follow me on Instagram as I always share my latest bargain, deal or freebie. The Instagram money-saving community is always so helpful too, everyone shares and tags each other in offers so no one misses out. That is a fab place to learn quickly about all the latest ways to save money. Follow hashtags such as #debtfreecommunity and #moneysaving, you’ll soon find some fab accounts to follow with their own brilliant tips.
And as usual, I am always happy to answer any questions you might have, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in the comments below.
Happy Money Saving,
Thrifty Clair x