A SAVVY mum has revealed how she saves more than £500 per month thanks to money-saving hacks.
Ellie Thomas, 28, knows every trick in the book when it comes to saving money on food shops.
The business owner shops daily for reduced items and claims more than 100 freebies per month through cashback apps.
The mum-of-three, from Shrewsbury, Shrops, also earns up to £250 per month by completing online surveys.
She said: “If someone saw me in the supermarket with a trolley full of branded items – they would never know I am going to pay next to nothing for them.
“Sometimes nothing at all!
“There’s even been occasions where I’ve been paid to shop, eat and drink as a mystery shopper.
“But most of the time, I complete online surveys which pay £1-2 for a couple of minutes.
"So instead of browsing social media or watching TV, I complete a survey and earn money which covers my food shopping bill.”
Ellie shared how she made £220 this month from her surveys, which covers £195 cost of food.
Ellie admits being ‘judged’ for her ‘extreme’ ways.
She said: “People judge me because of how extreme I am, I can use ten different ways to get the bill as cheap as possible.
“I don’t think there should be any shame or embarrassment around bargain hunting.
“I shop daily at 3pm or 6pm to get reduced food which really helps bring our food bill down.
“Kids are expensive so it is important to cut the costs when we can.
“I am a normal person but often think, why should we work hard for a lot of our money to get spent on food when there are so many ways out there to get things cheaper, or even free!
“It just takes a bit of time, research and planning.”
I shop daily at 3pm or 6pm to get reduced food which really helps bring our food bill down.
Ellie has received £280 worth of freebies this month.
She said: “I save every month as I buy reduced items and haven’t paid for alcohol or snacks for a very long time.
“I also get some food, perfume and beauty samples for free.
“I have had 102 freebies worth £280 this month alone.”
Ellie has been leading a frugal lifestyle since June 2018 as she wanted to wipe her £3,000 debt.
Now, she lives debt-free and has spare cash to treat the children to days out as she even cuts costs on their clobber.
FABULOUS BINGO: GET A £5 FREE BONUS WITH NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED
She said: “I buy all year round for birthdays, Christmas and other holidays.
“At the end of every season or event like Halloween, I buy clothes for the following year to save money.
“I have already got my kids Liam, 12, Poppy, eight, Vinnie, five, their wardrobe for summer 2022, which was £50.”
ELLIE’S TOP TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE WHILST MAKING EXTRA MONEY
1. Survey sites such as Attapoll, Prolific Academy, Influence, Field Agent and Citizen Me.
Ellie said: "Some pay really well and all those little pennies soon add up!
"Some surveys pay in points that you can exchange for money or vouchers and others pay in money that you can cash out to your PayPal or bank account!"
2. Declutter and use selling sites with no fees like Facebook Marketplace or Vinted.
3. Participate in 'out of home' studies which can be found on 'Field Agent' app.
Ellie said: "All you have to do is take photos whilst in a supermarket or other places! Previously, I have taken photos of a car wash and got £7.50 for doing it."
4. Utilise the Cashback apps to save some money on your food shopping.
Ellie said: "Apps such as Shopmium offer free or highly discounted branded products so it is worth swapping something you may usually buy for a better price."
5. If you can, shop daily or twice a day.
Ellie said: "Doing this means you can plan better and not overbuy food so you’ll be wasting less.
"Never be afraid of an empty-looking fridge as buying little and often means you can take advantage of reductions or deals and save some pennies along the way!"
6. Set goals.
Ellie said: "Know what are you saving for – after clearing our debts.
"We bought our Ford car outright for £4,500."
7. Track all your incomings and outgoings.
She said: "At the end of the month you will be able to see where your income is going. Is it mainly food? Takeaway coffee? And once you’ve figured that out, you can start cutting back or making some little changes and saving a few pennies that way."
8. Shop for the following season in the sales – for example Start Christmas shopping in the Boxing Day sales. Start buying Halloween and world book day outfits when they go in the sale.
9. Take clothes to 'Cash 4 Clothes' – one can earn up to £4 per 10kg.
10. Food waste scheme apps such as Olio or Too Good To Go.
She said: "Instead of food going straight to landfill, you can 'rescue' it. I love using our local food waste rescue as we can get a few days worth of shopping, for nothing!"
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