Chloe Carmichael refuses to pay full price for anything (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
Chloe Carmichael knows her stuff when it comes to saving cash.
The brand manager refuses to pay full price for anything – not even her weekly shop, new clothes, or even her dream wedding.
Her thrifty ways have more than paid off, considering that five years ago, Chloe put down a £105,000 deposit on a four-bedroom property in Glasgow with her husband, James.
That means that at the age of 23, she bought a £220,000 house on an £18,000 salary. Impressive, right?
When Chloe and James tied the knot in 2018, Chloe was keen to cut costs there, too, managing to haggle £15,000 off the price of the wedding so that they could head to the Maldives for their honeymoon.
‘It’s my motto to never pay full price,’ says Chloe, who shares her money-saving tips on Instagram.
‘I get a buzz every time I find a deal or get a discount.
She managed to reduce the cost of her dream wedding by £15,000 (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
All so they could afford a honeymoon in the Maldives, of course (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
‘I like to go on incredible holidays and have nice cars, I currently drive a Range Rover. But people don’t realise you can knock down the cost of these types of items too.
‘I work hard for my money, so why not make it go further?’
Chloe’s journey to expert budgeting began when she started work at 17, inspired by her late dad, Patrick Wynne.
‘He’d always look for deals, find discount codes, print vouchers for restaurants and haggle,’ she said.
‘At the time, I found it mortifying and would often wait outside shops red-faced, not understanding why my dad could never just pay and leave.
Chloe was inspired by her dad’s frugal ways to start hunting out discounts (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
‘This changed when I was 17 after I got my first full-time job between school and university, in a call centre earning £13,000 a year.
‘After months of having no money sense, I realised if I could save extra pounds, why wouldn’t I?’
Chloe moved out of her parents’ home in Glasgow aged 17, to go to university to study product design and innovation – while working three part-time jobs to save up money for a future property.
Thanks to that hard work and determination, Chloe managed to stash away £7,000 during university.
After graduating, she found work as a marketing assistant, earning £16,000, and set herself the target of putting away at least £300 a month. Promotions at work soon bumped her salary up to £27,000, which helped her keep stashing those savings.
In August 2016, Chloe and James put down a deposit on their dream home. At the time, she was earning just £18,000 as an e-commerce assistant.
The couple put a deposit down on a £220,000 house five years ago (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
She says: ‘We bought a four-bedroom detached house for £220,000 when I was 23, while going on three holidays that year to Aruba, Dubai and Iceland.
‘We had £20,000 saved and £85,000 inheritance from my dad so we were able to put down a £105,000 deposit. Now, we only have £104,000 left on our mortgage.’
When the pair tied the knot in 2018, Chloe wanted to splash out on her dream wedding – but she knew she’d have to haggle as they only wanted to spend the £23,000 they’d saved.
In total, she negotiated £15,000 off her honeymoon and big day. She only paid full price for one item: her £1,499 dress, while her veil cost just £11, her flower centrepieces cost £10 each and her wedding favours cost just 49p from Home Bargains.
She also managed to get a ‘freebie’ overnight stay for their Maldives honeymoon worth £2,000.
Pre-pandemic, they went on three holidays a year (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
Chloe says: ‘I got brilliant deals, and thought of thrifty ideas to save money on things no one really notices, so I could spend big on the things that mattered.
‘I saved £2,300 on flowers by contacting a small local florist in advance instead of choosing a popular wedding florist that quoted me an extortionate cost.
‘Our favours were mini jar candles from Home Bargains for 49p. I also made my own save the dates, gold foiled invitations, table plan mirror, welcome sign and donut wall.
‘Then I sold some of the things I made after the wedding to make the money back.’
Holidays are also approached with the same resolve to keep costs low.
Chloe recommends getting multiple quotes from travel companies and asking others to beat them (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
When she’s planning a trip, Chloe will get a quote from one company, then go to another and ask them to beat it, carrying on until she has the lowest price.
That has allowed the couple to enjoy three holidays a year (pre-lockdown, anyway), with the cheapest return flights costing just £25.
Chloe also recommends booking holidays well in advance, and notes that she has been upgraded to a better room for free after emailing the hotel for an early check in.
‘I search the deals sections on travel agents’ websites – I saved £640 off our trip to Dubai just by doing this,’ she adds.
‘Then, while we’re away, we make packed lunches instead of eating in pricey restaurants, and we never book day trips, we’ll always hire a car and drive ourselves.’
Chloe now shares her money-saving tips online with her group, Chloe’s Deal Club (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
Pennies are pinched when it comes to food shopping, too, which costs Chloe and James just £30 a week.
Chloe advises: ‘There’s lots of ways to cut back and save money including loyalty schemes such as the Lidl Plus app, Nectar points and Clubcards.
‘And you can plan your meals in advance by writing a list. I also opt for alternatives – turkey mince is a lot cheaper than beef mince.’
And rather than splash out on designer clothes, Chloe is a sucker for supermarket brands.
She hopes to give other people the thrill of landing a bargain (Picture: Chloe Carmichael)
‘Now I only buy clothes and shoes from supermarkets like Asda and Sainsbury’s and shops like Matalan,’ she admits.
‘They’re great value for money, good quality and massively underrated!’
Chloe has taken her money-saving wisdom to the masses by creating her own online group dedicated to tips and deals, called Chloe’s Deal Club, which has saved members more than £250,000 in total.
‘I’m really happy to be continuing my dad’s legacy with finding deals, but this time for thousands of people,’ she adds.
‘It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling job in the world helping others save money on their favourite things.
‘No matter what anyone earns, you can’t beat the feeling of bagging an amazing deal.’
Chloe’s top tips for saving money:
- A deal is only a deal if you were buying it anyway and the price is reduced, otherwise you’re spending money.
- Think about each purchase as cost vs hours worked – how long would you be willing to work for it?
- Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a deal. You have to price match before parting with your cash.
- Give yourself a cooling off period for any purchases (I do 14 days, but you could do any time frame from a couple days to a month). If you still want/need the item after the cooling off period, then you can consider buying it.
- Use an automatic round up feature with your bank to save pennies. i.e if you spend £1.75 it’ll put £0.25 into a pot. It quickly adds up!
- Buy retailers’ own brand (especially food!) Cheaper doesn’t mean lower quality.
- Use cash back sites like Airtime Rewards, Quidco and TopCashback.
- Use an automated savings app – I love the Plum app
Credit: Original article published here.