I've saved over £800 by making using reward schemes – you can too

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m not a typical saver.

I have such a problem with impulse buying, I have makeup in my drawers that I have never used. I bought it simply because someone on Tiktok said it was good! 

With the cost of living constantly going up, me and my partner find it difficult to put money aside each month: which is why I decided to take action and find ways to make or save money. 

This all started when we (finally) decided to set a date for our wedding.

Weddings are very expensive without all the added extras to make your day personal to you as a couple. 

But a quick Google search will supply you with various ways to make money: from selling clothes you don’t use anymore to opening a small business selling crafts.

Although I have tried these (by completely decluttering my wardrobe, selling off clothes and shoes I don’t use any more and opening not one, but two small businesses: one selling candles and wax melts and the other creating celebration cakes), these aren’t the things that have helped me the most.

You have to initially invest in your business. Then, you have to spend money to make money so you don’t really make a profit for a while.

Take my candle business, for example. I had to fork out about £80 to start with on wax, oils, jars, wicks and labels – and even then, I soon realised that what I bought wouldn’t make a lot of candles.

Everything I earned from that first batch was then put back into the business and I didn’t start seeing a profit until about nine months in. 

After realising that it was extremely difficult to look after two children, work full time and own a small business, I thought there must be an easier way to save money.

Take Tesco, for example: it’s obviously not as cheap as some of the other supermarkets out there but they have recently launched their ‘Aldi Price Match’ for a lot of their items, which appeals to me a lot!

If you walk around Tesco you will see ‘Aldi Price Match’ on some of their products, near the price label. There’s actually quite a few of them!

I’ve found that I’ve been able to cut costs down by around 25% by just buying these products.

Now, I know a lot of people will ask, ‘Why not just shop at Aldi?’ Well, carry on reading! 

While browsing through my post one morning in January last year, I discovered that Tesco Clubcard points can actually be tripled on days out, meals out and subscriptions. So, I took full advantage of it.

Using the triple Clubcard points, we have managed to enjoy three family meals and a ‘date night’ meal just for me and my partner – all for free. All we had to pay for was our drinks! 

We’ve also booked a couple of days out with our children to the Eureka! Science Museum and then over to the Jorvik Centre in York, which is a centre that teaches children (and adults) about Vikings.

This means our children don’t miss out on great days spent making memories and we don’t have to worry about spending money we don’t necessarily have.

Just before Christmas, a Facebook friend sent me a message informing me of a referral scheme that Zilch (a payment app similar to Klarna), was launching.

You signed up, used their service once and then they’d give you £15 in rewards. Then, you could sign up your friends and family and as soon as they’d made their first purchase using Zilch, they received a £15 reward and so did you. (It’s now gone back down to £10 in rewards but that is still pretty good just for signing people up to their service.) 

Not only that, but if you signed up 10 people, they were giving you an extra £50 bonus.  

The scheme was a great way to help out for birthdays and definitely helped us out just before Christmas! In fact, all of our family’s Christmas presents were paid for with the referral money.

There are a number of other things that we do to help cut costs down, too.

For example, there is an app called Too Good To Go where local businesses sell ‘Magic Bags’ full of food that is going out of date but which is still perfectly fine to eat. Bags range from £2 to £5 in my local area and are usually packed full.

Morrison’s does a great bag for £3.09 on Too Good To Go… in fact it’s more like a box. The last one I got was worth a lot more than what I paid for it. It was full of bread, vegetables, fruit, wraps, cakes and even toffee apples for my children.

Another tip: if you have a mobile phone out on a contract you should check that your contract isn’t up. We had a phone that we knew was soon coming to an end, so we checked when we would stop paying monthly for it.

As it turned out, we were paying full price for a contract that ended three months before. We got in contact with our phone provider and managed to get the cost reduced to from £30 to £5 per month.

With the cost of living on the increase recently, these few tips will probably not seem like a lot — but since May 2021, I have managed to save just over £810 and that’s only with our Tesco Clubcard and Zilch referrals. 

That figure doesn’t include how much I’ve saved with Too Good To Go ‘Magic Bags’ or the £25 per month I’ve saved by simply checking a mobile phone contract.

These tricks have allowed us to go out and make memories with our children, which is a big priority for us and is helping us save for our wedding. 

They’re such simple ways to start saving money and I now find myself automatically looking for new ways to save money daily. 

If you have clothes to sell, I highly recommend eBay — they also occasionally have offers where you pay a max of £1 in selling fees for 100 listings.

It is my hope that these tips help families save for epic days out together making amazing memories, a couple to save for a much needed date night or for someone to be able to treat themselves to something they’ve wanted for a long time.

If I can do it, anyone can!

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