I make £2,000-a-month by going through people’s rubbish – and found £310 vacuum’

When Tiffany Butler went dumpster diving in the middle of the night for the first time, she admits it was a bit scary.

But not long into rummaging through the big bins behind her local department store she was staggered by what she found.

She came across a large box from cosmetic giant Ulta Beauty filled with products worth £388 – and she was immediately hooked.

The 31-year-old, from Dallas, Texas, USA,said: “At first you get such a high out of the diving that you take anything and everything.

“But it got to the point where my whole house – and the garage – was overflowing with stuff.

“Now I only take things I know I will use or can make a profit on.

We usually Google the retail price then knock 75 per cent off.

“I don’t mind, I haven’t paid for them and it feels good helping people bag some bargains!”

Stay at home mum Tiffany, whose boyfriend Daniel Roach, 36, is an electrician, first decided to give rubbish diving a go after watching a video on YouTube back in 2017.

She explains: “It showed two girls who were diving into department store bins.

“I didn’t think they had a chance of finding anything good, but minutes later they were opening up boxes and boxes of high-end make-up.

“I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to try this.'”

So, a few days later, Tiffany ventured out in the middle of the night to explore the contents of the dumpsters beside her local department store.

She said: “I went on my own and was quite scared.

“It was dark and I felt like I was doing something wrong, even though it’s not illegal to dumpster dive in Texas.

“I genuinely didn’t think I would find anything worthwhile. I picked up the box and it was so heavy.

“I chucked it in the back of the car and made my way home.

“We opened the box and there was so much discontinued make-up – it was unbelievable.

“Daniel was adding up the retail value and it came to over $500 (£388).

“He was more shocked than me.”

So she decided to step up her commitment to scoping out the local dumpsters, and she began to keep a journal of her discoveries.

She said: “I started checking every available dumpster at big retail stores.

“I just travelled about the neighbouring areas, getting a feel for stuff.

“I soon realised the best places were shopping parades, rather than individual stores and made a note of the days when bins were emptied and when they had the most products to grab.

“I avoid food stores at all costs – the smell of rotting fruit and veg is too much!”

After just six months, Tiffany had mapped out two dumpster diving routes, which maximised the haul potential.

At first going once a week in search of discarded goodies, a year into her venture, at the beginning of 2018, she made the project a full-time job.

“I go every day, without fail, from Monday to Friday – and have been doing that for two years,” she said.

“I alternate between my two routes, spending two to three hours a day on the dives.

“If it’s a bad day, I can be done in less time – about an hour – and on a good day I could be there a hell of a while.”

But Tiffany is very strict about keeping her days off, too.

“Weekend diving is strictly off limits,” she said. “Weekends are family time and not for rummaging around in bins.”

Describing some of her most expensive finds, Tiffany has salvaged a $160 (£124) Ninja Blender, $82 (£64) Michael Kors blouse and $400 (£310) robotic vacuum cleaner.

She also knows exactly what to look for, explaining: “I’ve learnt the best way to dive is to look out for big boxes or bin bags.

“That’s how the stores normally get rid of their discontinued products, by packing them up.

“It’s a great way to get the most out of your time, without getting too deep into the dumpsters.”

Soon filling her four-bedroom house with what she estimates to be $3,500 (£2,706) worth of salvaged furniture – including a sofa, two chests of drawers, curtains and a litter bin – by mid-2018 Tiffany started selling her surplus haul.

Putting the goodies on eBay, Facebook Marketplace and having good old-fashioned garage sales, Tiffany believes she makes up to $2,500 (£1,940) a month from her ventures.

A key to her success is selling the items at a knock-down price.

She said: “The kids all love it – my two, Mia and Ruxton, as well as Daniel’s children from a previous relationship, have all come along at some point.

“It a real family outing, although they usually all just sit in the car and watch, they don’t dive.

“They’re just looking out for any toys they don’t want me to miss.”

And, in November last year, at Daniel’s daughter’s suggestion, she started logging her dives on social media.