The 32-year-old blogger was in more than £13,000 worth of debt before setting up her Surviving to Saving blog. Now she helps others by sharing her debt free journey and tips for both saving and making money.
Like many Britons, Verena first got into debt when she was a teenager before deciding enough was enough.
She told Express.co.uk: “In my early 20s I eventually realised that I was going to start struggling to pay my bills if I didn’t get my debt under control because the monthly payments were becoming quite unmanageable and my total debt was equal to my annual salary at the time.
“That was a real wake up call, and it really lit a fire under me to learn everything I could and earn extra money so that I could get myself out of the difficult situation I’d found myself in.
“I spent months researching how to get out of debt, and thankfully I was able to refinance a lot of my debts to 0 percent deals, and focus on paying off the ones I was still paying interest on first which saved me a lot of time and money in the long run.”
Although she had been using them now and again, she was shocked when she learned just how much people were earning for doing very little.
“It wasn’t until somebody mentioned how much they’d withdrawn from their Quidco that it really sunk in that I was literally leaving free money on the table by not putting in the effort to remember to use it.
“I’ve saved at least £400 over the past couple of years, which I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“It’s all from things I was spending money on anyway, so it’s great to be able to get that much back.”
Verena continued: “Last year I got an American Express cashback card, which earned me £200 cashback in the year I used it on my normal spending.
“I now use a Chase debit card that gets me 1 percent cashback on everything – I only started using it last month but I’ve already earned £5 cashback on my everyday expenses like food and fuel.
“Both of these cards can be used alongside cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback which often means double the cashback.
“There are also apps such as Shopmium, Greenjinn and Checkout Smart that offer cashback on specific items at the supermarket if you scan your receipt.”
Making the most of cashback sites and offers takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s really once people get the hang of it.
Verena said: “Once I started using the browser extensions for Quidco and Topcashback that became effortless too.
“Now I don’t need to remember to check, I just need to click a button when it pops up.
“Paying off my debt has given me so much freedom and peace of mind.
“Surviving paycheque to paycheque was so incredibly stressful, and I’m just so thankful to be in the position now where I’m saving for my retirement.”