It’s all too easy as a mum of small children to get stuck in a sartorial rut, especially when it comes to buying new clothes – let’s face it, anything you buy for your kids will not only be guaranteed to fit them better than anything you buy for yourself, but they will also look cuter and it will probably cost less, too. Having been a mum for over four years now, I’ve well and truly settled into my ‘uniform’ of scruffy jeans, t-shirts and baggy jumpers. They’re practical, hard-wearing and I’m not too gutted when I get noses or (as happened this morning) baked bean juice wiped on them.
When Quidco asked me to test their high street affiliate scheme, though, I vowed that things would be different. I swore that this time I would buy things for myself and spend the entire amount on clothes that, whilst I could wear them in my day to day life, were not just another pair of jeans and another bloody T-shirt (or a pretty, but totally impractical frilly dress for my danger-baby daughter who really does better in something dark-coloured and hardwearing like denim dungarees).
Quidco is a cashback scheme that allows shoppers to get a small percentage of their spendings back when they buy products through certain retailers including homewares and restaurants as well as purveyors of clothing. Until now this was only available through online shopping, but Quidco also have an affiliate scheme for high street shops which works the same way, allowing you to earn whilst you spend.
Once the retailer has confirmed your purchase, the cashback will be deposited into your bank account automatically. From there, you can transfer it to your bank or PayPal account or ask to have it paid as an Amazon gift voucher. There’s a huge variety of retailers on the list, from Argos to Debenhams and Mothercare to JoJo Maman Bebe. (You can find the full list at the end of this post).
Signing up to the programme was super simple, especially as I already had a Quidco account. I just had to sign in, go to the ‘in-store’ section in ‘settings’ and register my normal debit or credit cards.
That was it! It took me about 3 minutes to do, then I just had to get myself on the bus into Oxford. I’m really lucky to have two options for big high street shopping within an easy bus ride – Reading or Oxford – but for atmosphere and personality I’ll choose Oxford every time. According to a survey run by Quidco, Nearly 8 in 10 people in Oxford said they like their local high street with nearly 1 in 5 stating they love it, so I’m obviously not alone in my feelings.
I had no real objective in mind when I hit the shops, other than to really savour not having any small people with me, as The Girl was having quality time with her Granny whilst I played hookey with my friend, C. We browsed for a while, bought a few T-shirts, then decided to narrow our hunt to Debenhams, one of the bigger Oxford retailers on the Quidco affiliate list.
Forcibly dragging C away from the cosmetics department (I think she has an addiction) I wandered over to the womens’ wear and quickly happened upon a rather pretty jersey-fabric tunic which I thought would make a change from T-shirts, whilst still being casual enough to fit in at toddler groups.
Before I hit the fitting rooms, though, C and I had a flick through the sale rail and came up with a handful of soft grey knitted loveliness. A John Rocha drapey cardigan with cashmere at 50% off. I held it up – my size – it must be fate! The only thing better than finding exactly the thing you’re looking for when you’re shopping is finding exactly what you want without looking for it – and then finding out it’s 50% off! Once again it would seem I am not unique in this with more than half the people polled in the Quidco survey saying finding a surprise bargain they didn’t know they wanted is what would make them happy when they were shopping.
As you can see from these (awful) photos, I was very happy with my new outfit and have, in fact, developed a slightly unhealthy attachment to the grey cardigan which will, I suspect, be broken only by the arrival of some decent summer weather!
Even better I’ve just logged into Quidco and found my cashback has tracked – £1.01 from the Debenham’s purchases and £0.31 from my, eh hem, essential Hotel Chocolat purchase. I suspect these amounts would have been greater if I hadn’t been such a last-minute-Larry and had time to ‘activate’ them which can offer a higher rate at some retailers.
Whilst the amounts are not always massive, registering with Quidco is free and it doesn’t cost anything extra to make purchases you were buying anyway! If you haven’t signed up yet then you can do so here and claim a £10 bonus: http://www.quidco.com/high-street/
Apparently shoppers can earn an average of £280 per year, which is not to be sniffed at, is it!
Affiliated retailers are:
Hawes & Curtis
JoJo Maman Bébé
Joy The Store
Daniel & Lade
Quba & Co
Feather & Black
Biscuiteers Baking Company
This post was written in collaboration with Quidco to promote Quidco High Street