Extreme couponing has really taken off in the UK last year, with even more people using money-off coupons to save on everyday items, but what happens when you don't have the time or energy needed to save yourself some serious cash?
Professional freebie hunter, Anushka Fernando, manages to save £500 a month without the use of money-off coupons.
The 29 year old web editor, saves hundreds of pounds each month simply from finding free stuff and living frugally.
Anushka, from Surrey, said "I love the idea of couponing, and admire those who manage to save hundreds from fastidiously finding and keeping money-off coupons, but my busy lifestyle means I don't always have time to dedicate to couponing and I almost always forget to take my coupons to the supermarket!"
With the incentive of saving for a house, Anushka has recently embarked on a money-saving mission which has resulted in her squirrelling away £500 a month without the use of couponing.
Instead she applies for all the free stuff she finds daily for freebie site MagicFreebies.co.uk and has made massive cuts to her outgoings.
Anushka saves £500 a month through freebie hunting and frugal living - and not a coupon in sight!
"I used to spend so frivolously, buying what I wanted when I wanted. But since working for the website, I've become more money-savvy. Finding freebies for a living has really opened my eyes up to how much free stuff you can actually get."
"Freebie hunting really can be a way of life. By living off of the free stuff I receive and making changes to my lifestyle, I'm proof you can save money the easy way."
"You don't have to spend your evenings cutting out coupons."
Want to know exactly how Anushka saves £500 a month?
We asked her to give us a breakdown of how she does it without extreme couponing:
SWAPPING DAILY LATTES FOR FREE COFFEES - saves £55 a month / £660 a year
Anushka usually enjoyed five Starbucks lattes a week, which added up to £55 a month. She's swapped her costly habit for freebies from different coffee shops and supermarkets.
“I take full advantage of free drink offers and I’m always on the prowl for free coffee. In the past month I’ve enjoyed free Cafe Nero lattes every week with the O2 Priority Moments app, daily free hot drinks from Waitrose and until recently, coffee and cake at John Lewis every month."
USING FREE GYM PASSES & FREE CLASSES - saves £61/ £732 a year
By cancelling a costly gym membership and taking advantage of free gym trials and free classes, Anushka saves £61 a month which adds up to a whopping £732 for the year.
"In January I collected as many free gym passes and trials as I could get, and now every few week I'll use their facilities as a treat."
"I've also discovered free yoga at my nearest Reebok store and free pilates at Lulu lemon Athletica. They're nationwide so I recommend anyone to attend. Another discovery is free exercise groups where you can exercise with others in the park through websites like Meetup.com"
FREE BEAUTY PRODUCTS - saves £40 a month / £480 a year
“I haven’t bought toothpaste for three years!"
"I get 90% of my beauty essentials and make up from freebie hunting. At Magic Freebies we list all the latest free stuff, so I apply every day for freebies and wait for them to arrive. I've now got boxes of products so I very rarely need to buy anything."
Anushka believes the best freebies are high-value items like razors. Gillette and Wilkinson Sword often give out thousands of freebies every year, but one of the best freebies Anushka received was an electric toothbrush worth £59.
"If I do buy anything, I’ll go to Poundland where I recently picked up a huge 700ml bottle of Imperial Leather shower gel for £1."
The 29 year old has received everything from free shower gel samples, to full-size shampoo bottles and even perfume. Anushka also gets free trials of products not even launched yet by signing up to sites such as Super Savvy Me, Beauty on Trial and BzzAgent.
Pro freebie hunter Anushka has received free perfumes, samples from luxury brand MAC and an electric toothbrush worth £59.
FREE HAIRCUTS & BEAUTY TREATMENTS – saves £26 a month / £300 a year
While training part time to become a massage therapist, Anushka recently discovered free treatments at her local college.
“I used to spend £60 on a haircut and £30 on two manicures every 8-12 weeks, but I’ve swapped these for free treatments."
You can take advantage of free haircuts and treatments from students in training. Anushka said "They also offer free massages, facials, eyelash tinting - everything you would expect at a normal spa or salon."
"I also look out for offers from magazines. I've enjoyed a few free haircut and blow dry offers that I've found in Marie Claire and Glamour magazines”.
SWAPPING SHOP BOUGHT SANDWICHES FOR PACKED LUNCH – saves £100 a month / £1,200 a year
By ditching shop bought sandwiches, Anushka saves over a thousand pounds a year. She said “This change was actually made because after 8 years of shop-bought lunches, I had started to really despise them."
"At lunch all I want is something hot and home cooked so I started to freeze leftovers religiously.”
Anushka also checks out websites like LoveFoodHateWaste.com and leftover recipes on BBCGoodFood.com to help make the most of meals.
SUPPER CLUBS - saves £120 a month / £1,440 a year
After what started as a way to socialise cheaply during a dry January, she now eats at the homes of friends and family twice a week. By returning the favour, they all save hundreds of pounds in meals a month.
"I’ve managed to slash down my monthly grocery bills by £120 by doing a supper club. It means making more food when it’s my turn to cook, but by enjoying at least two or three free dinners a week it really saves a lot of money each month."
FREE FOOD FREEBIES - saves £25 a month /£300 a year
Anushka receives regular food freebies through applying for them at MagicFreebies.co.uk. Freebies can range from free samples - recently including Biscoff Biscuit Spread and a box of Clipper green tea - to those from restaurants and cafes.
"I've got my ear to the ground when it comes to free food! I receive anything from useful essentials like tea and chicken stock, to treats like free Krispy Kreme doughnuts, burritos and Pizza Express dough balls."
"I get most of these through Magic Freebies, but I also sign up to the mailing lists of my favourite restaurants in my town. You get to hear about special nights, for example I was invited to enjoy a free burger at GBK with friends and last week I had a free drink and canapés at the re-opening of the local All Bar One" she said.
By also signing up to different rewards apps, such as Gregg's, this professional freebie hunter often tucks into free soup, pasties and cakes.
Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch? Anushka has received free gourmet chocolate, Caffe Nero drinks and tea.
GETTING FREEBIES FROM PRIORITY MOMENTS - saves £20 a month / £240 a year
O2 users can download the app Priority Moments, and enjoy daily freebies, offers and competitions.
"I love this app. Not only have I received treats like free Caffe Nero coffees, but I've also got some really useful ones too that have helped at times like Christmas." she said.
"I get free chocolate, drinks and even greetings cards."
Recent freebies have included:
- WHSmith Leather bound Diary worth £10
- Box of Christmas cards worth £3.99
- Valentine's Day card worth £3.99
- Bottles of Pepsi Max, Fanta and Smartwater worth around £1 each
- Hotel Chocolat chocolate slab worth around £6
- Loom Band Kit worth £5.99
USING FREE SPOTIFY, NETFLIX & FREEVIEW SERVICES - saves £60 a month / £720 a year
"I was paying huge amount of money for entertainment subscriptions but have swapped to free services. The free Spotify service has adverts but I’ve quickly got used to it and by swapping to freeview I'm saving a lot. I can't believe I ever paid for any of it."
USING CODES TO EAT OUT - saves £30 a month / £360 a year
"I enjoy 2-3 meals out a month, but always make sure I use a code from either the Priority Moments or the VoucherCloud app. I've also signed up for a free Taste Card which gives me 50% off at popular restaurants like Zizzi and ASK." said Anushka.
"Freebie hunting can get addictive. I apply for everything but it's always fun to apply and even better when they arrive in the post! It's like Christmas every day.
I especially enjoy all the food freebies, everything seems to tastes better when it's free."
Anushka finds eight genuine freebies every day and lists them on MagicFreebies.co.uk where 1.2 million registered users head for all the latest free stuff from around the web and high street.
Freebies galore - Anushka has received everything from free porridge to a Gillette razor worth £8.
"It's really easy to apply for free stuff and it's not terribly time consuming. I make a nice cup of tea and sit down for a 15 minute break and apply for anything that takes my fancy." Anushka said
"It beats cutting out coupons!"
Anushka, who is now saving for a house, hopes that more people will join her in easy, hassle-free freebie hunting.
Visit Magic Freebies to start applying for free stuff now.