Here’s a look back over ten key dates that have shaped the way I spend and save…

2006 – Started University & started getting in to debt

I went to Edge Hill University from 2006-2009. I loved my time there but I also racked up a whole load of debt! I didn’t pay two semesters worth of hall fees, I maxed out a £3400 student overdraft, took out a second overdraft with another bank for around £1500 to pay off the hall fees, got a student credit card with a £500 limit and took out a New Look store card.

2007 – Officially going out with Shane

Shane and I met whilst we were in our first year of university. We officially got together on New Years Eve 2006, Shane asked me to be his girlfriend at midnight, so technically we got together in 2007. For those of you that are familiar with Bury, he asked me out on the dance floor of Sol Viva! New Years Eve is of course special for us for this reason. Tonight at midnight, we will have officially been a couple for thirteen years!!

2010 – Shane & I moved in together

I lived at home for a year after graduating and Shane had an extra year at university. Once he graduated we decided to move in together and rented a flat together in Radcliffe. Shane was working part time at Vodafone as a sales assistant and I got a job at a school in Bury and was on around £16,000 a year before tax. I had only just started driving and got a car on finance, my insurance was around £110 a month and my car repayments were £150 a month. Add to that my debt repayments, overdraft fees plus the added costs of paying rent and bills and you can imagine money was really tight!

2011 – Started my debt free journey

I was so fed up of seeing my hard earned money having to be spent on bills, interest fees and debt repayments that I decided I had to do something to change my financial situation. I headed to the Money Saving Expert website and read up on money transfers, claiming back back charges, looked at consolidating debts and loads more. I spent the afternoon forming a plan and began my debt free journey!

2012 – Adopted Poppy

A friend of ours was originally Poppy’s owner, she was moving to a house that didn’t allow pets and was working long hours so needed to rehome her. We looked after Poppy for a few days to help her out and absolutely fell in love with her. When it was time for her to be rehomed, we volunteered to take her. Knowing Poppy would be loved (and spoilt rotten) our friend refused to take any money for Poppy. To this day she is my best freebie! Having said that, she is also the reason I sometimes spend on daft doggy treats… like the teepee Poppy got for Christmas. She is 100% worth it though.

2017 – Started Thrifty Clair

I started my blog in March 2017 after colleagues used to joke that I should do a monthly newsletter of my bargains and savings. One work friend suggested a blog and I thought why not? I still don’t understand all the technical side of blogging, but I really enjoy writing and sharing which is predominantly why I do it. I hope to keep learning and improving whilst sharing helpful posts.

2017 – Became debt free & started saving

I spent six years slowly chipping away at my debts but for some reason I decided to get a second car on finance in December 2013. That set me back and extra £6500! However, I kept overpaying and saving each month and once I got to the half way point of being debt free, I could see the effort was worth it. It spurred me on to pay off even more. I finally became debt free in October 2017; you can read my blog post from that month here: Savings Update. It’s so good being able to look back at achieving this amazing goal.

2018 – Shane & I bought a house

Whilst paying off my debts I was also saving for my half of a house deposit, once my debts were payed off I ploughed that extra money into my house savings. I had a Help 2 Buy ISA, a separate savings account and I also started a new house stock pile of items we would need. All of this meant I was prepared for when we finally found a house we loved. We started viewing houses in January 2018 and found our home just one month later. We completed on June 3rd just five days before my 30th birthday!

2018 – Shane proposed!!

Shane is a couple of months younger than me and he turned 30 on August 9th 2018; he decided that this was the day he was finally going to pop the question! Despite being together for nearly twelve years at that point, I was completely shocked. We spent the day celebrating, drinking bubbly and talking about what kind of wedding we might want. Of course, we knew it would be done on a budget whilst still being exactly what we wanted.

2019 – Shane & I got married!!

It took just a few months for us to decide what type of wedding we wanted and how much we could afford to spend, we knew we didn’t want to go in to any debt to pay for the wedding so ruled out a lot of expensive venues. We ended up finding our reception venue after going to a disaster of a wedding fayre at a local hotel. After leaving the fayre we went for lunch at a nearby pub and realised it would be a perfect place for our reception. They said they did weddings so we headed back a few days later to discuss prices. It was unbelievable value so we booked it there and then, this gave us a year to save and plan! That year flew by and the big day was upon us before we knew it. It was such an amazing and special day, you can have a look at our wedding slideshow here.

If you’re on your own debt free or money saving journey I hope this goes to show that the effort to save is worth it. I’ve achieved what I set out to do, it took a while to get there and at times saving was a bore but I still found ways to treat myself. I hope this next year and decade is the start of a new and exciting journey for us all.

Happy New Year,

Thrifty Clair x


2 thoughts on “A look back…

  1. Well done, Claire. Martin Lewis has helped me sort out my financial problems too – and he’s my go to guy for anything financial. Well done, and congratulations. Happy New Year to you and Shane.


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