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.

 

how to get free and reduced price Lush

Lush was my first proper job. I worked at Lush for five years, starting in 2005 when I was 16. I left after leaving for university, but still did a few shifts in the holidays. When I started, it was because my boss gave in and gave me a job after I asked for a job every time I came in! Lush definitely became my second family and it’s still a great part of my identity today.

Lush don’t offer many discounts on their products so they aren’t cheapened, which I think is fair as that’s what makes Lush products a great treat.


As it’s loved by so many, I want to share my tips of the trade to show you how to get freebies and the best savings. While Lush don’t offer many discounts, there are some available so you can get your mitts on some Lush products for a fraction of the price.

How to get free and reduced price Lush

 

Boxing Day Sales

Undoubtedly, the best time of year to get half price Lush products is Boxing Day and the following days.


Previously the Boxing Day sales were limited only to in-store transactions but now you have the beauty of the online sale. You’ll have to get online early though, this year the demand was so high I didn’t even get off the queue and on the website until 10PM, by which time the sale had ended! The wait is worth it though, you can get a hefty amount of product for 50% off.


In-store the sale usually continues until all the Christmas stock is gone.

Bring back five black pots for a free fresh face mask

To encourage you to recycle their pots, Lush will give you a fresh face mask of your choice absolutely free! Just bring back five black pots and you’ll be able to swap it for any mask you fancy.


With the fresh face masks prices starting at £6.95 it’s well worth saving those pots.
 

Ask for samples

Try before you buy. Lush loves to hand out samples of their products, so if you want to try something just ask and you’ll get a generous sample to take home.

Book a lush party

In our store we would often host in-store parties, or attend events. The in-store parties would consist of treatments and a chance for you to have the shop all to yourselves. I’ve worked at events giving demonstrations and sharing information, at everywhere from Fresher’s Week to black-tie shin-digs.


This might vary store to store but ask if your local store does events. You’ll secure a freebie, a fun night and some food and drink too.

Work there

I started working at Lush to pay for my addiction. We all used to say that our wages just went straight back in the till! Lush offer 50% staff discount, (which I miss so much) and there’s always products to try out and take home.

Stay connected

It’s always helpful to get on good terms with your local Lushies too, you never know when there’s some freebies going.


Keep an eye on your local stores Facebook or Twitter pages for any events.

Get the most out of your products

You want your products to last as long as possible so you can get the most out of them. It’s easy for some products to disappear quickly if not cared for properly.

 Store them properly

  • Store in a cool dry place, away from moisture.
  • Wrap well in grease-proof paper, plastic, or any kind of tin or tub.
  • Keep an eye on dates. Here’s a handy infographic on how long Lush products last:

via lush.ca

 Shop smart

  • Did you know shampoo bars are good for 80 washes? At the average price of £6.25 a bar, that’s just £0.08 a wash!
  • Shampoo bars can be used to hand wash clothes. Great for taking on holiday.
  • Lush shampoos can also be used as shower gel.
  • Ultrabland and Ultrabalm are both great multipurpose products. Think of them like the Vaseline of the Lush world.

What are your favourite Lush products?

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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?

2016 goals

2016 Goals

It’s that time of year again; new years resolutions! Eek! The phrase alone is enough to fill most people with dread, but fear not, we can make them bearable.

I’ve written about goal setting before; goals need to be achievable and risk free in order to be successful. I’m sure you’ve heard about SMART goals before, but if you haven’t, you want your goals to be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Basically you want to know exactly what your goals are, and be able to measure your success. Your goals need to be something you can achieve, relevant to your life and ambitions, with a set time frame.

Pretty easy right?

I know the basic things I want to achieve in 2016, but I have yet to set any specific dates. I’m sure I’ll add to these throughout the year.

My 2016 goals

Career

Go fully freelance.

Start work as a freelance writer, with some virtual assistant stuff thrown in.

Create a proper schedule for my blogs. (I want to up my blogging game in a big way in 2016! I love the creativity and community involved with blogging, and I want to set myself clear plans and goals.)

Financial

Learn about investing.

Start a proper saving plan.

Start a private pension(?)

Make as much as I can online every month. (not sure how much to aim for at the mo.)

Fun

Learn calligraphy

Go on holiday, or put away savings for next year.

Life & Health

Get weight loss surgery. (So, a pretty big one! My life is about to change in a huge way and I can’t wait.)

Join a gym.

Learn to drive.

Personal Development

Publish an ebook.

Practice mindfulness regularly.

Read as much as possible. (Still a bit slow reading after my head injury, so won’t set exact figures.)

Get out more, do more things I love, be as happy as possible!


I want 2016 to be: A year of grafting, change and happiness.

I will start: Taking concrete steps towards my dream future.

I will stop: Staying in so much!

Top 5 Goals

  1. Get weight loss surgery.
  2. Learn to drive.
  3. Go freelance.
  4. Regular savings.
  5. Blogging plan.

 

To help you get started with your goals, here’s your free 2016 goals worksheet.

2016 goalsI hope this worksheet helps! Feel free to download and print, and scribble all over the sheet to get your ideas out.

What are your goals for 2016?

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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