A woman has explained how she saves over £1,000 a year through clever money hacks – including freebie websites and cashback.
Laura Doe, 31, a support worker from Chorley, uses product testing websites to get free food and beauty items sent to her door.
She also enters competitions every day – including free postcode lotteries – and keeps an eye out for bargains online.
Laura says one of her biggest wins saw her scoop £300 on the free website pickmypostcode.
She told LatestDeals.co.uk: “I’d say I’ve saved around £1,000 a year at least.
“I enter loads of competitions, either ones I’d like to win myself or ones that I know someone would love as a present, so I can pass onto them.
“These are always completely free and just take a couple of minutes of your time to either find the answer or just put your details in.
“I’ve been doing it for 10 years now, my first ever competition win was a Nespresso coffee machine when they first came out!
“I’m also a member of a few tester panels who send out products to try for free. With some, you get to keep the product and others send you a voucher for your time.”
Laura – who is now LatestDeals.co.uk Saver Of The Year – recommends entering only free competitions and says she gives away a lot of samples for birthdays and Christmas.
She said: “I also enter all of the sponsored ads for free perfume and aftershave, makeup and anything else that may be useful.
“They’re great sized little samples to try something but also great for travelling. I always use whatever aftershave samples I get through to give my brother for his birthday or Christmas.”
Laura says she also finds freebies on websites such as Freegle and Gumtree, as well as food waste websites like Olio and Too Good To Go.
Over the past year, some of her best finds include two free bookcases and even a new bed for nothing.
In terms of free food, Olio works with companies such as Pret and Tesco to send out volunteers to collect surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Too Good To Go, meanwhile, partners up with retailers including Greggs, Marks and Spencer and Costa – as well as smaller, independent shops – to sell “magic bags” of food that would otherwise be thrown out at the end of the day.
Prices start from around £3 for a bag.
Laura said: “I’ve had some really good bags, where I’ve got quite a lot of stuff in them and have shared them with family and we’ve been eating them for lunch or snacks for a good couple of days after they’ve been bought.
“They’re still fine to eat, they just can no longer be sold in the shops or cafes.”
Laura says her other money-saving tips include always comparing prices and making the most of cashback sites.
She said: “When looking at buying a more expensive item, I always look around a few websites to see who has it cheaper and if it’s the same price if one website has any perks for buying it with them.
“My latest bargain was an advent calendar with baubles from Primark. It was marked at £15, but scanned through at £7.
“I recently bought a brand new Apple Watch Series 7 which is normally £369 for £349 as it had gone down for Black Friday. I also got five months of Apple Music, Arcade and News for free for buying it from Currys.
“I think just by spending that little bit of extra time looking to see who gives you the best deal you can save a bit of money.”
Laura says some of her favourite cashback sites include Shopmium and Topcashback.
Cashback sites do what they say on the tin. You’ll get money back for a qualifying shop when you provide proof of a receipt, and as long as you complete the transaction via their website.
Laura explained: “Sometimes they offer 100% cashback so you can try something for free.
“I also check sites like vouchercodes.co.uk to see if there are any codes for money off or sometimes they offer Amazon vouchers or other vouchers if you shop through them.
“My tips for people who want to do something similar is to not buy on a whim.
“Do your research and know your prices, even in supermarkets, as some sell the exact same product for much cheaper.
“I also follow Latest Deals and their different groups to find good deals on Amazon for things I want or have been thinking about buying.”