I just bought a £128.23 Amazon order for £4.27

Hi everyone.

Like some sort of money saving squirrel I have been storing my voucher ‘acorns’ for the winter.

And today I decided to get started on my Christmas shopping and bought 10 of the Christmas budget presents (this includes some December and January birthdays).

I used the Amazon vouchers I had earned through doing things like surveys and using phone apps.

These are all the things I did to help reach this bounty.

PHONE APPS

Shoppix and Shopprize (ask me for a referral code if you want a boost) and my beloved Job Spotter made up the bulk.

SURVEY SITES

Valued Opinions and Pinecone Research

OTHER

Shop and Scan. I felt like I had won the lottery when I was selected for Shop and Scan.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of how you can make money for minimal effort. I will explain more in another post coming soon. Now that I am unemployed I have a lot of time on my hands.

 

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I have options (shopping options)

Today marked an important day for my finances.

I said at the start of 2017 that I would be allowed to buy clothes if I bought them with vouchers and spent nothing in terms of cash on them.

Today I got my Tesco club card statement and vouchers through. In the last three months I have collected enough points to be rewarded with £10 in vouchers.

Add this to my faithful £6.50 in vouchers collected across the previous 6 months and I have a nice little pot of possibilities.

My boyfriend kindly agreed that the Tesco Club Card vouchers can all be mine this year, and I know that I can do a club card boost and exchange them for up to 4 times their value on meals out and things, but having looked through the options I don’t think my boyfriend and I would actually enjoy the places on offer.

Today was also notable because I earned 500 points for uploading pictures of my shopping receipts on the great consumer market research scheme ‘Shop and Scan’ which means I now have enough points to exchange for up to £20 in Vouchers, for places like New Look or Amazon.

The old me, if I suddenly had vouchers that were mine to spend, spend, spend would have used them in about 30 minutes.

I am not in a hurry to use them, which feels great, like I am in control, because part of the No Spend Year idea is also to produce less waste, to revamp, reduce, reuse and recycle. So do I need anything?

No.

So they will sit proudly underneath the Hello Kitty magnet on the fridge until I have a real need to use them.

I have also come to realise something just about everyone else on the planet had already taken as an established truth which is that it really pays to buy quality first time round.

For instance, I have always been more cheap and cheerful then quality, because even when I was spending other peoples money (I mean on my credit cards, not that I was going through people’s wallets, honestly guys I’m not a thief!) I had a sense of spending as little money as possible.

As a result of this I buy a £4 bra that lasts about 5 months before the underwire pokes out and it is all stretched and baggy. When if I had bought a nice Marks and Spencer’s bra (is it just me or does it seem that you can do no wrong if you go to Marks and Spencer’s?) for about £25 I would probably still have it 5 years later.

I have realised it pays to buy good quality the first time round through two ways.

One, My Doc Martens. I spent £90 on them two years ago and they are only now beginning to be ever so slightly worn out. They still have, I reckon, another 2 years in them at least. They are certainly the most expensive item of clothing I have ever bought, and I know it’s shallow to say this but they make me very happy.

Also before the No Spend Year began, in late 2016 I bought a pair of jeans to see me through 2017. They cost £30 which given the most I had ever spent on a pair of jeans before was £14 seemed like a fortune to me.

Well, I can happily say they are the nicest jeans I have ever worn. They are beautiful and the quality of them feels great compared to the very flimsy £9.99 jeans I had spent the majority of 2016 in.

So I will save my money from now on and buy higher quality items when I need to instead of trying to buy as much tat for as little money as possible.

Day 2 and already I am struggling

Hi everybody,

Despite the fact that the year is only 2 days old I have had some pretty big spending struggles.

The first happened yesterday. My boyfriend needed more printer paper, so we added some to our food shop from a certain well known supermarket and I was about to give him half the money when I panicked.

It was because I had decided that I was only going to spend money on things that fell into these categories: Gifts, Health, Postage and Packaging, Travel, Work Expenses, Social and Clothing Maintenance.

I did not have a ‘Printer paper’ category.

I did have a major panic and was saying to my boyfriend ‘If I give you half the money then I will have already failed and it’s only been one day’

So call it cheating but I have decided that printer paper is a worthy item to buy. So I have moved £2.50 from my social budget and created a category called ‘Home’.

Have I cheated? Well, printer paper is something I am clearly going to use in the next year, and if I really need to print something then doing it at home will be significantly cheaper then going to an internet cafe. I did think that a ‘Home’ category would be useful, it’s just that I was scared because last year I bought an awful lot of things for the home that were more decorative then essential and I was worried I would use the ‘Home’ category as an excuse to get a shopping fix and buy something pretty.

So this has led me to create a few ground rules for the year.

I can only buy a ‘forbidden’ item if the following is taken into account.

  1. The item would save me money in the long run.
  2. It is an item that will reasonably benefit me and my boyfriends life.

I have also decided that if I want to buy something pretty and shiny as opposed to useful and essential then I can, but I can’t spend any money on it.

Now before you think I am going to take up stealing I’ll add that I can only purchase the item with vouchers. I cam’t spend a single penny on it.

This is a little easier then you may think. I have many ways of maximising my income and I do it through things like shopping apps, online surveys and shopping research. In fact I frequently buy a job lot of presents for many people online and it only costs me about £4.30.

When the next Tesco club card vouchers are released I will have collected about £15 in total. After a little discussion with my boyfriend he has agreed that I can keep the club card vouchers for my own personal use this year.

So I may not exactly look cutting edge this year, but at least I know if I need something like an emergency pair of black jeans I can pop along to the big Tesco’s in Cardiff and buy a pair for £0.

Through another one of my ‘Money making scams’ (as my brothers would call them) I am due to receive enough ‘points’ that I can exchange it for a £10 voucher for somewhere like Amazon or New Look.

So it is perfectly possible that I can still indulge this year without spending any money.

I am just going to have to prioritise and be crafty this year.

One thing I did decide against buying is an independent magazine that I write for. I have had some of my work published in the latest issue, and I normally buy a copy not just for my own work but because I love the magazine.

I have decided against buying the latest issue.

I may ask my boyfriend to buy it for me as an early birthday present, but right now it is not an essential item, it does not benefit both me and my boyfriend, it can’t be purchased with vouchers and it will not save me money in the long run.

Therefore it can’t be purchased.

This year isn’t going to be easy, but that’s why I need to do it.

Do you know what is easy? Buying things without thought, without compromise, without a budget or thought or care.

It is easy to pick up a lot of stuff and put it on a credit card. It is harder to make tough decisions about what you can and can’t purchase.

I got into debt because I wasn’t prepared to ‘deprive’ myself, which says it all. The fact I considered it deprivation to not buy new items of clothing every month shows what a twat I was being.

This year I want to get back to a core sense of what I do and do not need to lead a happy life. I want a stream lined life. I want a life free from hassle and clutter. I think not buying rubbish will do that.