Strapped for cash? Well this story of how one couple managed to save while paying off their mortgage may provide the perfect inspiration.
Many of us have been feeling the pinch in recent months as the cost of day-to-day living creeps up. Meanwhile, relentless adverts tell us to buy more of the things we don’t need, making impulse buying a difficult urge to beat.
Our colleageus at the I spoke to a woman who had been able to utilise clever ways of saving even when finances are stretched.
Rebecca Tomlin, 28, is a deputy ward sister at a central London hospital. She earns a salary of £35,500 per year with a London weighting. She saved £6,000 for maternity leave, averaging £500 a month, but is hoping she won’t dip too much into those savings.
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Ms Tomlin should receive around £12,000 in maternity pay for the whole year, which is significantly less than her current pay.
She expects to eat into some of her savings, but doesn’t want to get to the end of the year and have no money.
“Even as a student I was very cautious with money and I managed to finish my nursing diploma with just £500 worth of debt. My fees were paid at the time and I had a £6,000 bursary,” she says.
When Ms Tomlin left university, she used a £15,000 inheritance for a deposit on a one-bedroom flat in Enfield, north London, which was part of a shared ownership scheme.
Ms Tomlin and her partner had a 40 per cent share and paid around £800 a month on rent and the mortgage. She says this was considerably less than the equivalent of renting in the area.
“We were able to save close to £30,000 between us in the three years we lived there.
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We then bought a house in Hertfordshire, which means I now commute into Westminster every day. We were able to buy a house because we bought one that needed a lot of work, so we have been renovating on a budget,” she says.
For the first couple of years, Ms Tomlin was earning about £8,000 more than her boyfriend, but they spent on the same level.
This meant the majority of the couple’s savings came from her. But then he got a new job which came with bonuses and was able to put those straight into savings.
Their current mortgage is fixed for two years. At the beginning, the couple paid off an extra £5,000, reducing the term by 18 months, but other than that they don’t make regular overpayments.
“I am quite money savvy as a general rule. I didn’t really drink much before my pregnancy so that has helped me save,” says Ms Tomlin.
“We’ve never been on a holiday which cost more than £600. I don’t drive so I don’t have car insurance and I have no debt so it’s literally just bills and food to pay.
I’m not bothered about buying things second hand, and every time I get a new phone I always sell the old one on eBay.”
Ms Tomlin has an online Isa with NatWest, as well as a Santander 123 current account.
This account pays interest of 1.5 per cent and gives cashback on some bills for a £5 monthly fee. She has never invested any money. Ms Tomlin plans to give her self a monthly budget while on maternity leave and would like to make her own baby food and use reusable nappies, to keep costs down and to help the environment. “I’m worried about overspending on doing things while I’m on maternity leave.
I know it can be a bit lonely so I’m researching free things to do during that time,” she says.