A GRAN has revealed her tips for being "thrifty at 60" – which help her save £4,000 a year.
Maggie Deakin, 60, refuses to let a drop of wasted water go down the sink and saved £400 just by switching her utility bills in lockdown.
The receptionist, who has two daughters with her husband, Kevin, a retired insulation engineer, estimates she saves £70 a week by being smart – using cashback websites, coupons, clubcards and completing paid surveys.
Maggie, of Hollingworth, Greater Manchester, said: “The worst thing for me is wasting money. If there’s a way of saving it, I will find it. If I don’t have to spend money I won’t.
“Once I was buying a television with my husband and I took my iPad into the store with me and showed the staff that I could get 10 per cent off using a cashback website.
“They said they couldn’t match the difference, so I bought it from the website while in store and saved myself about £160.
“I’m not shy about asking for a refund or asking them to knock the money off.”
Always a bargain hunter, Maggie, who has two grandchildren Olivia, four, and Sienna, two weeks, spends hours searching the sale rails and looking for 'buy one get one free' offers with her daughters.
But one of her top tips is to shop online using websites like TopCashback, which she joined in 2016, to recoup a percentage of money back on everything she buys.
“If I’m buying anything online I will go through there. It’s saved me more than £400 since I joined," she said.
The worst thing for me is wasting money. If there’s a way of saving it, I will find it
“You can even save money on there if you sell items like clothes on the Preloved website. I advertise on there for free and they give me 16p for every advert I post.
“I also do a lot of market research surveys. They can be time consuming and take up several hours each week, but for some you collect points and convert them into vouchers for places like Amazon and others pay cash.
"When you reach 5,000 points you get sent a cheque for £50.
“I also downloaded this app that will look at what you browse on the internet to collect data, then send you a £10 voucher each month.
“I can spend hours on eBay, scrolling through pages and pages to get the cheapest thing. I buy batteries on there, or tools that my husband needs for his work.
"I always look for discount voucher codes if I'm shopping online. There are lots of different ones out there and hopefully there's always one that works.
“I get a real buzz out of it. My husband says I’m tight, but I say I’m thrifty! My daughters think I'm great at grabbing a bargain."
Maggie uses Tesco clubcard points for days out with her grandkids, saving £80 on entries to Legoland and Sea Life Centre with daughter Tina, 35, granddaughter Olivia and herself just before lockdown.
And her weekly food shop comes to around £50 for two people – thanks to buy her tip of bulk buying essentials.
She said: "I shop at Costco every few weeks for toilet roll, potatoes and milk, which works out a lot cheaper if you buy in bulk.
"We treat ourselves to some sirloin steak from Costco now and again, as it's far cheaper than in the supermarket.
"Generally, we buy our chicken breast from Bookers at £19.99 for 5kg as opposed to a 500g pack of chicken which would cost about £6 in the supermarket, so it's a big saving.
"Occasionally, when they come up on offer, I purchase pre-paid cards for restaurants like Nandos.
"Costco sell these for £34.99 and you have to buy a minimum of two, but the value is £80, so you save £10."
Another of her top tips is to use comparison websites to find the best deals for insurance policies and utilities – then to keep switching to get the most competitive rate.
Maggie explained: “I’m on a water meter, so barely any of it goes down the sink unused.
"I used to think that would cost more, but actually I save a lot of money compared to if I paid water rates.
“I never let the tap run without using it.
"If I want hot water I will always fill the kettle with the cold first before it starts to heat up, so not a drop is wasted, and I use left over drinking water for plants.
“It’s better for the environment as well as being cheaper.
“I switch almost everything off when it isn't in use – the television, DVD player, they are never left on standby. Most things with a digital clock are turned off.”
Maggie saved an estimated £400 by switching her utilities during lockdown – shopping around using moneysavingexpert.com.
She said: “My supplier had changed and I saw that my direct debits were going to go up by £24, so I used Money Saving Expert to find a cheaper deal.
"I’m now paying just over £600 for gas and electric whereas before it was just over a thousand a year and I will happily switch again if I see a cheaper deal.
“I’m registered with the website Petrol Prices, so I get daily alerts of the cheapest fuel whenever I need to fill up, too.”
For Maggie, there is no shame in taking something back to be refunded if that saving ends up back in her pocket.
She said: “In one shop, I’d bought a picnic blanket for £22 and when I went back to get one for my daughter I spotted them at a reduced price for £17.99 – nearly £5 cheaper, so I bought two.
“I had the receipt for the original one, the shop assistant refunded that at the full price so I could buy it at the sale price. They said that little bit of cash is better off in my pocket anyway.
“I will always take something back and buy it back cheaper if I can. The shop assistants are normally willing to do it. They can’t really say no as you could have returned the item anyway.
"When I bought a bed earlier this year, I found the pre-drilled holes were in the wrong place, and when it was assembled it was not in line. I complained and got a £50 refund.
"I am happy to take a partial refund for keeping the slightly faulty items."
Maggie's top tips
1) Always look in the reduced section and go at the end of the day
2) Use TopCashback whenever shopping online and use voucher codes
3) Use eBay as you will generally find things cheaper on there
4) Use comparison sites to shop around for utilities and sign up for Money Saving Expert cheap energy club.
5) Never give up!
A fan of cruises, Maggie also advises travellers to book last minute, which has saved her £1,000 in the past.
She said: “I managed to get a week long Mediterranean cruise with food and drinks for £530 each, including transfers, which was a bargain when you consider you would normally spend that just on meals.
“I also had a cruise cancelled recently, so agreed to let the deposit sit in the account of the travel company as credit, which will give me an extra 25 per cent back to spend on the next cruise.”
Collecting coupons for supermarkets like Farmfoods, where she can shop for her favourite Diet Coke drink, Maggie rarely buys other branded goods and gets her household items from high street shops such as Home Bargains and B&M.
“I rely on dogged determination. 'Perseverance is the key,' is my motto," she said. "My bargain hunting might cost me time, but it doesn’t cost me money.
"Without being so savvy about it, I think I’d spend an extra £10 a day, which when you add it up is thousands of pounds a year. Being thrifty at 60 really makes sense!”
Visit TopCashback.co.uk to shop with over 5000 retailers and charities, and receive a portion of your purchase back. On average members earn £325 a year and can donate their cashback earnings directly to more than 450 charities on-site.
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