Family-of-4 living on £1 a day saves £43,000 after gaining huge debt

Family-of-4 living on £1 a day saves £43,000 after gaining huge debt

A family of four has revealed how they live on £1 a day and have saved more than £40,000 as a result. Ricky and Naomi Willis, from Hull, said they wanted to help others after struggling with payday loans and credit cards. The family’s troubles began when Ricky lost his job as a machine operator at a printing firm and the following year Naomi lost her job in insurance. With no money coming in, they quickly accumulated £43,000 in payday loans, as well as credit card and catalogue debt.

Things came to a head when their car and fridge freezer broke down in the same week, wiping out their remaining savings, and adding to their debt pile. The family of four-hit rock bottom when Ricky realised they had to live on less than £1-a-day. He told The Daily Express : “We drew up a list and feeding our two daughters Daniella and Chloe was top, then nappies as Chloe was still a baby. Us eating came third.”

Ricky, now 42, went to bed that night and cried: “I felt like I had let my family down.” Ricky and Naomi, 37, started their journey back to solvency by ruthlessly scouring their bank statements to cut back on all non-essential spending.

New research from low-cost broadband provider Plusnet shows the average householder pays £299 a year over the odds on their mortgage, £222 on fuel bills, £156 on broadband and £132 on TV packages. They also spend £162 on car insurance and £84 on pet insurance when cheaper alternatives were available.

READ MORE: ‘I moved to London from Newcastle and I wish I’d known these 5 important things before I got here’

Energy bills are only one of the things hit by the cost of living crisis

Naomi said: “We made sure we weren’t spending a penny on products or services we didn’t absolutely need. That saved us thousands of pounds a year.” They set up individual payment plans with creditors, used money-saving apps like Freecycle, sold belongings and stuck to cheap meal plans. Thanks to their frugal lifestyle, they became debt-free in just four years.

Ricky and Naomi, set up the Skint Dad blog in 2013 to help other people get their finances back on track. Now their money-saving tips are helping hundreds of thousands of followers as living costs skyrocket. Naomi said: “It’s going to be a really tough year for a lot of households. It might seem impossible to weather the storm but there are things you can do to ease the pressure.”

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Here are their top 12 money saving tips.

Be energy smart. Even simple measures can save money. Block drafts from doors, windows and even an unused chimney, lower radiator thermostats in unused rooms, and turn off appliances and lights when not in use.

Choose the right broadband supplier . “We pay £18.95 a month with Plusnet with no unnecessary bells and whistles,” Ricky says.

Get cashback when shopping online. Use sites like TopCashback or Quidco. Airtime Rewards lets you double your cashback.

Check your bank account regularly. Check direct debits and standing orders and cut back on what you don’t need.

Beware TV subscriptions. Costs quickly add up. “Do you watch many of the series or films on every service? If not, cancel and save,” Ricky says.

Save on fuel. Check local fuel station prices online before filling up, or use loyalty schemes.

Meal plan. Planning weekly meals for your family will reduce the money you spend at the supermarket and lower food waste.

Use a slow cooker. This makes cheaper cuts of meat delicious and tender, and uses less energy than an oven.

Claim all tax benefits. Website lets you check you are claiming all state benefits available to you.

Select the right mobile phone provider. You will pay as little as £7 a month on a SIM-only deal, and often keep your old number.

Consider a side hustle. From online tutoring to party planning to ridesharing, this could be a great way to make extra cash.

Tackle any debts. Contact StepChange Debt Charity or National Debtline for free and impartial debt advice.

Joanna Carman, director at Plusnet, said: “Simple tricks to shop sensibly and avoid complicated offers can be a massive help at times like these.”

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