I make £850 extra a month with four key tricks – including savings hack, half-price electricity and side hustle | The Sun

A SAVVY grandma has revealed how she makes £850 a month with clever savings hacks and side hustles.

Emma Parsons, 56, from Cardiff enjoys finding new ways to save money and cut down on her monthly bills.

Describing herself as "canny", Emma says she enjoys the challenge of saving money and likes to make a little go a long way.

Emma retired from the civil service nine years ago and now has a little cleaning business.

Although she has a comfortable life one of her big passions is finding little ways to save money.

Using sites like eBay, Vinted and Money Saving Expert for financial advice, she manages to make up to £850 each month.

The grandmother of five told The Sun: "I enjoy looking for ways to beat the system and put some money back in my own pocket, and often friends will come to me for advice on what to do with their money."

It is not only buying and selling that makes Emma an extra few quid, she also uses cashback sites and shops around for the best rates for her savings.

Here are the different ways that Emma boosts her bank balance.

Selling online

Emma has always enjoyed buying and selling her unwanted items online and used to do this through eBay until her daughter convinced her to switch over to Vinted.

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She said: "I was apprehensive of the change at first but I am so pleased I did.

"I think it is so much easier and quicker to use than eBay."

Emma now prefers the online marketplace and says she has stopped buying new clothes altogether.

She added: "I have unsubscribed from all of the clothing mailing lists so that I don't get tempted.

"If I order something and it doesn't fit or I don't like it I just put it straight back online so nothing gets wasted."

The money-savvy grandmother has made a pretty packet selling her and her husband Kevin's clothes through the Vinted.

She said: "My husband lost a lot of weight due to cancer treatment so we sold all his clothes that no longer fit him and bought him some new ones off Vinted.

"He was unsure at first but when he saw that she was buying things that he would buy for himself from Marks and Spencer and pay £30 for and she was getting for £3 he quickly came round to the idea.

"I sold an old Manchester United shirt for £100 and also a pair of old Wrangler jeans that still had the label on, I got a lot for them too."

She has made over £1,000 through the online marketplace since she started using it six months ago.

There are lots of ways you can buy and sell second-hand items.

Most of the apps are free, but some do take a fee or commission so it is best to check this before signing up.

Depop is popular especially among people who like to use Instagram as it looks very similar.

It tailors the listings that shoppers see according to brands and styles they have previously searched for.

Be aware that you do pay a 10% commission on anything you sell on Depop.

Facebook Marketplace is possibly one of the easiest ways to bag yourself a bargain or get rid of your unwanted stuff as most people already have an account.

You don't pay fees or commissions on Facebook Marketplace.

Preloved is another selling platform that lets you post adverts specifically targeted in your local area.

You can get a free membership or pay an annual fee of £5-15 for extra features that can boost your listings.

Half-price energy tariffs

Emma uses British Gas as her energy supplier and has opted for a half-price tariff on weekends.

This means that between 11-4pm on a Sunday she gets half-price energy.

She said: "On a Sunday I save around £4 with the half-price tariff.

"This is the time I use all my appliances for cleaning, cooking and washing.

"Sunday is the only day I put the oven on, the rest of the week I use my air fryer.

"I will usually cook jacket potatoes that we can reheat in the week and make a big casserole."

Air fryers have grown in popularity as people look for healthy and cheaper ways to cook.

Typically a 2kW oven costs around 34p to run for half an hour, or 38p for an hour's use.

You could run a 1,000W air fryer for an hour for 4p less, and usually cooking in an air fryer is quicker than using the oven.

If you have a 3.5kW oven, the savings are even greater as it costs around 60p to run for half an hour and £1.19 for an hour.

Half-price tariffs are there to encourage customers to use energy at off peak times, when demand is low.

British Gas launched a half-price summer offer on June 25and it runs until September 24.

There are different schemes depending on who your energy supplier is, so it is worth giving your energy provider a call to check what they have on offer.

Ovo Energy will pay eligible customers £10 a month if they reduce their energy consumption during peak times.

Octopus Energy also rewarded customers who signed up to its "Power-ups" scheme if they used their energy during a two-hour window on August 18.


Emma also uses cashback sites where she can and saves up the money she makes throughout the year.

She said: "I use top cashback sites and the money I make I put in a pot for Christmas.

"Sometimes I earn around £150 in the year just from cashback and it pays for Christmas dinner.

"If I am buying insurance I usually use TopCashback for that, it feels like free money because I haven't had to do anything different to earn it.

Cashback is a clever way to earn extra cash and you don't really have to do a lot to start earning.

Popular sites for earning cashback are TopCashback and Quidco.

When you are looking to purchase something all you need to do is check if your chosen shop offers cashback through either of these sites, then shop using their link.

Bear in mind that it does take a few weeks for the money to land in your account.

High-interest savings accounts

One of the ways Emma makes her biggest monthly sum is by picking the best place to put her savings.

She keeps a lookout for the best interest rates and is not scared to move her savings around.

She said: "I use Atom Bank and they are really good. I always do my research to make sure that I am going with someone trustworthy.

"I also check on the Martin Lewis website to see who he recommends."

Emma says she has found that the best deals are with internet banks rather than the ones on the high street.

She explained: "High street banks offer nothing in comparison to the internet ones, you just need to shop around.

"I moved my savings into a three-year bond which gives me an income boost each month of £150.

"My husband switched his savings and now he makes around £500 a month interest."

Emma and her husband have roughly £75k in three seperate long-term accounts, a one-year, two-year and three-year.

She gets a 6.05% savings rate on her three-year account.

Emma said: "I do realise that not everyone has that amount of savings, but even if you have a small amount it could still be worth shopping around.

"Getting an extra few pounds here and there adds up, I get a thrill out of feeling like I have beat the system in some way.

"The money I put aside from all of the little things will sometimes go to treat us to a night away.

"It feels like it is a free night away when it has been paid for from saving money on small things."

Do bear in mind that if you make over a certain amount of interest on your savings you will have to pay tax on it.

Everyone has a personal savings allowance – an amount they can earn from interest that's tax-free.

Over this amount, you pay tax at either 20% or 40%, depending on your income tax band.

If you are thinking of switching bank accounts you just need to open the new account and let your new bank or building society know you are switching over.

Give it your old bank details and it will do all the legwork for you.


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It is worth bearing in mind that usually with high-interest savings accounts that are set for a fixed term usually charge a penalty fee to withdraw cash early.

So it is worth checking that before deciding which account is right for you.

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