A thrifty young mum who was facing spiralling debts and eviction has revealed how she turned her finances around and is now preparing to buy her first home.
Morgan Woods and her husband Tom Brown were faced with homelessness when their landlord put their Norfolk home up for sale last January.
A costly 2016 made matters worse for the couple as they discovered they were £4,000 in debt due to credit card spending, MirrorOnline reports.
Mum-of-two Morgan, 30, said: "We weren't spending on anything too elaborate, no luxury holidays or anything like that.
"But we were overspending on things like clothes and food and stuff we didn't need – we were quite big shoppers.
"I wasn't too worried about it at the time – it was just one of those things I thought I would deal with in the future.
"But when our landlord decided to sell up we didn't have any money to move - so we couldn't afford the fees or the deposit to move, and had no money for emergencies.
"That was the wake-up call and when we decided things need to change after that. Enough was enough."
Morgan turned to friends and family for support, however with no-one able to help them financially, she decided it was time to take drastic action.
Putting a plan together, Morgan came up with 18 money-saving hacks to get back on track.
And it worked. She cleared £4,000 of debt in just three months and in one year, the couple now have £10,000 to put towards a house deposit.
Her reformed spending habits saw her family's grocery bills slashed from £400 to £200 , thanks to coupons, vouchercodes and cashback. She also joined eBay and made extra money by selling unused, or unwanted items around the house.
Other ways include mystery shopping, meal planning, seeking reduced items and switching her children to packed lunches at school.
"All our old stuff goes on eBay. Nothing goes in the bin anymore," she said.
But she says you should never underestimate the smaller things that all add up, too.
Her 18 tips include unplugging electrical items when they are not being used, and setting a savings goal for motivation.
Morgan said: “These are simple money saving tips, but when they are done regularly you’ll be surprised the difference they can make.”
Morgan's 18 money-saving tips
- Clip coupons - Coupons can be picked up from numerous places including free in store magazines, online or I have seen them alongside my grocery receipts. Here are six of the best ways to find them .
- Get cashback - Cashback sites such as Topcashback and Quidco offer a percentage of your purchase back when shopping. Phone apps such as Shopmium or Checkoutsmart offer cash back on your in store purchases.
- Look for coupon codes - Just like in store coupons you can hunt for online coupon codes - here's how .
- Shop around - Shop around to find the cheapest price. Google is great at showing you where your item is available and how much it costs at different retailers. Use MySupermarket for grocery savings.
- Make your own lunch - Take a packed lunch to work or school. Buying lunch may be easier when you a have hectic morning but if you get organised by making lunch the night before you could save £20+ per week.
- Use store loyalty cards - There are so many loyalty cards available these days which have some great incentives.
- Only buy what you need - This one seems obvious but it’s so easy to get caught up in a spending frenzy. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
- Meal plan - Plan your meals out for the following week, go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer. If possible plan meals around what you already have.
- Write a shopping list - Ever gone grocery shopping, forgotten what you need and bought duplicates? Write a shopping list and stick to it.
- Be realistic - If you haven’t got the money for something then just be honest. There is no shame in admitting to someone else that you can’t afford something. Suggest a cheaper or free alternative.
- Take a step back and create a budget - Creating a budget will open your eyes to what money you have available and where it’s going.
- Set a goal - For some people saving money seems pointless. Set a goal and it starts to have meaning. Let’s face it you won’t put the extra effort, time or energy in doing these things if you don’t have a reason to.
- Yellow stickers - Get up to 75% off your groceries when they have been reduced with yellow stickers.
- Unplug electrical items - Unplug your chargers when they are not in use and switch your TV off at the wall they will still use a small amount of electricity when left on standby.
- Use your local library - Most libraries now have internet access as well as lending out books, DVD’s and CD’s.
- Eat your leftovers - If you have leftover food eat it up. Food is often safe up to 3 days after cooking, although always check and use your common sense.
- Get rid of any unused memberships - If you have any unused memberships draining your account each month cancel them.
- Borrow - Instead of buying something first think about if you could borrow it from friends or family.
Darren Williams of Promotionalcodes.org.uk added: “If you think these sorts of savings are too small to be worth bothering about, look at Morgan.
"She did them and went from being thousands of pounds in debt to having a £10,000 house deposit in next to no time – that’s how much they can add up."