A woman has revealed how she saved more than £1,000 this year thanks to free contests and secret money savings offers.
Laura Doe, 31, a Chorley support worker, has made some simple tweaks to her daily life and reaped huge rewards.
Laura participates in contests, searches for deals online, applies for free beauty products, uses cashback apps and searches for free food and goods online.
Laura competes to be crowned with this year’s hottest savings bargain: Members of the 2 million money-saving community reveal the best savings tips and tricks.
Laura told LatestDeals.co.uk: “I take part in a lot of competitions, both the ones I’d like to win myself or the ones I know someone would love as a gift, so I can pass them on.
These are always completely free and take a few minutes of your time to either find the answer or enter your details.
“I also won over £300 on pickmypostcode earlier in the year – it’s a free website that you log into every day and you can earn money if your zip code is chosen in any of the raffles that day.
“I also follow the latest offers and their various collections to find good deals on Amazon for things I want or have been thinking of buying. A few months ago I got some beautiful lights for my garden for about £5!”
“I’m also a member of quite a few test panels that send out products to try for free. Some of them, you can keep the product and others send you a coupon for your time. It really depends on what they ask you to do.”
“Also enter all the sponsored ads for free fragrances, aftershaves, makeup and anything else that might come in handy. They are great little samples to try something but also great for travel.”
“I always use the aftershave samples I get to give to my brother for his birthday or Christmas, and I use the perfume samples when I go out for a night out as I don’t have to worry that I’ll smash a favorite bottle of perfume at some point. Plus it’s small enough to put in A small bag or even your briefcase!”
When it comes to shopping, Laura has her own tricks to make sure she gets the best deal possible.
She said: “When looking to buy a more expensive item, I always look around a few websites to see who has that cheaper and if it’s the same price if one website has any perks to buying it with them.
“My last deal was an advent calendar with trinkets from Primark. Marked at £15, but scanned at £7.
“I recently bought a brand new Apple Watch Series 7 which normally costs £369 versus £349 as it dropped on Black Friday.
“I also got five months of free Apple Music, Arcade and News to buy at Currys. I also have access to online vouchers through Work, which gave me a discount on the price, giving me just over £20 off!”
“I think once you spend a little extra time looking to see who gives you the best deal or the best perks (sometimes different stores offer different perks, so you always have to take advantage of the feature you think is most relevant to you!) make a little money instead of just buying From the retailer you always shop with.
“I also tend to search charity stores for things like books or other things I don’t mind being expendable. They usually have them for much less than you would have paid even when they are discounted in stores.
“I found the next book in a series I was reading in hardcover two months after it was released for £1. It was still £15 on Amazon and in other bookstores!
“I recently stumbled upon a charity store of brand-new Dr. Seuss books, which cost £4 each for 11 people, but as you can see, they retail for £6.99 each!”
In addition to searching for deals, Laura relies on apps to earn you a little extra money.
She explains, “I also use cashback apps like Shopmium, GreenJinn and CheckoutSmrt when shopping in stores and also try to check them regularly to see if there’s anything I’d like to try or something I would normally buy that I could get cash back on.
Last month I saved at least £150 by doing some extra work
“Sometimes they offer 100% cashback so you can try something for free. I also use sites like TopCashback to see how much I’ll get back from an online purchase, and also check sites like vouchercodes.co.uk to see if there are any discount codes Money or sometimes they offer Amazon vouchers or other vouchers if you shop through them.
“To spread the cost of Christmas and birthdays, I try to get gifts that I know people will love throughout the year, especially if I see them a little cheaper (January sales are so good for that—especially for Christmas cards!) that I don’t feel like it that much when it comes to Christmas.” Or the most crowded Christmas I’ve had.
“I store it away for later in the year when I need it. Last year by December I only needed to pick up a few Christmas items which were mostly food or drink.
“I also use sites like Freegle and Gumtree to donate things or get them for free or for a really cheap price that I need.
“I was able to get two bookcases with glass doors and a bed for free last year and also asked my local if anyone would give me books to take to the retirement village where I work for my residents.
“I ended up with three big boxes of books for them, of all different types, so it would fit most people.
“Finally, I started using apps to reduce waste like Olio, which offers both food and other things for free in your area.
“Food is usually saved from the supermarket and has a short history or it could be cans you found in your cupboard knowing you wouldn’t use them but still in the history, they really do vary!
“I also love the TooGoodToGo app. You can save food leftovers from cafes, bakeries and convenience stores.
You buy a ‘magic bag’ at a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy it at full price and it’s full of anything you can throw in the trash.
“I’ve got some really good bags, I have a lot of stuff in them and I’ve shared with family and we’ve been eating them for lunch or snacks for a few days after having bought them.
“They can still eat, and they can no longer be sold in stores or cafes.
“Magic bags usually only cost a few pounds (maybe the most expensive I’ve seen was £5) but you usually get a bag where the full price is either double or triple the price you paid, sometimes more!
“Last month I saved at least £150 by doing some extra work.
“I would say I saved around £1,000 a year at least. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, my first ever win was a Nespresso machine when it first came out!
“My advice to people who want to do something similar is not to buy on a whim.
“Do your research and know your prices, even in supermarkets, where some sell the exact same product for much cheaper.
“Always look at cashback apps and sites to see if they give you anything for your purchases and look to see if there are any relevant coupon codes you can use to get rid of just delivery charges.
“I think it’s just all about spending five or 10 extra minutes looking to see if you can get a better deal.
Also if you don’t mind a surprise when it comes to food, try the TooGoodToGo app.
“I’m very picky about meat but I can always give it to a family member!
“If you want to know what you are getting, try the Olio app, as there may be people near you who are donating something.
“But I think the main advice I can give, is to just take your time with your purchases and not buy on a whim because that’s how you spend more money!
“I always find that before I decide to buy something, wait a few days or even weeks to see if you really want it – if you did when you started looking and if you didn’t save yourself some money by not buying something you don’t need! “
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “We are running a Deal Saver Contest of the year to hear from the genius savers in our community, and find out their valuable tips and tricks to save money.
“Laura has some great advice here, and the good news is that any of us can do it.
Simple daily changes like spending a few more minutes searching for a deal, packing free lunch boxes or entering contests can save you thousands of pounds!