Lifestyle

I saved £10,000 a year on a salary of £12,000

GEMMA Bird lives mortgage-free in a four-bedroom family home, drives a Range Rover and flies several times a year on vacation to chic resorts in Mexico, Lapland and Dubai.

But the 40-year-old mum-of-two, who lives in Billericay, Essex, is not an heiress or a lottery winner – no, she has achieved that comfortable life despite never earning more than £25,000 a year.

Super scrimper Gemma Bird reveals how she saved nearly £10,000 in one year on salary of £12,000

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Super scrimper Gemma Bird reveals how she saved nearly £10,000 in one year on salary of £12,000Credit: The Sun
The mother of two regularly shares savings tips on her Instagram account

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The mother of two regularly shares savings tips on her Instagram account

Now Gemma, known as Money Mum to her 164,000 Instagram fans, is sharing her super savings wisdom with Fabulous as our brand new columnist.

The money-saving mom will help YOU collect everything from groceries to clothes and vacations to parenting essentials.

I’m a working-class girl, but my savings skills mean I can afford whatever I want

Gemma, who counts Stacey Solomon among her fans, says: “I’m just a working class girl but my savings mean I can afford whatever I want.

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I’ve never made more than £25,000 a year. I live and breathe deals. I don’t care how much money you have, people always love a bargain.

I have saved every penny since he was seven

I’ve saved every penny since I was seven. I once managed to save almost £10,000 on a £12,000 salary thanks to my must-know hacks.

My parents, Jayne, a stay-at-home mom, and Steve, a retired bus driver, always taught me that you have to save up for what you want — and that if you’re careful about other things, you can achieve your dreams bypasses

I started saving for my first car when I was 14 and bought a £7,000 Citroen Saxo four years later.

I knew no one would give it to me, so I did whatever it took to afford it, whether it was picking mushrooms, washing cars, or doing the rounds of the newspaper.

I knew from the start that I wanted to own my home – and I was willing to achieve that goal by any means necessary. So the moment I bought my car, I started saving for my first house.

In 2000 I had two jobs, one in a medical center and one in a pub, bringing home £1,000 a month. Of that I would save £800 a month, leaving me with just £50 a week to live on.

I’m always thinking of new ways to make more money, I live and breathe deals

gemma bird

I was lucky enough to live at home with my parents and I didn’t pay them anything for housekeeping, so all I needed was money to visit my friends.

I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to live at home, so I would recommend renting a room in someone’s home rather than an entire apartment.

It will be so much cheaper than paying for your own home or even a shared home.

I wouldn’t spend more than £1 for one night

I’m not a big party girl, I like to go out and have a soda and lime because that was the cheapest drink. I wouldn’t spend more than £1 for one night.

I didn’t buy tons of clothes, I took bottled water and snacks with me instead of buying them and hunting for food deals, I was determined to spend as little as possible.

At that time I was saving with my ex-husband, who was also very careful with his money.

However, we weren’t too hard on ourselves and we did have the occasional holiday where we would obviously indulge ourselves more.

But otherwise almost every cent earned flowed directly into the savings account.

We put everything in one pot and saved £30,000 in four years to buy our first house, a two bedroom terrace in Waltham Abbey for £165,000 when I was 23.

I’m always thinking of new ways to make more money

I may have achieved my dream of owning my own home, but I haven’t stopped making great savings.

As a teenager, Gemma refrained from going out at night and buying new clothes in order to tidy up as much as possible

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As a teenager, Gemma refrained from going out at night and buying new clothes in order to tidy up as much as possibleCredit: The Sun

Gemma’s tips for saving for deposits

  • Start saving on your first job
  • Moving home (if possible)
  • Skip the alcohol
  • Beat everything you don’t need
  • Don’t buy snacks when you’re out
  • Write a shopping list before you go shopping
  • Rent out vacant bedrooms
  • Rent driveway

I’m always coming up with new ways to make more money, whether it’s renting out my driveway or whipping out things I don’t need.

While still living there I found ways to make more money from the property and decided to rent out our second bedroom by placing an ad in the newspaper.

We rented it out to some exchange students and that money paid off the mortgage every month.

There was an element of giving up some of our freedom in order to make life comfortable, but it was totally worth it because three years later I had saved another £10,000.

In 2007 I asked my father to help me build two rental properties in Waltham Cross.

My father wasn’t wealthy either and we split the profits from the rent and when we sold it ten years later we walked away with £240,000.

Unfortunately after ten years I divorced my ex-husband and we both walked away with £66,000 from the house sale and I moved back in with my parents.

I might spend the occasional vacation or a nice car, but I always save on the little things because they really add up

gemma bird

In 2011 I met my now husband Adam and moved into his house which he bought in 2009 for £390,000. In 2012 I gave birth to our son Brody and seven years later our daughter Bronte.

At the time Adam had £225,000 left on his mortgage and thanks to my savings I was able to pay off £100,000 of that straight away and 12 years later we are completely mortgage free.

It’s an amazing achievement, but I want to remind people that it’s not me and I’ve never been loaded.

My wealth came from the real estate I could afford and I was incredibly careful with the little amount of money I had.

I still have to work hard to pay the bills and I’m still saving to meet my future goals.

I want to move again someday and need to mortgage my next house and I’m willing to save for that too.

I really need a bigger garden for the children as ours is quite small now and that would be a few hundred thousand pounds more which I can’t just come up with from scratch.

It’s just built into me to be careful no matter how much money I have. My best advice to anyone who wants to start saving is to do it while you are young, it’s so important and it’s not taught in schools.

Start with your first job, spend half and save half when you can. Even now, if you have a surplus at the end of the month, spend half and save half.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard. When I was younger there was sometimes a temptation to carry a designer handbag that I could have easily afforded because I had my money saved, but you have to focus.”

Follow Gemma Bird @MoneyMumOfficial

In other money-saving news, we shared this mom’s new budget-friendly family recipes that can be made in under 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, a mother-of-10 has revealed her HUGE weekly grocery shopping, which includes huge bags of veggies and hundreds of ice lollies.

A chef also revealed how these simple trades can reduce your weekly grocery shopping to £1 per meal.

Despite not having a mortgage, Gemma continues to save

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Despite not having a mortgage, Gemma continues to saveCredit: The Sun
Gemma was earning £1,000 a month and saving £800 for her first home

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Gemma was earning £1,000 a month and saving £800 for her first homeCredit: The Sun
Gemma now lives mortgage-free with husband Adam, 45, and children Brody, eight, and Bronte, one, in Billericay, Essex

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Gemma now lives mortgage-free with husband Adam, 45, and children Brody, eight, and Bronte, one, in Billericay, Essex

https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/2863586/gemma-bird-saved-fortune-cheap-nights-out/ I saved £10,000 a year on a salary of £12,000

Jessica MacLeish

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