West Hull woman Stephanie Mamo, aka Super Savvy Steph, makes a living by showing others how to save, and make, money. She shares the tips of the trade with Joanna Hunter and explains how she has earned £75,000 from competitions alone.
Driving through Miami in a flash red Ferrari, Stephanie Mamo looked every inch the super-rich and successful girl with money to burn. On the five-star mini-break with her partner Duncan, Steph didn’t have a care in the world and money was no object.
But after the holiday, Steph was straight back down to earth with a bump, back home in Newland Avenue, west Hull. The 32-year-old had won the all-expenses-paid holiday in an online competition and could only dream of affording the $1,200-a-night hotel room herself.
And yet that is how Steph lives her life – by using the internet to make and save money.
“If you had told me a few years ago I’d be driving around in a Ferrari Spider in Miami, staying in top hotels, with all expenses paid, I’d never have believed you,” she said. “That holiday was the stuff dreams are made of. But it’s actually very possible for everyone.”
Steph is living proof you really can make something from nothing. She has created a job for herself by entering competitions, taking part in surveys, haggling with people in shops and cashing in on pricing mistakes made by the big supermarkets. She also helps others by blogging about money saving on her website, Super Savvy Steph.
The mum of one was forced to re-evaluate her lifestyle when she became ill in 2010 with labyrinthitis – an ear infection – and took time off from her work as a graphic designer. She didn’t qualify for sick pay, so partner Duncan challenged her to use her time off to find ways of making money on the internet.
She began by taking part in online surveys, which pay either cash or money in Amazon vouchers.
She said: “You’ve got to be in it to win it and someone has to win. I live my life a bit like Dr Pepper – what’s the worst that could happen?”
An average day for Steph sees her wave her son off to school at 8am, before settling down with a cup of tea in front of her computer – which sits on a £700 solid oak desk she won – to search for competitions and surveys to enter.
Since 2010, she has won more than £75,000 in prizes alone. She also saves money by hunting for coupons, either online or on products, and she shows no loyalty to any supermarket.
She said: “I make enough to survive and we have a good life out of it because of the money that I save us. I’m self-employed and it is my job.
“Every time I take part in a survey I leave the money I’m paid in my Amazon account, then in the first week of December I spend it and it pays for Christmas. I’m able to buy big-value presents in one go that I would not otherwise have been able to afford.”
Steph is keen to teach her son the value of money and plays the “see how far you can make your pocket money go” game with him weekly. He rises to the challenge and his best bargain to date is bagging a mirror for just 25p after haggling a Walton Street Market trader down from the £10 asking price.
A big chunk of Steph’s savings come from haggling at the market or in independent stores, where she rarely pays the price advertised. And Steph says her line of work is proof anything is possible.
She said: “A lot of people in Hull are unemployed, but if they turn the telly off and turn their computer on, they could make a job for themselves like I did. It’s a whole new world out there. If everyone who said they can’t get a job tried some of what I do, there would be no need for a welfare state.
“You can make a job for yourself and it’s much more rewarding then watching Jeremy Kyle.”
Another big money-saver for Steph is cashing in when big supermarkets make a mistake. Known as glitches, they are shared on Facebook and participants must follow the instructions to the letter for a huge discount at the online checkout.
Steph once paid a mere 17p for a bottle of branded gin and several joints of meat – and it was delivered. She also purchases when stores “mis-price” their items online, for example paying 1p for a multi-pack box of crackers.
Steph said: “In cases like this, I often donate the food to the food bank. In my life, I’ve nearly had to use a food bank. There was a time when I wasn’t doing very well, so now I’m in a position to give back, I always do.”
And a simple part of Steph’s philosophy involves always picking up what she calls “roadkill” pennies. The family have a jar for found money and at the end of last year, they were able to cash in £40.
Steph said: “If someone else doesn’t want it, I’ll have it. Once you start looking for them, you will see they are everywhere.”
• Steph’s website is SuperSavvySteph.com.
Super Savvy Steph on entering competitions
Comping can be a very rewarding hobby. It’s a great way to have the nice things you desire without actually spending any of your hard-earned cash.
There are lots of different types of competitions available both on and offline. It’s easy once you get the hang of it and begin to understand the different ways of taking part.
Always follow the instructions for entry correctly, as if you don’t, your entry will not be counted. I’d advise getting a separate email address and using an old mobile to avoid spam.
Comping can be a time-consuming hobby and in order to see a good return, it requires lots of determination, as prizes are not guaranteed and they can often be few and far between.
You win some, you lose some, but that’s just the nature of the game. Perseverance is definitely the key. Stick with it and you will win something in the end.
Search for comps that have low entry figures, ones that require a lot of effort will usually have the least entrants.
Get dressed up and make a fool of yourself, you never know what prizes you may win! Make videos, get baking, take photographs and get entering.