How a big spending Downham Market mum embraced budgeting to save for a home of her own
PUBLISHED: 08:13 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:08 17 November 2017
Morgan, a mum from Downham Market, was a big spender with thousands of pounds of debt. Now she budgets, and blogs tips for frugal families
A mum who racked up thousands of pounds of debt has turned her family’s fortunes around by focusing on saving.
In just a year she paid off £4,000 of store-card and overdraft debt and saved save £10,000 towards a deposit on a house.
Morgan Woods lives with her partner Tom, and their children nine-year-old Tegyn and eight-year-old Imogen, in Downham Market. When they had to move from their rented home, Morgan vowed to stop spending and start saving so that they could buy their own home.
In just three months Morgan and Tom cleared their store card debt, managed to stick to a £300 budget for last Christmas and began putting away every spare penny for a deposit.
Morgan halved the family grocery bill, to just £200, by meal-planning around ingredients which were on special offer. Now the couple hope to be able to afford to buy their first family home by the end of next year.
Morgan and Tom used to buy clothes they didn’t really need and blew hundreds of pounds a month on groceries that ended up in the bin. Morgan said: “When our landlord told us she was selling up it was a real wake up call. We were wasting £900 on rent a month as well as over spending on everything.
“We had to move into another rented property, but with no savings we had to rely on family to help us out. I was so embarrassed having to go to them for cash. We knew we had to change our reckless spending and start thinking about the future.
“The choice became really clear when we were out shopping. Do I want this or a house? The house won every time.
“My first goal was to clear our £4,000 debt. We stopped spending on anything other than the essentials.
“Straight away our grocery bill was halved, I stopped buying clothes and shoes and Tom stopped buying video games.
“I looked into ways to make money at home while the kids were at school and signed up to various surveys, which now earn me £100 a month.
“I use cash-back, mystery shopper and receipt apps which make me £50 a month and began selling items on online auction sites. I’m still selling those and on a good month make about £200.
“The money I made cleared our debt fast and gave me a £300 budget for Christmas which I stuck to and we had the best Christmas ever. The year before I’d blown over £1,000.
“When it came to saving cash, we had a good look at our outgoings. We weren’t extravagant, we just bought too much.
“We cut that back straight away and then began to make other small changes. I began meal planning every week and would only buy what I knew we’d eat.
“Yellow stickered items have become a must for me. I look out for meat, which can be costly, and freeze what I find. I always keep an eye on offers and will meal plan for the week around them.
“Coupons and discount codes have become a staple too. I’m never embarrassed about using them. It’s about shopping smarter and saving where I can.
“The kids are also getting involved. We stopped school dinners and they went on to packed lunches. Over the holidays we came up with lots of ideas on how to bring the cost of those down too.
“If they want something big or expensive, we encourage them to save birthday and Christmas money. I hope it’s given them a good grounding in how to manage their money for the future.”
Morgan added: “I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved as a family. This has taken a lot of hard work and cutting back, but we’re all in it together and everyone is doing their bit to bring our costs down. It’s so exciting to think this time next year we’ll be in our first home together.”