Genius Shopper Who Has Saved £1000s Reveals How To Get 80% Off Your M&S Shop
- Jo Maxted, 36, is a super shopper who’s saved thousands on food, clothes and holidays
- Jo uses cashback sites, receipt apps and Facebook groups to earn and save money
- Her money-saving skills have even extended to free holidays
If you need a bit of inspiration to save money on your shop today, we present you with an incredible super shopper.
Jo Maxted, 36, has seemingly every money-saving trick up her sleeve, from using cashback sites and receipt apps to save thousands on her shop, to planning Halloween a year in advance.
Jo, a director of a family construction company and a mum of four kids aged seven, nine, 11 and 15, estimates she has saved thousands over the years on her shopping.
Jo shared an amazing 50% off M&S haul on the Facebook group Latest Deals, Extreme Couponing & Bargains Group, with her post soon going viral with hundreds of likes and comments.
But that one shop is the tip of the iceberg for Jo, who has been bargain hunting for over 12 years.
Jo, who lives in Norwich, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “It all started 12 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter.
“I had to take early maternity leave as I got carpal tunnel.
“I just started out by looking for ways to save money and enter competitions - after the first win I was hooked and then started finding ways to save money here and there.
"I always go and look in the supermarkets after a seasonal event as generally they all reduce everything the next day by at least 50%.
"I do love M&S products but they are more money than maybe what you would find in Asda or Aldi, so it feels great to get stuff at a fraction of the full price.
“For example, the Colin cake jars which I absolutely love, and I got five for £1 each.
“They’re usually £4 each so that would have cost me £20 instead of £5.
"As there are six of us in our house, this meant everyone could have one as a treat - my youngest wanted the jelly brain, which was 50% off for £2.
"I also got bags of Mini Eggs: you get eight packs in a bag, and these were £2 down to 50p.
"I got six lots of these which I put away for a couple weeks, as one of my children is turning nine and they take sweets into school for the whole class.
“The rest can go in party bags so that’s saved a couple of quid.
“I also got 10 packs of jelly sweets for 50p - again, perfect for the party bags.
"I also got Colin cake bars for 60p, which are perfect for lunch boxes and these are usually £2.50 a pack.
"We love M&S posh dog sausages and they’re usually £4.50 a pack.
“They were doing Halloween packaged ones cut in half and I got those today for £2 with a week's sell by date on.
“Plus they can be frozen as these are something we usually buy anyway that saved a few more pounds.
"I also got two decorate gingerbread sets down for £2 to 50p.
“These have 10 biscuits in a box and a use by date of February 2022, so are perfect to store away for the kids to do on a rainy day!
"I always check the use by or best before dates and check if they can be frozen when it’s fresh food.
“On Father’s Day, M&S were selling sirloin steak for £20, and two days later I got it for £4.
"The same thing happened at Easter and Christmas.
"I love to stock up on roast joints then and freeze them usually for a quarter of the price!
"I’ve picked up turkeys for £2 from over £30.
“It’s all about going in at the right time.
“This Easter just gone, I managed to get their Easter packaged roast chickens for £2 each from their dine in £20 meal deal section.
“I got one for my mum and sister too.
“The local M&S food branch is only a five minute drive away for me, so it’s easy to just pop down and see what’s there in the morning.
“The stuff out of date that day is yellow stickered usually by a discount of up to £1, which gradually reduces more as the day goes on.
“In the evening, they reduce all their yellow sticker items down to minimal prices.
"I often go and grab some ready meals at 10p each and put them in the freezer.
"When they’re are usually £2.50 to £3.50 each that’s a huge saving.
"I generally go two or three times a week to have a look.
“However, I hate waste and wouldn’t buy something if we weren’t going to use it.
"I always make sure there’s space in the freezer and recently we’ve started doing one day a week ready meal night from M&S.
“It’s cheaper than takeaway and saves me cooking, and I know what everyone likes so I stock up when I can, or I look for it to buy and freeze if it’s reduced.
"My kids love M&S fresh noodles and stir fry vegetables, and these are generally reduced every time I go in, so I will buy a couple of these and batch cook it.
“It’s then done for kids’ packed lunches for a few days, and saves me spending school dinner money and works out cheaper than sandwiches.
"My top tip for finding cheap food is all in the timing.
“All supermarkets have set times that they reduce products out of date that day, so find out when your favourite does theirs.
"I know M&S as I regularly go there and Asda I know on a weekend generally reduce their meat 50% off.
“If it’s out of date that day, they’ll even reduce them in the mornings.
“Again, by evening around 8pm, it will be down to pennies!
"I go to a gym next door to Asda so will pop in there at 8pm and have found some cracking bargains, such as pizzas for 10p, sandwiches, wraps, chicken in a bag, and sometimes they’ll even be giving away bread, rolls and crumpets for free.
"I also try and bulk buy things such as drinks, toilet roll, crisps, meat and vary where I get what from.
“The food warehouse is the cheapest for cans of drink.
“For example, you can buy three cases of 24 Diet Coke for £21, and at the moment students get 20% off so that’s £16.80, which is a complete bargain compared to anywhere else.
“Anyone can get a student card if they enrol in an online course, which can cost as little as £4.
"If you Google it, there are plenty of links to help.
"The cost of the card is minimal when I can save so much all year.
“You get 10% off at Co-op all year and 20% off at Iceland.
“With the card, Amazon Prime is free for six months, then half the price of what you would normally pay.
“Amazon Prime comes with so many retailers offering discounts.
"Amazon often have good toilet roll offers for bulk buys with subscribe and save, then you just cancel it the next month.”
Jo finds that with four children, forward planning is the key to keeping things affordable.
"I do the same for Halloween costumes every year,” she adds.
"I have done it for the past eight years.
“With four children, it just got too expensive spending £15 per costume, so I started going to Sainsbury's and Tesco the day after and they were reduced by 70%.
“Then I store them away for the next year.
"My boys' costumes were priced at £12 each, but I paid £2.70 this year.
"I did it with their Halloween baskets too - at Sainsbury's they were down to 10p, the Halloween decorations and makeup were down to 10p and the carving kit was £1 down from £4.
“It’s all kept in one bag in one place so I can find it next year.”
Jo also makes use of shopping apps, Facebook groups and bargain websites to keep costs down and make some extra money while she’s at it.
"With all the shopping I do, I get a lot of receipts and actually make money by uploading the receipts to some receipt apps I have on my phone available for free,” Jo adds.
“It literally takes seconds, and this year alone I have made £180, which I converted to Amazon vouchers and redeemed for Christmas presents.
"I just always get a receipt wherever I shop and then recycle it.
“Plus, it’s come in handy at other times when I’ve physically lost my receipt.
“For example, once at Primark I wanted to take some jumpers back and I’d lost the receipt but the photo was on the app so they let me return it anyway.
“There are some really useful websites and Facebook groups nowadays that help with finding bargains and deals for all things, even providing discount codes for items.
"I always look for a discount code or check for a student discount before I buy anything online.
“I also use cashback - I’ve earned over £3,000 in the past six years from cash back alone with things I would have bought anyway.
"I also love rewards cards, Tesco points, Boots, Nectar and so on.
“I always sign up for company emails, because a lot offer freebies or discounts for birthdays.
“For example, Hobbycraft do £5 free for your birthday with no minimum spend so my husband and I joined.
“They send it yearly.
“They recently did half price kids’ crafts, so I got three paint your own money boxes for £1 - they were £12, but were reduced half price to £6, then I took my £5 off.
"We went to Bella Italia yesterday for a family meal, and we purposely went there as on the Taste Card right now you get 60 days' free use, which gives you two for one on thousands of restaurants.
“With six of us, three got to eat starters, mains and deserts for free saving £50 - so why wouldn’t I find try and find the bargains out there?!
“When we went to the cinema last week, I used Meerkat Movies, which gives you two for one on tickets.
“My husband and I renewed our vehicle insurance via Compare the Market to get a year two for one at the cinema.
“Doing this separately has given me two lots of two for one, so I took three of my children and myself to the cinema last week and only had to pay £10 for all four of us to go in.
"I had free snacks from my vouchers and I took everyone a fizzy drink from my can collection, saving a small fortune as cinema food prices are really overpriced in my opinion."
Jo says that her kids tease her for her bargain-hunting, but that she’s saved thousands and thousands of pounds over the years.
"I have so many stories of freebies - I’ve entered thousands of competitions,” she adds.
"I’ve won holidays, electricals, money, appliances and once in a lifetime experiences.
"As time's gone on, more and more companies use social media to reach out to potential consumers.
"I realised paying compliments or complaints online also go a long way.
“Through compliments alone, I’ve had free food and vouchers, and through complaints have had similar.
"I’ve had free stays in London hotels, Cambridge and even a free holiday to Butlins.
"I’m all for paying a compliment, and frequently take names of staff working in shops when you get a receipt that says 'did someone make a difference today?' so I can pay their names forward as it costs nothing to be kind!
"I’d recommend people use Facebook groups like Latest Deals, Extreme Couponing and Bargains to find out about new deals.
“You can even sign up for alerts for keywords like ‘glitch’ or ‘freebie’.
“My kids all call me embarrassing at times for the amount of bargain hunting I do but I just laugh - they know I’ll never change!”
Tom Church, founder of the money-saving Black Friday app, commented: “I thought I’d heard every money-saving trick in the book, but Jo is a super saver with some really amazing tips.
“Signing up to newsletters to get birthday discounts, paying compliments which lead to freebies, and planning Halloween a year in advance are just some of her genius tips!
“With Black Friday on the way, many of us will be looking to take a leaf out of Jo’s book and save as much we can.
“Don’t forget to download Latest Deals’ Black Friday app to help you find the best deals along the way."
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