I was talking to the lady who came to clean my oven today, a luxury in itself yes, but nobody’s got time for oven cleaning. Anyway, the poor lady got my life story in less than thirty minutes and the one subject we kept coming back to was money. Oh, and the fact she thought I was twelve years younger than I am, but I won’t go on about that too much. But twelves years … not bad eh!

 

I told her how I lost my house five years ago, she told me how she started her own business, we both agreed letting agents really are the work of the devil and how one once demanded that I earnt £500k per year (slightly exaggeration) in order to prove I could afford to rent a €650 pcm house and so on, and it all reminded me of something Mum once said to me: “You’ll always have to work hard in life for money, it’s never going to come easy to you.” I mean God rest her soul and all that but I’d have much preferred for her to have said, “You’ll be a huge success/win the lottery.” Either or. 

 

But she was right. I’ve always had a tough relationship with money, insofar as it’s always been difficult to come by, and boy, do I work hard for every penny I do get. But one thing I’m proud of is that after my ex left me in a massive financial mess, I got myself out of it through sheer bloody determination and hard work. I was left with debt that I’ve now nearly paid off but I do remember visiting Citizen’s Advice Bureau and checking out Money Advice Service online to see what my rights were and I frequently sought advice as to how I could turn things around.

 

I’ve become adept at saving money wherever I can now, and wanted to some ways in which I save money on household essentials:

 

  • I always use comparison websites whenever it comes to renewing insurance or comparing energy companies – which reminds me, I saw Martin Lewis mention this week that by moving away from British Gas, I could save 30% on my bills.
  • I asked the council for a 25% discount on my council tax as I live alone.
  • I bought a diesel car as they’re so cheap to drive.
  • I reduced the TV package we were using and pay for the bare minimum – I’m debating getting rid of it altogether as I only use catch-up TV.
  • Instead of upgrading my phone, I went SIM-only and now only pay £20 per month.
  • I had a water meter installed.
  • The heating only goes on when it’s freezing – I’d rather put a jumper on (I sound like my Dad), or work from bed. I also keep the thermostat to under 20 degrees if I can. And then Dexter turns it up.
  • I pay everything by Direct Debit.
  • I found out the times my local supermarket reduce their food and try to shop then.

 

I don’t ever want to find myself in a financial mess again and although I don’t have much, I know where all my money goes and keep a tight rein on it. But I also know it’s important to ask for help if you ever do find yourself struggling.

 

I hope my tips help, do let me know if you have any other good ideas on how to save money.

 

kate sutton

 

*  This post is a collaborative post.

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