Couple reveal how they saved £20,000 in just one year

Marketing manager Callie O’Grady, 23, and her partner Karl, 28, an engineer, have absolutely smashed their savings goals over the year.

The couple have managed to stash away £20,000 in just 12 months – and are now sharing their tips so you can do the same.

In the hopes of buying their first home in 2021 (plans which may have to be put on hold due to the pandemic), Callie and Karl challenged each other to save over £10,000 each towards a house deposit.

They accomplished their target by ditching takeaway coffees, opting for own-brand products when shopping, and sticking to a strict budget.

Callie said: ‘I’m fortunate to have continued working throughout the pandemic, so I have been able to put over £600 in savings each month.

I would budget at the start of every month how much I could save from my salary and then put this into a locked savings account each month, so I could not touch it, unless absolutely necessary.

‘Thanks to my money-saving swaps, I’ve saved £10,000 in just 12 months, and so has my partner.’

Below, they share their steps to saving extra cash.

Ditch takeaways

Callie and Karl admit they’re both big social eaters and in the past would often splash the cash on fancy meals or takeaways.

Due to Covid-19, they’ve had to start cooking more at home – and that’s meant a massive drop in their outgoings.

‘We’ve enjoyed cooking our own meals and with carefully planned out meals, we are able to utilise leftovers instead of throwing them away,’ said Callie.

Swap branded products for cheaper alternatives

The couple’s food bill used to be around £70 per week but is now just £55 after they switched from branded items to own-brand products.

Callie said: ‘The own-brand products taste just as good as the branded ones.

‘I also always take a shopping list with me when I go food shopping and pre-plan my meals beforehand so I know exactly what to get.

This allows me to buy only what I need and save any food waste on impulse buys.’

Make your own coffee

As a coffee-lover, Callie would go to her local cafe around three times per week to get her caffeine fix. Now, she saves money by making her own drinks at home.

She said: ‘I bought my favourite coffee syrup from Amazon and began making my iced lattes from home.

‘This saved me £10.50 per week, totalling £550 over 12 months.’

How much money could you save by ditching takeaway coffees?

Work out at home

With gyms closed, it’s beyond time you quit that pricey membership.

Callie says that using free YouTube tutorials for her workouts helped her save £400 in a year.

‘My favourite – both mentally and physically – has been 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene Mishler,’ said Callie.

‘It’s helped me cope with the changes throughout each lockdown and keep powering through.’

Keep track of your spending

As a self-confessed ‘spreadsheet freak’, Callie made sure to track her incomings and outgoings every month.

She said: ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

‘I calculated my outgoings per month, including food and fuel, and added these budgets to my Monzo bank account so I can keep on top of how much I’m spending throughout the month.’

Make a spreadsheet or use an app to take an honest look at where your money is going.


Don’t just leave your money sitting there in a savings account – give investing a go.

Callie put away £1,000 a year saved on fuel thanks to working from home – which went straight into the savings account – and also made an extra £400 from investing in shares.

She said: ‘I use IFTTT’s 1p Savings Challenge which has saved me over £650 over the past 12 months.

‘The app, which stands for “If This, Then That”, automates moving money on conditional triggers.

‘For example, when I purchase something using my bank card, IFTTT’s app rounds up the amount to the nearest £1 and puts this money into another pot.

‘Over 12 months, my roundups have totalled over £150, and I hadn’t even noticed the extra pennies moving out of the account – every little helps.’

Pay yourself first

‘Never wait until the end of the month to put your money in savings,’ Callie added.

‘By knowing how much I’d need per month, I knew how much I could put into my savings account at the start of every month, so I would do this as soon as I was paid.

‘I knew that if I didn’t do this, I’d be more inclined to spend it on things I didn’t need throughout the month and save less.’

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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