19 Jul 19
The Scottish Sun
A BARGAIN-MAD mum has ALREADY finished her Christmas shopping by stocking up on presents in the January sales.
Lucy Noble, 40, has saved herself hundreds of pounds by shopping for the festive season at the start of the year – and has even wrapped all her presents in time for December.
Lucy Noble, 40, finished her Christmas shopping in January by shopping the sales at the start of the year
The mum-of-two, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, is a self-confessed coupon queen and uses apps and vouchers to get the best deals on everything from food shops to birthdays throughout the year.
Lucy, who has two children Abbey, six, and Owen, nine, and is married to Chris, 41, explained: “I do most of my Christmas shopping in the January sales. I’ve got an airing cupboard full of stuff all wrapped up, which is a bit of a nightmare.”
But while it might seem extreme to get the Christmas shopping done and dusted a whole year in advance, Lucy says it saves her around £500 to buy her presents in January.
She added: “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.”
Lucy says she spends £500 less than her friends by buying her children’s presents in the January sales
What’s more, Lucy insists that her way of shopping is less stressful in the long run.
“Having things bought and wrapped takes so much of the stress out of it,” she said. “Friends will go out on Christmas Eve to get presents and I can’t think of anything worse than doing that.”
But Lucy doesn’t just stop at Christmas – she also stocks up on presents for children’s birthday parties too.
She said: “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.”
Although Lucy’s friends have labelled her “tight”, the mum, who works for a marketing company that works with Ashleigh Money Saver, says she’s “just thrifty”.
[boxout headline=”Lucy’s top money-saving tips”]
Use coupons and cashback websites
Plan your meals for the week
Do not be afraid to take items back. That’s money in your pocket rather than in the retailer’s till.
Double up by using vouchers and discount codes together.
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.”
She said: “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. 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.”
In the last few years, Lucy has taken her bargain-hunting ways to new extremes and spends her free time searching money-saving Facebook groups for saving tips.
She added: “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.”
The mum-of-two has also bagged herself free make-up samples with her money-saving apps and Facebook pages
Lucy’s 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.
One of Lucy’s best bargains was when she saved £140 just by using the vouchers to buy dinner and drinks in her local pub.
She said: “I get such a buzz when I see a bargain.
“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.
“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.”
[quote credit=”Lucy Noble”]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. Before I go shopping I will check online for offers, check the apps and then decide what supermarket to go to.[/quote]
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.
With careful meal planning, Lucy is saving more than £1,500 a year on her food shop.
She continued: “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.
“Before I go shopping I will check online for offers, check the apps and then decide what supermarket to go to.
“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.
The mum-of-two has got her weekly food shop down to just £20 by planning ahead and picking what supermarket has the best deals
“I used to spend about £50 a week and I’ve managed to reduce that by £30 which really adds up over a year.”
And the mum-of-two is also the envy of the school gates for how she’s saved her family THOUSANDS on their yearly holidays.
While other families in her children’s school admit to spending between £3,000 and £4,000 on their holiday, Lucy has got it down to a reasonable £1,650.
Lucy 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.
“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.”
[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN FABULOUS” posts_category=”1″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
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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