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Blogger’s Chat with The Frugal Teen

After a (not so) short break, I am back with something new! I am joined today by the lovely Annelies, AKA The Frugal Teen, to chat about how she makes and saves money.

Welcome Annelies, and thanks for joining me today!

I know you were young when you started, when and how did you first start saving money?

I was probably about 14 when I really started getting into freebies and refusing to pay a lot of money for things such as presents. To this day I still go to the same make-up counters for foundation samples rather than buying the full product!

What do your friends and family think of your lifestyle?

As a (just turned) 19 year old, I think my family appreciate it a lot as it means I don’t spend so much at university but I think it’s considered very uncool when you’re a teenager. When you’re an adult you’re friends might go “oh wow, teach me how you do that,” whereas a teen friend says “I’m going to teach you how to spend!”

Having said that, recently friends have been asking if I have a discount for this or if I’ve come across an offer on some product or another; so I think my reputation is turning more positive!

Would you describe your love of scoring freebies and savings as your hobby?

I would say so yeah, except I spend a lot more time on it than an ordinary hobby. Actually, I’d describe it more as my lifestyle… being cheap; I think that’s a good summary.

Being a student, how does being frugal impact your university life?

Being frugal means that I worry less about finances in the future. If I save some euros each week, then that’s a few euros less of potential debt and can go towards more important things like a later holiday.

I think being frugal is also helpful for studying and being organised because I’m less tempted to go out every weekend partying etc. and I’m less tempted to buy food at the cafeteria so I become more organised in the morning as a result so I can pack my lunch. There are many more examples though.

What are your favourite ways to save money?

Definitely cashback. The hauls you see people get is really extraordinary. I intend to start writing to more companies for coupons though.

What are your favourite ways to make money?

For me Shopitize is super easy (I’ve earnt over £30 in Amazon vouchers with it so far) as well as survey sites. Some sites such as Toluna takes years and (in my opinion) are pointless, but some like GfKmedia and YouGov can earn you money quickly.

If not, then a part-time job is obviously more efficient but studying at university doesn’t leave enough time for that unfortunately.

I wish I knew all of this when I was at university! How has saving and making money impacted your life?

I think it’s made me become more mature and less materialistic. I associate objects with money not pleasure. So where some girls might see a make-up palette and think “I’m missing that in my life, I need it,” I think “oh my gosh that’s so much money, I’m much happier with my current one. I don’t need that it’s a waste.”

It’s also prepared me for the future when I will have to save: for a house or for a family etc. It won’t be a shock to the system when I can’t go shopping every week. For me that’s super important and almost an achievement as I am surrounded by temptations and pressures so it makes me happy that I can overcome these and save.

It’s a important skill to learn and you’ve mastered it young! How long do you spend searching for savings? Can you talk us through your general routine?

Not as much as I used to for obvious reasons unfortunately. It’s hard to put a figure on it because I like looking up deals etc. whenever I have time so if I have lots of time I’ll be doing lots of searching!

What are your favourite accounts and blogs to follow?

The Mini Millionaire

Savvy Couponing and Cashback (fb page)

Extreme Couponing and Cash Back UK (fb page)

Emma Drew’s blog

Some great favourites there! What saving are you most proud of from 2016?

Moving abroad to uni so I could save over £7k a year!

I hope that I will be able to graduate with no/very little debt!

That is a tremendous saving, congratulations! Tell me, what are your goals for 2017?

To get all birthday presents and Christmas presents for under £10 and be more proactive in my DIY attempts. I always see good crafts I want to try out.

And finally, what tips would you have for someone who wanted to follow in your steps?

Start by following the basic sites like LatestFreeStuff and then start following pages on Facebook by typing in key works like coupons and cashback and UK. Here you’ll find many pages where people contribute deals etc.

Then you can start googling for coupons and downloading cashback apps. From here on be original and see how you can save money!


Thank you for joining me today, Annelies. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I wish you great savings for 2017!

You can find The Frugal Teen on Twitter and Instagram, and her blog.

Save

Save

topcashback

TopCashback

Much like Quidco, TopCashback is a site that gives you cashback and discounts on your shopping.

Shop smarter and get the best deals for your online and in-store purchases. You can get cashback on everything from groceries to insurance, so there’s a bunch of ways for you to make money when you shop.

Features

There is a Free Cashback section of the site, where you can earn money without spending a penny! There’s everything from surveys and trials, to competitions and products. A great way to make those extra pennies.

Aside from the cashback you can get when you shop online, TopCashback has some great additional offers for shopping in-store.

  • There is a Printable Voucher page, with vouchers for restaurants, days-out and more.
  • There’s also a Snap & Save page, that gives you various rewards for snapping a photo of your shopping receipt.
  • You can register your card to get in-store rewards when you shop with your credit or debit card.
  • New to TopCashback is the Cashback Notifier add-on.

Getting started

topcashback

It’s easy to get started with TopCashback. After a quick sign-up to the site, you can just browse the offers and click on what takes your fancy. That’s it! Just shop as normal and your cashback will show-up in your account within 7 days.

Just make sure to disable any adblocking software you might have.

Cashout options

TopCashback has an impressive number of ways to cashout:

topcashback topcashback topcashback

As you can see, there’s something for everyone. It’s great if you want to choose whatever is most convenient for you.

Join TopCashback today

Click here to join TopCashback

It’s free to join and a classic account is also free. You can choose to pay £5 a year for a Plus account, which gives you additional benefits such as bigger bonuses and faster payment.

Realistic financial goals to set in 2016

Realistic financial goals to set in 2016

With the new year just beginning there’s still time to make some resolutions. Financial goals can sometimes be overwhelming or feel difficult to achieve, but you can start small and still make a big difference to your finances.

If you’re unsure what kind of financial goals would be realistic for you in 2016, here’s some inspiration:

Always use vouchers and cash back sites where possible

A nice easy one. If you’re going to buy something always check first if vouchers or cashback are available.

Cashback

Vouchers

Put every £2 in a piggy bank

A simple undertaking that can really add up over the year is putting all your £2 coins in a money box. You could make it £1 coins if you’re feeling adventurous!

Keep track of your budget

It’s easy to overspend if you’re not on top of your finances. If this sounds like you, make a resolution to keep a regular watch on your finances.

There are numerous apps available, or you could keep track on a spreadsheet or good old-fashioned paper.

Save X% every month

Once you’ve figured out your budget, make a goal of how much you want to and can save each month. Put this in a savings account and vow not to touch it.

Make £50 online every month

This a completely achievable goal; every month you can make hundreds, if not thousands online (depending on how much time and effort you want to spend.) Take a look at the make money category for inspiration.

Use cash instead of cards

Some people swear by the cash envelope system to stop them overspending. Simply take out as much as you need every week or month, and put your allowance in envelopes.

Not having the backup of your debit card when you’re out shopping stops you from overspending.

Switch from satellite to on-demand services

Satellite TV can be an expense and a half! These days there are a lot of cheaper alternatives. If you don’t watch much live TV, consider switching to a cheaper on-demand service such as NowTV.

For a small expense you could buy something like Amazon Fire TV and watch Amazon Prime Instant Video or Netflix and other on-demand services on your TV. This is my current set-up and I’m always spoiled for choice.


 

Hopefully this has given you something to think about. You really don’t need to do anything drastic to make a nice contribution to your savings. I hope 2016 is kind to you, and you have a wonderful year!

What are your financial resolutions?

beginner's guide to matched betting

Beginner’s guide to matched betting

 

Tax-free, risk-free and completely legal – matched betting certainly sounds too good to be true and we’re always told “if it sounds too good to be true then it is” but matched betting is certainly the exception. There is real money to be made and you don’t have to have any experience at a bookmakers to take advantage.

What is matched betting?

Beginner's guide to matched betting

In a nutshell, matched betting is taking advantage of the sign up offers that bookmakers use to entice new customers to their sites. Most will offer a free bet when you join and make your first bet, these bookmakers will then flood your email with offers to encourage you to keep coming back to them.

Quashing the myths

Firstly, let’s put to bed some of the myths and rumours about matched betting.

Q: Is matched betting gambling?

A: No! Gambling comes with a risk of losing and as long as you are doing it properly there is no risk to matched betting. The only risk involved comes with it is if you decide to go down the casino/slots route as nothing is guaranteed on them. Placing the bets on events that have a clear outcome (win/lose/draw etc) will not see you out of pocket.

Q: Will matched betting affect my credit rating?

A: No, the bookmakers do not need to do a credit check as they’re not offering you any credit but they will leave a small footprint when they do standard check against your details; to confirm your name, address, age etc. This footprint can only be seen by you and not any creditors. 

Q: Do I need a separate bank account for matched betting?

A: No, but it is recommended that you have a separate one. While matched betting won’t harm your credit rating, if a credit company wishes to see your bank statements then multiple transactions from your main bank account to bookmakers will look a little undesirable and they may assume the worst. A basic account with any bank will work fine and it will also keep your matched betting money separate to you regular money for things like bills, food and everyday expenses; means you don’t accidentally spend your rent money.

Q: Is it really legal?

A: Yes, you are doing nothing illegal by taking up the offers at the bookmaker and laying the bet off elsewhere. This doesn’t mean that the bookmakers will like it, they are obviously in the business to make money so they will watch your transactions and may ban your account if they suspect you are matched betting. This is easy to avoid by placing “mug bets” which are little bets that don’t connect to an offer and look like normal betting.

Q: Is it really tax free?

A: Yes, you do not pay tax on gambling winnings, and although it’s not technically gambling by definition (you are not risking any money) any earnings are classed as winnings.

Q: Can you really make a monthly “income”, what happens when you run out of sign up offers?

A: This is a perfectly sustainable way of bringing in a regular income. The bookmakers will continue to offer you promotions to keep you coming back and as there are sports events almost daily you will never run out of ways of earning. Many matched betters move on to casino/poker/slot offers once they get used to the regular sporting bets; some of these are risk-free and others come with a risk but are completely optional and not required to continue earning.

Q: Do you need £100’s to get started?

A: No. Many people start on as little as £60, it does take a little longer to get going as you will have to wait for money to return to your bank account to make the next bet but it can be started and be successful. Obviously the more you have in the pot the quicker you can advance onto the larger offers. NEVER use money that you will need for something else – rent/bill/shopping money should NEVER be used as you could be waiting up to 5 days for the money to return to your account.

How is the money made?

Unlike regular betting where you can lose the money you stake, matched betting requires you to make two bets on the same event. The first bet is the one with the bookmaker which is where you will get your free bet then the second bet is what is called a lay bet, this bet is made at an exchange site and is against the first bet.

Example:

Bookmaker bet: Manchester Utd to win

Exchange bet: Manchester Utd not to win – NOT a bet that the opposition will win as this doesn’t take a draw into account.

These will cancel each other out. This initial bet is called a qualifying bet and may see you slightly in  +/- after the event has occurred don’t worry as you will now receive your free bet which you use in the same way but this time you will make a profit (which will easily cover any loss on the qualifying bet).

After your initial bet and free bet you will start to receive weekly/daily emails from these bookmakers offering you more promotions (reloads) which is how this is sustainable passed the initial sign up.

Below I’m going to show you, how in a couple of minutes I can make just under £13 profit using matched betting.

Bookmaker: Coral

Exchange: Betfair

coral

So, we sign up to Coral where the offer is “bet £5 and get a free £20 bet”. Making an account is quick an easy, register your bank card and deposit the £5. We also sign up to Betfair and use their EXCHANGE to lay the bet.

betfair

We head to Profit Accumulator (more about them further down the post) where we go to the oddsmatching tab – this will tell us which event we are best placing our bets on. For the qualifying bet we need a minimum odds of 1.5 (always work in decimals over fractions) so we filter the oddsmatching table to Coral and 1.5 or greater odds.

Profit Accumulator

You are looking for odds that are close together, with a preference of the exchange odds (pink box) being lower than the bookmakers box – this will result in a smaller loss or even a profit. Then, load up the calculator and input the odds, bet stake and commission taken by the exchange; in this case Betfair takes 5%. As this is a qualifying bet we need to set the calculator to “Normal”.

odds calculator

This qualifying bet is going to make a small profit of 1p or break even depending where the bet wins; sometimes it might be a small loss. The liability is the amount you need to have available in the exchange in order to place this bet, if your bet wins at the bookmakers then you lose your liability to the exchange (but have won the money at the bookmakers). The odds are subject to change at any time, which is why my odds on the matcher are slightly different to the calculator so make sure you check before you lay your bet that it hasn’t changed – if it has just recalculate it.

We then go to Coral, find the race and place the £5 bet on Zeeoneandonly to win. Once the bet is placed we head over to the EXCHANGE on Betfair to lay the bet off against Zeeoneandonly to win – on Betfair a lay bet is the PINK box, this varies for each exchange but you are always betting AGAINST the bet on the book makers

profit accumulator

Once this race is complete you will then be credited with the £20 free bet so you have to do the same process again only change the calculator to “Free Bet (SNR)” rather than “Normal”. You can also up your odds to get a bigger profit but remember that the higher the odds the more liability you need in the exchange.

Capture

For the free bet I’m going to go with odds of 4.5/4, which means I need a liability of £47.18 and I make a profit of £12.81 on this bet.

Capture

Then add or take away the profit/loss from the qualifier to give your final profit; in this case I broke even on the qualifier and won at the bookmakers giving me a final profit of £12.82.

Profit Accumulator

Jumping straight into matched betting by yourself can be risky, there is so much to get your head around and if you’ve never placed a bet in your life the whole odds calculations can leave you scratching your head – this is where a specialised service like Profit Accumulator comes in handy.

Profit Accumulator is a subscription service that basically takes all of the leg work away for you. The site posts the sign up and reload offers as well as guiding you through how to use them.

It includes oddsmatching software which will find you the best events, with a filtering option so you can tell it which bookmaker to use, which exchange and specify the events you want to bet on.

The site includes a very helpful calculator which will not only work out how much profit you will make from your bet but also how much you need to lay at the exchange so you are only betting what you need to.

They hold your hand all the way through with informative videos and a forum (for subscribed members) where you can discuss offers or problems with those who have more experience. As stated, it is a subscription service and comes with a monthly of £22.99 or annual cost of £150 but they offer a try before you buy offer where you can earn up to £45 before committing.

There are other sites and services dedicated to matched betting, and they can offer more or less information/help than Profit Accumulator but Profit Accumulator offers a good balance of offers, step-by-step guides how to take part in matched betting and a forum for discussion.

Matched betting on The Money Shed

There is a whole dedicated thread to matched betting over on The Money Shed forum where members share their experiences and winnings on offers as well as offering advice to anyone who needs it. There are many seasoned matched betters on the forum who are earning up to and above £1000 per month.

Anyone can give matched betting a try, you don’t need to be a seasoned betting expert or have £100’s in the bank. Give the free trial on Profit Accumulator a try, follow the instructions, make up to £45 and go from there – your winnings from that will fund your first month’s subscription and you will get a feel of how well you will do.

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beginner's guide to comping

Beginner’s Guide to Comping

Quite simply, comping is the hobby of entering competitions. For no money at all, you can experience the anticipation and thrill of a potential win. All you need to spend is time and you have yourself a potentially lucrative hobby.

With hundreds of competitions to enter every day, there’s always something to waiting to be won. You may be the lucky one winning that voucher, or even a car or holiday! Comping is the ideal hobby for everyone, but especially those with small budgets.

The traits of any good comper are patience and persistence; you can go a while without winning anything, but then be surprised with a great win. I was close to giving up when I won an expensive printer with a year’s worth of ink, which made all my effort worth it!

You’ll find a method of entering competitions that works for you. You may prefer to use certain sites more than others, or have a certain time you like to enter competitions.

So where can you enter competitions, and what tools of the trade do you need?

My favourite sites

Comping tools

  • For filling out forms quickly, consider a plugin such as Autofill Forms.
  • Create a separate email account for entering competitions. You will get a lot of spam. Just check the account regularly to see if you’re a winner.
  • For entering Facebook or Twitter competitions use your normal account, special dedicated accounts are generally frowned upon. If you do make separate accounts just make sure to post personal posts now and then.

Beware of sites that may sell your details, or send you a lot of spam. If a site looks too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid sites like Vaniki and MyOffers. There’s a detailed list of sites you can and can’t trust on Super Lucky.

My experience

I first decided to start Comping regularly after seeing a show on TLC about it. These people were winning big prizes all the time, and while I haven’t won a car, I still feel great for winning a printer!

When I’m sat there entering competitions I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time. It’s like I’m creating all these possibilities and bettering my luck. As they say, you have to be in it to win it.

I generally set aside a couple of hours every Sunday to enter competitions. Sunday’s are always quiet so it’s a nice way to keep me occupied. I work through the week’s competitions on The Prize Finder; my system is to find and highlight (ctrl and F) the competitions I have to register for so I can avoid them (because registering is annoying!), then I’ll just enter the ones that catch my eye.

I only started comping earlier this year and so far it’s really paying off, so far I’ve won:

  • This HP Printer with a year’s worth of printer ink
  • A £50 Debenhams voucher
  • A plush squirrel from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical
  • 3 children’s beakers
  • A party kit with balloons and invitations
  • Easter eggs

I’ve very proud of my little wins. If I devoted more time to entering competitions, I’m sure I could win more, but I’m happy so far. Maybe I’ll up my game in the future, who knows!


So there you have a brief look into the world of comping. I hope this has proven helpful, and you’re on your way to winning something wonderful.

Seasoned compers, what have been your best and favourite wins?