DAD-OF-ONE Daniel Marshall earns £18,000 a year and manages to save an impressive £250 a month – but it's still going to take 34 years to buy a house.
The 22-year-old from Burnley, Lancashire lives with his partner Rabekah Whiteside, 20, and their son James, five.
This week, Daniel takes on the Cash Clinic challenge and lets expert Holly Thomas rifle through his bank statements to give him a money makeover.
Holly admits that Daniel runs a tight ship – but as well as saving cash she gives him some practical advice on how to get on the property ladder.
When you get a mortgage it's usually possible to borrow four times your income – that means £72,000 for Daniel.
His partner Rabekah is a full-time mum and student, so she doesn't have any savings or cash coming in.
They have £4,650 in savings but to buy their dream terrace three-bed home in their local area costing £175,000 on average they would need around £100,000 at least to put down as a deposit.
In order to save this up at their current rate it would take a massive 34 years, unless they are going to use a scheme like Shared Ownership or a Help to Buy loan to buy sooner.
“It’s really important to me to provide stability for my family and invest in our future," Daniel told The Sun.
"But there’s no escaping that things are really tight and I’m worried it’s wishing for the impossible."
“I’m proud of what I’ve managed so far but I’m concerned how long it’s going to take me to save up a decent amount.”
Here we reveal how to save Daniel hundreds of pounds – and how he can increase his family's income.
Groceries: £180 per month
New spend: £150 per month
Saving: £30 per month
Daniel is super frugal – but there are ways to cut back.
A simple way to save is buying non-perishable items like loo roll, shampoo and cleaning products in bulk.
You'll need to hunt out the deals using a website like MySupermarket.
While buying from wholesale retailers like Costo (which costs £15 a year for online-only or £33.60 for in-store membership) or Makro, which is free, could save Daniel upto £30 a month.
Daniel could also keep an eye out for one-time offers on Topcashback, where he has an account.
It is currently offering £12.60 cashback at Sainsbury’s – so if he does one weekly food shop he'll get £12.60 back (with a minimum spend of £40, plus delivery fees), and that may be cheaper than his regular supermarket, Aldi, for a one-off shop.
Fuel: £80 per month
New spend: £40 per month
Saving: £40 per month
Joining a car-sharing scheme could halve Daniel’s fuel costs if he can split the fuel bill.
It’s simple if you can find workmates who live close to you – or if you share the school run with other parents nearby.
There are online services that will help match your journey with others such as liftshare.com, which is free to join.
Entertainment: £8.99 per month
New spend: £8.99 per month
Saving: £4 per month
Streaming TV is essential in most households – especially with little ones to keep entertained – and Daniel uses Netflix for this.
Netflix’s standard plan, which lets you watch two screens at a time, is pretty affordable though it has recently risen from £7.99 a month to £8.99 a month.
But Apple TV+ is launching on November 1 for just half the price at £4.99 a month. The new service is accessed via the Apple TV app and will allow you to download shows to watch offline.
If he wanted to go one step further he could also ditch his TV Licence and save £154.50 a year.
It might seem drastic, but over 37,000 households ditched theirs last year.
Why we're launching Cash Clinic
THE Sun is launching its new Cash Clinic series because we want to help you, our readers, to save cash.
For some, it's easy to get caught up with work and family life and to put our own finances on the back burner.
While for others, it needs an expert's eye to work out where further cutbacks can be made to already tight budgets.
If you'd like our Cash Clinic expert to review your finances and to feature in our series, please email Holly Thomas at [email protected]
Rent: £400 per month
New spend: £400 per month
Requesting a discount from a private landlord is likely to be met with disapproval and it could cost you a tenancy – although don’t feel you have to accept rental increases if your landlord tries to hike costs each year. This is a good opportunity to haggle.
Bills: £608 per month
New spend: £608 per month
Daniel has three debts, which all require monthly repayments. The good news is that two of them are on an interest-free basis.
He pays £33.75 a month for a 0 per cent finance deal on two sofas he bought from a local store – the Burnley Bed & Sofa Centre.
Daniel is also paying fees for his college course – a certificate in plumbing and electrics. This costs him £212 a month with another three years to go until it’s all paid up.
The family car – a Ford Focus – which Daniel uses to drive to work and take James to school, is leased which costs £186.59 a month, including interest payments that can’t be changed.
Daniel has a broadband and TV package with Virgin. Earlier this year he was told the bill would be £74 a month but he haggled the amount down to £50 a month.
Energy bills with Octopus cost £45 a month and he last switched in March so he will likely be on the most competitive deal.
Daniel’s parents pay his monthly mobile phone bill.
Council tax costs £81 a month which includes a 25 per cent discount because Rabekah is a student. So, there are no further savings to be had here.
Insurance: £97.50 a month (£1,170 a year)
New spend:£97.50 a month (£1,170 a year)
Daniel paid for car insurance as a lump sum annually to avoid paying the extra charges that insurers levy for the privilege of paying monthly.
I'm impressed that he manages to do this on a relatively tight budget but Daniel tells me he conscientiously squirrels away leftover cash into a savings account each month.
Cover set him back £1,095 when he took out a new policy in June. He did a price comparison after his then existing insurer hiked the renewal premium.
His home contents insurance cost £75, which again he paid as a lump sum after doing a price comparison.
Clothing: £30 a month
New spend: £30 a month
Daniel and Rabekah are very careful with their spend and most months don’t eat out. They need to buy clothes and school uniform for James who, like any other child, grows out of them quickly clothes.
At an average of £30 a month their spending is modest.
It’s worth keeping an eye out on local Facebook groups for parents where other mums and dads are selling bundles of kids clothes.
As long as they’re in good condition they could pick up a real bargain. The same goes for eBay.
As well as the council tax discount, Daniel and Rabekah receive child benefit for James of £20.70 a week. They also receive tax credits of £221.21 every four weeks.
They should check the website www.entitledto.co.uk periodically to see if they can claim anything else.
What has Cash Clinic managed to save Daniel?
Daniel’s finances are impressively organised and he has clearly been reading the Money section and following our advice – so our savings are small, just £888 a year.
It means the family can up the amount they save from £250 to £324 a month, leaving them a long way off their dream of owning a home.
But we still have a lot of wisdom to impart in order for Daniel to achieve his dream of buying a home.
At just 22, Daniel is much younger than the average first-time buyer age, which is 33.
If he waits four years for his earnings to increase then this will tie in with both his Help to Save and a Help to Buy Isa savings accounts, which will have enough to get the maximum government bonus'.
Daniel has had Help to Save for a year, by 2022 he will have saved £1,500 and the government then pays an additional £1,500 – giving him £3,000 in total.
While his Help to Buy Isa, which he's had for a year, takes four-and-a-half years of saving and will be worth £15,000 – made up of £12,000 of his own money and the maximum bonus of £3,000.
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