A MUM-of-five has revealed how she managed to save £1,500 in a single month, as she shared her top tips for others to copy.
Claire Roach came up with her savvy scheme after falling into debt every year, after splashing the cash for Christmas.
The woman, from Wales, follows a ‘no-spend’ plan in January, and hopes to be able to increase her savings goal to £2,000, £500 more than she saved in 2020.
Claire, who shares five children, Ashleigh, 24, Joe, 16, Rosie, 12, and twins Lola and Esmee, five, with her husband Luke Angove, 39, revealed she started her savings plan back in 2016.
She said: “I completed my first no-spend month in January 2016 and have continued doing it every January since, as it was such a success.
“A no-spend month directly after Christmas and the New Year is so easily doable and enables me to financially recover from the holidays, eat more healthily and get loads of exercise.”
She shared her five tips, which include no eating out, devising a strict meal plan, ditching days out and making your own entertainment – as well as keeping money pots.
One of the biggest expenses Claire faced was the food bill, as has five mouths to feed, including her own.
She revealed she sets a budget then sticks to it, and often goes bargain-hunting at supermarkets to pick up reduced items, and the family doesn’t eat out all month, or buy pricey coffees.
Claire said: “I would normally spend £250 per week on food, household and toiletries.
“During a no-spend month, my total budget is £250 plus £10 per week for extras such as milk and bread. This saves me my first £750.”
Sticking to a food budget isn’t enough, as you need to carefully plan ahead to make the most of your food, which is where a meal planner comes in handy.
Claire says she maps out a month’s worth of meals to last all of January, and says the freezer will be your friend this month.
The mum revealed: “Batch cooking is a great way to cook cheaply and have plenty of home-cooked food available throughout the month.
“I plan every meal for a month, then buy a shop that gets delivered 2 January. I batch-cook all the fresh veg into soups, stews, and curries.
“However, I do save a £10 weekly float for milk and bread and any other emergency bits I need.”
While January may be grey and dull, you have to resist the urge to treat the kids with fun days out, and instead create fun, free, entertainment instead.
She and her kids enjoy long walks and movie nights in, which she reckons saves them around £280 a month.
While you might think you’re too old for a piggy bank, Claire says keeping physical jars of money around the house can help you save.
She revealed she has a few, saying: “I have one for Christmas, one for the holidays, and one for emergencies.
“This year I will be doing the same as I do every year but hopefully, I will hit my goal of saving £2,000 during my no-spend month.”
But she said one of the most important things is making sure her family is on board, as well as pals, ensuring they don’t invite you to pricey dinners or lunches out.
Claire’s no-spend tips
- Budget food shopping
- Customised meal plan
- Make your own entertainment
- Keep money pots
- Get friends and family on board
Claire pointed out: “I found saying no to people the hardest part at first but now everyone knows I refuse to spend any money and are really understanding.
“With Christmas just a week prior to my no-spend month, I always ask my relatives to purchase us gifts that will help us through the month such as toiletries.”
Claire also suggests keeping track of your spending using a free printable template online and planning ahead.
“The more you do it, you get more invested in it and learn better ways to save, which means every year I have saved more and more.”
“The money is used to pay off any loans, BNPL, Credit Cards, etc.”
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