SINGLE mum-of-three Lynn Beattie saved nearly £8,500 in just six months by switching supermarkets and swapping expensive make-up brands for Poundland’s own.
Lynn, who lives in Hertfordshire, had racked up £16,000 worth of debt by 2017 and made it her mission to pay it off in just two years.
She was struggling to get by after being made redundant in 2015 from a high-flying City job at mobile network EE, where she made £70,000 a year.
After doing a massive overhaul of her finances, she set herself a total budget of £750 a week – which included her mortgage repayments -and began to vigorously save.
In just six months, she had saved a whopping £8,450, which went towards paying off the loans that were “hanging over me like a big cloud”.
She cut her household bills by switching to cheaper supermarkets, saving £1,300 over the six month period, and swapping energy providers, putting £180 back into her pocket.
She quit the gym to save £50 a month, and used cashback websites to earn £1,650 while she shopped.
By keeping to a strict savings programme, she even managed to use £2,200 of the cash to go on a five day holiday to Las Vegas.
There was a time when the mum-of-three couldn't even afford to buy a coffee, but she was debt-free – apart from her mortgage – by 2019.
She now runs a blog called Mrs Mummy Penny and a money-saving Instagram page to help others get financially savvy too.
The big saver has shared her tips with The Sun on how to get out of debt quick and save thousands of pounds.
All the cash she saved using the money saving hacks below was saved over just six a month-period.
Switch supermarkets – save £1,300
If you’re not shopping around for your groceries, your shopping list could be hundreds of pounds more expensive every month.
Lynn managed to save £50 a week by switching supermarkets, which over six months racked up to £1,300.
She was spending £120 every week at Tesco, but cut her food bill down to £70 by shopping at Aldi instead.
Keeping to a strict budget for food every month by writing a shopping list and sticking to it helped Lynn stay on track.
Yellow sticker hauls also helped her save even more, as up to 75% is usually knocked off the price of these items as supermarkets lower prices to shift stock nearing its use by date.
“The first place I stop at when I’m shopping is the yellow sticker aisle,” Lynn said.
“It can be a great way of finding items that are already on your shopping list for much less.”
Ditching takeaways – save £780
It can be tempting to order your dinner in, especially as a weekend treat.
But takeaways are much more expensive than making your own meals.
Lynn usually ordered two takeaways a week, but saved £30 by reducing this down to just one.
Over six months, she had saved £780.
How to cut your bills
IF you’re struggling financially, you might be able to cut the cost of your bills to help you get out of the red.
Council tax: You can apply for a council tax reduction on the Gov.uk website but you'll need to meet certain criteria. Your bill could be cut by as much as 100 per cent if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours a week are also exempt from paying.
Water: Households might be able to save money by getting a water meter but it all depends on how much you're using. To check if it's finacially worthwhile, use the Consumer Council for Water's free ater meter calculator.
Rent: If you have the space available and your landlord or local authority says it's ok to do so, you might want to consider getting a flatmate. Not only will you split the cost of the rent, but also the other bills.
Hire purchase: If you're struggling to make your repayments on your hire purchase, you can usually end the contract by returning the goods. You will have to pay all the instalments due up to the time you end the agreement but this will limit the amount you owe. Contact Citizens Advice for free for more help with this.
Gas and electricty: MoneySavingExpert says families can save £330 on average by switching from Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) to a better rate. Use a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket or Energyhelpline to see what deals are available.
Mortgage: If you get into debt with your mortgage payments, don't wait for your lender to chase you. Work out what you can afford using the Citizens Advice budgeting tool so you can discuss your payment options moving forward with your mortgage provider.
Secured Loan: Your secured loan might be covered by the Consumer Credit Act and if it is, you may be able to apply for a Time Order. This is a special agreement by the courts allowing you more time to make payments. Secured loans not covered by the Consumer Credit Act include gas, electricity or water meters, payments that need to be written off in full, mortgages, credit union loans, loans from an employer and some short term trade agreements.
County Court Judgements: If you receive a County Court claim form talk to a free debt advice service straight away. This includes Citizens Advice (0808 800 9060), StepChange (0800 138 1111) and the National Debtline (0808 808 4000).
TV licence: Some households are eligible for a reduced fee or free TV Licence. Check here to see if you are entitled to a reduced or free rate.
“Make your own ‘fakeaway’ instead by getting cheap ingredients from the supermarket to make your favourite meals,” she said.
“It’s still important to have a little treat every now and again to keep you motivated to save – so make sure you’re not restricting yourself too much.”
Use food apps – save £260
You can get grocery staples like bread and big brand items like Kellogg’s for less by using food apps.
You can download a number of apps for free onto your phone via Google Play or the App Store.
Apps like Shopmium can help you get cashback on your groceries, while Too Good To Go means you could bag goodies from shops like Morrisons, Greggs and Costa for just a couple of quid.
Food apps you can use to save money
THERE are plenty of food apps you can use to save you money on your groceries.
Here are five that could help shave hundreds off your bill:
- Kitche keeps tracked of the food you purchased from your supermarket shop and will suggest recipes and warn you when items are getting close to their sell by date.
- It promises to save households as much as £630 a year by ensuring their food is put to good use and doesn't end up getting thrown away.
- The free No Waste app lets you scan your food and organise it by expiry date, name or category.
- This makes it easier to do the next shop as you can easily see what you are running out of.
- The app will tell you how much of your food you have eaten each month and how much money you have saved or wasted.
- You can share unwanted food for free among your neighbours using Olio.
- Users take a picture of the item, post it to the app and then agree where and how it should be picked up with anyone interested.
Too Good To Go
Many restaurant, café and food brands have partnered with Too Good to Go and will provide a "magic bag" of unsold food to users at the end of the working day.
You can bag big brand goodies from shops like Costa, Greggs and Pret for just a few quid.
- Similar to Too Good To Go, Karma lets hungry households rescue unsold meals from businesses at a discount.
- You can search for nearby food to pickup based on your location through the Karma app.
Lynn says she used all of these apps to help her save cash on her shopping – and she also uses food subscription services to save even more.
She signed up to the Earth&Wheat app, which for £5.99 a month, means she gets hoards of bread delivered to her door every week.
“In my latest delivery, I got 20 crumpets, 20 wraps, 20 pitta breads and 20 pancakes,” she said.
“I chuck it all in my freezer, and it lasts me and the kids for weeks.”
She saves around £10 a week using all of her food apps – which over a six month period puts £260 back into her pocket.
Switching energy providers – save £180
This year has already seen Brits hit with energy bill hikes of up to nearly £100, but there are ways to beat the price rises.
Lynn saved £30 a month by switching energy providers, which over a six month period, saved her £180.
“I’m currently paying £102 a month for my electricity and gas,” she said. “I switched providers to Octopus because my old provider whacked my bill up to £132 a month.”
She said you should check every year if you could be saving more by changing companies.
“I make a note in my diary every March to check if I can get a better deal elsewhere,” she said.
She also made hundreds of pounds by recommending friends to join up to Octopus Energy too.
“My friends were also given money too to switch – so it’s a great way for everyone to make some money,” she said.
Use cashback sites – save £1,650
Despite being in debt, Lynn still managed to book a holiday and keep on track with her saving regime by using cashback websites.
These sites promise to earn you money on your shopping by agreeing offers with retailers which they pass onto customers.
She used TopCashback to get thousands of pounds knocked off her trip to Las Vegas.
Lynn booked her holiday through Expedia via the TopCashback website, saving her £1,000.
“I logged into my account and searched for Expedia on the website’s search tab,” she said.
“I then clicked through to Expedia, booked my holiday, and paid £2,200 for the trip instead of the £3,200 that my local high street travel agent quoted me."
She also got 5% cashback on her trip from the cashback site, giving her another £115 which she used for spending money.
She also uses apps to get money back on more expensive items, such as Domino’s pizzas and Nike shoes.
She’s bagged extra money by referring friends to use these websites too.
That meant in six months, she got an additional £500 from using these cashback hacks, saving her a total of £1,650.
Currency deals – save £100
Lynn also managed to save £100 on her holiday to Las Vegas by getting the best currency deal she could.
She used MoneySavingExpert’s price comparison tool to shop around and make her money go further.
“I saved £100 on comparing currency prices as opposed to what it would have cost to get my dollars from the Post Office,” she said.
Switching insurers – save £200
Sorting out insurance renewals for your house and car can drive you round the bend – but it’s worth shopping around for the best deal.
Lynn saved £200 in total by changing her policies.
Instead of paying up front for her car insurance, Lynn opted for a new policy from By Miles where she only pays up for when she’s using her vehicle.
These pay-per-mile policies work by charging drivers for how much they use their car per month.
The distance is measured by a little black box that sticks onto your vehicle – and it means you could save money if you don’t drive frequently.
“I was paying £400 for my car insurance, but now it costs me around £300,” she said.
“I get a notification at the end of every journey from my insurer telling me how much I’ve been charged – which means I think twice before making a trip that I don’t really need to.”
By using a number of price comparison sites such as Compare the Market and Confused.com, Lynn also got a better deal on her home insurance.
“I used to pay £200, now I pay £100,” she said.
Using budget make-up – save £350
Lynn was splashing out £400 every six months for pricey make-up like Bobbi Brown and Dior.
But she dumped the big brands and opted for budget make-up from Poundland and Aldi instead.
She cut her bill by a whopping £350, spending just £50 on make-up every six months.
“I was sceptical whether the cheaper brands would be as good, but I’ve been really surprised by the quality of items I’ve bought,” she said.
“I now buy make-up from Poundland, and Aldi is great for mascara, eyeliner and face cream.”
Quit the gym – save £300
Lynn used to have a pricey gym membership that would set her back £50 a month.
But she ditched it and saved £300 in six months – now she keeps fit for free.
“I go running and take the kids on a bike ride,” she said.
“I also go for long walks and do free online YouTube classes – I really like Joe Wicks’ workouts.”
Free courses – save £1,000
Taking up courses can be a great way to learn new skills and fit lessons around your day job.
However, they can cost up to thousands of pounds depending on which course you sign up for – a lot of money for many.
Lynn said that you can sign up for courses at discount rates – or even for free – in some cases.
Sites like Coursera, EDX and Udemy are offering courses for nothing, and Lynn said to look out for courses offering taster sessions you don't have to pay for.
“You can often sign up for taster sessions for a few things, like yoga and zumba classes,” she said.
She was lucky enough to get £1,000 worth of life coaching lessons for free from her friend who was planning on setting up a new business.
“She needed people to practice on, and I was very lucky to get the service for nothing,” she said.
Buy a Family Railcard – save £200
You can save hundreds of pounds on train tickets if you by a Railcard, Lynn said.
She bought a Family & Friends Railcard for £30 from National Rail, which lets you get a third off adult train fares and 60% off kids fares for a whole year.
“Over six months, we saved around £200 in rail fares, compared to what I would have been paying without the card,” she said.
Entering prizes and competitions – save £500
Lynn managed to bag a whopping £500 of freebies and prizes by entering competitions over a six month period.
She enters one a day, and cashes in on goodies from jewellery to cash.
Lynn won £250 by entering a competition open to parents who were educating their children in interesting ways about money.
Creating a personal finance quiz for her kids bagged her the cash prize.
She also scooped Amazon vouchers worth £100, earrings worth £50 and a Moonpig stationery bundle worth £100 all from entering online competitions.
“There are websites you can use – such as Prize Finder and Loquax – to help you find out about what you can apply for,” Lynn said.
“I also follow blogger and professional comper Super Lucky Di on Twitter – she lets her followers know about loads of competitions they can enter.”
Apply to be a mystery shopper – save £100
Companies sometimes look for people to be “mystery shoppers” to help them improve customer service.
You’ll be given money to buy something from a store and then you’re usually required to fill out a form afterwards, rating your shopping experience.
Lynn bagged £100 of freebies after applying to one of these schemes.
“I got a free spa trip and groceries,” she said. “I signed up to Proinsight – who run a mystery shopping service on behalf of retailers – to take part."
Cut your phone bill – save £480
Millions of Brits are seeing their phone bills nudge up in price this summer.
Virgin Media will slap its three million customers with price hikes of 1.5% from this month.
How to save on your mobile phone bill
NOT happy with your current mobile phone deal?
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract then you won't need to pay a cancellation fee – and you might be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere.
But don't just switch contracts because the price is cheaper than what you're currently paying.
Take a look at how many minutes and texts, as well as how much data you're using, to find out which deal is best for you.
For example, if you're a heavy internet user it's worth finding a deal that accomodates this so you don't end up spending extra on bundles or add-ons each month.
Also note that if you're still in your contract period, you might be charged an exit fee.
Ready to look elsewhere? Pay-as-you-go deals are better for people who don’t regularly use their phone, while monthly contracts usually work out cheaper for those who do.
It's worth using comparison websites, such as MoneySupermarket and uSwitch.com, to compare tarrifs and phone prices.
Billmonitor also matches buyers to the best pay-monthly deal based on their previous three months of bills.
It only works if you’re a customer of EE, O2, Three, Vodafone or Tesco Mobile and you’ll need to log in with your online account details.
There's also MobilePhoneChecker,which has a bill monitoring feature that recommends a tariff based on your monthly usage.
If you’re happy with your provider then it might be worth using your research to haggle a better deal.
While Three raised the cost of sending texts, making calls and receiving paper bills for millions of Brits in May.
But Lynn managed to keep costs low by switching broadband providers and keeping on a SIM only contract, saving her £500 over six months.
"I save around £25 per month because I have a SIM only contract – which means I don't pay for my headset, only my bills," she said.
"I also switched broadband providers from Virgin to EE, saving me £30 a month."
She said that it's best to use price comparison websites, such as Uswitch, to see whether you could be on a better deal.
Lynn also bagged £150 because of 10 complaints she made to her previous broadband provider before Virgin, BT, about their customer service.
In total, she saved £480 from making these small changes.
Quit clothes shopping – save £1,000
Lynn was spending thousands of pounds on pricey clothes from big brands like Ted Baker when she racked up her debts.
But she didn't buy a single item for six months – saving her £1,000.
"It was amazing how much I was spending," she said.
"By not spending a penny on new bits, I was saving thousands of pounds."
Here's 20 money saving hacks that could make you hundreds of pounds richer.
For more guides, we've rounded up eight Martin Lewis money-saving tips that could save you £9,243.
Here is a mammoth 50 ways to save money including best apps.
Source: Read Full Article