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Mum reveals how she saved £5,000 in 9 months with side hustles and mystery shopping


Megan Kristie, 25, a learning and development co-ordinator from Birmingham, UK, makes money from home by using survey sites, market research companies and website testing.

Megan Kristie started saving money in her maternity leave

A mum has explained how she saved more than £5,000 in nine months while on maternity leave – and is now on a mission to inspire other new parents.

Megan Kristie, 25, a learning and development co-ordinator from Birmingham, earns money from home by using survey sites, market research companies and website testing.

The money-savvy mum also makes extra cash from mystery shopper schemes and cashback sites.

Megan is putting the money she has saved towards buying her first home.

She decided she wanted to be more smart with her money after going on maternity leave with her first child, who has just turned one.

Megan is now back at her £27,000 pro-rata job part-time and says her outgoing bills come to about £1,150 including energy bills and groceries.

Megan will pregnant with her first child


mediadrumimages/Megan Kristie)

Megan wants to inspire other new mums


mediadrumimages/Megan Kristie)

“I have always been a saver but have never budgeted,” said Megan.

“I started my budgeting journey when I started maternity leave. I wanted to make the most of the money I did have by implementing a budget.

Have you managed to save money through side hustles? Let us know: mirror.money.saving@mirror.co.uk

“My side hustles are mystery shopping, website testing, market research and surveys.

“There are lots of apps and companies out there to start side hustles with. How much I do varies depending on how much spare time I have.

“I tend to do surveys in the evenings and website tests throughout the day. I apply for lots of market research so depending on if I get chosen, I’ll do them on specified dates and times.”

Megan is saving for her first home


mediadrumimages/Megan Kristie)

Megan and her daughter on holiday


mediadrumimages/Megan Kristie)

Megan says she is also a huge fan of cashback sites and tries to get money back on almost all her spends.

Cashback sites do what they say on the tin. You’ll get money back for a qualifying shop as you complete the transaction via their website.

It can take a while for the money to go through but if you’re making that purchase anyway, then it is essentially free cash.

“I save money on grocery shopping mainly by using cashback apps and by taking advantage of new customer discount deals,” said Megan.

“For instance, I recently saved £20 off a £60 shop for being a new customer with Ocado.

“I have lots of different savings pots.

Freebies from mystery shopping and cashback apps


mediadrumimages/Megan Kristie)

“One for a house, one for a flag to hopefully soon become a landlord, and a general emergency fund, should I ever need it.”

Megan shares her budgeting journey on her Instagram account @thesavvyspenderofficial.

Since she began posting, costs of living have increased significantly, so she does her best advise her followers on how to budget.

She says her top advice is to write down all of your finances – including your outgoings and incoming money – and see how much you’re left with.

“Then allocate your leftover money accordingly,” she said.

“Find a budgeting method that works for you. You can find these on Google or Instagram finance pages – having the correct budget can work wonders.

“Finally – Use cashback apps. The cost of living criss has affected my own saving slightly, but not drastically as I have been side hustling more often which means my budgets haven’t changed too much.

“I tend to spend more time making extra money so I can still save and enjoy my life whilst affording the higher energy bills and other rising costs of living.

“Utilities for me is the hardest area to save in. It’s not so easy to just stop using as much hot water or cook less.

“These are basic necessities and I don’t believe we should have to choose between staying warm or eating, it’s not fair that people have to make this decision.”

How much money Meg has made

  • £1,000 from surveys.
  • £1,000 from website testing.
  • £2,000 from market research.
  • £1,000 from a mix of mystery shopping product tests and referral schemes.

“I don’t include cashback as profit but I have made around £300 additional to the £5k from cashback apps,” she said.

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