Free £179 Leather Jacket from M&S

My journey has evolved from Minimalism to incorporate a Zero Waste lifestyle. I have also been able to learn a great deal about money-saving and non-traditional work opportunities. Here I share some opportunities:

How did I do it? Read on dear readers, read on! I got this jacket for free thanks to a combination of my online earners; Swagbucks, TopCashBack and Valued Opinions. (I promise I will write a detailed post about Valued Opinions soon!)My husband needed a new leather jacket, as his was now very worn and discoloured. He set his heart upon this one a few months ago and so it became my new target for online earning.

If you sign up to Swagbucks through me, you can earn up to 500SB for free! If you earn 300SB they will match it and then, if you use their shop & earn feature (like cashback), you can get another 200SB.

If you sign up to TopCashBack through me and earn £10 worth of cashback, you can get £5 free! These will get you well on the way to whatever target you set yourself.

Come on, get started today and then post in the comments what you are aiming for. I want to see the pictures when you achieve your goal!

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How to get a Year’s Breakdown Cover for £50

Did you know you can use cashback sites to bring down the cost of your breakdown cover by more than half?! This year, at the time of my renewal Topcashback was offering the best deal. So I switched provider to the RAC and got a massive £66.50 in cashback just a few months later. This means my total cost for the year amounted to £50 and this included most options, except International Travel which I don’t need. Are you overpaying for your breakdown cover?

I’m a member of TopCashback amongst other sites, and I’ve made some great savings so far on my online shopping. There are no catches, and it’s completely free to join. So, why don’t you join too? So far I have earned £470.78 cashback!

Cheltenham Festival = The Best Time of Year to Start Matched Betting!

My journey has evolved from Minimalism to incorporate a Zero Waste lifestyle. I have also been able to learn a great deal about money-saving and non-traditional work opportunities. Here I share one such opportunity:

Next week is Cheltenham Festival and if you’re anything like me, that would be fairly meaningless to you. Until last year that was, when I found out about Matched Betting. I’ve written before about a site called Profit Accumulator which talks you through the whole process. It was exactly what I needed to walk me through, step-by-step and I was quickly on my way to having several thousand pounds in the bank! It paid for me to do renovations on my home.

If you’ve been thinking about it, or are unsure – I’d really encourage you to give it a go next week because the sign-up deals from the bookies will be the best they will be all year! Make sure you go through a cashback site to get even more free cash!!!

You can start with nothing, but it will be easier if you have £100-£200 spare in your bank account. There are forums where you can ask any questions and they even have a support team too. You’ll very quickly get the hang of it and please post here, to tell me how much cash you’ve made! No luck required, it’s all in the maths!

The cheapest way to own a Smartphone

I have just started the 4th year of owning my iPhone 5s 32gb. It’s holding up well and I hope to get another couple of years out of it. I thought a bit differently when purchasing my phone and I believe this is the cheapest way to own a Smartphone.

I purchased my phone outright from the manufacturer, Apple. It was unlocked, so I wasn’t tied to any network and this meant I was free to select the cheapest deal. I had read great things about GiffGaff and a family member had been with them for a couple of years, so they were able to benefit from me switching too (as GiffGaff is run by its members, they pay you for introducing new people). I chose a 30 day, rolling SIM contract which I am free to change each month to suit my usage. Best of all GiffGaff email you with details of your best plan, or you can switch to Pay-As-You-Go at any time.

So, let’s crunch the numbers.

  • Upfront cost of unlocked handset £524.17
  • I’m currently on their lowest priced bundle, paying just £5 a month for calls, texts and data.

The //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone cost, split over 4 years works out at £10.92 per month, so with the bundle on top I’m paying just £15.92 per month. £191.04 per year and that’s £764.16 over 4 years, not a lot more than the cost of the phone! O2 were the cheapest nearest competitor when I was purchasing, but buying outright won hands down on a new phone.

O2 are still selling the //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone 5s, but only a 16gb model and they want £15 a month for that, plus £9.99 upfront. They’ll also tie you in for 2 years. But, it’s not really a fair comparison as I bought the newest model. So, let’s say you want an //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01LW1VU9E&asins=B01LW1VU9E&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone 7 the minimum cost is £45.00 a month (on the cheapest data package!), plus £9.99 upfront. You’ll be paying £1090 over the 2 years they’ll tie you in for. Then you’ll probably have to pay someone to unlock it, if you want to move away.

You’ll only pay £599 to buy the same phone outright, unlocked direct from Apple. So let’s compare that over 2 years for a fair comparison, adding £5 a month for your basic bundle. £719 is your cost of ownership, saving yourself an enormous £371! More if you keep your phone for longer, as there will be absolutely no need to upgrade it. But if you’re a serial upgrader for whatever reason, then you’ll still get a decent trade-in/ re-sale price for your phone. So my advice, if you want to do this (or for anyone really) is to buy a screen protector and great case so you keep your phone in pristine condition!

You don’t have to purchase an //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B00F3J4B5S&asins=B00F3J4B5S&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>iPhone, to be honest – I probably wouldn’t again. My other have has an Android phone, a //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01IF51GYU&asins=B01IF51GYU&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>Motorola ‘Moto G’ and it’s been very good. We bought it outright on Amazon for £160 a couple of years ago, plus £11 on a //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=minimaexposu-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B014IX0202&asins=B014IX0202&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>memory card. Although it hasn’t been quite as reliable, it broke once and had to go away to be repaired. But you can expand the memory.

I might even go so far as to suggest that you might want to put some of the cost of buying a phone outright on a credit card, if you can’t wait to save up (which is what I would advise), since you can see how great your savings are! GiffGaff also sell phones now, which they didn’t when we were buying and I would imagine they have a competitive offering. If you would like to sign-up to get GiffGaffed, then you and I will both receive £10 credit – twice as much as usual. This great deal only lasts until 31st January 2017, so you’d better get moving!

My final word on this subject – don’t forget to go through a cashback site, wherever you decide to purchase from!

Make the Most of Supermarket Vouchers

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I find that the supermarkets are desperate to compete for my business. I have been deluged in vouchers and coupons by email, post and in-store all trying to get me to do my Christmas shopping with a particular retailer. I will use these coupons to my advantage and here’s how you can too.

  • Make sure you take a calculator to the shop with you, so that you just meet the threshold spend. This means you get the full value of the coupon.
  • Look on MySupermarket before you go and compare prices on the items on your shopping list. Make sure you’re buying them at the shop with the best offer.
  • Combine this with money-saving shopping apps, like Shopitize, Clicksnap, Shopinium and CheckoutSmart. This way you can either get an item for free with the app, or at a further discount PLUS you are getting the shop’s discount on top! Even better if it’s a store that gives loyalty points too. You could even spend some of your points and possibly get your shopping for free, or even by getting them to pay you to take goods away. (Yes, it does happen – I’ve done it myself on occasion). Stacking offers like this is the way to go!
  • Take the opportunity to stock up on essentials, if they are on offer. The shops want you to buy over-priced Christmas goodies, but hopefully being a minimalist, zero waste, money-saving type you are going to make these from scratch yourself and save a small fortune! So, take this opportunity to stock up on loo roll, mouthwash or whatever else you can get a good deal on and stash in the cupboard for next year.

For example, the last time I bought 4 pints of milk at Waitrose – they gave me a £6 off a £30 spend voucher printed from the till. Alongside some everyday items that we needed, I picked up 36 loo rolls. I basically got 16 of these for free and they were on a 2 for £7 offer which is the best price I know they are ever on sale for anyway. So I got a sweet deal here. At the till, they printed £8 off a £40 spend. Yes, they’ve upped the threshold but it’s still a pretty decent discount. If you’re shopping at Waitrose – tweak your ‘pick your own offers‘ and on top of the voucher, you can save 20% on those items. Check the internet for manufacturer coupons too, so you can save on certain products. Again, make sure you check MySupermarket and use them wisely, in the right store. If a product is already discounted, you can often take it away for FREE!

I absolutely hate going round the shops the nearer it gets to Christmas, so I am using this part of the month to stock on essentials like shampoo, tea bags, coffee, loo roll and so on. This way, I needn’t go near the shops for a couple of months at least! Fill your freezer, if you have space but make sure you leave room for any Christmas bits.

Look out for on-line only shopping vouchers too – I’ve been emailed a stack of these too. However they have MUCH higher threshold spends which are probably going to be too much for me (like £10 off £100 and that isn’t such a good deal, but better than none). They would be great for families though, or if you have a lot of visitors over the festive period.

Lastly, don’t over-stretch yourself! Make sure you have enough cash left to pay for Christmas. Maybe use your credit card to your advantage, but ONLY if you can afford to pay it off IN FULL when it becomes due.

Cyber Monday Deals

Looking for the best deals on holiday shopping this Cyber Monday? Swagbucks is offering increased cash back from stores like Amazon, Argos, Marriott, or Thompson and get (Paypal) cash back or gift cards to your favourite stores! Swagbucks will also offer amazing one-day deals to try out new products and services, earning you even more free gift cards.  This page has everything you need to take advantage of some great “shopportunities” for Cyber Monday!

I must confess that I have purchased a photo book from Truprint over the weekend. It was something I was intending to do anyway, as a memento of my beautiful cat Willow. You can read more about her here. They are offering 50% off everything site wide with the code MEGASALE16. My top tip is to always read the small print when looking at cash back sites – some sites will not let you combine offers and some cash back sites state that if you use a code not posted or approved by them, you will invalidate your cash back. You want to get the best deal you can and not be disappointed if your cash back doesn’t show up. It’s also a good idea to always clear your cache, before clicking through. This ensures that the website can properly track your purchases and you have a higher chance of receiving your payout.

If you’re new here and you haven’t heard of them, Swagbucks.com is an easy, quick way to earn cash back and gift cards by shopping online or doing other everyday activities like taking surveys or watching videos. When you do those things, you earn points (called SB) that you redeem for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, John Lewis, Argos, Starbucks, and more!  Just for signing up through me, you can earn a 300 SB bonus if you earn 300 SB before December 1st – if you spend at least £25 shopping through Swagbucks during that time, you’ll get another 200 SB bonus!  Take advantage of these great deals – sign up now.

Black Friday is finally here!

So, Black Friday is finally here and will put an end to all the hype. Did you make any purchases? I heard on the radio that most shoppers are choosing to make their purchases online this year, rather than in-store. I made none this year, I honestly couldn’t see a genuinely good deal out there for me and besides, there was nothing I needed to buy.

 

Quidco suffered a massive fail, as there site went down (presumably couldn’t cope with the volume of traffic! However, if you need to make a purchase then you may like to go through Swagbucks to get cashback. I can see that Holland and Barrett is offering 10% cashback today. And Thornton’s (which might be good for Christmas gifts) is offering 8% There are also some good deals with holiday sites like Thomson, if you fancy planning to get away from it all! Did you make any purchases? Why don’t you share some of the great deals you have found? Let me know.

Just for signing up through me, you can earn a 300 SB bonus if you earn 300 SB before December 1st – if you spend at least £25 shopping through Swagbucks during that time, you’ll get another 200 SB bonus!