After a gruelling and competitive month-long search, we are delighted to introduce you to the winner of Savoo’s Smartest Shopper Competition 2014, Jennie Hammond!
For the past three years, Savoo has set out to find the most knowledgeable shopper in the UK. And after impressing the judges with her money saving and deal hunting tips, Jennie came out top.
Jennie will be taking over the crown from last year’s winner and 2014 judge Ricky Wills, who has had a pretty spectacular 12 months with his multi award winning blog skintdad.co.uk.
Once we had presented Jennie with her cheque for £10,000, she sat down to tell us all a bit more about herself.
What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name is Jennie Hammond, and I’m from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
What do you do for a living?
I work full time as a Tax & Benefits Adviser with an organisation called Advice NI. Most of the advice I give relates to tax credits, which are a major source of income for many lower income families throughout the UK. I help clients with questions and problems arising in relation to their tax credits entitlement.
What made you enter the UK’s Smartest Shopper competition?
Friends have been calling me ‘Martin Lewis’ for a while now because of my thrifty tips, so when I saw a tweet from Skint Dad asking “Are You This Year’s Smartest Shopper? Win £10,000!” I knew I had to enter! I enjoyed filling in the application form and writing about how I had paid off most of my debt in the past twelve months.
How did you think the finals day interview went?
I felt that the interview went as well as it could have gone, I said everything I wanted to say and I knew that whether I won or not I had done my best.
How were the judges – scary/nice/somewhere in between?
I’d be lying if I said that the experience wasn’t scary, but the judges themselves were really friendly and encouraging and it was a pleasure to meet them all. My only disappointment was that I thought I was meeting actor Simon Bird from The Inbetweeners (Joke!) Still, with Miss Thrifty, Skint Dad and Marc Lockley on the panel, I should have brought the autograph book after all.
What’s been your greatest ever saving?
As I haven’t been able to afford a foreign summer holiday every year, I’m always on the lookout for cheap alternative options for a ‘staycation’. Just after Christmas 2012 I spotted a Gelert Corona six man tent, RRP around £150, on offer with Tesco Direct in the sale. I also used a discount code to get it for a total of £49.98 – a saving of almost 70%. We used it the following summer, where we camped for a week on a family-friendly campsite on the north coast of Ireland. We had a great holiday, spending quality time swimming in the sea and playing board games and cards with old and new friends. My choice of cheap accommodation made the holiday truly affordable as well as enjoyable.
What are you going to do with the money?
To be honest I am totally overwhelmed by the thought of having £10,000 in the bank, and I think it will take me a while to get used to seeing my bank balance without a minus sign in front of it! After I have cleared my debts, thanked the friends and family who helped me out when I had nothing, and booked the holiday of a lifetime, I want to save the rest. The years are flying by and it’ll be no time until my son is going to university! (He’s almost ten!)
Are you looking forward to working with the team at Savoo?
I can’t wait! There are so many exciting opportunities ahead and the team at Savoo have been fantastic so far.
What next for you now?
I’ll carry on working full time and looking after my son, but I am looking forward to spending more time on the blog and developing that as a valuable resource for families who are looking to save money.
Who would you most like to spend Christmas with (family not included)?
Santa. For the ultimate Christmas experience.
What would be your super power if you could have one?
Invisibility. Just imagine what you could see, hear and discover…
Three things to take on a desert island (again no family)?
- My mobile phone – I’d have to check myself in on facebook!
- A hammock – I love to sleep.
- A handsome man carrying a hamper full of wine and chocolate…
What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a paediatrician, until I realised I was rubbish at science.