I earn £30k but am struggling because I spend £160 a month on personal training sessions and £300 a month on clothes

AS a high-flying young professional Samantha Lawton had an amazing £70,000 a year salary – but three years ago she gave it all up for a quieter life in Cornwall.

The 39-year-old was living in Kent working a gruelling 78 hours weeks as a district manager for a slimming firm.

When she moved the 250 miles home to work as a store manager for a DIY company her salary halved overnight, and she now earns £30,000 a year.

While living at home with her parents Samantha was able to save up to buy a two-bed flat near to her childhood home.

But despite smaller outgoings Samantha is struggling to adjust to her lower salary.

I had plenty of money but no time to enjoy it – and now it's the opposite

Our Cash Clinic expert Holly Thomas helps get her finances back on track and shows her how to save an impressive £7,000 a year, by cutting her insurance bills, renting out her spare room, ditching regular personal training sessions and cutting back on buying clothes and make-up.

Samantha told The Sun: “I had plenty of money but no time to enjoy it so I made a big lifestyle choice and moved back in with my parents in Cornwall where I grew up.

"I needed time to reset and work out what to do.

"Ironically I’m now in a position where I have a much better work/life balance, but I can’t make the numbers add up to enjoy life as much as I would like.

"Since buying my flat, I’ve found it really hard to get a grip on my finances. Each month is a juggling act to ensure I have enough to get by on.

"I haven’t had a holiday abroad in eight years and I am only able to afford one night out a month. I need some help with honing my monthly bills as well as my spending."

Samantha also admits she has a bad habit of frittering away money on clothes and make-up.

Here we reveal how to save Samantha thousands of pounds so she can put money aside for the future and save up for a holiday.

Why we've launched Cash Clinic

THE Sun has launched 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]

Housing: £371.86 per month
New spend: £71.86 per month
Saving: £300 per month

While she was living with her parents, Samantha was able to save up to buy her first home – a two-bedroom ground floor flat near St Austell for £88,250 – also using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

She signed up to a five-year fixed rate mortgage at a competitive rate of 2.04 per cent in January, which means she’s got peace of mind her payments of £290 a month won’t budge.

Her flat comes with services charges of £81.74 a month which is non-negotiable.

But Samantha has a spare room she could use to aid her financial situation.

The government’s “Rent a Room” scheme allows her to let out a furnished room to a lodger, earning up to £7,500 a year tax-free.

While you cannot use a property purchased using a Help to Buy equity loan as a buy to let, taking in a lodger doesn’t break any rules.

If Samantha charged just £300 a month for her spare room then she could effectively cut her housing costs to just £71.86 a month.

Bills: £299.52 a month
New spend: £230.66

Saving: £68.86

Samantha’s home contents insurance is unnecessarily high at £45.99 a month.

A quick search on Gocompare.com shows that she can find a much better deal at £50 for the whole year with Admiral, which gives her £30,000 of cover and a £200 excess.

She could pay the premium in a lump sum and be £41.83 a month better off (based on splitting the £50 saving over 12 months).

A British Gas Home care is costing her £20 a month. This is not an essential product by any means – though she says it provides peace of mind that everything (except plumbing) is covered – albeit with a £50 excess.

If she really wants to keep a package in place she could get a better deal. Another quick search on GoCompare.com shows that a policy with Nova Direct – which also covers plumbing – costs £9.99 a month, saving her a tenner.

Samantha’s line rental, broadband and Netflix are all done through a Talk Talk package which costs £50 a month.

She could switch to a Now broadband deal which comes with 14 entertainment channels – costing £23.99 a month – and buy Netflix separately direct for £8.99 a month and still save £17 a month.

Samantha switched her energy tariff in August and is on a British Gas tariff costing £50 a month, with prices fixed until 2021. A check on Energyhelpline.com shows she’s on a good deal.

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Mum, 51, struggling on Universal Credit becomes overnight millionaire

Mother-of-four, 51, struggling on Universal Credit becomes overnight millionaire after scooping £600,000 on online bingo – then another £520,000 10 days later

  • Anita Campbell from Seaham was struggling to pay debts and living on benefits 
  • She was finally able to pay off money she owed after her mother’s funeral 
  • Comes after more than a year of losing weight as she struggled to eat
  • Admits she’s still scared to look at her bank balance despite the huge win 

A mother-of-four has gone from struggling on Universal Credit to becoming an overnight millionaire after scooping £600,000 on online bingo – only to wing another £520,000 10 days later.  

Anita Campbell, from Seaham in County Durham, won her first jackpot a week after she opened her account with MeccaBingo.com, depositing £100. 

After her huge win, the 51-year-old continued to play and managed to bag another £552,000 days later. 

Anita Campbell (pictured) says she’s struggling to adjust to life as a millionaire and admits she’s still scared to check her bank balance despite the win 

Ms Campbell told Mirror Online: ‘It’s still a bit of a dream. I’m over the moon. I still can’t believe it. I thought straightaway, I can help my kids with this money.’

She said that in over a year spent on Universal Credit she’s struggled to eat properly, affecting her diabetes and causing her to lose weight.

Ms Campbell has taken all of her children shopping and bought Lego for her five-year-old grandson after he rang and asked: ‘Nana are you rich?’ 

And she has moved out of the property she was renting into a new home. She has also been able to pay off the debts she was left with following her mother’s funeral in 2018.

She said at the time of her win: ‘When I won the first time I was in utter shock and when I continued to play online I didn’t expect to win anything at all, let alone another large sum of money. 

‘It took nearly a week to get over the shock of winning the first time and then I won again. Even now I’m scared to look at my bank balance.’ 

Pictured: Mecca Bingo in Sunderland, where Ms Campbell and her mother were regular players. Ms Campbell’s huge win has finally enabled her to pay off her debts  

She was a regular visitor at Mecca Sunderland until her mother died earlier this year, so she re-opened her account online and deposited £100. Now she plans to share some of her winnings with her friends and family.    

James Boord, Digital Director at MeccaBingo.com, said: ‘We’re delighted for the winner, what a fantastic stroke of luck she has had.

‘We’re so glad MeccaBingo.com was able to help her with such life-changing opportunities.

‘It’s a great feeling when someone wins big and its changes their life. We wish the winner and her family all the luck in the world.’


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