Free Postcode Lottery


I stumbled across the Free Postcode Lottery this week and while it won’t make you constant money it is well worth signing up to it.

Not to be confused with the People’s Postcode Lottery, this UK site is free to sign up to and makes all it’s money through ads and donations. You register your postcode and every day one is picked at random to win the jackpot. The jackpot is split between every one in that postcode so if you are the only one entered, you win it all. The only real downside to Free Postcode Lottery is that you have to visit the website to claim your winnings should you be the lucky one, if you forget to claim then the jackpot rolls over.

You also get the chance to earn a bonus on your winnings by visiting the site every day, liking them on Facebook and Google+ as well as a referral system. This bonus keeps growing until you win the jackpot and it is then added to your winnings.

You will receive 1p every day that you visit, 20p for a Facebook like, 20p for a 1+ on Google+ and referrals can net you a whopping £200 in bonuses. Ever referral earns you 1p straight away and then up to 20p as they build up their own bonus. You can earn a bonus for up to 1000 referrals. Referrals can be done via Facebook, Google+ or a unique URL that you can share anywhere. I’m currently on 41p.

Free Postcode Lottery also has a range of offers and surveys available to it’s users as a way of thanking them and hopefully increasing their earnings.

As I said, it isn’t a constant payout but more of an investment. A minute a day logging in could see a couple of £100 hit your bank account at any time.

As with anything I post about, if you have any questions or comments then feel free to let me know; especially if you have ever won with Free Postcode Lottery.

Mystery Shopping: Part 3 – Apps


Welcome to the final part of my mystery shopping theme. Over the last three posts I have talked about the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app. Last week I posted about online mystery shopping which can find here and the week before it was traditional mystery shopping, you can find that post here.

I don’t include any of my mystery shopping earnings in this challenge as I class them as income but they are a great way to earn some extra money.

What is app mystery shopping?

The mystery shopping app industry is constantly growing; there seems to be a new company offering it every few months. The concept is the same as both traditional and online mystery shopping in that you are paid to analyse the company but the reporting is done through a mobile app rather than online. You download an app which will show you jobs available in your area, you accept the job and visit the venue where you are taken through the steps required. They may ask you to take photos of specific products or displays, ask about the staff and store, or even just want you to take a photo of a street sign. Some jobs will require you to buy something and will reimburse you an amount for that purchase. I once had a task that needed me to talk about the crisp shelf in a local petrol station, I then had to buy a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps and talk about them for an additional fee.

How do I find app mystery shopping work?

There are a few apps that I recommend you download, the first one if you have an iPhone (there are no plans for this to come to Android) is Field Agent; from what I see, this is one of the best paying apps with the most work. Then there is Roamler who may require you to enter a referral code, if you need one then pop over to The Money Shed and sign up; they have an ongoing code for their members. Others include Clic and Walk, Streetspotr and iPoll.  I also recommend a newer one to the market called Streetbees, they don’t have an app but you do need to use your phone to take photos and upload it via their website; they are kind of a mix between app and online.

How much can you earn with app mystery shopping?

I find that this style of mystery shopping is very dependant on your location. I know many people who earn £1000’s a year doing the tasks but other who really need to go out of their way to make anything. You need to know when tasks are becoming available in advance so you can snap them up quickly so I recommend following them on Facebook, Twitter or The Money Shed. The Money Shed have a good rapport with most of these companies and have many reps active on their forum to answer questions. They get a heads up from Field Agent for location maps and tasks coming up before Field Agent even announce it themselves, and bonuses from Streetbees as their members helped launch the company (often 50% bonuses on tasks).

The listed apps are always useful to have and check while you are out and about as tasks can pop up anywhere; with a chance that no-one else has snapped them up yet. At times you can plan ahead and bag yourself a few a day.

This concludes my mystery shopping theme, I hope this gives you a good idea of how to get into this sort of work and where to look for work. Like with anything I post, if you have any comments or questions then please feel free to mention.

February Update

february tick

February has now been and gone. I have to admit that although this it was the shortest month I feel it has gone pretty well, there are some areas that I have really concentrated on and almost tripled last months results.

What hasn’t worked?

I feel YouGov and Global Test Market are being neglected, especially GTM as by the time I have finished with the other sites I have had enough so avoid them.

New finds

A site that rewards you for exercise, Bounts. Basically you connect it to one of the many exercise apps you can get for your phone and you get points for completing an activity, those points can then be converted into rewards. I plan to test it out and then do a post about it either later in March or at the start of April. For now register HERE and use the referral code “samphire569” which will get you (and I) a bonus 100 points.


So this is what I have made this month, for a running total go to My Money Making Websites page.

Swagbucks: 1,253 SwagBucks

Clixsense: $22.98

OnePoll: £8.90

Nectar Points: 775 points + 15 points in interest in The Hive

Top CashBack: £0.00

YouGov: 0

Global Test Market: 40 points

FindItForLess: 0

Bount: 360

If I keep up with the Swagbucks and Clixsense I am looking at easily exceeding the £250 I estimated last month.

Plans for March

I didn’t get round to making any videos last month like hoped so I will aim for at least one during March, I also want to get started with the Christmas Ideas side of the blog. I want there to be lots of ideas up, tried and tested ready for people beginning to think about the festive period.

I am hoping March will be even better than February.

Mystery Shopping: Part 2 – Online


Welcome to part two of my mystery shopping theme. Over three posts I will introduce you to the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app. Last week I posted about traditional mystery shopping, you can find that post here.

I don’t include any of my mystery shopping earnings in this challenge as I class them as income but they are a great way to earn some extra money.

What is online mystery shopping?

Online mystery shopping has the same concept as traditional mystery shopping apart from having to visit the premises. The company/business/brand will want shoppers to use their website, everything from the navigation and search function to customer service and returns. The mystery shopping company assign shoppers with specific tasks to carry out and pay according to the work involved. Examples of tasks are checking how the mobile version of a site functions, or an app. You may be asked to contact customer services via phone, email and/or live chat and evaluate the service given. Very often you will be requested to buy something from the website so you can evaluate their purchasing process and even asked to return the item.

In most cases you are paid a set fee no matter what level task you are asked to carry out, then if a purchase is needed you are given an allowance; from personal experience you are paid that allowance no matter how much you spend, then if you have to return the item you are paid an additional fee to cover the return.

How do I find online mystery shopping work?

There are a couple of good companies to get in with online, the first being EDigital Research. This is where I get all my online mystery shopping work from and recommend them highly. Another place that can dish out some online work is ESA Retail, I’ve not signed up to this company yet but it comes recommended by Jon from The Money Shed.

How much can you earn with online mystery shopping?

Like I said in the last post, it can vary from a few pounds to a few £1000 a month depending on the work available. In December I managed to earn myself a nice sum of just over £100 from EDigital Research and so did a few others I know; I also came out with 3 new pairs of knickers, a Christmas present and a decoration for my tree. If I had an iPhone is could of been a lot more too.

Online work is the biggest one I earn from when it comes to mystery shopping, which is why I don’t include it in my challenge. My next post will cover app work which is a big earner for some people I know.

As with anything I post about, if you have questions or comments then please feel free to ask. I hope this has given you a little more insight into online mystery shopping.

Mystery Shopping: Part 1 – Traditional


Welcome to part one of my mystery shopping theme. Over the next three posts I will introduce you to the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app.

I don’t include any of my mystery shopping earnings in this challenge as I class them as income but they are a great way to earn some extra money.

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is the way a company/business/brand can monitor how the staff/store are managing their product. In a store they want to know how polite and efficient the staff working for them are, how well trained they are, how clean the place is and are they providing the quality of service expected. A company or brand may want to know whether the products are being displayed properly. To do this they “employ” the services of the general public to carry out tasks and evaluate what they are looking for. Some companies will pay a fee for this, some will reimburse you the cost of any products purchased and others will generously give both.

Over the years, mystery shopping has changed a lot especially with the introduction of online purchases and mobile phone apps; making it available to a lot more people.

What is traditional mystery shopping

Traditional mystery shopping has been around for many, many years; I remember working in a cinema at 18 and having to keep an eye out for mystery shoppers. A company will request their shopper to visit a store during a specific time and carry out a certain task or set of tasks. This might be to buy a product, interact with the staff or  inspect the store. They then need to return to their home or a venue outside of the recently visited store and write a report about the visit giving all the details requested. They submit the report, along with receipts to a) prove they completed the task and b) receive their reimbursement.

Still not clear? I’ll give you an example.

I used to work for McDonald’s where a mystery shopper was called a “Gap Buster” as this is the company used to evaluate the fast food company. They could visit three times a day either 8-10am, 12-2pm or 5-7pm; known in the world of McDonald’s as “Gap Time” – That’ll explain why the store is suddenly inundated with staff and managers. A store would receive two visits a month; one in the store and one on the drive thru (unless it didn’t have one, then it was two in store). The “Gap Buster” had to enter the store or drive thru queue and start timing their visit. The company want to know how quickly the service was from entering the store to sitting down with their meal. They had to order a specific meal, nothing special and take note of the staff member serving them; their appearance and  serving manner as well as their speed. They had to make sure they got a receipt. They would then eat their meal and have to make a note of the taste, the temperature and quality. A visit to the toilets was a must, again making note of everything they saw. Finally making note of the general appearance of the store, including it’s exterior and whether there was any dining area staff on duty interacting with customers.

The “Gap Buster” then left the store to make note of their visit and submit their report to GapBuster who informed the company of it’s results; normally within 24 hours. The shopper is then reimbursed for their meal and given a fee for their time.

Many companies make use of mystery shoppers not just fast food restaurants, there are 5* hotels who require their services to be evaluated, holiday resorts, michelin starred restaurants and car dealerships. Even if they don’t pay a fee it gives the average Joe a chance to experience these places knowing that they’ll be reimbursed.

How can I get into mystery shopping?

There are plenty of companies in the UK that are on the look out for mystery shoppers but they do require an application to be filled in, it’s basically like applying for a job. They want to know why they should select you to carry out their work. Certain places won’t allow you to work for them if you have any history with the companies they represent; for example, I cannot accept work for McDonald’s having worked there within the past 5 years. There is a fantastic thread on The Money Shed‘s forum about all aspects of mystery shopping, including traditional work and which companies are worth applying to. Due to NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) I cannot state which I work for but I will list a few to take a look at.


Mystery Dining Company

Market Force

Retail Active

How much can you earn mystery shopping?

How long is a piece of string? There was a brilliant blog I read the other week about a mystery shopper who does it full-time and brings in (on average) £1000-£2500 a month BUT she had been doing it years and the amount of preparation it takes, means it is literally her full-time job. How much you can earn really does depend on the area you live, how far you are willing to travel and what you have to offer the company conducting the mystery shopping; whether you meet their needs. Like I said, some will only reimburse you for your purchases and others will pay you a fee for going. It is a case of signing up to the companies and seeing what is available.

I don’t do much in the way of traditional mystery shopping at the moment because I live on the outskirts of a major city and the cost of getting to the places that need evaluating outweighs the fee that’ll get reimbursed but I am looking to increase this over the coming months so I will report back. I do however do pretty well when it comes to online mystery shopping which is what I will be covering in next week’s post.

As with anything I post about, if you have questions or comments then please feel free to ask. I hope this has given you a little more insight into mystery shopping.

Christmas Gift Ideas

I understand that not everyone is in the position to earn that little bit extra each month so this is why I am also going to share money saving Christmas gift ideas that look fantastic as well as relieve a little bit of pressure on the pocket.

I have a Pinterest account set up as a way of saving all the fantastic ideas that I come across over the year and I will be selecting ones to try out to show you that they are easy to make but look fabulous. Each make will have a breakdown of the materials/ingredients and of the cost; to show you that you don’t have to spend a fortune each year.

If there are any ideas you love the look of then please feel free to share or if you want me to give something you’ve seen a go then let me know.

Find It For Less


I stumbled across Find It For Less at the end of 2014 when they made themselves known on The Money Shed. The concept of the site is very simple, as you can probably work out by the name, it is basically a price comparison site. You search for something you want and are then given a list of places to buy it from which are listed by price.

How do you earn with them?

If you buy through the product link on the site you can earn cash back in the way of “Find It For Less” points, these points can be exchanged for gift vouchers. What makes this site unique from other sites such as Top Cashback and HotDealsUK is that you can earn points by posting offers (as long as the retailer is eligible) and by referring friends. If they sign up under you then you earn points, if they buy from your referral link you again earn points.

How many points do you need to exchange? What gift vouchers are on offer?

It takes 1000 points to redeem a £10 gift voucher; I’m at 317 points without posting any offers yet. The current vouchers on offer are Love 2 Shop, One 4 All and Amazon Vouchers. There have been a fair few members who have cashed out at least once and are well on their way to their next voucher who just post offers.

How do you tell people about it?

It’s really simple. You can share individual product searches; so for example, a friend is looking for the latest Call of Duty game for his console. You find it for a few quid cheaper on Find It For Less so share the link with that friend who then buys it and you get points. Sharing is simply done either by a link, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or email.

You can also share the site’s top offers or most recent offers; again if someone buys from your link, you earn points. It is best to advise them to sign up first so they get the points too.

This website is still relatively new and I know they have many plans for it; such as offering the cash back as money rather than vouchers. It will be interesting to see how this place grows and adapts. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for any and all updates.

If you pop over to The Money Shed you will find an exclusive points code to get you started.

As with anything I post about, if you have any questions or comments then please feel free to leave them.

January Update

january tick

Where on Earth did January go? I’m pretty sure it was only last week I was making my first post and now here I am posting my first update.

January seems to have gone well, it has been a learning curve to say the least. As a fair few of the things I am trying are new, it has taken time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. All in all I am happy with the progress I have made so I shall share my thoughts with you now.

What hasn’t worked?

For me, instaGC. I feel that because I am seeing better results elsewhere that I am just not clicking with this site and I don’t completely understand it. I have seen others have so much success with it but it just isn’t for me at the moment.

New finds

Two weeks ago I was introduced to a couple of survey sites, one of which is fantastic and the other I’m still getting around to using properly. OnePoll is my new best friend and I am looking forward to writing a post about them. Global Test Market is slowly getting there.


Now for the bit I’m sure you’re all eager to find out, how well have I done?

Swagbucks: 681 SwagBucks – What does this mean? If I keep it up at this pace I can cash in 2 x £25 iTunes gift cards or 8 x£5 Amazon gift cards before Christmas.

Clixsense: $7.78 – This is better than I thought it was going to be, especially as it took me a good few weeks to get my head around using it.

OnePoll: £12.10 – This is my new favourite, I joined on the 16th and have earned this already.

Nectar Points: 264 points + 12 points in interest in The Hive – A slow month for Nectar Points, as it is January so the spending it tightened.

Top CashBack: 80p – For signing up to a free offers site. There is currently a Bingo cash back offer I am planning to take up in February which is £28 back for a £10 deposit.

YouGov: 50 points – I haven’t paid much attention to this site this month as I have been busy learning others.

Global Test Market: 60 points – Need 867 to cash out a £25 Amazon Voucher, but I need to get 1000 points before I can cash out (hope that makes sense). Again I have only had this site for 2 weeks and not spent a lot of time on there.

FindItForLess: 316 points – 1000 points needed to cash out a £10 voucher.

At the moment I am looking at around £250 for the year, that is if I keep my current pace which I am not planning to do. This month has honestly been bare minimum while I learn the ropes; especially with things like Clixsense.

Plans for February

Yesterday I set up a new YouTube channel, I am planning on making videos which explain how to use certain sites and answer any questions given to me (feel free to ask questions by the way); so you can subscribe to that if you wish. I’m not going to guarantee how often videos are posted just yet, as I am unsure myself.

I would love to increase eyes on my blog, I think over 1000 views in the first month is fantastic so thank you to everyone who has read it. I’d like to increase my social media presence too. I do have Facebook and Twitter, you can get to them by clicking the floaty buttons that follow you down the page.

Obviously February is a shorter month and thrown into it is a half-term so my son is off school. My husband is also off so I know that week is going to be a little slow on the earning side; oh and I have a 50th Birthday cake to make during the last week.

I just want to again say thank you to everyone who has read this, is following and those who are commenting. It is nice to see people take an interest in you and what you do.

Bring on February!

The Money Shed


Until April 2014 I assumed that working for home either involved direct selling such as Avon or Ann Summers, both I tried and failed at, door-to-door sales or being very lucky and having a company that is willing to let you stay at home to work. I was proven very wrong when I was introduced to The Money Shed by it’s founder Jon.

I had been trawling the forum of a popular parenting site when I came across a post about working from home, I commented and not long after Jon was there to tell us about opportunities that were available which weren’t any of those I have previously listed. One of the opportunities caught my eye more than the rest, 63336, the text answering service, I queried Jon about this job in which he pointed me over to The Money Shed. At first, like many I am sure, I was a little put off by a random link to a forum I had never heard of; slight warning bells rang but I made a leap of faith and found myself on a very new forum. It had only been running since January and you could still tell it was finding its feet but I looked passed that and started to interact with the members. Jon gave me the referral details for the 63336 job, he coached me through what to expect and before I knew it I was officially a Researcher for them. Jon did this for many people who signed up for the company as he had been with them a little while and before that worked for another similar company called ChaCha.

As I had found my feet on the forum I started paying attention to what the other members were doing to earn an income. Some were very into mystery shopping, others into surveys but not the kind you get paid pennies and spend half an hour completing one. Many though blogged. I had blogged in the past but nothing serious and certainly didn’t know there was any money in it. This is again where The Money Shed came in handy, all the members were more than willing to help; no question was too stupid. They still do, as I move onto this new path in my life I find that I am asking more and more questions about setting up and running a blog.

What most people don’t realise unless they are already in this world is that there are so many ways to earn online or from home and you can bring in a full-time wage, the likes of Lionbridge or Leapforce who pay per hour (around $14 per hour) and you can basically choose your hours. Then there are people who just want that little extra spending money each month who choose to do things like Roamler/StreetSpotr/Click&Walk/Field Agent which are all mystery shopping apps; if you are in the right locations then these can bring in an excess of £100 per month. I have chosen at the moment to just top our household income up rather than diving into a full-time wage; I like to have my finger in many online pies so I never get bored of the same thing.

I’ve now been a member of The Money Shed for 9 months and with that I have discovered many of the opportunities I have listed on My Money Making Websites page as well as being given tasks by Jon that companies have approached him with. One of those was a sort of audio-transcription job, I had to say 400 phrases into my microphone which took less than an hour and if I remember rightly it paid £13. Another was a bit of a research job hunting down footballers alias and writing 3 clues about their identity; this took about 2 hours and paid £25.

Recently the site has allowed direct sellers/MLM representatives to join the board, now while I don’t plan to sign up to anything it is interesting to read about these different companies and provides a real insight for anyone considering joining one.

With over 20,000 posts and a member base of almost 1000 people, The Money Shed is now the largest UK forum dedicated to working from home; oh that’s another point, it is only available to UK residents. This ensures that every opportunity is available and relevant to the members.

If you want to read more about The Money Shed then give these blogs a read:

Eeep I’m A Blogger

From Aldi To Harrods


Alternative check out The Money shed Blog HERE and I highly recommend reading through the Working from home Toolkit to anyone looking to get started earning at home.

If you have any questions about The Money Shed or anything else in my blog then please feel free to ask. I hope this helps some of you find your feet in the confusing world of working from home.

Top Cashback


The idea of Top Cashback is pretty simple, buy something via their site and you will earn cashback. They offer cashback on everything from free trials and surveys to insurance and utilities. The amount often depends on what the product or service you are purchasing is.

For example, Sky are currently offering a whopping £157.50 cashback for new customers that purchases the Movie or Sports Bundle.

It’s not only purchases that qualify for cashback, simple comparison searches can give you a few quid and even more depending on if you take up any of the services. Then there are the “free cashback” offers that are no purchase offers or free trials, places such as Experian will give you a nice amount of cashback (usually around £5) to take out their free 30 trial for your credit report; just make sure you cancel it so you don’t start getting charged.

I have been a member for many years now and quite often forget to check it before buying something but with that said I have almost made £400 back from purchases, the biggest being places such as BT and Sky.

Another added bonus of this site is it’s very generous “Tell-A-Friend” scheme which sees members earning £5.00 per sign up (subject to the friend earning a minimum of £10’s themselves). There is also the option to upgrade your membership which costs £5 and is taken from your first set of earnings for the year rather than being an upfront fee. This upgrade gives you 5% extra on cashback earnings, “Tell-A-Friend” bonus of £7.50 which is often boosted to £10 and many other offers to boost your earnings.

Payout is pretty varied too, the obvious choice is Paypal and for some purchases you can select BACS. Then there is the option to be paid in gift cards which can sometimes be the better option with many receiving a bonus for using them; payout using an Amazon Card and you will see an extra 5% of your earnings added on top. This gift card bonus is the reason I am including it in the Cash Free Christmas Challenge as I will get more to spend.

I’d say the only real downside to Top Cashback is the time it takes for the cashback to be tracked, verified and ready for payout, don’t expect it to be a quick way to have some cash the next day. In my experience it takes on average 12 weeks for the whole process to complete and your earnings to be payable but it is a great way to save as you have to physically cash-out.

Some of the best offers on Top Cashback at the moment include :

 upto £25 cashback.

 upto £157.50 cashback for new customers.

 upto £147 cashback for new customers.

  upto £42 cashback

Click the company name for more details such as T&C’s of each offer.

I hope this has been useful to those who have never heard of Top Cashback before. There are other similar sites such as Quidco, many people will compare offers and go for the better deal. I have always preferred Top Cashback though, I actually started on Quidco. I shall keep you updated throughout the challenge on my progress; total earnings will appear on the My Money Making Websites at the end of each month.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer them.