Me & my boyfriend saved £25k in 2020 by using cashback websites and making swaps – here's how you can do the same

A WOMAN has revealed how she and her boyfriend saved £25,000 in 2020 – so you can use her tips this year.

Kimberley Burton, from Sandiacre, Derbyshire, was inspired to cut back after working out how much interest she was paying on the mortgage for her three-bed townhouse.

The 30-year-old dietitian swapped the bus for cycling, had a 'no buy' clothes year, started using cashback websites and haggled with her bill providers.

As a result, she pocketed an extra £15,000 this year and encouraged boyfriend Jamie Marvin, 40, an upholsterer, to save £10,000 of his own money.

Kimberley also slashed their weekly food bill to £25, down from up to £60, thanks to batch cooking and yellow sticker deals.

Speaking to Fabulous, she says: "I always try to save but I think the pandemic's made my boyfriend more aware of it.

"With people losing their jobs, he's keen to have some back-up money, although luckily he's been OK workwise.

"Some things we've actively changed, the rest has been about not spending as much on meals out, clothes and holidays.

"I’d like to try and pay off as much of my mortgage as I can.

"I’ve looked at online calculators, where you see how much you’re overpaying and how much you could save in the long term.

"At the moment, I own the three-bed townhouse we live in and Jamie also owns a house which his gran lives in, so in the long term we’d look to buy a bigger place together."

Initially it will feel hard but so much of it’s routine, so you will get used to it. Once you see the money you're saving, it really helps with the motivation

Kimberley and Jamie have been together for 12 years, after meeting through a mutual friend.

Although she's savvy with money, the pair have enjoyed luxury holidays to America for three weeks last year and Australia the year before, spending between £7,000 and £8,000 on each trip.

This year, they've pocketed that money because of lockdown travel restrictions.

Kimberley says: "Holidays are the key thing we've not done, we've saved quite a lot of money by not doing those.

"I had a Las Vegas trip planned with my friends this year, to celebrate our 30ths.

"I got £1,000 from the refund on flights and accommodation but would have spent much more with events, nights out and visits to the casino.

"I hope we'll still get to do it eventually but we want to wait until there's no restrictions and some of my friends are pregnant now. Maybe we'll do it for our 40ths.

"Jamie and I would like to do another big holiday, that's something we're saving for, America was my dream trip – Jamie would like to go to Japan and Vietnam.

"Jamie and I have saved about £1,000 by cutting back on dinners out in Nottingham and maybe £30-a-week on petrol by driving less.

"I've been able to pick up some overtime at the hospital I work in, making an extra £550, and in my spare time I've been taking part in market research.

"I do it through a company called Podengo, this year it's all been online because of Covid.

"They send you an email about all the projects they've got coming up and you can apply by answering a few questions, then they ring you back and let you know if you've been chosen.

"I like giving my opinion on things, so that's easy money for me and I've made £300. I'm trying to get Jamie involved but he's not interested."

Kimberley and Jamie’s £25k savings


Bank switch: £150

Market research: £300

Las Vegas holiday refund: £1,000

Cycling to work instead of getting the bus: £1,000

Cashback website: £300

Changing phone contract to sim only: £150

Premium bonds wins: £75

Remortgaging at the end of fixed term: £2,000

Overtime at work: £550


No takeaway coffee: £500

Packed lunches instead of eating out: £750

Change to 0% interest credit card: £200

Joint savings

Switching gas and electric: £300

Switching car insurance: £100

Minimising eating out: £1,000

Haggling with Virgin Media: £120

Less petrol used: £1,560

No big holiday: £8,000

No clothes bought: £700

Batch cooking to save on food shop: £1,560

Other savings: £4,685

TOTAL: £25,000

Kimberley used to pay £25-a-week to get the bus into Nottingham, but she now cycles the 11-mile round trip, saving £1,000-a-year.

She also uses cashback websites to save. She says: "Even if you only get a few pounds each time, it adds up to a decent amount.

"I bought my first bike through Top Cashback, I got £200 for that and it's free to use.

"I probably earn more through my insurance and telephone packages than I do for shopping, as I'm always changing my providers to save cash.

"This year, I've saved £2,000 by remortgaging at the end of my fixed term contract.

"We've also saved £300 by switching our gas and electricity provider to Simplicity Energy, £100 by changing our car insurance provider and £120 by haggling with Virgin Media over our internet and TV.

"The bill companies seem to put the prices up every year, I think ‘I’m getting the exact same thing so I might as well try for a discount’.

"I'll do my research on Money Saving Expert or ask my mates what price they pay, then I'll ring up and say ‘I know someone who’s paying this amount for the same package’.

"The more you threaten to leave, they normally will drop the price."

Kimberley does the food shop in either Tesco or Lidl and gets as many yellow sticker deals as possible, although she doesn't go at a set time to cash in on these.

She says: "We do a lot of batch cooking, we’ll make a spaghetti bolognese or a big shepherd’s pie and live on that for a few days.

"We’d cook maybe eight portions in one go and we've got our weekly shop down to £25-a-week, it used to be up to £60.

The bill companies seem to put the prices up every year, I think ‘I’m getting the exact same thing so I might as well try for a discount’

"We're careful with our heating and electricity, too. I'll let it get down to 12C inside before I'll say ‘no we need to put the heating on’.

"I'll go days at a time without putting the heating on, even in winter, and I'm always turning the lights off.

"We've not bought any clothes this year, I think that's helped by not having any holidays or events to go to, so we've saved £300-£400 each."

If you're feeling inspired, Kimberley says it's easy to make small cut backs – and they all add up.

She says: "Initially it will feel hard but so much of it’s routine, so you will get used to it.

"Once you see the money you're saving, it really helps with the motivation.

"I know everyone’s got different circumstances but I think most people could make little changes.

"Until you sit down and look at what you actually spend, you don’t realise where you can cut back.

"Even with household bills and insurance, so many people just auto-renew. If you can save £10 or £20-a-month by switching, it all adds up."

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