One savvy saver cleared £8,000 worth of debt with four easy tricks

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Leia has managed to clear over £8,000 of debt and save £20,000 in just a few short years with her frugal spending habits (Image: Mercury Press & Media)
Leia has managed to clear over £8,000 of debt and save £20,000 in just a few short years with her frugal spending habits (Image: Mercury Press & Media)

Leia Winch, 38, from Telford, has managed to get herself out of £8,000 worth of debt and has saved over £20,000 over the last few years through her money-saving hacks, which she shared on her Instagram page @leiasbargains.

Leia said that she “lived beyond her means” for a long time and it caused her to max out a credit card. She said she was trapped in her overdraft.

She said: “I ended up taking out a £4,000 loan to try to pay off the debts, but carried on living and spending the same way so just ended up being in more debt with a loan that needed paying off.”

One savvy saver cleared £8,000 worth of debt with four easy tricks rriqudirriezinvLeia said her partner was "her apprentice", and he is also eager to find yellow sticker and reduced items when they're out shopping (Mercury Press & Media)

After turning her financial life around, Leia said that the secret to her successful saving was down to four things, which were: yellow sticker bargains, cashback apps, couponing, and surveys.

Yellow sticker items are the food and drinks products that have been discounted in supermarkets, and they are often reduced because they are close to their sell-by date, or if the product might be damaged.

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The food product itself is usually still perfectly fine for a few extra days, and supermarkets use this tactic as a way of reducing their food waste.

Leia first began yellow sticker shopping in 2017 when she wanted to improve her finances, but still continues to focus on the yellow-sticker items now.

Leia, who is a career advisor, spends less than £150 a month on food for herself and her partner, and it usually averages a cost of about £4 per day.

She told the Sun : “My partner and I are both big meat eaters, so I always love finding meats in the reduced section.

“After Christmas is always a great time to grab some bargains, as I’ve just managed to snag a few beef joints for 80p each, and ten sausages for just 23p.

“I tend to freeze the meat if I bulk buy, or I’ll batch cook meals packing them full of reduced vegetables like 10p bags of potatoes and carrots. One of my favourite meals to make is cottage pie, which usually costs less than £2 for four portions altogether.”

Leia also shared that she makes her own butter by purchasing double cream, and she usually manages to get four pots for about 40p, which can last her a good while.

Another shopping tip Leia followed is couponing, which usually includes using apps, joining Facebook groups, and picking up supermarket magazines to find coupons.

Leia also used supermarket loyalty schemes to collect points, which she could then transfer into coupons or vouchers.

Leia said: “I managed to get the weekly shop from Sainsbury's for just £3.58 reduced from £48.58, as I used some of the points I’d saved up and converted them to vouchers, and got a lot of reduced foods including meats, ready meals, and vegetables.”

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She also shops around different stores when they are offering deals. She recently managed to do a small food shop in the conventionally more expensive supermarket Co-op for £4.28 instead of £22.40.

Another one of Leia’s tricks is to use cashback sites, as these offers usually give you some money back when you are shopping. However, you do need to spend the money first. You then get reimbursed either a set amount or a percentage off your shopping.

One savvy saver cleared £8,000 worth of debt with four easy tricksLeia shares her best yellow sticker finds on her Instagram account @leiasbargains (Mercury Press & Media)

Leia’s final money-making tip is to take part in online surveys. They do vary, but typically the surveys take Leia between five to 10 minutes, and pay out between 25p - 40p, although you can sometimes get more.

Leia added: “With the cashback apps and survey sites, I tend to get a lot of free items, like four bottles of shampoo from Boots, or big bags of dog food, which I gave to friends and family.

“I’ve also managed to get four free jars of coffee, which actually costs £5.50 per tin in store.”

Leia said even with her frugal lifestyle she hasn’t had to sacrifice her lifestyle. She finds alternative ways of doing the things she enjoys, and usually takes advantage of two-for-one cinema offers and takeaway deals.

With the money she has saved, Leia now hopes to buy the flat she currently rents with her partner.

She added: “I’m aiming to be mortgage-free by retirement age, as well as having a hefty sum of more savings to be comfortable for retirement, as I don’t think a state pension will cover it anymore.

“I really think yellow sticker shopping and using cashback apps are the way to go in order to save money.”

Ruby Flanagan

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation