Thrifty mother who feeds her family-of-four for £3 a DAY shares tips for a cut-price Christmas – including buying presents a YEAR in advance and giving free samples as gifts
- Thrifty saver Lucy Noble, 40, from Sunderland, is called ‘tight’ by her friends
- Mother-of-two saves hundreds of pounds doing Christmas shop in January sales
- Coupon queen uses apps, vouchers and ensures she plans well to save pennies
- Returns full price items for refund and re-buys them at reduced amount if in sale
A mum-of-two dubbed ‘tight’ by her mates has revealed how she feeds a family of four for just £20 a week, or £3 a day, by using coupons – and also saves hundreds of pounds by doing her Christmas shopping in the January sales.
Savvy shopper Lucy Noble, 40, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, is a self-confessed coupon queen, using apps, vouchers and planning with military-precision to save herself thousands of pounds a year.
The bargain hunter has no qualms about returning full price items for a cash refund, then buying them back at a reduced amount if they are put in the sale – saving the money she recoups for her children.
‘My mates say that I’m tight, but I say I’m just thrifty,’ said virtual assistant Lucy, who has two children Abbey, six, and Owen, nine, and is married to Chris, 41, an operational trainer.
‘I’m obsessed with making savings – it takes over your life. I do spend a lot of time on my phone. I would say about two to three hours a day looking for offers. My husband tells me off quite a bit for it.’
Lucy Noble, 40, from Sunderland, feeds her family-of-four for under £3 a day, and has even already paid off Christmas, having got all her presents in the January sales (pictured)
The bargain hunter uses apps and vouchers (pictured) and plans with military-precision to save herself thousands of pounds a year
She added: ‘I’ve always been a bit of a bargain hunter and started trying to save money when I was in my early 20s.’
‘My sister used to sell a lot of stuff on eBay, so I started doing that, then it went on from there.’
For the last few years, Lucy has come into her own as a couponer and bargain hunter extraordinaire.
‘I’ve been taking it more seriously for the last couple of years,’ she explained. ‘I discovered you could save quite a lot of money by using coupons.’
‘With Facebook you can join all these different money saving groups, with people looking for bargains or saving tips.’
The 40-year-old (pictured on holiday) revealed she has been a bargain hunter since her early twenties. She explained: ‘My sister used to sell a lot of stuff on eBay, so I started doing that, then it went from there’
She continued: ‘Years ago I would cut supermarket coupons out of magazines and now you can find them online and from using different apps on your phone.
‘There are receipt scanning apps, where you enter your receipt and get so many points then they send you vouchers. I’ve had Amazon vouchers which I’ll end up saving for Christmas.
‘I search “latest freebies” and you can get all sorts – food, make-up, toys, as well as skincare samples.
‘I will sign up to do product testing. By doing that, St Tropez sent me a full-size fake tan bottle worth £30.’
Lucy uses groups which alert users to bargains.
Lucy’s top five tips
1) Use coupons and cashback websites
2) Plan your meals for the week
3) Do not be afraid to take items back. That’s money in your pocket rather than in the retailer’s till.
4) Double up by using vouchers and discount codes together.
5) Sign up to get freebies in the post. Lucy said: ‘Sometimes I won’t remember I’ve signed up to something and then it will turn up on the doorstep.’
Her regular hunting grounds include Try It, which tells users when emails are going out offering freebies, the Ashleigh Money Saver websites, which informs members about sales or deals offered by retailers and Reward Me Now app – which lets you buy a code to get discounts of up to 18 per cent – which can be used alongside other offers.
Lucy was thrilled when she saved £140 just by using the vouchers to buy dinner and drinks in her local pub.
‘I get such a buzz when I see a bargain,’ she explained. ‘Last Christmas I got some dressing gowns for £25 each and they reduced the price two days later, so I took them back and got a refund, then bought them again for £12.50.’
She continued: ‘Most of my friends say, “Oh I wouldn’t dare to do that,” but I’m saving money, so why wouldn’t I? It was £12.50 to spend on something else.
‘I will return things even if buying them again in the sale only means saving a couple of pounds, because I would rather have that money back.
‘I’ve ordered things online before, then realised two days later they have reduced the price, so I’ve ordered them again at the cheaper amount and sent the originals back to get a full price refund.’
Lucy revealed she gets a ‘buzz’ when she sees a bargain and has even been known to return a full price dressing gown, only to re-buy it two days later at a refunded price. Pictured, with this year’s Christmas presents
Seeking her bargains, Lucy (pictured) often visits Try It, which tells users when emails are going out offering freebies and the Ashleigh Money Saver websites, which informs members about sales or deals offered by retailers
Lucy has even managed to get her weekly shop down to £20 for a family of four, which works out at just under £3 a day, using offers and the Feed your Family for Around £20 a Week Facebook page and with careful meal planning, saving more than £1,500 a year.
‘Some people say they don’t have time to do it, but it doesn’t have to take a long time if you plan carefully,’ she explained.
‘Before I go shopping I will check online for offers, check the apps and then decide what supermarket to go to.’
She continued: ‘I’m thinking about what I’m going to do for the kids’ tea throughout the week and how many meals I can make from something. Nothing is wasted.
‘I cook stuff like Bolognese from scratch, working out how much we will eat and freezing the rest. If we have a chicken we will use everything – we’ll even use the carcass for stock for a soup.
‘You can also buy fresh vegetables for just as little. You can find them for 20p. I go to the local butcher who often has offers on, too, and stock up, putting items in the freezer.
‘It’s great, as I’m saving money and the kids are eating healthily. It’s just about being organised and being savvy.
‘I used to spend about £50 a week and I’ve managed to reduce that by £30 which really adds up over a year.’
The thrifty mother (pictured) managed to get a summer holiday in Benidorm for four people for £1,650 – including flights and accommodation
Lucy collects make-up samples which she uses for gifts and she also looks out for free items you get with magazines
Lucy has Christmas all wrapped up by July, having bought some bargains in the sales.
‘I do most of my Christmas shopping in the January sales,’ said Lucy, who works for a marketing company that works with Ashleigh Money Saver. ‘I’ve got an airing cupboard full of stuff all wrapped up, which is a bit of a nightmare.
‘I also get birthday presents, so if the kids end up going to a party they have a gift already. I make a note of all the things I’ve bought so I don’t forget.
‘Friends will spend £700 to £800 per child at Christmas, while I don’t really have a budget, but I try and keep it below £200.
‘Having things bought and wrapped takes so much of the stress out of it. Friends will go out on Christmas Eve to get presents and I can’t think of anything worse than doing that.
Lucy also collects make-up samples which she uses for gifts and she also looks out for free items you get with magazines.
‘Quite often you’ll pay £4 for the magazine and get a mascara worth £15, so I’ll go to different shops to buy the same magazine, but with a different gift,’ she explained.
She admitted she is ‘bargain crazy’ and she’ll have a good look if she sees a shop closing down to see what stuff she can get as cheap as possible.
‘I will pay full price occasionally, but very rarely, and if I can I will get it discounted,’ she explained.
‘I have no idea how much I save, but I think it must be thousands of pounds, especially when you take into account the savings on holidays.
‘I get stuck with the label of being tight, but if I can save money that will go into my savings – meaning we can take the kids on a nice holiday, so it’s worth doing.’
Lucy has an airing cupboard full of wrapped up presents. Pictured, with the mountain of bargain gifts ready for Christmas this year
Lucy (pictured) saves thousands of pounds and admitted she rarely pays for anything full price. She said: ‘I get stuck with the label of being tight, but if I can save money that will go into my savings – meaning we can take the kids on a nice holiday, so it’s worth doing’
She also saves her family thousands of pounds on holidays every year, making her the envy of parents at the school gates.
‘We shop around for the cheapest deal,’ she said. ‘We managed to get a holiday this summer for four people for £1,650 – flights and accommodation in Benidorm and that’s during the school holidays, when things are at their most expensive.
‘I was speaking to someone at the school gates who was spending £3,000 to £4,000 on their family’s summer holiday, so we’ve saved lots of money.
She added: ‘We book flights separately using different websites to look for cheaper ones and self-catering accommodation in quieter, more residential areas.
‘We then budget to spend 80 euros a day. We don’t eat every meal out and buy food from the local supermarket, which saves a lot of money.
‘I’ll book activities online before we go, too. My husband found you could go on one site and book activities in advance, paying 68 euros instead of 112 euros at the resort.’
Nicola Short, managing director at Ashleigh Money Saver, said: ‘Our hard working mums at Ashleigh Money Saver are dedicated to saving our followers money, by providing them with everything from daily deals and discounts, to expert money saving advice, hints and tips.
‘We’re your one stop shop for bargain hunting and want to ensure that you never have to pay full price for an item again.’
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