As always at the end of every month I like to post a round up of all the freebies I collected. I have to confess that this month I haven’t been keeping a running tally as items have arrived in the post or as I’ve claimed them so this list may not be a full summary. As always I tend to post items as I get them on my Instagram account.
Via the Shopmium App (cashback received via PayPal after purchase). The referal code “g2ye4k” will earn you a free tube of Pringles when you sign up.
BeLeaf Dairy Free yoghurt
Peperami Chicken bites
McVities VIB biscuits
Flipz Dark Chocolate pretzels
Vo5 Post Gym Refresher spray
Vo5 Frizz Free cream
Elizabeth Arden Hyaluronic Acid Capsules via a sponsored social media advert. This was a really generous sized sample with 7 individual capsules in a large tube.
Paco Rabanne Fragrance x2. One came via a sponsored Facebook advert and another via the Boots app. I’ve written a whole post on all the perks of the Boots app which you can find here.
Valentino, Jo Malone and Carolina Herrera Perfumes via sponsored social media adverts.
Bumble and Bumble hair mask via a sponsored Facebook advert
Livia’s Nugglets. I applied via a social media advert to try these a few months back and realised I never received them. I contacted the brand whose customer service was brilliant and they sent me a small bag of these in the post. I was particularly keen to try them as they’re dairy free and low sugar.
Kiehl’s Moisturiser via a sponsored social media advert. This was a really generous small tub.
Aveda Leave In Hair Conditioner again from a sponsored Facebook advert
Bare Minerals skincare sample sachets via a sponsored social media advert
Laura Mercier Pressed Powder sample again via a Facebook advert
Nars Climax Extreme Mascara via Send Me A Sample
Perfume samples from Lancome, YSL and Armani both via sponsored adverts
Conscious Dark Chocolate I received a full size bar of this 100% dark chocolate with no added sugars via a promotion on the company’s website. Delivery was free.
Chanel Perfume and Mascara from tbe Debenhams Beauty Club
I’ve been an avid beauty freebie collector now for nearly 2 years. It’s saved me a small fortune and I’ve been able to use some brilliant brands like Chanel, Givenchy etc all without paying a penny. Below are some of the ways I collect beauty freebies: Sign up to Glamour Beauty Club to receive free… More
At the end of every month I write up all the freebies I claimed that month as well as where and how I got them. I tend to post them as they arrive over on my Instagram. I’ve written several previous blog posts on how to get beauty freebies, my main tips can be found… More
I’ve previously written posts on how to get beauty freebies so decided to follow this up with how to get high end beauty, skincare and make up products with a minimal spend because it is possible and in more ways than you may have expected. Freebies With Magazines I very rarely buy magazines but tend… More
I’ve often assumed that switching to more planet friendly items for around the house would instantly cost me more money but this really doesn’t have to be the case. First and foremost I’d always say it’s best to use whatever you have until you physically can’t any more as this saves buying further products. Also avoiding plastic altogether whenever you can will obviously help the planet, for example, refusing carrier bags thus dodging the 10p charges. Below are some of the ways I save money whilst also saving the planet around my home.
I don’t own an conventional Tupperware that I’ve purchased. Instead to store food, left over meals and even transport lunches to work I use ice cream tubs, spread tubs or yoghurt pots that come with sturdy plastic lids. I’ve had some ice cream tubs over a year that are still perfectly usable and The Collective yoghurt tubs are perfect sizing for onion or lemon halves etc. I’ve used both to store cupboard ingredients, fridge items and freeze batch meals. I use glass jars as storage containers and my office desk pen pots are actually empty Kenco / Azera coffee tins. By reusing plastic tubs until they break and are recycled I don’t feel the need to buy clingfilm either which is better for the environment. I’ve ended up with a few glass jars from GU desserts that I use to sit small plants in or cotton pads in the bathroom. After reading some plants do better with increased humidity I added a GU ramekin filled with water to the base of one of my houseplants. It’s really easy to find multiple uses for these!
Reusing A Variety Of Plastic Bottles
I don’t buy bottled water but sometimes can’t avoid getting 1 litre plastic bottles with a few occasional items in my food shops. To stop these from being thrown out straight away I initially use them as drinking bottles, the large size helps me to remember to drink lots of water throughout the day! Once a bit battered I fill them up to water houseplants. By doing this I can premix plant food into the water should I wish to. Empty washing up liquid bottles are also good for plant watering due to their squeezy dispenser. Empty spray cleaning bottles once thoroughly washed out are great for using to mist houseplants or you could refill these with homemade cleaning products using ingredients like water, vinegar and lemon juice. There are lots of really simple recipes online and these are better for the planet than chemical filled products. I regularly, especially in the summer, use smaller plastic bottles as ice blocks by 2/3rds filling them with water and freezing to keep food cool or add to picnic bags.
This year I’ve vowed to stop buying and using wrapping paper for gifts and instead wrap presents by repurposing things like newspapers or magazines. I’ve been saving the brown paper that often comes with online deliveries, both from home and work, and rolling these up to reuse. As this paper is plain it’s also easy for me to decorate by drawing or writing on if I decide to. Newspapers are really helpful to package fragile items when storing them or for posting parcels. I’ve often used old papers to cover work surfaces if doing some painting. One of my favourite cheap activities from my childhood was to draw on the back of old rolls of wallpaper that would only have been thrown away. This gave me endless hours of fun, cost nothing and saved us buying large paper pads. I must reuse about 75% of the cardboard boxes I come across by either using them to organise items in my house, covering them to use as giftboxes, or to post any sales I’ve made on eBay. Cardboard tubes like those inside toilet rolls or kitchen roll can be used to plant seeds in, then put directly into the ground as they’ll decompose.
I honestly don’t know how I haven’t written this post before! After 6 years of trying more things than I care to ever count here are my absolute favourite products, most of which I’ve bought more times than I can remember. A brief summary of products that I’ve tried in the past which haven’t made the cut for me can be found here. 2 of the products below in my list of holy grail skincare items can be found in my post of 5 favourites under £10 proving good skincare doesn’t necessarily have to cost the earth!
I’ve bought this product almost continuously since I first discovered it around 4 years ago. Whenever I venture out to try another moisturiser I always end up coming back to this one as I find the results superior to anything else I’ve used. The formula is lightweight, hydrating, suitable for sensitive acne prone skin and the main reason I love it is because it works miracles on speeding up the healing process of any spots I get. For me it is fantastic at improving hyperpigmentation left behind by spots. It’s usually pretty easy to find it on promotion, I never pay the full RRP for this product, a post with tips on saving money on skincare can be found here. Earlier this year I compared my experience with product in length to Avene’s Cleanance Comedoned which can be found here.
This is an absolute god send if you struggle with dry acne prone skin as it won’t clog pores and for formula is suitable for sensitive skin. A pharmacist recommended this to me when I was struggling with drying side effects from topical acne prescriptions and I’ve never looked back. For me it’s been so effective that I never felt the need to try another night cream and have bought it multiple times since discovering it this year. I don’t ever want to be without this product whilst using prescription medication for my acne.
Garnier Micellar Water RRP £5.99 for 400ml
I love this product so much I’ve previously dedicated an entire post to it. Many years ago I gave up on “high street” skincare brands like Garnier, Clearasil, Clean and Clear, Neutrogena etc as I found them overly harsh and caused more problems than they solved. I bought this on a total whim when I was trying to save money after seeing the formula was suitable for combination sensitive skin. For me it works just as well as more expensive products like La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Micellar Water or Clinique’s liquid Take The Day Off Make Up Remover. It’s amazing value for money, bottles last ages, it’s never aggravated my skin or caused breakouts.
Adapalene / Differin – Prescription only (in UK) retinoid topical acne treatment
I’ve tried so many medications previously to try and get my skin under control from topical treatments that caused awful side effects to lengthy anti biotic treatments – a full list with pros and cons can be found here. For me this product is brilliant, the side effects are minimal and easily managed with the earlier mentioned Cetaphil product. It does make a noticeable difference to the number of spots I get and the severity of them. Whilst my skin isn’t 100% clear this has hugely helped me and the idea of being without it makes me anxious!
This product is very affordable at £5 per bottle. A bottle typically lasts me around 3 months when used sparingly twice a day. It is the only thing I’ve ever used which has made a difference to the oil levels of my skin. Using this stops my forehead from becoming slick throughout the day. It claims to improve the appearance of enlarged pores which I can’t say I’ve noticed and I’m half way into my second bottle. In short – great price point and makes my skin less mega watt shiny and more of a subtle glow.
Cleansers and Toners
I’ve yet to find my holy grail of toners and tend to vary up the cleansers I use. At present I’m using and really liking the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser but rather than rushing to rebuy I’m keen to try their new Cream To Foam Hydrating Cleanser next. I’ve previously bought La Roche Posay’s Effaclar original cleanser many, many times so this will always be a firm favourite.
I’ve always preferred to shop in store as opposed to online but realised that due to the current pandemic I’ll be in shops significantly less this year. This led me to the idea of putting together gift hampers for Christmas presents as I can pick up odd bits as I see them when out and about. Hamper style gifts or goodie boxes are really easy to put together on a budget so thought I’d share some of my ideas for things to include and ways to save. Whilst I don’t plan on filling boxes entirely with freebies as gifts they can make presents look far more impressive without it costing anything.
Note: The image at the top of this post is a goodie box I put together to give a friend who needed a pick me up and cost me less than £2 – my Christmas boxes will be far more impressive!
Boxes + Wrapping
Most shoe shops will give away boxes for free so I often cover these with my own wrapping paper. Reusing delivery boxes can work well too. I always keep any packaging from gifts or online orders such as tissue paper or brown paper to reuse. I often recycle cards into gift tags or will write directly onto the paper-covered box lid with a coloured pen. Recycling bits like this is good for the planet and when working to keep costs down.
Food & Drink Freebies
About a month ago I signed up to the cashback app Shopmium which offers free or discounted food providing you buy the exact product they list from a specific supermarket. Once purchased you scan your receipt and once approved you receive the money back via PayPal usually in less than a week. In the last 4 weeks I’ve picked up 2 packets of posh new McVities Digestives, a box of Toffifee and a sharing bag of chocolate pretzels for 75p for the lot. I plan to add these to gift boxes. The affiliate referral code “g2ye4k” will earn you a free tube of Pringles for signing up to Shopmium.
I tend to apply to most beauty freebies via sponsored social media adverts whenever I see them because chances are if they’re not suitable for me I know someone they’ll work for. I’ve managed to get some really generous sized samples in the last few months including 3 5-10ml Chanel skincare samples that came in a little gift box. Any mini bottles, such as a 5ml anti-ageing serum from La Mer, given they’re worth quite a bit, I shall add to a box for an appropriate recipient. I’ve also got quite a collection of designer perfume samples so am keeping them in their little cards to pop into boxes. I’ve written a whole post on how to get beauty freebies which can be found here.
I’m thinking about using the Feel Unique Pick & Mix service if they have any good samples as I’ve previously seen full size face masks from OhK! which are usually worth £5+.
Superdrug and Boots For Bargains
Superdrug and Boots often mark down products on the normal shelves with heavily reduced prices. It can take a bit of time wandering the shelves but I’ve got into the habit of looking if I ever have anything to pick up from there. I’ve recently seen boxed travel sets of shampoo and conditioner marked down to clearance prices of 49p in Superdrug. Downloading the Boots app is a brilliant way to get really cheap deals as they often have offers like £2 worth of points for buying an item from a specific range. I’ve used these twice recently to get a Ted Baker body spray effectively for free and some Botanicals face wipes for 24p after the points offer. Both items will be added to gifts.
I always browse the TK Maxx beauty clearance section as I’ve previously picked up boxed Nails Inc nail varnishes for £1 when they retail for around £12. Recently I’ve picked up Molton Brown travel conditioner sets for less than £2 for 3 mini bottles in a gift bag. Accessorize 70% sale is another place to get some brilliant gift bargains. I’ve recently taken to browsing the homeware aisles of my local supermarkets when doing my weekly shop and seen some great clearance offers on items like candles, reed diffusers and mugs.
ItemsTailored To The Gift Receiver
I always try to add as much of a personal touch to gift hampers as possible such as adding favourite chocolates, favourite scented toiletries or items with prints I know they’ll like. Stores like Primark have lots of branded Disney, Harry Potter, Friends etc items which can be good gift additions. I also like Tiger, The Card Factory and Neon Sheep for lots of little bits like themed stationary for a reasonable price. Last year I made the most of the 3 for 2 promo on New Look’s socks as lots of the prints were perfect for friends whilst being in inexpensive addition to their overall present.
Poundland For Cheap Branded Treats
As a student without much money I did a paired down version of gift box gifts for people. I found Poundland really good for sweet treats as they even have brands like Thorntons which are usually more expensive. I raided the individual hot chocolate sachet section in Tesco which were around 30-40p each. Amazon Prime also often has posh chocolate bars for a very reasonable price delivered free, during lockdown I ordered 2 large bars of Green And Blacks for a gift for 89p each. Individual sachets of face masks are another low cost option. Poundland also have branded make up for £1, I’ve recently seen Bourjois and Rimmel products, last year I bought full size Toni and Guy hair products for £2.
Charity Shop Finds
It is possible to find brand new items in charity shops. My local charity shop recently had a boxed Christmas set of Yankee Candles which was in perfect condition. Items like this are a great way to support local charities whilst keeping costs down. I personally have no issue with second hand items so have previously asked for pre-loved books for gifts as I’d rather have more “used” ones than less new ones. If you know friends or family share the same mind set as me this is a good tip to go for.
I’ve previously written a post on my favourite bargain skincare products which cost under £10 which prompted me to write this post of free little things which helped improved my skin and hair health. Please remember I am not a dermatologist or beauty professional and what has worked for me may not necessarily work for another individual as we all have very different skin.
Dampen skin before using a hydrating cleanser. For me this helped prevent further dryness and soothed any dry, tight irritation caused by prescription acne treatments more quickly than using the cleanser on dry skin which I often did without thinking. Thank you to Kara Olivia Beauty for this one, it made a real difference for me. Dampening skin before applying hyaluronic acid serum was also another game changer. It helped my skin to restore moisture levels far quicker this way.
Drying my face using clean old cotton t-shirts. Whilst this may sound odd although I know I should only ever pat my skin dry with a towel, I can’t help it, I always rubbed and scrubbed my face. Sometimes this popped white heads and other times disturbed healing spots. I first switched to using an old t shirt when using a wash with benzoyl peroxide in as it says it may bleach fabrics and I’d just bought a new towel! Using a t shirt means I really do pat my skin dry. I am far more gentle with it and don’t need to worry about any hair product residue ending up on my face from where I’ve washed my hair. I have 2 or 3 which I use in a week that dry quickly and are easy to wash.
Tying my hair up before sleeping. I’ve often wondered about hair products making my skin worse so took to sleeping with it in a loose braid. I find my hair is much less knotted the next morning meaning when I brush it I get far less breakage and much prefer waking up this way! It’s made a positive difference to my hair but I couldn’t say for certain if it’s hugely helped my skin.
Not wearing a towel on my hair to dry it. I read somewhere that doing this can pull the roots of hair and actually limit hair growth around the face so promptly stopped wearing my hair in a towel after washing. Instead I just leave a towel around my shoulders and squeeze any excess water out without rubbing. Within around 3 weeks I noticed lots of fluffy new baby hair growth at my temples so am sticking to this change. Wherever possible I skip blow drying my hair too.
Regular pillowcase washing. It’s hard to say for sure if this has helped my skin but having fresh bedding at least once a week definitely helps improve my mood and just feels cleaner hence adding this to the list. I use hypoallergenic sensitive skin washing products with no fragrance to avoid any skin irritation.
Not picking my skin obviously makes a huge difference. Not popping spots and not picking partially healed ones etc helped speed up healing and reduces the extent of hyperpigmentation. Admittedly pimple patches can help with this but so can determination and will power!
Realising not all my products needed to contain “acne killing” ingredients made a huge difference to me. Using too many active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, AHAs, retinoids etc is just too much. Switching out some of my “acne killing” products for things like a hydrating cleanser really made a difference to my skin.
Finding the acne positivity community on Instagram. This made a world of difference to my self confidence and really helped my accept that although my skin wasn’t “perfect” or clear that it really didn’t matter, nor was it my fault. I honestly wish I’d found this inspirational, supportive group of individuals sooner.