A mum who was once ‘drowning’ in £3,000 worth of debt is now helping others with money saving hacks.
She went from having bailiffs at her door to learning cash saving hacks to pay off what she owed.
As the cost of living crisis hits, she wants to share those tips.
Rosie Forshaw, 33, from Cheshire, has an Instagram account called @moneysavingrosie where people contact her for help.
She said: ‘Things are bad and only getting worse. I just want to do what I can to help people.’
Rosie, who works as a wedding videographer, fell into debt back in 2012 due to working a zero hours contract in a music venue.
Struggling with bills and buying basic necessities, Rosie ended up with a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against her in 2013, ordering her to pay back around £2,500.
She said: ‘The debt inhibited every aspect of my life. It made me feel anxious that any phone call or anyone at the door was coming for money. I couldn’t enjoy anything. I tried to come to a settlement with the creditor and they wouldn’t accept my repayment offers.
‘I already had anxiety and it just made things worse. There were times when I struggled to leave the house.
‘The debt was all I could think about.
‘I was scared that whatever I had left would be taken by the bailiffs. It felt so shameful. That’s the worst of it.’
Citizens Advice helped her reach an agreement with her creditor.
In the following year, she saved all the money she could and paid back her debt.
She said: ‘I remember the day I got the CCJ. I remember the crying I did when I opened the letter. It was the saddest day. It definitely made me realise I needed help.
‘I had hidden it from my partner at the time. If I’d have spoken to him about it in the beginning, it wouldn’t have got to the places it got to.’
She began looking for cheaper ways to live and said: ‘Initially, I got the opportunity to move to a cheaper area. That was a massive saving.
‘Then it was just about being more thoughtful in terms of saving, being mindful of meal planning, prepping and preserving, packing lunches and that kind of thing.
‘I’ve always been someone who likes second-hand clothes anyway. But I made a point of always finding the best prices possible.
‘The hardest part of saving money is getting started. I now live frugally naturally and have my routine finely tuned.
‘Now, I get messages all the time from people saying I’ve helped them save money. I offer tips on everything from yellow sticker items to coupons.’
One of the most pressing issues she tackles is food costs.
She said: ‘I batch cook as much as I can. I also go to shops when I know things will be marked down.
‘Don’t be afraid to politely ask the staff in your supermarket what time they mark things down.
‘And, if something isn’t marked down but I need it and can find one near expiry, I’ll often ask staff if it’s the cheapest that it will be that day.
‘I got a steak just this week for £2 that way.’
She searches online to find out how to preserve marked down items for longer.
She said: ‘I bought six avocados once. I looked online and saw that by putting them in a jar of water they’d last a month – and they did!
‘I’d recommend speaking to your local greengrocer or butcher and asking what the cheapest cuts are, how they can be stretched, if they can adjust servings.
‘You’re making savings as you have a professional helping you.
‘I’d also recommend cutting down on meat and supplementing with mushrooms and lentils. You can easily halve the portion of mince in a bolognaise for example. Bulk it out and you’ll never know the difference.’
Food waste can bring savings too.
She said: ‘I keep vegetable peelings and scraps in the freezer for stock.
‘I use things like parsnip shavings in bars that I made for my little boy.
‘It’s something that would otherwise have been thrown away.’
Rosie also searches for food waste fridges online in the local area – they are often open to the community and are a way of getting cheap or free food which would otherwise end up in landfill.
She said: ‘We all need to be less ashamed. I lived through the last recession. It was such an isolating experience.
‘If we are all more open and willing to share savings, then we can do it together.’
It’s not just food she’s savvy with, as she looks for bargains everywhere.
Rosie’s top money saving tips
- Use coupons and points for discounts
- Shop second hand on sites like Facebook Marketplace
- Find out what time your local supermarket discounts products
- Find new storage solutions to prolong shelf life
- Save food scraps and freeze them to make health bars and stocks
- Buy off season, so start Christmas shopping with discounted sets from now
She scours Facebook Marketplace for other items and said: ‘Even my sofa was a third of the ticket price as it was ex-display.
‘People need to stop being so worried about things being shiny and new. Not only is it cheaper but it’s better for the environment.’
She also shops out of season to get great buys at a lower cost.
She said: ‘I’ve had people who are on social media living these enviable lives but are quietly messaging me, asking how to make a few pounds stretch or asking what time a food waste hub will open.
‘Some haven’t been paid or earned anything for months. It’s at complete odds with this lifestyle they are portraying.’
‘The main thing I want to get across is that you can live frugally and have dignity.’
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