Wandering through the mall, buggy in one hand, six-year-old dragging on the other, Samantha Trolley isn’t the usual harassed mum with a few bits to pick up.
The 31-year-old from Brisbane is on a mission. She has 107,000 people to shop for and they’re all depending on her to find the biggest and best bargain.
Mum-of-two Sam is one of Australia’s most popular Instagrammers, with tens of thousands checking out her Addicted To Bargains Facebook and Instagram pages every day.
‘I’ve never liked paying full price for things,' Sam laughs. 'In 2015 I started taking photos of a few bargains I'd got and people were interested.'
It was a slow start but with her baby daughter Sienna suffering from numerous allergies and unable to go to daycare, Sam quit her paralegal job and instead concentrated on caring for her... and bargain hunting at the same time.
‘Although I was thrifty before, I’d never had much time to shop around when I was at work,’ Sam explains.
‘It became my motive to find the best stuff for people who don’t have time to. I became part of the online community, and as my posts got shared, I got more followers. A thousand felt like a big deal and then it hit the tens of thousands. It was a bit ridiculous, but amazing!’
She jokes that her daughters, Sienna and Taylor-Rose, are child shopaholics.
‘They’re used to it. We go to the mall most days and I’ll take a few photos. I don’t buy everything as my husband would kill me!’ she jokes.
What started as just shoes, bags and kids’ stuff has developed into more of a home decor bargains page.
‘Everyone wants their home to look beautiful, but can’t afford to style like on House Rules or The Block,’ she says.
‘I started with just Kmart, but people don’t realise what you can get in places like Spotlight and Bunnings.’
Sam is still blown away by the attention some of her online photos attract.
‘I got a $5 swimming bag from Kmart that has a waterproof area for wet stuff,’ she says. ‘I took a photo of it outside Taylor-Rose’s swimming lesson and it went ballistic. It got over 2000 likes!’
Some light-up gumboots went similarly crazy, and a quilt set from Target got over 4000 likes and 1500 comments.
‘I can’t pick my favourite bargain,’ Sam laughs. ‘It would be like picking a favourite child.
‘There was a $2 pair of Kmart shoes I wore to death and a $15 shirt dress that someone said looked expensive that I loved.’
With the followers has come the cash, and retailers are now paying Sam to feature their products.
‘I’ve got quite a few freebies too – shoes, home decor, gift cards and lots of drink bottles,’ she says.
But at the heart of her page is still Sam’s desire to showcase what she loves.
‘I’ve got a responsibility to my followers now,’ she says. ‘I have to shop and it would be rude not to share!’
Read more in this week's issue of New Idea, on sale now.