A couple who lost their jobs within months of each other quickly racked up debts of Â£43,000 and ended up living on Â£1 a day.
But Ricky and Naomi Willis used their experience struggling to afford food â and their story of how they overcame massive debt â to craft 12 money-saving tips anyone can use.
Ricky and Naomi got into trouble when they got into debt on payday loans and credit cards, the Express reports.
Ricky had lost his job as a machine operator and Naomi lost her job in insurance.
Debts quickly mounted, then within a week their savings were wiped out when their car and fridge broke down at the same time.
Ricky said: âWe knew the refunds would devour everything, but we had no choice. It just kept spiraling from there.
Ricky realized that the family of four had to live on less than Â£1 a day. âWe made a list and feeding our two daughters Daniella and Chloe was top notch, then nappies as Chloe was still a baby. We eat in third place.
Ricky, now 42, went to bed that night and cried. “I felt like I let my family down.”
Ricky and Naomi, 37, began their return to solvency by ruthlessly going through their bank statements to cut back on all non-essential expenses.
New research from broadband provider Plusnet shows the average household is paying Â£299 a year on their mortgage rating, Â£222 on fuel bills, Â£156 on broadband and Â£132 on TV packages.
They also spend Â£162 on car insurance and Â£84 on pet insurance when cheaper alternatives were available.
Naomi said, âWe made sure we didn’t spend a dime on products or services we didn’t absolutely need. This has saved us thousands of pounds a year.
They set up individual payment plans with creditors, used money-saving apps like Freecycle, sold goods and stuck to cheap meal plans. Thanks to their frugal lifestyle, they became debt free in just four years.
Ricky and Naomi started 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 the cost of living soars.
Naomi said: âIt will be a really difficult year for many households. It may seem impossible to weather the storm, but there are things you can do to ease the pressure.
Top 12 Money Saving Tips
Be energy efficient. Even simple measures can save money. Block drafts from doors, windows, and even an unused fireplace, lower thermostats on radiators in unused rooms, and turn off appliances and lights when not in use.
Choose the right broadband provider . “We pay Â£18.95 a month with Plusnet with no unnecessary bells and whistles,” says Ricky.
Earn cash back when shopping online. Use sites like TopCashback or Quidco. Airtime Rewards allows you to double your cashback.
Check your bank account regularly. Check direct debits and standing orders and reduce what you don’t need.
Watch out for TV subscriptions. The costs add up quickly. “Do you watch a lot of shows or movies on each service? If not, cancel and save,” says Ricky.
Save fuel. Check local gas station prices online before filling up or use loyalty programs.
Meal plan. Planning weekly meals for your family will reduce the money you spend at the supermarket and reduce food waste.
Use a slow cooker. This makes cheaper cuts of meat delicious and tender and uses less energy than an oven.
Benefit from all tax advantages. The Turn2us.org.uk website allows you to check that you are claiming all state benefits available to you.
Select the correct mobile operator. You’ll only pay Â£7 a month for a SIM-only deal and often keep your old number.
Consider secondary agitation. From online tutoring to party planning to carpooling, this could be a great way to earn some extra cash.
Face all debts. Contact StepChange Debt Charity or National Debtline for free, unbiased debt advice.
Joanna Carman, Director of Plusnet, said: “Simple tips for buying sensibly and avoiding complicated deals can be a big help at times like these.”