A thrifty mum has managed to cut her monthly bills by £750, all without having to make any changes to her lifestyle, and now wants to help others struggling amid the ongoing cost of living crisis
Image: MERCURY PRESS)
Emily Harris, who says she would once put her “nose up at the reduced section”, managed to make this drastic cut largely by switching to yellow sticker shopping, ditching phone contracts, and switching her energy provider.
The mum-of-three, who works as a care assistant, claims she’s managed to clear £8,000 worth of debt thanks to her smart swaps and is now living debt-free.
Going forward, Emily, 35, hopes to offer advice to others looking to gain control over their finances amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
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Emily, who lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, said: “My electric and gas bill used to be £220 per month because I was carefree and would keep the TV and lights on at night.
“My bills were sky high because I was completely oblivious to how much energy and gas I was using until I needed to make some changes to my outgoings.
“Thankfully, I started being mindful before the cost of living dramatically increased. I switched energy providers and asked for a meter so I can monitor how much we are spending.
“We now spend £3 per day on electric and £5 on laundry days so no more than £90 to £100 per month.”
Having found herself saddled with £8,000 worth of debt in 2017, she managed to get debt-free in just two years, beginning by shopping for yellow sticker goods.
Emily, who says she was able to slash her groceries bills from £560 per month to £240, added: “I plan my meals around yellow sticker meats which are stored in the freezer until used.
“On a Sunday morning, I can get meat for as little as 80p for the Co-op. The earlier you go to Tesco the better and Aldi’s reduced isn’t the best but I do my tin shopping there as they are cheap.
“I used to spend £140 per week on food but now I spend £60 to feed my family of five. It’s not easy feeding a big family on a small budget but it is doable.
“I’ve found pasta dishes are most cost-effective and can make a tortellini dish with minced meat for as little as £3.90. Once a month, I use anything left on the shelves and in the freezer to make meals for a week to make sure we have zero waste.”
Having once paid £160 per month for Sky TV and a landline, Emily now pays £34 for an Amazon Fire Stick, which she says still allows her kids to watch their favorite shows.
She’s also ditched the house phone, which she says nobody used anyway and made the switch to a sim-only card deal for just £7.50 per month.
Emily stopped shopping at high street stores, making the swap to second-hand clothes using the Vinted app as she “would much rather give an individual £10 rather than a big brand.”
She continued: “I also sell my clothes on the app which is handy. I’ve also stopped going to salons for beauty treatments such as nails and waxes. Instead, I paint my own nails and I purchased a wax machine for £30.”
[…] “Everything I do now revolves around cutting the cost. All of my ways have definitely helped during these difficult times. Keeping my freezer well-stocked with reduced meat has been a saver with the lack of food in stores recently.
“I have learned how to fill our stomachs on a budget and I’m even savvy when it comes to activities with the kids. I always go to small local businesses like farms or sign up to attractions newsletters to get a percentage off the first trip.”
Phone bill – £7.50
TV – £34
Food shopping – £250
Gas – £45
Total – £336.5
Emily’s outgoings before:
Waxing – £30
Nails – £70
Hair – £60
School dinners – £60
Phone bill – £60
Food shop – £550
Electric – £220
Gas – £100
Total – £1090
Have you found an effective way to cut costs amid the ongoing cost of living crisis? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org