Everyone loves bargain, but for many of us keeping a tight budget is the only way to survive.
Many Brits are using clever ideas and savvy schemes to save an absolute fortune and make mugs of the rest of us paying full price.
The bargain hunters on 5Star series Bargain Brits on Benefits are making their cash work for them in ways we didn’t even think were possible.
From installing a brand new kitchen for next to nothing and feeding a family of four for just £40 a week, these canny claimers are bagging big bargains while we pay through the nose.
As well as getting a thrill out of being thrifty and improving their own lives, they are able to help their families, neighbours and communities – with one design diva turning a clapped out caravan into a free holiday home.
Here is how these cash-saving heroes manage to save a small fortune with their impressive tricks and surprising hacks.
Single mum Aimee, 45, has found a way to make the most out of her shopping to feed her three hungry boys.
The discount diva, from Scarborough, knows every trick in the book and once did a £380 shop for a remarkable £63.
Inspired by watching programmes on extreme couponing, Aimee spends hours trawling through the web for every discount code and coupon cut going.
The qualified mechanic was forced to quit her job eight years ago to look after Isaac, Bertie and Dexter, who all have special needs.
Aimee’s only income is carers allowance and child tax credit, but she manages to feed her family of four for just £30 a week.
She has signed up to dozens of cashback apps, which are the Robin Hoods of retails, getting paid by big brands to promote goods and pass savings on.
It’s a full-time job looking after her boys, but when they head off to school she is straight on the apps looking for the latest offers.
Aimee has even recruited her sister Nicola to help her colour-coordinate her bargain spreadsheet so she never misses out on decent bargains.
Her top tip to save a fortune is to research first, no matter what you are going to buy, and don’t be a “brand snob”.
However, Aimee warns that you must make sure what you buy is exactly the same product and size, otherwise it could be a wasted coupon and embarrassment at the till.
She pays full price at the checkout then scans in her receipts into the apps back home.
It’s a precision process that take a lot of time but if you put in the effort you can reap the rewards.
Aimee has even become a bit of a local celebrity with her own nickname due to her cash-saving endeavours.
“Quite a few people call me the cashback queen – I’ve been spotted in a few supermarkets,” she says.
“I once had 60 coupons with me. I did ring up and give them advanced warning to make sure they were okay with it. I paid about £30 for £186 worth of goods.
“I don’t think I will ever pay full price for anything, why would I?”
Having a holiday is the last thing on your mind when you’re struggling to put food on the table.
But design whizz Alison has made those dreams a reality for her neighbours by turning a clapped out caravan into a fancy holiday home.
The 50-year-old from Leeds finds it impossible to chuck anything away, turning garbage into something great again.
Alison breathes new life into leftovers and when she runs out of her own rubbish, she turns her designer eye to other people’s mess.
“I’ve no shame in getting things out of the bins or skips,” admits the savvy saver.
“If someone has thrown something out stopping them and getting it and using it. I’ve no shame in asking for things.”
She stopped working in 1999 while suffering from a long term illness, but doesn’t want to sit at home and “rot”.
Alison saves thousands by decorating her home with stuff the rest of us put in bin, using everything from bed sheets to broken bottles to create a unique and quirky home.
Using her £100-a-week disability allowance, the smart shopper goes to a warehouse with leftovers rescued from landfill that she can upcycle.
Her top tip is that you can bend thing to be what you want them to be and everything has potential.
Alison’s passion project has been converting dilapidated caravan Dolly, which was mouldy and filthy when she bought it for £150, into a luxury holiday home.
Through volunteering at a local food bank, Alison knows most people in her community don’t have spare money for a getaway, so she wants to offer cheap holidays to fed up families on her estate.
She calls in the caravan cavalry, with live-in lover Roger and an army of local volunteers helping to do up the caravan.
Clever Alison saves thousands, with the most expensive purchase being the £14.99 fish wallpaper, enabling her neighbours to enjoy bonding time with their families.
One couple have shown you can stay happily afloat by downsizing on the cheap.
Rob and Leslie, from West Stockwith, have managed to save thousands by living permanently on a narrow boat for the last seven years.
They sold their home for £110,000, then used a quarter of the money to pay for their £27,500 vessel.
Downsizing means they are no longer tied down and are free to explore the Nottinghamshire canals.
“Living on the boat has its ups and downs but we go with the flow and we couldn’t contemplate living any other way,” says Robert.
Rather than pay expensive mooring costs, the couple keep their boat Hekla on the move to save cash.
As well as living off their £400 of tax credits each month, Rob has a software support business from his tiny office in the corner of the boat.
They also top up their income with Leslie’s art sales when they get on dry land.
They have come up with plenty of extra money saving techniques, including foraging for branches and pine cones to use as fuel to heat the boat.
Leslie’s top tip is to use wet teabags to clean the stove as it gets the black off.
Victor managed to blag a new kitchen for almost nothing with his clever discount secret.
The 40-year-old father-of-three is focused on sourcing damaged goods and never pays full price for anything.
The DIY dynamo has done up his council house, paid for as part of his Universal Credit benefit, by seeking out returns, refurbs and rejects.
Victor, who lives in Rotherham, has spent 10 years on and off benefits due to a horrifying incident which has meant he has struggled to work full-time ever since.
A decade ago he was the victim of a violent attack, spent weeks in a coma and was left with epilepsy.
But the trained plumber and skilled handyman wants to be doing something positive.
“I’m not a person who sits and does nothing, it’s not in my nature,” says Victor.
“I love working. I’d rather be working than stay at home.”
Victor installed a brand new kitchen in his home, featuring high gloss cabinets, sold wood work tops and a fancy sink, for just £147.
The kitchen has more rejects than a Love Island reunion and he only paid for the appliances, including £10 for a spanking new microwave because the original owner thought it was too loud.
Victor spots faults with products and cashes in by using his charms to haggle the price down.
Bargain Brits on Benefits airs on Mondays at 9pm on 5Star.