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4 Popular Money Saving Tricks That Are Actually A Massive Waste Of Time

January 29, 2017 by

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As you may have noticed, over the last few years I’ve become a little bit money obsessed. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make and save money.

I’m constantly reading other bloggers’ websites and listening to their podcasts and devouring their newsletters in an attempt to learn something new.

Most of the time, my fellow personal finance bloggers share really inspirational words of wisdom that help me to manage my finances better. But now and then I stumble across tricks that I firmly believe are a massive waste of time. Here are just 4 examples:

Entering Free Lotteries

The National Lottery is more expensive than ever and yet your chances of winning a decent prize has never been lower. So it’s hardly surprising that free lotteries are increasing in popularity. However, I’m not a fan. I just think they’re such a colossal waste of time, particularly when you consider how small the prizes usually are.

Here are just a few examples of the prizes on offer along with your chances of winning:

Free Lottery Option #1: £300 jackpot. You have a 1 in 470,000 chance of winning.

Free Lottery Option #2: £50 jackpot. You have a 1 in 4,800 chance of winning.

Free Lottery Option #3: £10 starting pot (each day a prize goes unclaimed the jackpot rolls over). You have a 1 in 2,500 chance of winning.

Free Lottery Option #4: £10 starting post. You have a 1 in 18,000 chance of winning.

Free Lottery Option #5: £10 starting post. You have a 1 in 20,000 chance of winning.

Most free lottery websites make money through advertisements on their website. To ensure advertisers get the consumer eyeballs they want, the free lotto sites require you to check the website daily to see if you’ve won. Considering an advert’s job is to sell you something, these ‘free’ lottery websites could end up costing you more money than you ever win!

There’s one website that operates in a similar way to regular free lottery sites except instead of giving money as a prize, it gives people crisps. HOW LITTLE SELF RESPECT DO THEY THINK WE HAVE? You don’t need no man website to give you free crisps. You can buy your own God damn crisps, using money you’ve earned in your job and through much more rewarding side hustles.

Filling in surveys

I’ve tried a few survey websites recently and can confirm that they’re a pile of bullshit.

One particular survey site (praised by Money Saving Expert for being the best of the bunch) pays those who take part as little as 5p per survey. At most you’ll earn £1.80 per survey. The average survey takes 15 minutes.

Money Saving Expert says: “You earn points for taking surveys – between 5 and 250 points for each – which can then be redeemed for vouchers. You typically need 1,380 points to get a £10 voucher, and most members average four surveys a month.”

I’m no mathematician but that does not seem worth it at all!

Trawling the internet and magazines for coupons

If you’re thinking of making a big purchase such as a new TV or a sofa, it’s definitely worth checking the internet for coupons before parting with your cash. However, far too many people end up spending more money than necessary because they let coupons influence the purchases they make, rather than the other way around. Considering how long it can take to search for good coupons, it might not be worth your time.

If you’re going to use a coupon or voucher code to purchase something that you don’t need, don’t actually want, or weren’t really thinking of buying anyway, you have not saved money. Instead, you have spent money and the brand has made money. Use coupons with caution, people!

Selling your soul on Swagbucks

A few months ago I spent a whole week using the money making website Swagbucks to see if it lived up to the hype. Guess what! It didn’t. It was such a monumental waste of time and so mind numbingly boring that I’m amazed I survived the week. I wrote about my seven days of Swagbucks and was told by numerous people that the post was ‘hilarious’.

Basically, Swagbucks requires you to complete certain online tasks such as filling in surveys, watching adverts or using its search engine and it rewards you with digital currency that can be exchanged for vouchers over time.

The amount of money you can make is so disgustingly low that every time you use the site, you’re pretty much working for free. Don’t bother.


Lots of people may argue that the above money making tricks take very little time out of your day. But considering the low returns available, as far as I’m concerned, they’re not even worth thinking about.

Your time and brain power is extremely valuable. Instead of wasting your life checking free lotto sites or mindlessly filling in surveys, why not look for sustainable and fulfilling ways to increase your income?


4 Popular Money Saving Tricks That Are Actually A Massive Waste Of Time

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  • Esme Weatherwax

    I know what you mean about surveys – but there’s one that isn’t too bad: Populus Surveys. They email you several times a month with surveys that are between £1 and £4 (the £4 take at least 20 minutes to do) so I suppose it depends on what you are used to earning as an hourly rate. Per minute of time taken to do them it works out more than I can earn an hour in my job. And they automatically send you a £50 cheque (once you’ve earned it) – no vouchers or paypal or whatnot.

  • Ha, I enjoyed your original Swagbucks post so thanks for another honest one about ‘money saving hacks’!

    I do still however click on the daily poll for my single Swagbuck – still trying to get another Amazon giftcard!

    Many years ago, when survey websites were not that common, it was possible to make money from them (consistently averaging £1-£2 per survey). Those days are over, they’re just a waste of time now, especially when halfway through filling in a survey, you get told that you don’t meet their criteria!

    Never really been into coupons nor those free lotteries you describe – not heard of the crisps one! However, I do use SearchLotto, where you just search for stuff and after so many searches, you get a share of an actual lottery ticket. I usually ‘win’ a few quid each year.