Fashion

I saved £5k during lockdown by using supermarket coupons & selling household junk – here's how you can too

WITH Britain plunged into another lockdown, it's easy to focus on the negatives.

But one woman has revealed how she saved £5,000 during the first lockdown – and she's sharing her tips as the 'stay at home' message returns.

Amy De-Keyzer, 32, from Horsham, West Sussex, boosted her bank account by doing DIY, selling unwanted household items, using supermarket coupons and swapping energy providers.

Here Amy, who works in PR, reveals all to Fabulous – so you can do the same…

Before coronavirus, my life was always a whirlwind of work, dinner dates, shopping and socialising.

Lockdown life is very different and now my days tend to revolve around home working, long walks in the countryside, Netflix binges and Zoom quizzes. 

We've all seen our lives change dramatically over the last eight months and it's been an extremely difficult time with many families facing tragic losses, job insecurity and financial worries.

But for some – myself included – lockdown has meant tightening the purse strings and swelling saving accounts. 

I've always been a pretty good saver. But I'm also great at frittering money away on designer handbags, indulgent meals out and luxury holidays.

I'm great at frittering money away on designer handbags, indulgent meals out and luxury holidays – but Boris Johnson put a stop to that

On March 23, however, Boris Johnson and Covid-19 put a stop to my shopping and travelling ways – and also left me with a whole load of free time on my hands. 

With time to fill, I decided to up my freelancing efforts and find new ways to make a bit of extra cash on the side.

I’ve always worked as a freelance writer but lockdown meant I had time to take on more commissions and boost the savings account by around £1,500.

When the boredom started setting in, my husband and I also turned our attention to DIY projects in our four-bed semi, which we own.

We needed a new shed in our garden. Buying a shed online and hiring someone to come and erect it would be the usual choice.

But we decided, instead, that we’d take on the challenge of dismantling an old Wendy house Wendy house which was left behind by the previous home owners, re-felting the rotten roof and repurposing it into an animal feed store for our chickens.

With this lockdown project, we saved £250 and created space for a lovely new seating area in the garden so we could enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Result.

After binging the whole series of Netfix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, it’s no surprise the nation was next turning to de-cluttering. And this created another great opportunity to make some extra cash.

We used Facebook marketplace to sell all sorts from old garden gates to greenhouse shelves and bedroom furniture.

Once some of the restrictions were lifted, we advertised them and made almost £500 in total.

Amy’s tips for lockdown savings

  • ‘Stop’ savings – Lots of things have stopped during lockdown but that does provide opportunities to save more. Transfer your monthly ‘fun money’ into a savings account instead of splurging on takeaways and internet shopping. 
  • Extra work – I work a standard 9-5 and also freelance in my spare time. Lockdown meant I had lots more time on my hands to up my freelancing and watch the pennies rolling it.
  • Saving by shopping around – After 95 games of Scrabble, 700 Zoom quizzes and 10,000 hours of Below Deck, the best form of entertainment we could find to keep ourselves occupied was sifting through all of our direct debits and utility bills and shopping around for savings. 
  • DIY projects – With more time on your hands, why not have a go at tiling that bathroom or clearing out the garden yourself? It could save you thousands.
  • Second-hand selling – Spring clearouts are a good way to stay busy, organised and de-clutter, and make money. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So stick an advert on Gumtree, Ebay or Facebook Marketplace and wait for the money to roll in…
  • Making the most of sales and offers – Having a little more time to browse means opportunities to make the most of offers and sales in order to save the pennies.

Convenience has always ruled in our home. We thought 'is it really worth sitting on hold for an hour to save that £50 on your car insurance?' The short answer is yes.

Even more so when you’re in the midst of a global pandemic, locked inside your house and have nothing better to do.

Lockdown provided the perfect opportunity to take on some of these tedious tasks and see if they would save us money. And they did.

After looking on comparison sites, we swapped energy providers (from Ovo to Igloo), car insurance providers (from Aviva to Admiral) and home insurance cover (from £450 to just under £400). In all, we saved around £200 a year. 

In the same train of thought, I’ve also found myself switching between supermarkets and brands to make the most of different offers and sales.

We shopped at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Ocado to make the most of vouchers they sent in the post – as well as using our local shop and butchers more.

Our weekly shop became all about interchanging branded products like Heinz for own brands, then swapping back depending on the deals; buying whichever washing powder was on sale and making the most of Tesco Clubcard discount items.

Taking a bit of time to look at offers before ordering your usual can save you a fortune over time. I’ve saved around £10 a week, that’s a total of £320 so far. As Tesco would say: every little helps!

But one of the most important things when you're saving money is simply not to waste what you’re saving by not being able to go out.

Most people have seen their outgoings decrease dramatically since the start of lockdown as we all stop commuting, cancel holidays and delay plans to socialise.

I’ve saved around £270 a month from missed dinner dates, postponed weddings and swapping my car ride to the office for a sleepy stagger downstairs to my laptop.

That’s £2,160 in total and instead of splurging it all on ASOS (however tempting it was!) it’s all gone into the savings account.

We're saving for a new car and bathroom, I'm desperate for a roll-top bath.

When this is all over, I’m definitely looking forward to being able to spend ‘fun’ money again.

I’ve really missed my Cineworld membership and being able to go out for dinner with friends, but there are definitely some things I’ve learned which I’ll continue doing – so I can keep saving.

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