Money-saving advice series with Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood. In Blackpool, the team help a party girl desperate to get on the property ladder.
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DOM: Whether you're a spender or a saver,
we could all do with knowing how to make the most of our cash.
-So we've found simple advice for you to do just that,
and taken it to towns and cities
right across Britain.
Whatever help you need with your finances, we are Right On The Money.
Hello, and welcome to Right On The Money, the series that's
going to help you save a packet in the easiest way possible.
And today we'll be giving you tips and advice from Blackpool, a town
famous for its Tower, Pleasure Beach and not one but three piers.
Three? That's just greedy.
And here's what's coming up in today's programme.
We'll give this party girl a complete money makeover.
But can she stay on the straight and narrow,
or will she keep squandering her cash?
I really, really want to get on the property ladder,
that's the main thing I want to focus on at the moment.
I think it's so important. Especially the age that I'm at now.
And how you could holiday for free -
though you might have to break into a little bit of a sweat.
It's a very small price to pay for a free holiday, and because of
the environment you're in it just makes it all worthwhile.
-This reminds me of my Strictly days.
-You were in that as well, weren't you, Dom?
-Yeah, 2007, loved it.
Hm - not for very long, if I remember.
Oh, that hurts, Denise! I was voted out the week before Blackpool,
I feel like I was robbed of my moment.
Well, Blackpool's built on entertainment,
and there's lots to see and do both day and night.
You don't want to be telling that to the woman we're about to meet,
because her hectic party lifestyle is playing havoc with her bank balance.
28-year-old Melissa Jackson from Birmingham
has very clear ideas of what she wants out of life.
But so far, planning her financial future hasn't been her strong point.
She juggles a full-time job in recruitment
with volunteering as a DJ two hours a week on Newstyle Community Radio.
And her social life is just as busy.
In my spare time, I like to go out to nice places to eat
or go for drinks or cocktails.
I like to go out partying with the girls. Weekends away...
Yes, this girl likes to party. As often as she can.
That's what's at the root of her money troubles -
but Melissa has a battle on her hands.
I think in my head sometimes
you've got the good Melissa and then you've got the bad Melissa.
The bad Melissa's saying "You're young, you're free,
"you're single... You work hard every single day.
"Go wild at the weekend!"
The good Melissa's saying, "You need to save this month,
"you need to make sure you're in the black, not the red..."
Sometimes you get phone calls from your girls -
"What you doing tonight? Where do you want to go?"
Bad Melissa's like, "Go ahead, why not?"
And it's bad Melissa who's most definitely winning the fight.
She has a hefty overdraft of £1,500, that she just can't clear.
Time to call in personal finance expert Simon Read...
..to put Melissa back in the black,
and set her up for a more secure future.
So, Melissa, tell me about your financial situation.
I really want to get on the property ladder, that's the main thing I want to focus on at the moment.
I think it's so important, especially the age that I'm at now,
to start building my foundations for my future children.
But that's never going to happen
if Melissa's bank account remains stuck in the red.
And that's not her only problem.
When she goes out for the night, Melissa sticks the drinks on her
credit card, which has an £800 debt that she's struggling to repay.
-Do you know how much interest you're paying on that?
-No, and I don't really want to know.
£800, £1,000, that's getting on for £200 interest. Every year.
It's throwing money away, isn't it?
But I'm very aware of it, I'm very aware of what I need to do...
Well, let's see just how aware Melissa is of how much cash
she's actually squandering.
by meeting her best friends and fellow partygoers.
How many nights do you go out of a week?
I would say...I'd probably go out once or twice a month.
-Once or twice a month?
Hang on a minute, Melissa! You're having a giraffe.
I'm waiting for you girls to tell me the truth about this now,
-I'm not sure Melissa is being totally honest.
-and then I'll go out on a Saturday night...
-I may go out to a drink on a Friday night...
Hang on. You said once or twice a month,
where did all these extra nights come from?
Depends kind of like what mood I'm in - like, sometimes I'm in
a crazy mood so...
-I'll go out every weekend, you know.
-I like crazy Melissa.
Crikey. That's a lot of partying.
And how much does a night like this cost?
I would say about 100 quid?
-Would you say that?
Wow. That really adds up.
And even if Melissa went out like that just one night a week,
she'd be burning through a whopping £5,200 a year.
If she wants to clear her debt and start saving up for a house,
something's got to give.
But Simon is no party pooper.
In fact, he's got a few moves that suggest
he might enjoy the odd cocktail himself.
So, backed up by Melissa's mate Andre,
Simon wants to show our party girl how she can still have
a good time without going through so much cash.
So, welcome to my wonderful bar.
We're going to have a few drinks in a minute, but first,
Andre, thanks for coming.
-Melissa here - is she as bad as she seems?
-You're not supposed to tell anyone.
-No, I know.
OK, so let's actually have a look at how much you spend when you go out.
So, for instance, if you buy a glass of wine like this,
that's going to cost you about £8.
If you buy a glass of wine for £8,
it means you're spending £24 on a bottle of wine.
Would you buy a bottle of wine for £24 at home?
No! Oh, my gosh, a bottle of wine's, like, £5 from the store.
OK. So when you drink at home, you'd buy a bottle for £5.
-When you go out, you spend £24 on a bottle of wine.
-That's really bad.
-Can you see where I'm going with this?
Bars make big profits on wine.
Typically, they try to get one glass to pay for the entire bottle.
Which means a 350% profit.
But they have an even bigger margin on spirits, mixers and cocktails -
Now, what about cocktails? I know you love cocktails.
Absolutely love cocktails.
Melissa likes to drink a mojito or two during a night out -
at eight quid a pop.
What if I told you to make one of these at home
would cost you 89 pence?
-I don't believe you.
Well, it's true, Melissa.
So - if that after-work "happy hour"
looks like turning into a full night out,
it might make financial sense for Melissa and her mates
to mix their own drinks at home.
If you didn't have three drinks a week,
-do you know how much you would save a year?
Have a guess.
-It's actually £1,200.
-I don't believe you.
is a lot of money towards a deposit...
-Towards something else.
-Could buy a holiday with that.
-Again, it's back about making choices.
So Melissa could save around £1,200 a year if she cuts out three
bar-bought drinks a week.
And as if a saving like that wasn't sobering enough,
a morning-after trip to the park
is about to reveal another way
Melissa can get her finances in better shape.
Now, I know you go to the gym regularly -
how much do you pay a month?
-I probably pay about £25 a month?
-£25 a month.
-That's not a lot, is it?
-No, not really.
But over a year, that works out at about £300.
When the fact is, exercise can be free.
-So if we take a look round here,
there are various different exercise things you can do,
and on a beautiful day like today you get the fresh air as well...
-And you can save £300 a year.
That sounds good.
I mean, I've never really been a fresh air,
running type of person...
It's not about the running - I'm talking about, there's bars...
-There's a whole circuit here, it's free to use...
Exactly the same kind of workout that you'll get in a gym -
-but you just don't have to pay for it.
-That's pretty good.
-Do you want to give it a try?
-Let's go, let's have a go. OK.
About 12% of the UK population use a gym.
But there are plenty of cheaper alternatives for exercise.
Obviously, cycling and running -
but a growing number of public parks
have free to use equipment similar to this one.
So it really is possible to shed the pounds, while saving the pennies.
It seems that Melissa is really getting into the swing of things.
And if she does ditch that gym membership, that's another 300 quid
towards clearing her debt.
With her finances already getting quite a workout,
we'll find out later in the programme
if Simon can succeed in reining in what Melissa spends.
And he'll have some great advice how first-time buyers like her
can get thousands of pounds' worth of help
to achieve their property dream.
And later on, Melissa will be chatting to us
about how she's got on.
Meanwhile, Andy Webb from the Money Advice Service is here.
Andy, when you're someone of Melissa's age,
who wants to get on the property ladder but still wants to have fun,
it's pretty hard, isn't it?
It really is, and young people have other disadvantages. When you're 18,
all of a sudden, there's a whole new world of credit that appears.
Letters arrive - "Have a credit card! Here's an overdraft!"
It might feel you've got this free money to spend,
but as we know, it's not free money,
you've got to pay that back and it comes with fees, with charges,
which, if you don't sort of sort out early on,
the repercussions won't just be in the next few months.
They can be years down the line, and that's obviously,
you know, a real disadvantage when they are trying to buy a home.
And, Simon, it's a shame Melissa doesn't live in Blackpool, isn't it?
I mean, you run a social group. Tell us a little bit about that.
OK, well, I run a group
called the Seaside Party People, and we're an online group
and we've got over 200 members.
We do lots of things which are free, or, um, cost very little money.
For example, we can do walks or cycles, picnics in the park,
we have a lot of local bands that play venues.
I tell you what, Andy, cos that's a good point.
Free events like that are now needed more than ever,
because recent figures have shown that young people are spending
about a quarter of their wages on rent alone!
Yeah, it's so difficult. Rent, you can't really do much about it.
Rent is the rate that it is.
Look at those areas where you can make a difference.
We know that energy bills -
£300 is the saving you can make each year if you switch and fix.
Simon, question. Now, be honest.
Would you rather spend your money on a bill
or having a good time with your friends?
Well, I'd rather have a good time,
but I would always make sure my bills are paid, and you can
still go out and socialise for free and still have a good time.
Now, Blackpool is a hugely popular destination and, get this,
a stonking 17 million people visited here last year.
Now, Denise and I have been trying out the attractions
and, let me tell you, they don't come cheap.
And any sort of family holiday can be quite expensive.
Well, you say that, Dom, but you can do it for free.
We all fancy a holiday now and then,
but with household budgets tight, nearly a third of Brits
say that a getaway is no longer within their means.
Still, being broke doesn't have to mean going without a break.
All you need is a little know-how,
as the Page family from Leeds is about to find out.
It's the start of the school holidays
and they're getting ready to recharge their batteries.
What we want to get out of the holiday is getting away from the...
the norm, the everyday 9-5, the hustle and bustle, just getting out
in the fresh air and we're really looking forward to getting off.
Right, guys, let's get going.
This year, Tracy, David and Caitlin are joining the 74% of Brits
that holiday in the UK.
But theirs isn't going to cost them a penny.
They've chosen this luxury camp site in North Yorkshire,
where a week would normally cost up to £500.
But if you don't mind getting your hands dirty,
you can stay here for nothing, as owner Carolyn explains.
We offer a volunteer scheme, where you can come and work
for 25 hours a week in exchange for a week's free accommodation.
We've had our times in the past,
where we've been really, really skint,
so we wanted to find a way to make it accessible to everyone, really.
The Pages have never done anything quite like this before
and aren't sure what to expect.
But there's a good reason why they were delighted to find
this kind of opportunity only a couple of hours from home.
I've been out of work four times last year?
Yeah, he got made redundant four times,
so you have to have a look at what you've got, if you want holidays,
erm, making the most of what we've got on our doorstep.
But tightening their belts means some hard graft,
and the Pages get straight to it.
You can be doing anything from changing beds,
helping out the cleaning team, put bird boxes up,
plant bluebells, all sorts, a wide range of activities, really.
I've been cutting down the branches to get, um,
the wood together for the firewood for the campfires.
It is tiring, doing things that you're not used to doing,
but it's enjoyable.
It's nice to get stuck in, helping other people who are camping,
and then getting to relax at the end of it and enjoy the rest of the day.
But convincing 14-year-old Caitlin
of the benefits of a working holiday might take some time.
Do I want to be working on my holiday? No.
Because, if you looked up the definition of "holiday"
in a dictionary, it wouldn't be "you're working".
What I miss about most of my holidays abroad is
just relaxing under the sun.
It's obviously wetter. There's a lot more rain.
But it's a change and it's something different to do.
So I'm all up for it.
This type of working holiday may not be everyone's idea of fun,
but the promise of serious saving
has proved hard to resist for old hands Julie and her son Daniel.
I've been coming here for probably about five years,
and volunteering for three and a half, maybe?
And I usually come sort of four or five times a year.
We started coming here as paid guests, got to know the people who
work here and they suggested to us it would be a good way of
being able to come more often, um, and then we had a go and loved it.
We're going down to, um, one of the Woodcutters, to prepare it
for the customers coming in, so the bed will need making
and the floors need sweeping, things like that.
I work for about 20 hours a week.
Would you lift the pillows for us, Dan?
'So we do four days with five hours.'
And the work isn't hard and the people here
are always really nice, so we have a bit of a laugh.
It's a very small price to pay for a free holiday and,
because of the environment you're in, it just makes it all worthwhile.
When you are doing work, you can just hear all the birds
in the background and it just reminds you that you're not at home.
You're in a forest.
If you too want to make your time off more hands-on,
a quick internet search will uncover all sorts of working breaks
with accommodation thrown in.
From working behind the scenes in a stately home...
..to picking fruit and veg on an organic farm.
But cutting the cost of your holiday
doesn't just mean you have to work for it.
There are plenty of other ways you can get away for less.
House swapping is a safe and well-established way to travel.
You can exchange your home for a place in the sun.
Or you could stay in a bothy, a remote mountain hut,
without paying a penny.
They can be found in Scotland, Wales and the North of England,
but be prepared - they're very basic
and you'll need all your camping kit, including lights.
Back on the campsite and, as the first day
of the Pages' break draws to a close, while it may be free,
is their working holiday really worth the effort?
It's been a different experience.
It's obviously something I've never done on holiday before -
going out and working - but I've definitely enjoyed it.
I'm a little bit tired, because of all the lifting
and moving stuff around, but it's not 100% physically exhausting.
It's like a...a nice tired.
It brings the family closer together, having good fun,
having a laugh, getting dirty, and I'd recommend it to any family
to come and do, especially families
who are on a tight budget, er, with kids and that.
Come and do it, have a go.
We're definitely doing it again.
Travel expert, Simon Calder, is with me at the top of the Tower
and, firstly, Simon, what a fantastic view!
It's just great to be here, isn't it?
I've heard that the sun always shines in Blackpool.
That's true, isn't it?
And if you're looking to travel further afield,
what deals are there for you?
It's a really tricky summer, in terms of package holiday prices,
going to the Mediterranean, so, instead of heading south, I would
actually say go east, to the Baltic, the Polish Riviera in particular.
It's really cheap to get to and, once you get there, you'll discover
that the price of everything - from accommodation to ice cream -
is about a third what you pay in Spain or Italy.
Well, I've actually been to Sopot, which isn't too far from there,
-and it's an absolutely gorgeous beach!
-It is and, I tell you what,
another tip there - second half of August is really good,
because the Germans like going to Poland and most of their schools
go back in the middle of August, leaving the coast clear for us.
Great, I'm taking lots of tips from that.
And if you can't actually afford to go further afield,
what can you do in terms of day trips domestically?
Well, we have some of the greatest attractions in the world,
really easy to reach. Britain has great events going on.
Everything from - of course here at Blackpool Tower -
which you have to pay to get into, but it's pretty good value,
to the great cities, Liverpool, Manchester, with so much
going on that's free, in terms of museums, with events happening.
London, of course, has probably the best collection of museums
and other attractions in the world. With any paid attraction,
well worth seeing what you can save online, of course, booking ahead.
Can you believe a fantastic fares war is going on between
the budget airlines going from Stansted to Glasgow and Edinburgh?
And that means you can fly down from Glasgow to London,
family of four, I reckon for probably about
the equivalent of £20 each, return!
It's a fantastic time to be a traveller.
Super advice, as always, Simon. I'm going to go and speak
-to some visitors at the Tower.
-Happy holidays, Denise.
-You look like you're having a nice day out, you two.
-The first time I've been up here.
-And what do you think?
-The view's stunning, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's a lovely view.
It's a bit scary, though.
-Yeah, just come to see the Blackpool Tower again.
Cos he's really scared of it, so be brought him again.
-Well, that's nice, isn't it?
Oh, yeah, very scary.
-He still won't walk on it!
Did you budget for this day or are you going to spend a lot or...?
-We're going to spend.
-Well, YOU look like you're going to spend!
LAUGHTER Yeah, I'll spend my dad's money.
-And what brings you to Blackpool?
-Fish and chips.
-Fish and chips. They probably do the best.
Um, are you a person that tends to look for the deals
-and the best ways of travelling?
Yeah, it's, er, it's just a cheap way to have a day out.
Do you ever look at vouchers
and try to get the best deals for yourself and the family?
Oh, yeah, I'm always online, checking out before I come,
finding out what deals are on and what we can get
the most value out of, but, yeah, I'm always a couponer.
This one, we've used a voucher off the cereal box.
We've brought three vouchers, we went yesterday to Asda
-and we bought three cereal boxes just to come here.
-The vouchers are really good.
-Yeah, adults, three adults...
-Today, it would have cost us £95,
but we've come here for £45 only.
-So more for you to spend, then?
-More for me to spend!
Well, it's great to see Blackpool just buzzing!
Now, I believe Dom is down there with a woman
who apparently knows what's coming up next.
Thanks, Denise. Now, I'm with fortune-teller Sarah Petulengro,
who's been working here in Blackpool for donkey's years!
Sarah, predict what's coming up on our next item.
Well, I predict there's going to be a lot of shocks and surprises...
-..when people discover...
-..the average age that they'll be able to pay off all their debts.
-And what average age would that be?
Ooh, it looks like...
-Get out of here!
You'd like to say young, like, you'd like to say 45, wouldn't you?
-People don't start till late, so I'm going to say...
-I'm going to say...
-If there's no mortgage and stuff.
I'm going to say 50.
Probably mid 80s, I would say,
or maybe mid 70s, if they're better with money.
I think, for most who haven't retired with
a good pension package already, many will not ever get out of debt.
Well, definitely mortgage is not going to be till probably...
late 50s, 60s, I'd say, if anybody does become debt-free.
Credit card debt can just go on for ever, really,
unless you're determined to get rid of it, so, um...
I'd say people in their 40s upwards.
That's why you need to think about it now, isn't it?
And do extra payments on your mortgage and things.
A lot of people aren't earning a huge amount versus their daily costs
and their housing costs, before any other items get in the way.
-We're not in too much debt, though.
-No, no, no, we're not.
-No, not at all.
-Considering we've got three kids and stuff.
What we do, a holiday every year and everything.
I'm intending to be debt-free a bit earlier than that, but, um,
we're just about saving for a house now, so we'll see how it goes.
People travel from all over the place to come to Blackpool,
but not quite as far, I don't think, as our next guests -
husband-and-wife team Gilbert and Laura.
Let's just put this into perspective.
-This time yesterday, where were you?
-We were in New York.
-And, of course, New York is where you live.
And you've very thankfully come over all this way to tell us about
your little tips on how you can travel for free or virtually free?
-I got that right, Gil?
-Pretty close, yeah.
-OK, tell us your advice.
-Yeah, so we collect airline miles.
-Lots of airline miles,
every day, from a variety of different ways.
Like converting your supermarket shopping points, tweeting,
doing surveys, er, paying your electric bill.
You know... Things that everyone does on a daily basis.
And lots of people would automatically think you've
got to spend a lot of money, taking a long, long time,
to accumulate enough miles to get a flight. Is that the case?
It's absolutely not the case.
You could get enough miles for a free flight today.
-And it's not that hard.
-To where - Canvey Island?
-Pretty much anywhere in Europe
is in reach, for as little as 9,000 miles.
And you could get 9,000 miles for buying a laptop,
maybe a new television, new stove, some expensive shoes.
And how long ago did you two start doing this?
So, we started about four years ago. We were travelling long-distance...
-..when we met and we flew one airline,
because we were collecting miles with that airline, which then
allowed us later on to fly some trips for free.
-And you suddenly thought, "Hey, I like this!"
All right, is it fair to say it's become an obsession now?
-This is something that any person can do.
You haven't got to be a high-flying jet set executive?
-You haven't got to spend a fortune.
It's just what you're basically saying is, whenever possible,
use your credit card, get these miles, rather than spending cash?
So, if you went in to buy a latte
in a coffee shop, a couple of quid, would you use your credit card?
-Put it on your credit card.
Then you pay it off, like you would your debit card
-or using cash, whatever.
-And if shopping online,
-that's where it can really become an amazing trick.
Because, every time you click through an airline site,
-to the site you're going to anyway...
..if you're going to buy some shoes or a laptop,
or anything you might be wanting to buy, you'll get bonus miles
on top of the miles you get, with or without the credit card,
so, even if you don't want to get an airline card,
you can collect tons of bonus miles on everything you buy.
You both run a website, where you sort of give advice to people and
-tell them hints and tips and the best way to get more air miles?
-Do you have many followers from the UK?
-We do, yeah.
-Last year, we had over a million people from the UK.
OK, so it's very popular. Any good stories?
Yeah, I mean, I want to say the best thing for us is hearing from people
who've taken something that they thought was out of reach
and turning it into, you know, a free flight,
whether it's near, far, in the front of the plane, back of the plane,
but you know, travel, getting to enjoy more out of it.
We get some who... who e-mail and say,
"Hey, I'm trying to take my wife, or my family, to this place,
"or that place, what credit card do you recommend?"
-Or "What airline do you recommend?" "Any good deals right now?"
You've had some cool perks with your travelling, haven't you?
-Tell us about them.
-We have, yes.
We got to visit the flight deck on the way over, which was pretty cool.
-Meet the Captain, Laura got to sit in the Captain's chair.
-That was good.
-First time in the flight deck?
-First time in the Captain's chair.
-That was pretty cool! Anything else?
Yeah! Yeah, well, we took a free private jet ride this year.
-That was pretty cool.
-Do you ever get to travel business
-and first class on these air miles?
-We do. We do.
That's the thing that most people don't realise is that, if you
save enough of them, you can take some pretty incredible experiences.
Did he use miles to pay for your honeymoon?
-How did you feel about that?
-I was very happy about it.
-Seriously? So you high-fived?
-The wedding, going on honeymoon, it's all good.
-Saving money, isn't it?
Got to fly up front and didn't have to pay for it.
I'll tell you, you're obviously doing it right.
You're not paying interest, you're collecting all these air miles,
you've got a successful website and you're travelling the world free of charge.
-Good luck to both of you.
-Thank you so much.
Now, one young lady who's living the lifestyle
without the money to pay for it is Melissa, who we met earlier.
But have we managed to teach her how to budget?
Party girl Melissa dreams of getting on the property ladder
but just can't stop spending her money.
I like to go out partying with the girls. Weekends away.
As a result, she's got a hefty overdraft and credit card debt
that she just can't clear.
Do you know how much interest you're paying on that?
No, and I don't really want to know.
Getting on for £200 interest every year.
It's like throwing money away, isn't it?
Personal finance expert Simon Read has already found ways
Melissa can still have fun but save some cash.
-If you have these at home they work out at 66 pence a shot.
Simon literally popped up at this bar,
so he's been giving me tips and advice on how I can save money,
cos obviously you know I like to go out and eat and drink.
Oh, girl, so do I!
I know. I secretly want to go out tonight.
I feel like we're out right now.
Simon's been delving deeper into Melissa's bank statements
and he's found that another area where she blows her budget sky-high
is on takeaway food.
Time for him to deliver some more savings.
But let's see if Melissa takes him seriously
and that delivery guy's hat.
I know you like your takeaways.
I do, I do, I do.
I've worked out that you spend around £1,500 a year on takeaways.
-And it's a lot of money
that you could use for something else, isn't it?
-Yeah, you're right.
-You could be paying down your debts,
you could be saving towards a mortgage.
So we need to find a way we can cut back on the expensive takeaways
but still have a good time with your friends and nice food.
It's been estimated that the average Brit
forks out £1,320 a year on takeaway food.
Sushi is the preferred choice for women,
while fish and chips remains the favourite option for men.
But with her ambitious plans to get out of debt and buy a house,
it's luxuries like these that Melissa needs to cut back on.
I've got an idea I want to put to you, I hope that you like it.
It's called a dinner club.
It's when a group of people gang together
and they arrange to have a meal at each other's house,
each one cooking a different dish.
So you can have all the fun, all the great food,
but at about a third of the cost.
I reckon you could probably do that with all your friends
for about £500 a year.
That sounds like a really good idea.
-Is something you'd like to try?
Obviously we can go to different friends' houses,
-after everybody being at mine.
'If Melissa sticks to the dinner-club idea
'and ditches those expensive takeaways
'she could bag an extra £1,000 a year towards her dream home.
'The next day Simon is back.
'This time he's in holiday mood
'and determined to get Melissa to cut back
'on her expensive city breaks.'
How many holidays do you reckon you have a year?
I'd probably go for one or two a year.
Is it one, is it two, is it more?
I probably do one or two holidays a year,
but then I do a few weekends away.
When you work hard, it's important for you
to have that kind of getaway and break from everyday life.
Of course holidays are really important,
and escaping from your day-to-day life regularly is important too.
But what's the problem with holidays?
Despite her hefty overdraft,
this globetrotter spends at least £2,000 a year
on holidays with her mates.
Like most of her leisure spending,
Melissa usually books last-minute and on impulse.
I might need to maybe cut down on my holidays
and maybe just do one holiday a year?
No, you don't need to cut down.
I reckon you can still get lots of breaks,
just not spend so much money.
-Do you know how?
I don't know how, but I'm sure you're going to tell me, Simon.
I'm going to tell you. You can house-sit or pet-sit...
-..and you can do this all over the world.
So you can go to nice locations, stay in a lovely home, often,
and not have to pay for accommodation.
The best thing would be,
for these short-term, short weekends that you like to do,
to try and do it in the UK,
so you don't have to spend even on flights.
You just have to go to a nice home and look after it for a few days.
And I'm hoping that by looking at these kind of opportunities
we can help save you a whole lot of money
which you can put towards your first home.
That sounds so exciting. I didn't know that that was possible, Simon.
Not only is it possible, but it's simple and quick to do,
and you can sign up free
with companies like HouseCarers and TrustedHousesitters
which also has pet-sitting opportunities
along with Animal Angels.
You can actually get paid to house-sit as well.
If Melissa cut back on two out of three of her typical weekends away
and took up money-saving opportunities like these instead,
she could save around £700 a year,
which would take care of most of her credit-card debt.
But now he's saved her some serious cash,
Simon wants to help Melissa boost her income too.
Outside her full-time job,
she gives up two hours of her time every week to DJ on community radio.
..I will be preparing you for Monday,
cos I know Monday is a bit of a struggle, guys.
We all know this, so we need to keep moving and pushing together...
'But she has ambitions beyond that.
'In the first instance, setting up some kind of online channel,
'which Simon reckons could even earn her some cash.'
-So you've just done your show - sounded great.
I really enjoyed the motivational stuff at the end of it.
-Now, I know you want to take that further.
You were thinking about maybe motivational videos,
that kind of stuff?
Yes, cos I feel like it's really important
for people to have a bit of a motivational quote for the day
to keep them going, or some words of encouragement,
because life can get hard sometimes.
Tell me about it.
You've got to spread the positivity and love all around.
OK. I've asked someone to come along today
who's done just that, who's set up a YouTube channel.
-A completely different thing...
but I'm hoping he can give you some great tips
about how to get your channel going, how to get followers,
and then how to make money from it.
Simon wasn't wrong when he said completely different.
This is Lawrence,
and he posts videos of his metalwork on the internet
and earns a lot of money out of it,
thousands of pounds in fact,
all brought in by advertisers keen to take advantage of his popularity
right around the world.
So you put your videos on there
and then you've got to link that into another service
that advertises on your videos.
So you get paid for every time
someone clicks on that advert on your video
or watches the whole of that advert on your video.
But it's all about building up numbers
and getting a lot of subscribers and a lot of views,
because people will click adverts -
I didn't think they would, but they do.
I'd better get on to it then.
The website will keep a 45% cut of any ad revenue brought in
by one of their videos.
But Lawrence's website has notched up half a million visits,
so if Melissa's able to find a following
for her motivational videos
she too could start making herself some extra cash.
Thank you so much for all of your help. I really appreciate it.
-Not a problem. I hope it helps you.
-Of course, you'll be seeing me soon.
Don't worry. You'll be getting the first shout-out.
I look forward to it.
And if she does, alongside the savings Simon's suggested so far,
she could be well on her way towards a deposit for her first house.
In the meantime, Melissa could do with organising her money better
and Simon's invited over her cousin Jessica
to explain one option for doing just that.
-Nice to meet you, Simon.
-Nice to meet you, thanks for coming over.
It's a collective saving scheme called Paadna,
that's already popular among the UK's Afro-Caribbean community.
I've been talking to Melissa about savings,
and, Melissa, you mentioned to me this Paadna scheme that you do.
Can you tell us more about how it works?
Sure. It's a community thing, really,
that a lot of our community do,
and there's a handful of people who participate
and they just put in, say, £25 a week,
so they've got their £100 a month.
I understand it's all sorts of communities
-that had these kind of schemes.
'The Paadna scheme originally came over from the Caribbean in the 1950s
'to promote savings amongst immigrants
'who found it difficult to access mainstream banking.
'Nowadays, it usually works by a group of friends or family
'paying a fixed weekly amount into a central pot
'and they will all take turns
'in receiving the whole of each week's pot.'
So it's like an interest-free loan, but what I like about this,
-it's a community helping each other.
-Each other, that's right.
'A scheme like this works entirely on trust,
'but for an impulse-spender like Melissa,
'it could be just the thing she needs
'to start focusing on saving some cash.'
And I think it is quite good
because it gives you that opportunity to save
where I can't back out, I can't access the money,
I can't transfer it to another bank account,
so it helps me in terms of having that grounded...
It's discipline, isn't it?
..that discipline, in terms of saving.
There's nothing like a bit of peer pressure
to give you some motivation,
and Simon hopes that Jessica's example will inspire Melissa
to stay on a money-saving track.
Once the Paadna has helped Melissa get into the habit of saving,
she can reinvest her money into a regular financial product.
There's a scheme called Help To Buy ISA, which the government set up
a couple of years ago, which aims to encourage people like you
who are saving up for their first deposit.
And they give you cash on top of your savings,
so you get a great interest rate of 4% a year at the moment.
-And then, if you save for four years,
you get a government bonus.
And this isn't just a couple of pennies -
if you save up to the maximum £12,000 over four years,
they give you an extra £3,000.
-And it's money for nothing, effectively.
-Are you sure, Simon?
-Are you sure-sure?
By combining the traditional community saving
with this government-sponsored scheme,
Melissa should soon be able to stump up the money for her deposit.
So, time for the sums.
Let's see how much Melissa could save
if she follows all of Simon's advice.
Tightening the purse strings on those costly drinks,
takeaways and holidays,
plus cancelling the gym membership,
would free up a total of £3,200,
leaving Melissa enough to pay off her overdraft
and have plenty left over to put towards that deposit.
Top man, Simon.
It's been lots of fun sorting out Melissa's financial affairs,
but how has Melissa found the experience?
This has been a really, really amazing experience,
cos it's really given me the opportunity
to see how much money I'm actually spending on a yearly basis,
and really put me in a strong frame of mind
in terms of having the opportunity to save for a flat.
I really, really want to get on the property ladder,
so it's so important for me to be strict
and, you know, tighten that belt when needs be,
and I'm so thankful that Simon has given me
the opportunity to do that.
Well, Melissa is here with us now.
Melissa, Melissa, have you been a good girl?
Have you been taking that advice that Simon's been giving you?
-Of course I've been a good girl.
Are you sure?
-I wouldn't lie to you, would I?
You say you've been taking on the advice,
what have you been implementing? What else have you been doing?
I made some mojitos last weekend,
and I really, really enjoyed making it,
and it did actually cost 89p.
So you must be saving a fortune?
I'm saving so much money, and I 'm really, really enjoying
making cocktails for my friends as well.
-And that's all going towards a deposit on the new house.
-Hey, you're winning, aren't you?
So, it's been a really positive experience?
It's been an excellent experience,
and I think it's come at the right time,
where I really, really need to think about my financial situation
and save more money and build those foundations.
So I'm so thankful for Simon's support
and being involved in the project.
It's been great, thank you so much.
If you'd like one of our experts to pop round
and help you sort out your finances, drop us an e-mail at:
And if you want some more useful tips,
here's a good place to start...
Our website has everything you need to sort out your spending.
We've teamed up with a money advice service
to bring you easy-to-use money-saving tools
to plan your budget, calculate the cost of your car or credit cards,
and give your money a complete health check.
Download them at...
..where you can also take our interactive spending test.
And you'll find plenty more tips and advice
to keep your finances on track.
Andy Webb, our money-saving expert is back with us.
Andy, I've got some questions for you from people we've met today.
But before I go into those, what do you think of rollercoasters?
Yeah, they're good fun.
I'm glad you said that, cos this is one of the tallest ones in Europe -
and I'm not a big fan, I've got to be honest.
Let's get down to it before I think too much about it.
Jennifer from Westbury says, "I'd like to open
"a new savings account,
"but how do I know which one is best for me?"
I think anyone who wants savings,
they want to get the best interest rates,
and current accounts right now have up to 5%, which is a great deal.
Unfortunately it's often for smaller amounts.
If you've got a bit more cash
and if you don't need to access it for a couple of years,
look at a fixed-rate savings,
cos you're going to get a little bit more -
but if you do take the money earlier there might be penalties.
And the thing about interest rates, they do go up and down.
Like this rollercoaster!
So in a year's time, have a look to see whether your rate's dropped
cos, if it has, make sure you move your money.
HOOTER BLASTS OK, very good tip.
I just heard the buzzer, so I think we're about to go. Brace yourself.
OK. Martin from Lytham says,
"I've been refused a car loan because of bad credit rating.
"Is there anything I can do to improve it?"
Yeah, get your credit report and have a check at any errors.
It may well be there's stuff you can get fixed quite easily.
Make sure you're registered to vote, because that helps.
And also you can get a credit-building credit card,
which helps give you a bit of credit history.
Just make sure, if you use it, you pay it off in full every month.
OK, Phillip from Blackpool says,
"I need to buy a new home insurance policy.
"Do you have any tips on what I should be looking out for?"
So, this is where cheapest isn't always the best.
Make sure, whatever you've got, you're covered for what you need,
-so accidental damage or high-cost items.
And, of course, the thing to think about here
is don't undervalue your insurance,
cos if you make a claim, you might not get your money back.
-We're at the top now, so grit your teeth.
And your buttocks! Here we go.
I don't like this.
It'll be good, it'll be fun.
How are you doing?
Not much more, please!
Thank goodness I wasn't up there!
Well, that's it from us today.
We hope you've got lots of useful tips
while we've been here in Blackpool.
Dom, how are you feeling?
I tell you what, Denise,
I've had better days in the office.
I'd just like to say thanks to all our guests today.
Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.
In this episode Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood present from Blackpool, where they help a party girl desperate to get on the property ladder but finding it hard to rein in all her nights out and holidays. They identify how she can save some serious cash while still living life to the full.
Plus as millions of Brits gear up for their summer breaks, there are ideas on how to enjoy a family holiday completely free - provided you don't mind getting your hands dirty.
And can Dom keep his cool as he quizzes an expert on one of Europe's tallest roller coasters?