SAVVY shopper Lee Chambers has been using cashback websites for more than a decade – and uses his profits to have Christmas for “free”. 

The 36-year-old has earned a whopping £20,000.


He told The Sun: “I’ve been buying Christmas presents each year by withdrawing the cash I’ve earned every year in October.

“It changes each year, but averages out at around £1,500.”

The wellbeing consultant from Preston first started using cashback website Top Cashback in 2008 as a graduate fresh out of University.

With student loans and an overdraft he was looking for a way to earn extra cash – and became hooked.

He’s since got cashback worth an impressive £19,677.58 in the past 13 years, ranging from money back on everyday shopping, to TV packages and phone deals.

Lee has got money back over 3,000 times – the equivalent of more than four times a week – including getting free cash on insurance for his first home and a holiday abroad next year.

Cashback sites pay you to shop or take out deals. 

They get paid commission – and give you a slice of money to keep too. 

Most cashback sites are free and you just need to sign up with your name and email address.

“I’ve had cashback on car insurance, energy switches, mobile contracts over the years,” he said.

“Anything that ties you down into a long-term contract where you pay hundreds of pounds, or maybe thousands of pounds, I’ve managed to get around £100 back, or thereabouts.”

Lee earned £93.50 from Sky for a basic TV and broadband when he first bought his first home in 2010, and has continued getting cashback on similar deals every year. 

In fact, Lee’s biggest tip for earning cashback is never to renew annual contracts without checking for cashback first.

“Every time you drop out of contract you can cancel, then sign up and get cashback again. I’ve got cashback again every time something is up for renewal. Companies are willing to pay a lot of money to get a new person”, he said.

“You can even get paid a lot of money to switch bank account because they think they are going to keep you as a customer forever after that”

“Insurance is a good one, because every year you could just let it renew, or you could cancel or say you’re not renewing, go through cashback and easily get £70 off your car or home policy. It just all adds up”

Lee earned £74.80 from MoreThan for car insurance one year, he said, and £49.50 from M&S Bank for home insurance.

He makes sure he checks for cashback every time he renews, helping build his massive cashback balance over the years.

Shop around for the best deals

But, he warns that shoppers should still look around to make sure they are getting the best deal.

“You might be able to get 10% somewhere and 5% somewhere else, but the place where it’s 5% is a lot cheaper, so it’s actually not as good.”

With more people than ever shopping online, it’s a “no brainer” getting cashback. “Check it before you checkout,” is his motto.

“If you ever get to an online checkout and you’re about to put your card details in, just think cashback,” he said.

You may not get the cash immediately, but it’s worth it over time, he added.

“I think people can easily earn £500 a year if they just check before they buy things. Even things like school uniforms for kids. It’s always worthwhile checking because most shops are on cashback sites.”

To get the money back you need to click a link through the cashback site – if you miss this step out and shop directly with the retailer then you’ll miss out.

The cashback amounts available and from which shops vary and usually change regularly.

If you’re using a cashback site then it’s worth checking the details so you’re not disappointed later.

Lee also warns against shopping for the sake of it, and says he’s never bought more than he needs to for cashback, just getting it shopping normally.

And he believes that the extra step of checking for cashback actually makes him more of a mindful shopper.

Rather than being tempted by one-click checkouts, he says, taking the time to search for a cashback offer gives him time to reflect on the purchase making it less of an impulse.

Meanwhile after earning cashback over the past year to spend at Christmas, he’ll be putting it to good use over the coming weeks on food and presents.

But of course, he’ll also be looking out for further cashback when doing his Christmas shopping to build up his cashback kitty for next year.

How to use cashback sites

Cashback websites give you money back when you spend online. Quidco and TopCashback are two of the most popular sites. 

They often give new users special welcome discounts on top of the usual offers too.

Sign up and shop through them and you can build up cashback through your account with them.

How much cashback you get will depend on the offer from each shop or service, and how much you spend.

Make sure to read the details first so you know when you can expect to get the cashback, and any other requirements.

Don’t forget you must make the purchase via the cashback site, rather than direct, or you could miss the money.

Some sites like TopCashback will also let you upload your receipts from shopping in real life so you can get cashback on this spending too.

Often you can stack other deals with cashback if the retailer is offering a sale or other discount at the same time.

Once you’ve earned your cashback you can “cash out” by moving the money to your bank account, but you may have to wait to do this depending on the deal.

As Lee advises, it’s still always worth checking to see if it’s the best deal out there and if you didn't intend to buy it anyway, it’s not really a saving.

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