MARRIED Ricky and Naomi Willis were once living on just A QUID a day and having to choose between eating or putting their youngest child in a nappy.
But miraculously, they clawed their way back from being more than £40,000 in debt to become award-winning money-saving experts.
Now Ricky, 42, and 37-year-old Naomi give out practical tips on their blog Skint Dad to help people live within their means and get financially fit for a rainy day – or a sunny one if they hope to save up to maybe get away this summer.
Their tips, from clever online shopping tips to birthday freebies, are all about buying smart and avoiding overly complex deals, which is exactly how Ricky and Naomi have put their own house in order over the past eight years.
A survey from broadband provider Plusnet has revealed how, due to complex pricing or puzzling language, the average household over the last year has paid £299 over the odds on a mortgage and £222 too much on fuel bills, thrown away £156 on broadband and wasted £132 on TV packages.
Here are six of Ricky and Naomi’s six top money-saving tips . . .
Shop around & buy off-season
For instance, barbecues and electric fans are cheaper in winter and artificial Christmas trees in the summer.
After last Christmas, there were supermarkets selling off decorations, wrapping paper or cards at 10p each.
Also, now is a good time to shop for perfume, jewellery and electronics that were launched pre-Christmas.
Beyonce eau de parfum Heat (100ml), RRP £40, is down to just £9.99 at savers.co.uk.
Broadband and phone deals
Many providers add extras you never use, so think about what you need and pay only for a deal that offers that. Do not fall for all the fancy add-ons that end up costing you more.
Plusnet offers a simple broadband, without all the bells and whistles, from 22.99 a month at plus.net/broadband.
With mobile phones, you will get better value when you buy a handset then Sim-only deal separately.
Plusnet has a Sim-only contract with unlimited minutes and texts for just £7 a month and you can even keep the same mobile number as before.
Get forgotten money back
You could have money sitting somewhere you don’t know about.
Go to mylostaccount.org.uk, which allows you to track down any old bank accounts. There are billions of pounds in these and the average sum is £1,500.
The Pension Tracing Service on the gov.uk site lets you find pensions from past jobs – and while there, check you are on the right tax code, using your Personal Tax Account details, and see if you can reclaim any overpaid tax.
Also, contact previous energy suppliers to see if you were in credit when you switched.
Stop paying for expensive TV
As we head out of lockdown, it may be a good time to claw back some savings on any streaming services or expensive TV packages you signed up to.
Having a cull of your Netflix (£5.99 per month), Disney+ (£5.99), Amazon Prime (£7.99), Now TV (£9.99), Apple TV (£4.99) and BFI (£4.99) subscriptions could save getting on for £40 per month.
A basic Sky TV package is from £25 a month for 18 months but once you include sport or other packages it can be at least £50.
Switch to BT Big Sport right now, currently half price at £20.
Borrow instead of purchasing
It is a waste to buy something if you will use it a handful of times – so save by borrowing.
Ask family or friends to lend to you items – or see fatllama.com, which allows you to rent most things.
If you decide to do a camping staycation this year, try to borrow the kit you need, rather than forking out £100 to £150.
If you want to photograph a family moment post-lockdown, rent a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 DSLR camera for £5 a day instead of paying £569 to buy one new.
Or if you have a bike you rarely use, or a guitar collecting dust, list them for rent and make a few quid.
Look out for a birthday freebie
Planning a shopping spree or meal out for your birthday? Why not get a free treat or two while about it?
Sign up to newsletters from your favourite shops and restaurants, and you may find a birthday treat arrives in your inbox.
From meals out to free drinks and sweet treats, plus vouchers to spend, there are loads of freebies.
Examples include a £10 voucher for Boden clothes, a free meal at Frankie & Benny’s, a free bottle of Prosecco at Pizza Express and a free treat and birthday card from Lego.
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