Ex-shopaholic reveals hack she uses to slash her shopping bill by three-quarters

A former shopaholic has come up with an amazing hack to slash three-quarters off her shopping bill.

Charlene Price-Jones had a successful business and loved splashing her cash on clothes, meals and three exotic holidays a year.

But when she had her baby boy she realised she wanted her life to change.

So, the 32-year-old gave up her upmarket beauty salon, which she had owned for seven years, to spend more time with her son , Finn.

But the pay off for spending time with her nine-month-old boy meant Charlene had to find ways to cut her spending – a lot.

She took up couponing and yellow sticker shopping in a bid to be ultra-frugal – and has slashed her grocery shop spend by three quarters.

Charlene said: “I realised I was on a hamster wheel. I was earning well, but my life had been taken over by work."

It was when she met her now husband, Iwan, 33, an accountant, and he proposed in 2016 theat Charlene's thoughts turned to starting a family.

But she realised her hectic 70 hour working week would leave little time for children, she made the bold decision to close her salon.

Charlene said: “When I got engaged and started thinking about babies, I knew I’d end up having to pay out for costly childcare.

“I wanted to be at home with my little one, so I decided to close my salon. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to be as frugal as possible, to help out with money while I get used to not having that income.”

After 16 years working in the beauty industry, Charlene was delighted to open her own salon in August 2010.

But after realising she would miss out on quality time with Finn, not to mention having to shell out hefty childcare fees, she decided to quit.

So, in 2017, she took a leap of faith, she closed her salon for good and launched a mission to live on as little as possible.

Resourceful as ever, she began collecting money off coupons and visiting supermarkets when stock was reduced so she could stay home with Finn and not be forced back to work by lack of funds.

Also making money through network marketing, selling health and wellness products via social media, Charlene said: “Now, I don’t have the high costs of running a business that I did before.

"Then, I still had to pay my overheads, regardless of how much I was making – but now, my overheads are zero.

“Once I closed the salon, I knew I had to scale down and start living ultra-frugally, so I could build my income back up.”

Looking at her outgoings, Charlene realised food was eating up most of her cash, so she now swears by yellow-sticker bargains.

She said: “My parents have drummed into me from an early age the value of a bargain, and I am so thankful for that.

“Now, between coupons, discount vouchers and reduced stock, my shops will cost about a quarter of what they did before.

“For example, I went to M&S the other day and picked up £35 worth of food for £8. I’ll then prep all my meals, and freeze whatever I don’t need so it doesn’t go off.

“A few years ago, I could easily have let it all add up and up, getting to the till and realising I’d spent £80-£100 without even thinking about it.”

Keen to help others, Charlene now shares her pearls of money-saving wisdom on her Instagram page, where she will upload photos of her yellow-sticker hauls.

She added: “I’ve had times when I’ve felt like a millionaire, and times when I’ve really struggled, but I’m much more mindful now.

“I hope I’m creating a better future for Finn, too. This frugal living has helped me stay at home with him, which is priceless.

“I’ve learnt now that it’s not what you earn, it’s what you do with it."

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