A THRIFTY nan has revealed how she saves hundreds when it comes to shopping for her grandkids, and how you can do the same.
Karen Kinton, 59, has made shopping for bargains her full time occupation, and she has become a fountain of knowledge about the best discount apps, when to find yellow stickers and tricks for finding treasure in car boot sales.
Karen from Newbury, who shares her journey on Instagram as mybestforless, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “I have spent years discovering the best ways to find bargains and it’s now a habit to avoid full priced or extravagant items as I can usually find them cheaper.
“One area I make regular savings in is grocery shopping. I'll usually shop in Sainsbury's around 2pm on Wednesday or Thursday.
“Yellow stickers are being applied for the first time that day, so not the best bargain but still cheaper than if I'd shopped an hour earlier.
“Going later in the evening can be much cheaper. I'll buy yellow stickered everyday vegetables and meat and fish that I can put straight in the freezer once I get home.
“I also make use of the Sainsbury's Nectar app, as it sends regular offers and coupons. I save all of them, as there may be one of the bargains in my basket!
“I always use a loyalty card in stores I go to often. My Nectar points are used for a nice big turkey at Christmas.
“Although I am sometimes tempted by something extravagant, I don’t generally buy full price. Instead, I tend to look for supermarket brands or slightly imperfect, but perfectly edible items to save money.
“I'll also check the area where stocks of dented tins and other items with damaged packaging go.
“These can be real bargains, but I would advise people to check the dates. That said, some items may be close to their best before date, but they are still perfectly edible.
“Another money saver is cashback apps such as Green Jinn, Shopmium or Checkout Smart. A recent big saving I picked up were two razors. Usually £12, they were on offer for £6 in Wilko. With £6 cash back on each razor, I got these for free.
“I've found like-minded people on Instagram that have helped spot these bargains earlier than I'd have done. I'll also scan any receipts to apps such as Shoppix or Huyu, to collect points which eventually become redeemable for vouchers or cash.
“In recent months a Community Larder has opened near me. A single person can collect 10 Larder items such as pasta, cereal and tins and as much fruit and veg they need for just £3.70 a week. It is not means tested and so far it has worked well for me.
“On a daily basis, I'll get alerts from the Olio app informing me of food offered by local stores, collected by volunteers and redistributed to subscribers for free. It's not often I buy bread or pastries these days.
“Walking to the collection addresses helps keep the weight down - an added bonus! There is also a non-food section which I browse often.
I have spent years discovering the best ways to find bargains and it’s now a habitKaren Kinton
“Something similar is Freecycle. It rarely offers food, more in the way of household items, books and toys.
“My best collection to date has been a bike. Rarely ridden, great condition and light as a feather. Initially I collected it for our grandson, but it's a road bike, not cool I'm guessing, so I got to keep it. I can't tell you how thrilled I am!
“Don't get me started on car boots, I've not bought brand new clothes for years! Most of my wardrobe cost 50p an item but a real gem was a 1950's style dress that is as new and fits me beautifully. It cost £3, but worth every penny.
“I've also bought myself boot roller blades for £5 - still in the box, with pads and gloves. Not bad for someone who'll be 60 in a few months!”
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: “Wow, Karen is a pro at finding bargains - I have learnt a trick or two myself! It must take dedication to keep the cashback and receipt scanning apps ticking over, and it’s impressive that she uses Instagram to get deals more quickly with the help of fellow bargain hunters.
“Now that car boot sales are beginning to return, it’s a welcome treat for thrifty people to go and have a root around. As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
“The Olio app is also a great way to get totally free groceries and household goods. If you’re having trouble with paying for food, it’s a godsend, as you can almost always pick up staples such as bread without paying a penny.”