Savvy mum says she’s cut food and clothes bills by more than £500 a month thanks to money-saving hacks including buying reduced items and being paid to fill out online surveys
A cost-conscious mum has revealed how she saves over £500 per month – thanks to a variety of money-saving hacks.
Ellie Thomas, 28, from Shrewsbury, says she knows every trick in the book when it comes to saving money on food shops – and can earn up to £250 per month simply by completing online surveys.
Instead of getting an online weekly delivery, the business owner shops daily for reduced items in supermarkets and says she also claims over 100 freebies per month through cashback apps.
She says she’s experienced negative reactions from some people for her thrifty ways but admits she doesn’t care what others think, saying: ‘I can use ten different ways to get the bill as cheap as possible.’
Look after the pennies: Ellie Thomas, 28, (pictured), from Shrewsbury, knows every trick in the book when it comes to saving money on food shops
Sharing her best bargains on social media, Ellie showed off savings on food and toiletry items thanks to yellow stickers
She also posts about the bargain family meals she creates using cut-price ingredients, including this sausage and mushroom pasta
Ellie’s monthly shopping bill is supposed to be around £560 but her money-saving hacks save her hundreds every month.
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.
She says while her peers might use spare time to browse social media, she invests her time in making money back for her family.
‘Instead of browsing social media or watching TV, I complete a survey and earn money which covers my food shopping bill.
‘This month, I made £220 which covered the remaining monthly £195 cost of food which is supposed be over £500.’
Ellie admits being ‘judged’ for her ‘extreme’ ways’.
Ellie’s monthly shopping bill is supposed to be £558 but her money-saving hacks have made the remaining £195 bill – free. Ellie and her son, Vinnie, five.
Ellie shops daily at 3pm or 6pm to get reduced, yellow-stickered food bargains -which really helps bring their food bill down, she says
However, some people judge Ellie because of how extreme they think she is, the mother-of-three says (Pictured: Some of Ellie’s savings that she has shared with her followers)
Ellie often doesn’t pay for alcohol or snacks – thanks to cashback apps that mean she can get everything she wants for free
Ellie has already got her kids their wardrobe for summer 2022 which was just £50. Pictured: Partner Richard, 34, Ellie, 28, Poppy, eight and Vinnie, five
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.’
Ellie says she wonders why we work hard for our money to spend it on food when there are ways to get things cheaper, or even free. Pictured: Some reduced items Ellie has purchased
At the end of every season or event like Halloween, Ellie buys clothes for the following year to save money
‘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.’
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.’
Pictured: £70 worth of alcohol and snacks bought for £12 through the Green Jinn cashback app
Ellie has been leading a frugal lifestyle since June 2018 as she wanted to wipe her £3,000 debt. Pictured: Some of Ellie’s savings that she has shared with her followers
‘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 because she wanted to wipe her £3000 debt. Now, she lives debt-free and has spare cash to treat the children to days out.
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. Use survey sites such as Attapoll, Prolific Academy, Influence, Field Agent and Citizen Me
‘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
‘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
‘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
‘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
‘Know what you are you saving for – after clearing our debts, we bought our Ford car outright for £4,500.’
7. Track all your incomings and outgoings
‘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’
You can earn up to £4 per 10kg
10. Food waste scheme apps such as Olio or Too Good To Go.
‘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.’