Money-saving advice series with Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood. The team meet a mum who has put her own property dreams on hold to help her children buy their first homes.
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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 all about bolstering your bank account
without putting in too much effort.
Today, we are in Nottingham, home of Robin Hood
and his Merry Men who were dab hands at getting hold of money themselves.
But don't worry, we're not going to advise you to rob from the rich
to give to the poor.
But here's what you can expect on today's programme...
She can carry a tune, but are her finances hitting the wrong note?
We'll see if we can get this busy mum closer to buying her own home.
Because anything is possible when you believe it is.
And I believe that owning my own property is achievable.
And as we look at why loyalty doesn't pay,
the people of Nottingham
tell us exactly what they think about companies
who charge us too much.
We're supporting you, we're bringing money
into your business, stop treating us like idiots.
Now, Nottingham is also a city of invention.
Traffic lights, tarmac, HP sauce
and ibuprofen all came from here.
Now, every new idea could do with a bit of encouragement,
but coming up next is a mum who is a whizz at giving other
people motivation but could do with a bit of it herself
when it comes to securing her financial future.
This is Wonder Woman Yvonne,
a high-achieving entrepreneur, always on the go,
from the odd bit of hairdressing...
Your hair's really grown since the last time I saw you.
..to running a life coaching and motivational speaking business...
You've got a dream. Make it happen. It's up to you.
..and training a very successful gospel choir.
# That tonight's going to be a good night... #
Yvonne makes the most of every opportunity that comes her way, and
one reason why she's so driven is the tough life she had growing up.
I'm one of five siblings and my mother died when I was 11 years old.
When she died, everything fell apart.
And then I left home at 15. Then I lived
on the streets for a few days, so I've experienced homelessness.
Slowly, Yvonne got her life back on track and started a family.
She's determined to ensure her three kids don't miss out on the things
she didn't have, but while she's helped her sons buy their
first home, she's never got on the property ladder herself.
I'm a single parent. I'm a small-business owner.
How can I buy a house?
You know, I've had debt problems in the past as well,
so how can somebody like me
buy a house? And I just thought it wasn't something that I could do.
So, the moment has arrived for Yvonne
to get her own house in order.
And under the government's Right to Buy scheme, she'd love to
finally buy the council house she's rented for the past 15 years.
It's scary, don't get me wrong,
I've never done this before, but I'm ready to rock and roll.
Ready to give it my best.
Also ready to rock and roll
is personal finance expert Simon Read
who's on a mission to keep Yvonne's cash flow on the right track.
What do you need to do to be able to buy your own home?
Um, I think I need to really just be able to afford it.
Yeah, and believe that I can.
Cos it was something that I didn't believe that I could ever do.
And you ended up homeless for a time as well?
-So having a home is really important to you.
Definitely, definitely, definitely.
You know, it's the thought of losing my home is the worst thought ever.
-I think I probably fear that more than death.
fortunately, this personal finance expert has a plan to
give your house deposit a good kick-start.
He's found a way you can make some easy money
literally on your own doorstep.
Yvonne's got not one, not two,
but three parking spaces she could potentially rent out.
And as she lives round the corner from Luton airport,
there should be no shortage of takers.
-Did you know you can make money out of car-parking spaces?
-No, I didn't.
-Sounds odd, doesn't it?
-Yes, it does.
You know, if you have a free car-parking space, you can
-effectively rent it out.
-Now, you're quite near to an airport.
-I am. And a train station.
And a train station. We've talked to an online agency
which manages these things
and knows the prices and how much you could charge.
They reckon that you could get...
-Are you ready for this?
-I'm grounding myself.
For these two car parking spaces, you could earn...
-£2,000 a year.
£2,000 a year for something you've already got, you don't
have to do anything else, you sign up with an agency,
-they sort it all out for you.
-That would be brilliant.
And do you know, there's lots of ways where you can make extra
money actually by doing very little?
Yeah. I like this idea. I really like it.
So, Yvonne could be set to
rake in an extra £2,000 a year
by renting out two parking spaces.
Because the council currently owns the house, if she wants to do
it straight away, she'd have to check with them first.
But if she achieves her goal of buying the property,
that extra cash could soon be in her pocket.
Let's see if we can get her even closer to affording that deposit.
Juggling her busy workload takes a lot of effort and coordination,
and to do that, Yvonne likes to get out of her house
and plough through it all in the local cafe.
Why go to a cafe, Yvonne?
It's a nice, peaceful place so I can get a lot done.
So when you go to work in a cafe, even though
you're paying nothing to sit in the cafe,
-you're paying for your refreshments, for any food you buy...
-So, that gets quite expensive, doesn't it?
-It can do.
-If you are spending £20 a week in a cafe every week...
..that's £1,000 a year.
-It's a lot of money, isn't it?
-A lot of money just for the convenience of sitting in a cafe.
-What I'm going to suggest to you is we find somewhere else...
..where you can get a nice location.
-There's other things going on, but you don't have to pay anything.
OK. I'm up for that, that sounds good.
I didn't realise that it would be that big a spend.
Ah, but fear not.
Simon's got just the place to work without spending any money.
The local library.
And if you're worried that that might be a bit stuffy, well,
a chat with head librarian Alex
reveals just how much libraries have changed.
So, Alex, what can the library offer somebody like me
who need quiet-ish space and to do my normal daily work.
What we try to do is obviously make it a welcoming environment.
It's still free access for everybody,
so you aren't getting charged for anything.
My experience of libraries is like ,"Shh. Keep quiet."
We are trying to get rid of the shoosh code.
Obviously, we do know that some customers still want a quiet
area to study, to relax, and take time out,
so we do have a designated area for that,
but the majority of the library,
the first two floors are available to talk and things like that.
That's really, really good. It will be quite handy for somebody like me.
Hang on a second, with a motivational speaking business
and a gospel choir to orchestrate,
Yvonne's mobile phone hardly stops ringing.
Isn't that a no-no in a library?
What is the policy on phones ringing?
I'm quite happy for a phone to ring.
If you're in the quiet room or in a designated quiet study area,
we would ask you to take that call downstairs in the more social area.
You can even take your food and drink into these social areas.
So if Yvonne brought her own lunch,
she could slash her annual
spend by about £700.
On top of that, while she's here,
Yvonne spots another potential saving.
She regularly holds motivational seminars, so could the library's
conference rooms work out cheaper than the usual venue she rents?
How much is it for, say, two hours?
How much would it cost me to hire your facilities?
It's rented on an hourly basis, so a two-hour basis would be £25.
This is obviously cheaper the more hours you would have as well.
Wow. That's half of what Yvonne currently pays.
And as she's planning to expand her business, switching to the library
would save around £600 a year
if she held two seminars a month.
Simon catches up with Yvonne
in the library's theatre to find out what she thinks.
And it looks like the bright lights have gone to his head.
So here we are, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
but most of all, Yvonne.
-You're still at the library...
-..in this wonderful theatre space,
-what have you learned today?
-You get free Wi-Fi.
The rates are quite cheap as well in terms of
-if I wanted to have a conference.
-Yes, there's conference rooms.
There's conference rooms. There's this beautiful theatre.
-There are areas that I can speak in.
-I can answer my phone.
My phone can ring in the library.
So you can take business calls,
-deal with the pressing needs of the day.
Libraries across the country have had to adapt and change
in the past few years,
so it's worth checking out what the ones in your area have got to offer.
It's pretty much a very cool place AND, the most important thing,
it's for half the cost.
So you can save an awful lot of money by coming here rather
-than going to the cafes.
-So, the question is, Yvonne,
-will you do it?
-Yes, I will.
For Yvonne, using the local library as a workplace as well as a base
for her expanding business would give another £1,300
towards her deposit.
And there are more savings to be made even closer to home.
Because Yvonne is so busy building up her business
and running her gospel choir,
it doesn't leave much time for cooking elaborate family meals.
As a result, she often goes for convenience,
spending nearly £2,000 a year on takeaways.
But Yvonne and her daughter, Thea...
..are about to find out how easily
and cheaply anyone can knock up
a tasty and quick family meal at home.
Showing them the way is celebrity chef Aldo Zilli.
I'm here today to explain to you and show you some short cuts
-into making great food with very little money.
-Are you up for that?
-I'm absolutely up for that.
As Yvonne rustles up a quick sauce, Aldo demonstrates
just how easy it is to make pasta from scratch in minutes.
I've got my eggs and my flour.
I've put olive oil in here
and a little bit of salt.
Seems a doddle so far.
And you keep your rolling pin in the freezer.
It's always good, so it doesn't stick anywhere.
Now, I'm no Cordon Bleu chef,
but that's definitely starting to look like pasta to me.
So there's the shape. Very rustically cut.
OK? Don't need to dry this at all.
As soon as you make it, you can cook it, basically.
How long does the pasta take to cook?
The pasta takes two minutes to cook. Once the water is boiling, OK?
you put the pasta in.
As soon as the water comes back to boil,
then your pasta's ready.
OK, so it's not long at all.
I'm going to pour all of this in there,
including a little bit of water and then you get your pan...
-Toss it, sorry.
And in just ten minutes, it's ready.
Yvonne won't always have a celebrity chef on hand to help,
so the question is,
will she be convinced she can whip up tucker like this back at home?
So, Aldo, I'm stuffing my face here,
I'm enjoying this food so much.
But I want to know, you know, how much would this cost really,
you know, maybe to feed four people?
All of that would probably cost a pound a portion.
That's a bargain.
So, it seems those takeaways really could become a thing of the past.
The thing that's really blowing my mind is the fact it was like
so quick to make.
Now, we can run to the shop and buy pasta,
but it just seems a lot quicker to do it yourself, if you know how to.
Well, it's quicker than running to the shop, that's for sure.
If Yvonne halved her takeaway spending
from £150 to £75 a month, over a year,
that would be a saving of £900.
But Simon's only just warming up, and later in the programme,
he's going to tackle Yvonne's expensive champagne habit
with a test to tickle her taste buds.
Is it worth her forking out for the finer fizz?
-Are you sure, now?
-No, I'm not sure.
-So what I propose to do...
-Is taste them all again!
And we'll be chatting to Yvonne later in the programme.
But first off, Sarah Pennells is here along with Kelly Eroglu,
who, in a moment, well tell us how her family of four manages to
feast like kings but on a shoestring budget.
Now, Sarah, Yvonne, she certainly likes a treat or two, doesn't she?
Absolutely, and there's nothing wrong with treating yourself.
But is there a way of doing that on a budget, though?
Well, I think if you are treating yourself, you've got to work out
what your real priorities are.
What's the thing you really love and where can you compromise?
So it might mean getting different brands.
It might mean staying in more and cooking in your own kitchen
rather than going out for meals. Or it might just mean you spend
a bit more time being creative and doing hobbies
rather than maybe going to the cinema and things like that.
Yvonne, you know, she's got some real problems,
but she's saving for a house.
Does it help to actually have a goal in mind
when you're trying to save money?
I think it's a huge help to have a goal, whatever it is you're doing.
So, whether you are saving for a deposit for a house,
or trying to become debt-free, I think
it's really important to focus on what that means for you.
So, what will having a house mean for you?
How will it transform your life?
What will being debt-free mean to you?
The goal is the real motivator,
and that's the thing that will keep you on track.
Now, Kelly, you perform what I can only describe as a miracle,
because you manage to feed your family for the entire week for £20.
And you're going to really quite high-end supermarkets too.
Basically, it's all about time and being organised.
Going in to the supermarkets at the right time.
I tend to go to the reduced aisles. They have a specific reduced bench.
I'll always pick up the high-end meats, the steaks, the fish,
the salmon, so we always have a really good high quality meal.
If I didn't buy the reduced product,
it would cost me an absolute fortune
and I wouldn't be able to do it
because I don't have a luxury budget.
When is the best time to get all those bargains?
A really good rule of thumb is
if you go in and you speak to a friendly-looking member of staff,
they'll always tell you when the reduction times are.
Presumably, though, it's been reduced because it has a very
short shelf life, otherwise, why would they reduce it?
Basically, sell-by-date means when they are supposed to sell it by.
Use-by-date is the one you're supposed to watch.
If something doesn't smell right or doesn't look right, bin it.
-So what kind of savings are you making?
-Oh, my gosh.
Over the last four or five years,
I'd worked out around about £18,000.
-Which is a hell of a lot because
previously, for my two children and myself,
I would have spent something in the region of £90 or £120
a week, and the majority of that was convenience foods.
Give us some Kelly's tips.
Ooh, well, I've got a really good website.
If you go on there, I've got all my reduction times
in the different supermarkets
and hints and tips and different things on there to help you
-on that journey to saving money.
-Tell me now. I want to know now.
Oh, one of the main tips is to go in with an open mind.
So don't go in there thinking you want to make spaghetti bolognese
that night. Go in, see what they've got, and work with that.
Recently, I bought corn-fed organic chicken. It was £18.
Who would pay this? I just don't know. £2.20, I picked it up for.
Three meals out of that, so that was fantastic.
I paid £1.55 for two sea bass.
Had some left over rice from the weekend.
I jazzed it up a bit with a bit of chorizo,
some different herbs, some tomatoes,
popped it in, stuffed sea bass, less than a pound per person.
Are you taking all this in, Sarah?
Every single word. Really good tips.
Yeah? You're going to be following some of this,
-I think, aren't you?
I mean, I do think, before you go anywhere near a supermarket,
you should check your own cupboards. That's my first tip.
Because, otherwise, you end up buying stuff you already have.
And if you've got things like vegetables that are looking
a little bit tired, a bit more mature than maybe
they should be, chuck them in a stew or a soup.
Put it in the freezer if you can't eat it now.
That way, your money will go further.
Thank you very much, ladies.
Now, my old mum used to say that loyalty always pays.
But, unfortunately, when it comes to big companies,
too often that isn't the case. In fact, the opposite can be true.
It's something that drives personal finance expert Richard Fenton mad.
So, here's his guide to stop you losing out.
So this really has to be one of my absolute biggest bugbears.
The way that too often,
big companies take your loyalty for granted.
And for my money, it's especially the case with insurance companies.
They make it sound like they're doing you a favour when they write
to you offering to automatically renew your policy for another year.
But they're not.
So that renewal letter comes through the door.
So helpful, I'd forgotten the home insurance was about to run out.
So what do I do?
The sensible thing to do would be to look and see
if the cost of the policy has gone up.
And in most cases, it probably has.
Not that this increase has always been made clear.
They'll typically tell you the new rate, but not the old one.
And they'll say, "Don't worry. You don't need to do a thing."
Of course, they don't want you to do a thing
because if you check what you paid last year,
you'd see that your car or home premiums have most likely rocketed,
sometimes by as much as a quarter.
These kinds of auto-renewals
cost the average householder almost £200 a year,
and the real sting in the tail is that the company you've
stuck with may well be charging you up to four times as much
as a new customer would pay for the same policy.
And it's all down to marketing.
New customers get a better deal to entice them over. So shop around.
And then YOU become the new customer
and you're the one that's being enticed.
Car insurance is the classic example.
6 million cars have their cover renewed automatically
every year without their owners checking a single other quote to see
if they can find a better deal.
And that means motorists could be losing out
by as much as £1.2 billion a year.
But if you haggle, it's a whole different story, my friends.
Only the other day, I had one chap come to me
and he'd managed to save himself £100 on his breakdown cover
just through one simple call and a little bit of haggling.
The good news is that challenging rising renewal quotes
is about to get a whole lot easier as insurers are being told
they should now show the previous year's price alongside the new one,
giving customers the choice to cancel.
But that's not enough for Kalpana Fitzpatrick.
She writes an online blog about saving money.
And she believes that companies should be much
clearer on what we are signing up to right from the off.
-So how widespread is this?
-It's everywhere, basically.
It's your car insurance, if you're signing up for free trials,
it's gym membership.
Do you think companies are deliberately making it
difficult for people to realise what they're signing up to
and to ultimately get away from it in the end?
I think companies have a moral responsibility
to their consumers here.
If they are going to take a payment out,
they should give them some sort of notice.
But we have had cases where
this hasn't been happening, unfortunately.
And consumers are being caught out and it's putting them
out of pocket of hundreds of pounds here.
Especially when it's insurance policies.
So what advice would you give to consumers to avoid getting
trapped in these auto-renewals?
I think it is up to the consumer here to be proactive
and take responsibility.
Open up your e-mails, open up your mail and see what it's saying
because sometimes people don't realise that these
payments are coming out of their account. And as soon as you put your
bank details in, that's when you're in that danger zone, I'd say.
That's when the alarm bells start ringing.
Absolutely, absolutely, yes.
Once the money comes out, it's really hard to get it back.
So what have we all learnt?
Don't rely on companies to manage your finances for you.
Do your research. Check your e-mails. Haggle.
And take responsibility for your own renewals.
I'm with James Daley
who campaigns on behalf of the consumer for shorter
and fairer Ts and Cs.
James, there are stories in the paper, particularly the
older generation now who are letting these auto-renewals just
go on and on and on and they're actually wasting
hundreds of pounds a year.
Well, yes, and unsurprisingly, that's caught the attention of
the regulator who's starting to take the view
that it could be exploitation and
insurers are really under pressure to be a bit fairer with
customers, and at the very least, write to them
and get in touch with them if they've been with them for years
and say, "Hey, you've been with us five years, ten years,
"you could be paying way too much for your insurance."
And that's what you've got to be really careful of.
The only way to make sure you're getting a good deal is to
shop around every year, which is a pain, I know, but you have to do it.
Now, as far as the terms and conditions are concerned,
the stuff that we all hate, you've been looking at them
and there are some real humdingers out there, isn't there?
Oh, I mean, it's an absolute minefield.
Some of them are longer than George Orwell's Animal Farm,
longer than The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
We're talking 40,000 words for an insurance policy document and,
of course, they're not even a fraction
as interesting as those novels.
I've brought one long for you today, James,
this is just ten pages of 114-page contract from a UK bank.
Mind your feet. I'll tell you what, it's very lengthy, isn't it?
Well, I know that one. It's actually over 70,000 words long.
It's just unacceptable. There's no excuse for it.
What we want are shorter documents, written in a language that
everybody can understand, and we don't think that's too much to ask.
I totally agree. OK, James, give our viewers some hints and tips.
Well, if you're buying anything, but especially insurance or
banking products, make sure you read any summary documents that they
give you, but don't worry about these 40,000, 70,000-word Ts and Cs.
The legislation, the rules and regulations
make it really clear that anything onerous has to be
made really clear to you before you enter into that agreement with them.
So take some comfort from that,
don't get bogged down in reading all this legal and financial jargon,
but do keep your eyes open whenever you are buying anything
because there's often some sneaky things hiding in there to trick you.
I agree. James, I'm going to go and have a chat with some people
in Nottingham. In the meantime, I'm going to give you
a free cardiovascular workout.
-You couldn't roll that up for me, could you?
-Right, thank you.
Cheers, buddy. Thanks a lot.
I want to find out, when it comes to contracts,
do the shoppers of Nottingham
actually know what they're signing up to?
When you signed up for your phone contracts,
-did either of you read the Ts and Cs?
-No, I didn't, no.
-It's just long, innit?
-Innit! It takes too long.
-Well, they are, innit?
Did you read the small print?
-You didn't read the Ts and Cs at all?
-Not at all, no.
-Tell me why not.
-It's just too long, isn't it?
It takes time and you just want to sign it and get it done.
People rarely have time to go through the entire document.
-I only go to it when I need to make a claim or anything like that.
What about auto-renewal?
Would you know what I'm talking about when I say that?
-That's what I do, actually.
-You are on auto-renew?
Every year, I don't have to worry about it. They just take it out.
Do you know, Colin,
you really need to get one of our money makeover experts round to sort
you out because we could probably save you an absolute fortune.
Do you ever do auto-renew?
-Why is that?
12 months seems like a nice period to review it
and look at it and see if I can save any money.
I'm hoping you're going to give me the right answer now.
When you pay for your policy,
do you pay for it in one lump sum or do you pay monthly?
-No, no, monthly.
-Oh, no! That was the wrong answer, Colin.
HE LAUGHS Can I be rude and shake you?
You've got to start shopping around.
Do you do auto-renewal with your car insurance?
Um, no. But I have been with the same company for about five years.
And whenever they send me the renewal,
I ring them up and tell I'm going to cancel, cancel, cancel.
They tell me how important I am and then they lower the price.
It would be advisable for you to phone around,
even have a little bargain with the company,
see if you can get that down,
and if you can afford it, pay it in one lump some.
Don't start paying these silly interest charges that they
-put on top.
-I didn't know that.
And if you had a message for all the financial institutions,
the banks, the gyms, everybody about these lengthy
Ts and Cs, what would it be?
We're supporting you, we're bringing
money into your business, stop treating us like idiots.
-Couldn't have said it better myself.
-And there you have it.
Not one person I've met today likes long and wordy Ts and Cs.
So, come on, keep them simple.
Now, do you dream of taking early retirement? I know I certainly do.
Well, sadly for many, it seems that dream will never come true.
A recent report suggested that today's youngsters may have
to work into their 80s before they can afford to retire.
But it seems some of you are desperate to give up work
long before then.
-50. I think 50 is a good age to retire.
I don't know, you'd be bored, though. He would be bored.
He's saying 50 now, but he's a workaholic. He'd be bored.
I'm a single mum,
and have been for the last 13 years,
so obviously I've got to think about when I'm old and grey.
Hopefully, he might keep me, but I can't guarantee on him.
So I've had to start putting money away.
A pension? I couldn't tell you. I don't have a clue about a pension.
Because I'm actually totally anti-pensions.
I do try and plan for the future,
but I wouldn't say pensions is something on my mind just yet, no.
Myself? Set up a few more online businesses
and just carry on doing that.
I don't think the state pension is enough anyway,
so I think people do have to save up themselves, really.
Now, if you want to buy something special, you usually
either save up for it or maybe pay for it using a credit card or loan.
However, a growing number of people are asking others
to pay for the things that they want.
Joining me now are Olivia and Kasha who do just that.
Now, Olivia, you run a website that helps people organise
-something known as crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is quite a new term.
We've probably started to hear it in the last sort of two or three,
four years. But actually it's not new.
If you think about being in the church on a Sunday morning
when the vicar comes round and everybody puts a few
quid into a plate to fix the church roof, you are crowdfunding.
There are websites that allow you to crowd fund for a creative project.
If you're a band, and you want to release an album and you
can't get onto a label, you can ask the wider community to support you.
If you want to start a business, people can crowdfund that
and they may get some kind of return.
They may get a bit of equity in that business.
And we heard a student from Ghana who wanted to study in the UK
crowdfunding his tuition, his fees here in the UK.
So you do hear those stories.
And our website, Patchwork, is used for any occasion.
For weddings or birthdays, Christmas
to collectively buy a gift for somebody that they want
rather than surprising them with 25 things that they don't.
And, Kasha, what's your experience and how did you get involved?
For my son's third birthday, we wanted to take him
to the theatre to see The Lion King, so all the grandparents
and aunts and uncles and friends who wanted to contribute did.
He was at an age where friends still wanted to buy him
something even though he wasn't having a birthday party,
so it worked really well and we had a really wonderful day out.
I don't know if I'm a little bit old-fashioned,
but I'd feel a little bit embarrassed. Some people
might feel just uncomfortable about the whole situation, set up.
Yeah, I know and I wouldn't have been so presumptuous as to send
an invite to a wide group of friends, so I kept it
within a very select group of people,
so it worked for that purpose.
Just chatting to you both, it actually sounds like a really
practical and sensible way to go about doing things, doesn't it?
Yeah, well, I think we're living in quite tough times as well,
and the economy not being great, people are sort of struggling.
So it makes sense to spend the money that we do have collectively
funding things that people really want and need
and not buying each other a load of stuff that ends up in landfill
just because we feel compelled to do it because it's someone's
birthday or because it's Christmas or because it's their wedding.
-Interesting stuff. Thanks, ladies.
Now, earlier on, we met Yvonne who loves to spend on expensive
treats but needs to cut back if she wants to achieve her property dream.
Let's see if we've managed to help her out.
Over the past few years,
devoted mum Yvonne Sinclair has been busy with her hairdressing,
running motivational courses and leading a gospel choir.
Through sheer hard work, she's managed to put her sons on the
property ladder, but that's been at the expense of buying her own home.
I am a single parent, I'm a small-business owner,
how can I buy a house?
You know, I've had debt problems in the past as well,
so how can somebody like me buy a house?
And I just thought it wasn't something that I could do.
Personal finance expert Simon Read has already come up with some
great ways she can save up for a deposit.
For these two car-parking spaces, you could earn...
-£2,000 a year.
Now Simon's back
and he wants to reduce Yvonne's spending on luxury items to
really boost her chances of putting away enough money for a deposit.
Yvonne's cut back on what used to be an almost addictive
spending on shoes, but she's still got around 100 pairs hidden away,
and Simon thinks, on this one, she can turn
a negative into a positive.
So you've got all these shoes.
-You keep them well...
-..because you care about them.
-Is there an opportunity to sell some of them?
-Do you sell them?
I give them away. Yeah. I could sell them.
Could you think about that maybe?
You know, through an online auction site or something like that?
That is a really good idea, actually.
Rather than giving them away.
If you could sell 80 pairs of shoes, even if
you only got a tenner per pair, how much money is that?
-Can you do mental arithmetic?
-That would be £800.
-Just from clearing out your wardrobe.
-Hm. And clothes.
-I think it's something to think about.
-It's something to think about.
-It is, it is, absolutely, actually.
Now I'm gutted that I just threw some out.
I literally just threw a bag of shoes out.
But there's one pair of boots
that Yvonne won't even dream of chucking away.
These shoes, boots, are very significant to me.
And I actually found these boots a couple of years ago
when I was sorting some of my old shoes out to get rid of them.
And I bought these shoes when I was 15 years old and I had left home.
Some may say I ran away from home, but I left home.
-This was really the start of your journey?
After becoming homeless as a teenager,
Yvonne vowed that one day she'd enjoy the finer things in life.
And now every week, she treats the family to
a bottle of bubbly as a motivation for working their socks off.
If it's been a good week,
she buys premium champagne at almost £35 a pop.
Otherwise, she buys prosecco.
But the big question is, can she tell the difference?
To find out, Simon sets up a taste test challenge,
joined by Yvonne's two sons, Nathan and Leon.
What we are going to ask you to do is try
and work out which is the cheap one, which is
the cheap £4 cava, which is the expensive £33 champagne.
We've also thrown into the mix a £13 prosecco
and a £12 champagne.
-So, Yvonne, I'd like you to go first.
If you guys don't mind leaving the room,
we'll call you back in when we're ready.
-And we'll have a bit of fun with this.
Yvonne gets tasting,
and it looks like she has a clear idea of which is the fanciest fizz.
-Then that way, that means that's that...
-And that's that.
-Are you sure now?
-No, I'm not sure.
-So what I propose to do...
-Is taste them all again!
After some more, hm, essential tasting,
-Yvonne sticks to her decision.
But before the results are revealed...
-That is definitely champagne.
..her sons have a go. Why not, lads?
I believe that that one actually tastes
like the most expensive champagne.
-It brought back a bit of a memory from when I was 18.
-When I had champagne and I didn't last the night.
-It was because of that.
-And that reminds you of that night?
Yes, it does.
But will the mood fall flat when Simon reveals which fizz is which?
And can any of them tell the difference between the best
and the bargain booze?
Nathan, you didn't get any right.
Didn't think so.
I will tell you, Nathan, the wine which you said was rank
-..was the £33 champagne.
The wine which you said, "Oh, this is champagne.
"I remember it from my 18th birthday party.
-"This brings back great memories..."
-Did you say that, Nathan?
..was the £4 cava.
-You got one right.
So I'd say to you as well, stick with the prosecco that you know.
I definitely will.
And now it's the turn of discerning mum Yvonne.
Now, Yvonne, which did you think was the most expensive champagne?
-It was the lighter-coloured one.
-You thought it was the prosecco.
The prosecco was the one that you thought was your favourite.
So maybe there's a lesson there.
If you switch to this brand, rather than that one,
-you're saving £20 a bottle.
And by the sound of it, you can enjoy it just as much. Yeah.
Stick to the prosecco, Mum,
it's going to be better for everyone.
If you were to switch your habit from buying the expensive champagne
to the cheaper prosecco every week,
do you know how much you'd save in a year?
-How much would I save in a year?
Yes, really, Yvonne.
By switching to prosecco, which you seem to actually prefer,
you'll still get the bubbles
but save £1,000 a year.
I'll drink to that!
But Simon wants to keep those savings rolling in.
So he hitches a ride with Yvonne in her car.
Because she clocks up lots of miles every year, Yvonne needs
a reliable motor, and up to now, she's been leasing her wheels.
But her contract is coming up for renewal and
if she wants to keep the car she's got, it will cost her £323 a month.
And I guess it's... You've got a nice car, that's the going price.
-I reckon we can save you money, though.
I think we can go to a dealer, get you a deal, so it will be cheaper
in that, and a different car that you're going to fall in love with.
-But can Yvonne give up her beloved Beemer?
-Hey, Paul. Nice to see you.
Hopefully, dealer Paul will be able to show her a new
set of wheels at a cheaper price.
I'm looking for something around the same price range as I'm paying now.
Something sturdy, a bit racy,
-something that will look nice as well.
-You've got something in mind?
I'm going to leave you in Paul's hands, but remember,
don't just get dazzled by the car.
Think about the cost and the price and how much you're going to pay.
-And negotiate hard.
-Come this way.
-OK, thank you.
And it took all of 1.2 seconds for Yvonne to fall in love.
Yeah, I really like this.
I like the look and the fact that it is convertible.
And she hits the road for a test drive.
If Yvonne was to swap her current car for this new one,
she would save herself £58 a month, which means a
£2,784 saving over the four-year
lease term. You see?
It really pays off to shop around.
Well, I think you need to go away and think about these figures.
-To my mind, it sounds like a great deal but...
I mean, I'd always look through the figures
and read the fine print first.
But it does, um...
-On paper, it's a good deal, I think.
You'd be right to check because,
while leasing a car makes sense for Yvonne, it isn't always going
to work out the most cost-effective way of getting a car.
So check those terms and conditions before you commit.
Well, Simon's saved Yvonne loads of cash so far, and she's hoping
to put it towards a deposit so she can buy the council house she rents.
But Yvonne is self-employed
and she's afraid she might not be given a mortgage.
So as a parting gift,
Simon's invited along mortgage adviser David Hollingworth.
If I was to say about chances, what do you think, knowing everything you
know about me now, what do you think my chances are of buying a property?
Well, I think it's get that track record of your income,
that will give you the real pathway to success in buying this house.
That's great news.
David thinks that being self-employed won't stop Yvonne's
dreams of buying her house.
But there's a deposit to stump up first.
Let's see how much Yvonne could squirrel away
if she follows all of Simon's advice.
Renting out her car parking spaces,
swapping the local cafe
for the local library
and transferring her motivational speech business there, plus
swapping champagne for prosecco and
halving her takeaway spending
would free up a total of £5,200.
And if she signs up for a new car lease,
that would be an extra £2,784 over the next four years.
That should make the bank manager happy.
As well as our Yvonne, of course.
Simon has given me a lot of encouragement,
and I think for me, that's a key thing.
I'm a single parent, so being able to afford a mortgage on my own
is really, really important, and he's given me some good tips.
So I will be using them to increase my income
and also increase my savings as well.
And Yvonne is here along with Sarah Pennels.
Now, Yvonne, it's great to see you.
I know you're a lady that likes the finer things in life, so how are
you feeling now that Simon's been to look at your finances?
Yeah, I'm feeling great.
He gave me some really good tips, so I'm utilising those
and things are beginning to change already.
So, yeah, I'm really happy with that.
Sarah, cutting back on those little luxuries, things which,
you know, a lot of people have got into bad habits with,
can be quite a tough thing for some people to do, can't it?
I think the key word there is habit cos it doesn't matter
what it is that you consider as a luxury,
once you've got used to that, it is something that you just think,
"Well, this is what I do.
"Once a week, I'll maybe have a drink with friends," whatever it is.
And as you say, breaking any kind of habit can be difficult,
but if you've got a really good motivation to do it,
then that habit actually can be changed.
Yvonne, talk to me about that champagne tasting experience,
because I think a lot of people will be surprised by the results.
The perception is that champagne is of higher quality,
tastes better, but actually when it came down to the tasting,
the prosecco won by leaps and bounds.
So for me, it's prosecco all the way now.
-So, yeah, I'll save myself a penny or two.
-We like the sound of that.
-Still having as much fun and saving money at the same time.
Yvonne, you are on the right path now.
Well, for me, the experience was, "You can do it."
And it's given me now a lot of inspiration cos
I didn't believe that I could because of my age
and because I'm self-employed, but Simon coming has given me
an assurance that it's possible.
I've always wanted to own my own property,
but I had limiting beliefs about myself.
But, you know, as I tell people about their goals and their dreams,
I thought, "Well, how can I be telling other people
"and not actually utilising what I'm telling them for myself?"
And I believe that I can own my home, so it's going to happen.
And what do your sons, your big boys, think of you
and how you've changed your life?
To see that Mum's doing it, for them, it's such an achievement.
They're just proud of me
and I'm really, really... I'm getting really emotional.
-Your welling up, aren't you?
-Yeah, I am.
You know, I'm proud of them and they're proud of me,
and it's just how we are. We ride and die together.
You know, that's how we are as a family so...
That's just great. Well done, Yvonne.
Now, if like Yvonne, you'd like a little nudge in sorting
out your finances, then e-mail us at...
And we can't promise our experts
will be able to come and help everyone,
but on our website, we do have lots of tips and budgeting advice.
Our website has everything you need to sort out your spending.
We've teamed up with the 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.
Well, Sarah's still with us
and we've got some questions for you from people we've met today.
Yeah, and first up, it's Eric
and he says he's been recently refused a car loan and wants
to know whether his partner's bad credit history could be to blame.
Well, first of all, all adults in the UK have a credit file.
Now, these credit files only get linked
if you have joint credit with somebody else.
So if Eric has got a joint mortgage or joint bank account
with his partner, then it will have an effect on his credit rating,
even if he applies for something like a car loan just in his name.
Many people think it only affects you
if you apply for credit with somebody who's got that bad rating.
So I think he should check his credit file,
see what's on there. If his partner has got a bad rating, then
that will affect him and it could affect him for some time to come.
-Could be expensive, couldn't it?
Now, Janine says, "I've bought an expensive vacuum cleaner
"from a shop that's now gone out of business.
"It's stopped working. Can I get a refund?"
In this case, if the shop's actually gone bust and has completely
stopped trading, then they don't have any liability any more.
I would suggest, if it's still within the warranty period,
to go back to the manufacturer, and actually, even if
it's outside the warranty, because in a situation like this,
some manufacturers will go the extra mile.
OK, thank you. And Ada. She's going on holiday to Spain.
Take me with you, Ada!
And she wants to know how she can avoid racking up
big mobile phone bills.
Well, there is good news
if you're going on holiday anywhere in the European Union
because there are strict limits on how much the mobile phone
providers can charge. And those came down just a few months ago.
And also there's a cap of 50 euros, which is about £35, on the
maximum amount that you can be charged while you're on holiday.
Now, there is a bit of a catch
which is that you can opt out of this cap,
so make sure that you don't do that before you go away.
You can also buy extra data bundles which are often quite
good value if you know roughly how much you might
use your phone for either browsing or making calls while you're away.
I think, generally speaking, some good advice is
don't download films and anything that is really data hungry.
Just check your e-mails and keep it to a minimum.
That's right, if you're on holiday,
use your phone for making calls and texts.
If you want to go and see a film, go to the cinema.
Tonnes of great advice there, Sarah.
Well, that's about it from us in Nottingham,
so thanks to all our guests and to you at home.
And we'll be back with more money-saving advice next time.
In this episode Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood present from Nottingham. The team meet a mum who has put her own property dreams on hold in order to help her children buy their first homes. Desperate to buy the house she has lived in for the past 15 years, personal finance expert Simon Read goes all out to help her save enough cash for her deposit - with suggestions that might boost your finances too.
Also, as UK households continue to spend more and more of the weekly budget on groceries, one especially savvy shopper passes on her top tips on how families can feast like kings for just £20 a week. Plus there is a look at how to avoid paying too much for your insurance.