Series packed with money-saving tips. The team help a woman who has been struggling with her finances since the death of her husband, with advice on downsizing.
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Whether you are a spender or a saver,
we could all do with making the most of our cash.
So, we've found simple advice for you to do just that,
and taken it to people right across the UK.
Whatever help you need with your finances, we are right on the money.
Hello and welcome to Right On The Money,
the show that helps you free up extra cash by giving you
bags of tips and expert advice.
And do you know what the best bit is, Denise?
-Tell us, Dom.
-Becoming more money-savvy isn't even hard.
In fact, a few simple lifestyle changes can pay dividends.
Here's what's coming up in today's show.
We tackle the spending habits of a woman who loves to splash the cash
and give her a crash course in haggling.
You've got to be hard. You got to keep to a price and then you get
-the right deal.
-My heart just beats fast.
It's not easy.
-It's not easy.
-You need more practice, I think.
And we tell you exactly how every nook and cranny in your house could
make you a tidy bit of cash.
We've got about five people's worth of storage items here,
which I'm probably making about £150 a month.
Now, if you've lost a loved one,
you'll know that getting back on your financial feet can be
a difficult and exhausting experience,
especially if that person was the one who'd dealt with looking after
-So let's see what we can do to help one widow regain control
of her spending habits.
Home for Yorkshire lass Carol Bowes is this house in Bradford,
where she lives with son Ian.
We do have a really nice relationship.
We're sort of friends now as well but he'll always be mine - my baby.
Ian isn't the only man in her life.
Her other son, Philip, lives nearby.
Carol was married to husband Peter for 23 years.
But then, four years ago, Peter died suddenly at the age of 50,
leaving Carol a widow.
From getting the diagnosis of the illness to passing away
was within six weeks or so. So it was hard to cope with.
And I just felt that I had to be strong for them.
Of course it was difficult.
But I've kind of drawn that strength from Mum as well
that allowed me to carry on with school.
Not only did Carol have to cope with losing a loving partner but the man
who had been in charge of the family finances.
He was the one that got us on to our new energy tariff.
He was the one that used to go and look at the buildings and contents insurance.
All of those sorts of things.
So, all of that, really, you know, put a lot of extra stress on me.
And it has been difficult doing everything on my own, really.
After Peter died,
Carol decided to take early retirement from her managerial job.
Now she's back working part-time but earning far less than before.
Therefore, you'd think Carol had tightened the purse strings,
but you'd be wrong.
If I see something nice that I want, then I'll think, "I deserve it.
-"I've worked hard."
-She goes on girly holidays.
When you turned 50, if you don't mind me saying,
I think you went on about three.
And I'm worried that on her new, lower income,
if she carries on doing that, she'll go, "Where is this money gone?"
Carol is worried that if she continues spending like there's no tomorrow,
soon there will be nothing left of her retirement nest egg.
We don't want that to happen,
so we've sent in personal finance expert Simon Reid to hatch a plan.
You've had quite a tough time of it, haven't you?
Yes, it has. It's been pretty stressful over the past few years.
And this, after your husband died,
finances came to the fore because he used to do all the finances, didn't he?
He sort of was the one that just had that ability to do that.
So we'll take a good look at your finances and come up with some great
solutions to put you back in control of your money.
-How about that?
-I know I need that kick up the bum, really.
-Let's get started.
Simon decides to get straight to work back at Carol's place by tackling an
immediate problem - her household bills that are running out of control.
First off, a surprisingly high phone bill.
I noticed there were an awful lot of 0845 numbers on there.
What's going on? That's really expensive.
Yeah, my fault. I'm to blame for that one.
-Come on, Ian!
-We're all ears.
-When I was sorting out my car insurance,
my previous insurance company made an error and it took me three
or four different phone calls in order to sort the error.
Here's the thing. Calling 0845 numbers is expensive.
It's premium rate numbers.
The answer is to not call them.
They have people you can talk to online.
It's called live chat. They have the same people who might be on the phone,
except they're just on the end of the line on the computer,
and they tell you what they're doing.
It just saves those expensive phone calls which, I have to tell you,
I think are a complete rip-off.
Simon's not wrong there.
Dialling a premium rate 0845 number can rack up a hefty bill,
particularly if you're dialling from a mobile.
But logging on to a company's live chat service is free.
Talking about rip-offs,
your broadband, TV package seems very expensive to me.
I thought I'd got it as cheap as I could, actually.
Do you know how much you're paying a month?
It's about £47 a month.
I found a couple other deals online.
You could get basically the same deal for around £20 a month.
Oh, gosh! That's a massive saving.
That's saving you more than £300 a year.
By changing their broadband,
Simon has fast-tracked Carol and Ian
to their first saving of £312 a year.
And if Ian avoids calling premium rate numbers,
they would save even more.
A great start to Carol's money-saving marathon.
However, Simon has stumbled across an obstacle that could slow her down.
He's discovered Carol's little cash machine habit.
How much do you take out from the cashpoint every month?
It's hard to know exactly because I just come and really take cash when
-I need it.
So we've had a look at that and we reckon you spend £500.
-Now, that's a lot of money.
That's £6,000 a year.
-Where's it going, Carol?
-Well, that's interesting.
I'm not really sure myself now, where it's going.
Come on, Carol. Surely you've got a Scooby-Doo.
I'm going to give you a diary and you're going to write down every
time you spend anything on cash.
So when I come back in a week's time,
we can find out where all that money's going.
Are you going to take on this challenge for us?
Yes, I will, because I need to do it. Yes, thank you.
-Good luck with it.
Spending diary sorted.
It's back to the house where Simon wants to put his energy into getting
Carol a better gas and electricity deal.
Do you know how much you're paying every year at the moment?
I know each year I'm probably paying about £1,200.
If you switch to another supplier, to a better deal,
how much do you reckon we could save you?
Well, I'd like to think at least a couple of hundred, if you could.
Every month, 250,000 customers across the UK switch energy companies -
saving an average of £250 each over a year.
Time for Carol to save some more money.
We reckon we could save you £255.87.
Right. That is a big saving.
It's a big saving.
For 12 years, you've been on the same company, on the same tariff.
-If you made that saving earlier,
how much are we talking about? We're talking about thousands of pounds.
Yes. Yeah. Absolutely.
Keep comparing and make sure you're always on the best deal because the
savings, literally, hundreds of pounds every year.
And Simon has got one more nugget for Carol, if she's up for it.
You have to be prepared to haggle.
It's not just always about going online.
It is sometimes about ringing people up and saying, "Can you match this?"
-And you never know.
-If you don't try...
-It doesn't come easy, haggling.
With another £255 saved,
Simon's decided to tackle Carol's fear of haggling head-on.
He's taking Carol and Ian to a car-boot sale with one simple instruction.
I'm not allowing you to leave this stall until you've got a better deal.
So, the first thing you do is try and find something
you want to haggle over. That's quite a nice dog's-tooth blouse.
I wear a lot of black and white.
So, let's have a chat.
I just wondered how much this was?
-What do you think, Carol? Is that a bargain?
-What about £3?
How about we meet halfway? £3.25.
-Sounds OK to me but watch and learn, Carol.
So, shall I show you how I would have done that?
-Will you take £1.50?
£3.50. £3.50 and it's yours.
I'll tell you what.
I think it would really suit me.
So I'll give you £2.50 for it.
Right now. Here we go. I've got the cash in my pocket.
You'll have the cash in your hand in seconds.
-Thank you very much.
-Thanks very much.
You know, you've got to be hard. You've got to keep to a price
-and then you'll get the right deal.
-My heart just beats fast.
It's not easy. It's not easy.
-You need more practice, I think.
-You need more practice.
And there's no time like the present.
How much is that car?
£2. £2, yeah?
Would you accept 50p for it?
-I think I've got a deal there.
That's fantastic! Shake hands?
-Thank you very much!
-Do you know what? I couldn't have done that better myself.
It's estimated that almost half of us have managed to knock down
the price of something by haggling.
Whether you want to pay less for a toy car, or brand-new motor,
putting in a cheeky offer will pay dividends.
So, what does Ian think about his mum's new-found skills?
I definitely think what you've been showing her today has been really
vital and I think it's definitely going to help her going forward in the future.
I've been looking on from a distance as well and I've picked up a few
things that I hope to try myself.
Simon's first visit is nearly over.
But before he goes, he wants to tackle her biggest problem -
the family home. Carrol feels that she can't move forward with her life
without selling the house she shared with her late husband, Peter.
But, after six months on the market, it's still unsold.
It needs to go back to a family again.
It's been a lovely family home and it just needs to go back to somebody
that can enjoy the space.
I'm just rattling around at the moment.
Carol's house is on the market for £269,000.
With no buyers in sight,
Simon has called in property makeover expert Anita Richards.
After casting a creative eye over Carol's soft furnishings,
she's ready to deliver her verdict.
So, this to me, I'm no expert but, this, to me, seems like a lovely house.
Why isn't it selling, Anita?
It's lovely. It's spacious,
but I have to say, it's a little bit dated.
So, you need to up your game a bit and give it some house wow,
to really get the buyers interested.
So, one of the things is to depersonalise.
You've got lots of beautiful photographs of your family but,
it's your family, your house, it distracts people.
And, really, you want them to be looking at this house, these rooms,
where they could live.
Getting your house ready to sell doesn't have to cost a lot.
Sometimes, just a modest and cheap change can make all the difference.
I think Anita wants more than a few cushions plumped, Simon.
Carol has agreed to take on board Anita's advice.
However, in part two, we'll discover whether the prospect
of leaving the family home is too much.
The temptation just to stay is great and it would probably be the
easier thing to do.
Um, I'm not really thinking about leaving.
It will be hard to leave.
And Carol will be joining us a little bit later to discuss
the whole experience and how she's getting on.
But, first, Simon's here, along with Sharon,
who's going to tell us what she decided to do,
so that she didn't have to downsize.
Going back to Carol, Simon.
You can understand why she got upset at the thought of downsizing that
house which she'd lived in with her husband.
Of course. This is a home.
This is where there were lots of happy memories.
It is an emotional attachment.
But you have to be practical and pragmatic.
She needs the money now.
That means moving on and downsizing.
And, to be honest, moving on can actually
help the grieving process as well.
Sharon, you decided to do something a bit different.
I did. I decided to rent out rooms in my house.
When my family left home, I was left with a four-bedroomed house,
which I love, in an area that I love, too.
So my option was to begin to take in lodgers or house-sharers,
so that's what I did and I've been doing that now for probably the last
seven or eight years.
-That way, of course, you haven't had to downsize. You still got the home you love.
What sort of ground rules do you put in place to make sure you get the right sort of person, though?
You do vet. You choose somebody that you think you will get on with.
You advertise and you talk to them by e-mail.
Then they visit the house.
And if I like the person, and I think we'll get on, on the day they move in,
I call it a contract but it's more a statement of expectations.
It just says what they get for their money, what I will provide,
how I expect things to be.
They know already that the rent is paid on a certain day.
They know that it's their responsibility to tidy up after themselves.
Do you spend time together?
We do, actually, yes.
We have been known to share a bottle of wine of an evening,
round Coronation Street or whatever, something like that.
So, yes, we do.
It's all well and good making a profit but what about that all-important tax?
Well, the good news is,
you can earn up to £7,500 a year from renting
out a room without paying any tax,
which should be enough for most homes to be able to do so without having any huge tax demands.
That's over £600 a month.
So I bet, in your case,
you could rent this out and not pay a penny in tax.
Well, that's the aim.
Myself and people I know aim to keep below the 7,500.
So you can do that by spreading over two tax years,
or you can make sure the amount you charge doesn't go above that level.
-You sound pretty savvy to me.
-Oh, thank you.
It's obviously not just about the extra money,
which is obviously very helpful but, when you might go on holiday,
for example, you're able to...
Someone can feed the animals, or the house is going to be safe.
There's a lot of perks that come with having people in your house.
I think so. I feel very comfortable going on holiday,
especially with the house-sharers I have now.
I was on holiday in February.
I felt very comfortable leaving them on their own.
-The extra income is obviously useful.
What has it enabled you to do?
It's enabled me to go on holiday and it also helps with the household
bills, especially in the winter.
It's expensive to heat a house all through the winter,
so it certainly helps with those,
the household bills and general maintenance of the house.
-It's very useful.
-Thanks, Simon. Thanks, Sharon.
Now, renting out your spare room is a brilliant way to make extra cash.
But what if you don't fancy sharing a house
with a complete stranger full-time?
Well, there are plenty of other things you can do to make money from your home.
So, pin your ears back because this next film has got plenty of top tips.
For Claire, like many working mums,
mornings are the busiest time of the day.
-Which cereal would you like? Rice Krispies?
Claire has an extra incentive to get everyone out of the house on time.
Violet, it's not piano practice time.
Come on. We have to go.
It's going to school time.
So, this morning, I have a guest arriving.
It's a little bit unusual because I've never met this person before.
Ooh, a mystery guest!
It will be interesting and fun to meet a new person,
but I've no idea what they'll be like.
So, why on earth is Claire
opening up the family home to a complete stranger?
I rent out my kitchen and my living room-dining area,
to people as a working space,
so they can come and book the space on an hourly basis.
And, right on cue, here comes her new client.
-Hello, Lavinia. Lovely to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you, also.
Claire is one of a growing band of householders getting the
most out of their bricks and mortar.
So, while she's out at work, her kitchen is making money.
You're very welcome to help yourself to tea and coffee.
I've spent the last year using my house to make money through renting out working space to people.
-So, here's your table to work at today.
I generate between £500 and £1,000 a month.
Well, that's a tidy sum, and not too much hassle,
even when you've got your hands full, like Claire.
This is a really easy way to make money because your house is sitting here anyway,
and there's very little preparation or management that I need to put in to make that happen.
It's just about clearing up the family life and converting it into a
So, what's it like for the person who's rented out your kitchen table?
Today, financial wellbeing coach Lavinia has paid £22
to do just that.
Well, it fits with one's budget.
So, if I wake up one morning and I feel like, OK,
I don't want to work from home, then I can just,
you know, look online and find a
home kitchen or a home that I want to work from, and it's within budget.
But the idea of having strangers in your house might not appeal to everyone.
Certainly, at first, I was nervous about
strangers coming to the house and me having not met
them beforehand but it doesn't feel very different to letting tradespeople
or workman in your house to work for the day in your absence.
Claire has signed up with an online company that offers to take the
headache out of the whole process by finding and vetting clients and
sorting out payments.
It's one of a growing number of similar businesses.
Everyone's happy and it seems like it's been a productive day for Lavinia,
and a financially rewarding one for Claire.
There's something really nice about being in someone else's home.
It's just a different energy, you know?
And it's comfortable as well.
-Did you had a good day?
-Oh, yeah, I've had an awesome day.
You can generally find a home that's close to your home,
so you're not having to travel far.
-Thank you for coming.
-Lovely to meet you,
-You also. OK?
-I look forward to seeing you again.
-Take care. Bye.
Hopefully, Lavinia might become a regular customer.
Renting out a space in this way is part of what's known as the sharing
economy, and it's booming.
So, the sharing economy is the term used to describe people making money
and saving money from the assets that they own -
their house, their car,
their boat, their pet -
and the skills that they have in order to change the way
that they work and earn.
It's estimated to be worth over £7 billion in the UK alone.
What can you do with your home in the daytime?
I think people are getting really creative about how they can make
their home work harder for them,
to help them to earn money when they're not in it.
And don't worry if you haven't got a lovely kitchen to double up
as a work space. There are still ways of getting your house to earn its keep.
And that's exactly what another sharing economy entrepreneur has done.
So, the website is really simple to use.
If you've got a spare room, or a cupboard, or a garage,
you can just list your space on our website.
What you'll find is people in your area will be looking for space,
and they'll be typing their postcodes into our search
and your space will pop up and that space can be booked.
It's like a dating agency for storage.
And someone who found true love, I mean extra cash, via the site,
is Jan Rees, who had plenty of space in his loft going spare.
So, here is where we are storing stuff, up in our loft.
We've got about five people's worth of storage items here.
People typically are paying roughly, on average, say about £5 a week.
So I'm properly making about £150 a month overall.
150 quid a month for shoving some boxes away?
Now that's what are I call cash in the attic.
Shaff came up the idea when faced with his own storage problem.
I lived in a small bachelor pad by myself and my girlfriend moved in
with me. I thought this would be the most wonderful day of my life.
But when she turned up, she turned up with a van full
of clothes and boxes and shoes and hair straighteners.
I thought, "How are we going to get all this in our flat?"
Things became more pressing when a baby came along.
So, instead of just moaning, Shaff took to the streets.
We made flyers and posted through the letterboxes of our neighbours
and said, "Have you got any space we can rent?"
People got back to us and they said, "Yes, you can rent our spare room,
"or our attic."
And so that's what we did.
Three years on, it's now a thriving business.
If you've got a little bit of space in your loft,
like a quarter of your loft, you can make about £10 to £20 a week on that.
So, overall, about £1,500 to £2,000 a year is the average.
If you've got more space, if you wanted to rent out your garage,
and a shed, then you can make up to £4,000, £5,000.
Now, if you want to make a star out of your bijou residence,
you can always list your pad on websites used by film and TV
companies as filming locations.
Or what about something a bit more theatrical?
My name's Oliver Langdon.
I'm the artistic director of Kilter Theatre.
We devise site-specific plays in unusual, challenging locations.
And now it's time for curtain up at Oliver's latest production,
set in this Bristol basement flat.
Today, the audience are going to meet outside on the pavement in front of
the property and they'll be escorted around the property from room to room
to follow the action.
Wow! This looks like the most true-to-life set I've ever seen.
Bottle of vodka for scene one.
And a bag of groceries.
And that's just about it.
And, if you don't mind your favourite sofa doubling up
as the stalls, you could have a financial hit on your hands.
We're renting this property for a few weeks
and the owner of the property stands to earn a few thousand pounds.
Now that IS some serious dosh.
And the whole event is getting rave reviews.
Thought it was brilliant.
Really, really great. Exciting.
It was really great to be that close to the actors,
particularly within a naturalistic environment of a house.
Yeah, it was great. It was a really good way to see a play.
It's gone really well.
The audience has just left.
They're buzzing, full of conversation about the experience.
Left the flat in a bit of a mess,
so it's time for us to start tidying up.
Now, that's the magic of theatre.
And another brilliant way to make your hard-earned home
work hard for you.
It seems that things we have lying around our homes,
and in some cases other people's, can be worth some serious money.
Right now, I'm with two super-savvy recyclers,
Jan Woolley and Cat Fletcher.
Jan, explain to me, what is upcycling and what is it
that you do?
Upcycling is taking something that maybe didn't have a use for before
and doing something like reupholstering or painting it
and making it into something beautiful.
Are you talking about the sort of things people might
take to the dump or throw in the garage, or in some cases,
-Can I question, Jan,
whether all this effort actually reaps its rewards?
-Can you make serious money?
-You can do, yeah. You certainly can.
Many people out there are doing it.
Some people start from a hobby and enjoy it so much that turn it
into a business. They're just good at it.
So, you can do it,
especially if you develop your own style and your own creativity.
-If you try not to copy people, that's great.
Just take inspiration from other people.
Yeah, you can do. Yeah.
So, Cat, tell me what you do.
What I do is intercept discarded objects and keep them from going to
landfill, incineration or recycling.
One of the ways I do that is via the website that I help run called,
And it just means, if you've got something at home you no longer need or want,
you can list it on to your local Freegle group and then you will
undoubtedly find someone nearby to you that is happy to come and
collect that item and they'll re-use it.
With a name like that, the secret is it must be something that's free?
-You can't sell it on there?
No. You can't sell it on.
So, everything's free.
-Can I be blunt about this?
Is there anything on there that actually has any real good value
-or is it all old tat?
-It is not old tat at all.
So, in the UK we consume 600 million tonnes of new products every single
year. Only 115 million get recycled.
So, there's a lot of stuff in-between there
that's getting hoarded,
or getting upcycled, or getting reused.
And it's just a really wide range of things available.
So, Cat, is your house full of stuff that you've upcycled?
My house is full of stuff that I've found for free.
-Out of skips, on the street, from friends.
I literally don't buy anything new at all for my house.
Everything has a story. That's probably the lovely thing about reusing.
Kat, you love it, don't you? It is a fun, enjoyable job for you both, isn't it?
It is a fun, enjoyable thing.
You can save money and you can feel good at the same time.
There you have it. Two super-savvy ladies loving what they do.
And Denise is finding out if people here in Halifax market
are super-savvy, too.
Yes, I'm going to find out whether people are wise owls or ostriches
burying their head in the sand when it comes to their personal finances.
Hello. Excuse me.
-Hello. Can I just ask a quick question?
-Would you describe yourself as a wise owl or an ostrich
when it comes to managing your finances?
-A wise owl.
-A wise owl?
Really? Why's that, then?
Well, because I'm in business, self-employed,
you have to know what's happening with your finances
and you've got to be on top of things all the time.
I think it'll be a wise owl.
-Of course you are.
-Of course I am.
I can't do with messing about with money, can we?
You don't like the stress of it, so you always stay on top of your finances?
Ah, yes. Never overspent. Never have to, never will do,
because it's stupid. You're left with debts.
Tell me why you're an ostrich.
Because I spend my money as soon as it comes.
Burns a hole in my pocket.
-At least you're honest.
And what do you think it would take for you to turn yourself
-into a wise owl?
-Putting it in my bank and just keeping it in the bank.
Keeping it in the bank. But you know what you need to do?
Get yourself a spending diary and log every spend that you make.
That will probably help you.
Thanks for being so honest.
Oh, no. Don't you run away from me, I'm quicker than you.
We know you are. Yeah.
We know you're quicker than us.
Tell me, how would describe yourself when it comes to managing your
finances? You can both pick one very carefully.
Oh, definitely a wise owl.
I'm a wise owl as well.
Both wise owls - that's a good combination.
-Yeah, it is.
-What's hers is mine and what's mine is my own.
We're not married, so it's all right.
Well, it seems the good people of Halifax
are wise owls when it comes to their finances.
Keep up the good work.
Earlier on, we met widow Carol,
who's finding it hard to adapt to her changed circumstances.
Let's see if our money man Simon has managed to make a difference.
Four years ago, Carol Bowes was
left devastated after the sudden death of her husband, Peter.
Since then, she and son Ian have
been struggling to juggle the family finances.
Obviously, there was the emotional side of things, you know,
when he passed away. And I just felt as though everything was on my shoulders.
I do worry about my mum.
I do worry about how she's going to make the transition.
If she's going to make a correct transition and she's not going to
end up going into debt by carrying on her old ways on a lower income.
On his first visit,
personal finance expert Simon Reid saved Carol hundreds of pounds by
tackling the household bills and giving her a crash course in haggling.
You've got to be hard. You've got to keep to a price,
and then you'll get the right deal.
My heart just beats fast.
It's like... It's not easy.
And he gave her a spending diary to fill in for a week.
Now he's back to see how she got on.
How much do you think you spend a week doing this?
I think I've spent about £100 a week.
I've totted up all the figures here.
In fact, you've spent nearer £170
-which just goes to show how quickly we go through this money.
Even though you say you had to spend all this money,
it tots up very quickly.
-I notice you have a meal here, it's £30.
You do that quite a lot. That ends up to a lot of money.
A lot of my spending does involve meeting people.
I've got this big circle of friends.
We know you're not going to find it so easy in the coming few years,
so you have to think about what parts of your lifestyle you want to
continue spending on, and where you can do cutbacks.
Is there a way of cutting back on that by maybe,
just entertaining at home, or something like that?
Simon thinks if Carol is really serious about saving money
she's going to have to make some sacrifices.
If you want to spend a large part of your income on nice things,
that's fine, but then you have to accept we can't maybe afford some of
the other things. We all have a choice.
If Carol agrees to cutting down eating out to just once a week,
she'll save an impressive £3,060 a year.
But, since the death of husband Peter,
family and friends have never been so important to Carol.
It's time for Simon to meet them at one of their regular haunts -
a theatre in Bradford.
So, Carol, you've brought me to meet two of your friends here.
Hello, Marie. Hello, Emma. Thanks for talking to us.
Now, you've been through quite a tough time in recent years.
Presumably, having your friends on hand has helped you through that.
Yes. I wouldn't have got through it without my friends.
I was saying earlier on about having to be strong and letting the boys know I was OK.
But, having my friends there meant there were times I didn't have to be
OK because I could let go with my friends.
It's that support network that's so important, isn't it?
Carol's friends have clearly been a lifeline for her.
But now it's time to talk money.
So, how often do you go out together a month?
Sometimes it can be twice a week.
Sometimes it can be a lunchtime and an evening.
I don't know how much you might expect to spend on a night out at a
theatre. Are tickets £50, or...?
If you get a good seat, more than that.
If you don't...
I think, these days, it's a minimum of 50.
A minimum of 50. And then you're going to be spending money on drink,
and maybe food at the same time?
We like Prosecco now and again, don't we?
Let's drink to friendship, future, and fun at the theatre.
But Simon wants to put the spotlight on a way Carol can still enjoy the
theatre without paying £50 a pop.
Time to meet Megan.
So, here at the Bradford Playhouse we have a volunteer programme,
which is basically getting people like you, who love theatre,
involved in working front of house and backstage for the theatre.
You can get involved by ushering,
which means you get to watch the show, and help out at box office,
working behind the bar, helping out backstage,
or even on stage, if you want.
Oo. That would be a challenge.
If you want to just do one evening a month,
or if you wanted to do one evening a week, you're more than welcome.
That's really interesting, that.
-I didn't really know about that but it's certainly definitely something to think about.
It would be well worth... We'd love to have you.
-It's something you'll follow up?
-Yes, I think I will actually.
Might we see on stage?
I think I'll probably do more front of house
-than stage work but, yes, they can come and see me at the front of house.
Cutting down on theatre trips and joining Megan's club
means that Carol could save another £2,400 a year.
Many theatres around the country run similar volunteering schemes.
So, if you love the smell of grease paint but want to save some cash,
check out the ones in your local area. And, for an encore,
Simon has another clever way for Carol to claw back some cash.
She tends to pay for her holidays and favourite pampering treatments
on her credit card, which has got Simon thinking.
You have a cashback card, don't you?
-So, by using the card to pay for regular expenses,
-you make a bit of money on top.
Which is a wonderful and really clever thing to do.
So, what's your cashback rate on your card at the moment?
At the moment, it's about 0.5%
About 0.5%. So, if you're spending £800 a month,
that means you're getting £4 cashback a month.
Brilliant stuff! That's £4 extra for doing nothing - for smart spending.
But you if switch to a card which paid a much higher rate and there's
a deal at the moment where you can get 5% for the first three months,
that would give you £40 month.
Over three months' period, you end up with £100 more in your pocket.
-Which has got to be worth doing, isn't it?
Yes, it has. Yeah, it's just making that effort to do it, isn't it?
Come on, Carol, a simple switch could make you £100.
Remember though, to avoid high interest charges,
always pay your credit card bill in full at the end of every month.
And there's one other thing Simon's been helping Carol with,
trying to get her house sold.
A week ago, he asked property makeover specialist Anita
to take a look at why it wasn't selling.
Anita had a few simple suggestions,
like decluttering and buying bright new cushions and curtains to help
speed up the sale.
I really am surprised and amazed at how lovely they do look.
And I just wish I'd have done it quite a while ago now.
UK homeowners make on average £78,000 when they downsize.
And that's exactly how Carol plans to secure her retirement.
And there's been a development,
because she's already got someone booked in to look around.
Yeah, yeah, it's really good news.
I've got a potential buyer coming round.
They're having a look and see what they think and give me some
feedback and you never know they might want to buy it!
-Nice to meet you.
-Thank you very much.
So having viewed Carol's crib, what's Judy's verdict?
-I think it's lovely, she's maintained it well.
I think upstairs, the bathrooms and bedrooms are fabulous.
Judy sounds impressed and it seems our house seller has learnt a few tips along the way.
It's opened my eyes again for the future,
so that when I get my new house,
I'll be able to bring all of the things I learnt from here and
enhance the new one, so I'm quite excited about it, really.
Result. If the house sells,
Carol will have laid the foundations for a secure financial future.
But before that, Simon has made plenty of savings
to help get Carol's house in order.
He brought the curtain down on her weekly theatre trips,
switching to a new TV and broadband package,
and signing up with the new energy provider.
Being clever with her cashback credit card
and cutting back on those expensive nights out
could save Carol £6,135.
Good work, Simon.
I do feel more confident going forward.
I knew that you could do savings before,
but I think it's motivated me more when you actually can see the
difference and you can see the amount of money that you can save.
I'll be doing that year on year from now on.
Knowing where money is, where she can save money
and how she's spending it, I feel more of a supportive son,
because nobody wants to see their own mother struggle.
So it's motivated me to press her on the issues and make sure that she's
OK and help her out as best as I can.
And what would husband Peter think of it all?
I think Pete'll probably be looking down and just laughing and saying,
come on, just get on with it now.
I think that's probably what he'd be saying.
-He'd definitely be laughing at the boot sale.
-Yeah, he'd be saying...
-He'd have loved seeing you do that.
I'm delighted to say that Carol is here along with Simon.
Carol, I guess the question we all want to know is have you managed to sell that house yet?
No, it hasn't sold yet.
-I have taken it off the market, but for a very good reason.
I took on board the advice that Anita had given
and I've been focusing recently on getting some improvements done outside the house.
I've had the roof repaired and the patio that she was telling me about
that was looking a little bit grubby and the paint was coming off,
so I've had all of that retiled and repainted.
So when all that's done, is your intentions to get it back on the market?
Yes, it is. What I'm going to do next is I'm going to start looking
at the bedrooms and the advice she gave me was to obviously declutter,
depersonalize even further, but to actually make things more neutral.
You know, I can sort of take great pleasure in sorting that out,
getting it really into a better place to put it on the market.
And do you think along with Simon's advice and with Anita's, it's what you needed,
it was a bit of a life laundry, a bit of a wake-up,
and you need to change a few things and improve in a few areas, you know?
It is, because you always think you've got a lovely home,
and everybody tells you, all your friends and your family tell you that.
But I think it just needs that independent look that someone will
come and actually be honest with you, but in a constructive way,
so they're not criticising,
but what they are saying is for a very small amount of money,
and just a bit of time, you can actually make a big difference.
Yes. What was the biggest surprise of this meeting Simon and Anita?
What do you think shocked you the most about what you were saving?
I think it was the fact that I was just spending without really
recognising what it was going on.
And keeping the diary was a little bit of an eye-opener.
So you were telling me earlier about your haggling for a new car?
Yes, yeah, I've just recently found myself in a situation
where I've needed to look for a new car.
And I found myself listening to those tips that you gave me,
had your voice there on my shoulder and in my head.
That's a scary thought.
But you know, the car dealer sort of started off with a figure.
I stuck to the original price that I had wanted,
and eventually I did get it.
So I was really pleased about that because even my son was impressed
with how I'd done the haggling.
It sounds to me like you've been on an incredible journey
and come a long way in a short space of time.
What have you learnt from the show?
and about of dealing with the issues that I'm facing at the moment around
selling the house, and I now know with the estate agents,
what I need to look for, how I need the literature presented,
all of that sort of thing.
So I'm going to be far more savvy when I'm putting it on the market
again and choosing who I'm going to do that with.
But then the other area is the confidence with the bills,
and knowing that you just have to try, you just have to push,
and every bill that comes in, always try and get that reduced,
sometimes you win, sometimes you won't,
but just to try at least get the things reduced.
You've really taken control, haven't you?
Yes, yeah, and I'd say it's that, the confidence to deal with that,
that's the thing that's come across mostly.
And Carol, at the end of the film,
I mean, you know, I'm struck by your comments,
that you said your husband would be really proud of you as well.
You know, looking at what you've achieved so far,
how does that make you feel?
Yeah, he'd have probably just thought, oh, you know,
she wouldn't be able to do this and a few years ago I would have struggled, as I said.
But, yeah, he'd be thinking good on you, girl. You're doing all right.
Thank you both.
Now Carol here wrote to us after watching last year's programme,
seeing the difference we made to other people's lives.
So if you fancy getting one of our experts around to sort out your
finances, send us an e-mail to...
Meanwhile, here are some other ways
you could end up with a bit more cash in your pocket.
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...
Well, Simon's still with us to answer some questions from people that we've met today.
Dan wants to know what is a lifetime ISA and should he be getting one?
Well, a lifetime ISA is a government scheme
that encourages people to save.
It's available to anyone under the age of 40.
And you can save up to £4,000 a year in it.
So far so good but there's a great bonus.
The government will give you 25% extra of anything you save in the year.
So if you save £4,000, you'll get an extra £1,000 from the government.
That sounds great, but there are some restrictions.
You must use it for either buying a home,
ie you're a first-time buyer and you put it towards your deposit,
or you save it for your pension.
If you need it earlier for any reason at all,
then you'll lose the 25% plus there'll be a penalty charge.
So you must be absolutely clear why you want it,
and you're going to use it for the right purpose,
otherwise it'll be a costly mistake.
OK. Now Jack's a worried man,
he says my girlfriend is moving into my house.
Will she have any rights to my property?
He's a man full of love, isn't he?
At least he's checking first.
Look, the fact is when you move in with someone else,
you have no rights to their property at all.
So Jack shouldn't worry,
but if she starts giving him money towards a home,
if there's an implied agreement,
if she thinks she's paying towards a mortgage,
then maybe she may have a claim on him in the future if they split up
and she leaves.
So what I would say to him, or anyone in this position, is draw up a simple agreement.
Draw up the fact that someone's just coming in to share your home, they have no rights.
And both parties should be happy with that,
because they don't want to fight about it later.
Be careful, Jack. Get a contract signed, take no money.
Some top tips there, my man.
Thank you very much. And also a big thank you to all our guests today.
And not forgetting you at home too.
So until next time...
Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood return for a new run of the series packed with unmissable ways to easily save money, with expert advice, topical reports and plenty of ideas and tips to better manage your spending - and maximise your cash. The team help a woman who has been struggling with her finances since the death of her husband, with ideas on how to downsize her home and haggle for better deals. There is also a look at how your house could earn you extra cash, from renting out the kitchen to storing other people's belongings in the loft. And there are plenty more hints and tips on how to transform your finances on bbc.co.uk/rightonthemoney.