There's not usually an enormous amount of joy to be found in a shopping mall, but this week there might just be something to cheer you up. Hundreds of origami birds made from £10 notes have been hidden in shopping centres around the UK - and are just waiting for you to find them.
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The promotion is taking place in 14 Intu shopping centres around the UK - including Lakeside, the Trafford Centre, Braehead, and the Metrocentre. The birds will be left lying around between now and 14 May, and a video highlighting the event on Twitter shows them being left on tables in cafes, on handrails, and on children's shopping carts.
The birds are apparently designed to reflect certain types of shopper including a Hawk (the bargain hunter shopper who loves a good offer); an Owl (the wise shopper who plans ahead); and a Chicken (the last-minute shopper).
The reasoning behind the promotion is basically irrelevant, what's important is that this is free money. It's worth keeping an eye on the #intuBirds hashtag on Twitter for people sharing their finds. You should also follow your nearest participating shopping centre on Twitter - for hints on where the birds are being placed - and when.
Free money alternatives
If you miss out, it's worth pointing out that while it may not exactly be free money, you can make any trip to the mall less expensive or more rewarding with three simple moves.
1) Join the newsletter before you go
This includes everything from the newsletter of the mall itself to those of your favourite stores. These will send you details of special offers - sometimes exclusive to the newsletter. Some will also give you a discount in return for signing up, so you could save up to 20% on your first trip.
2) Get your birthday freebies
Plenty of high street shops and restaurant chains have a club you can join online, with a special birthday freebie. The trick is not to save it all for your birthday, but to remember to sign up with a different birthday each time, so you can spread them throughout the year. That way you can perk up your shopping trip with a free Millie's Cookie, Krispy Kreme doughnut or a £5 voucher to spend at Paperchase or The Body Shop.
3) Use a cashback credit card
Assuming you have the discipline and the cash to pay it all off every month in full, then you can earn up to 5% cashback on all of your shopping (at least for the first three months).