Single mum, Emma, saves £580 a year

Emma Thorne contacted moneysupermarket because she was becoming increasingly frustrated about going into the red every month and wanted to know if there was any way she could make savings which would help her current account in credit.

Emma ThorneEmma, 36, works as a recruitment administrator and lives in a two-bedroom flat in Brislington, Bristol. Her 15-year old son Alfie, lives with her for part of the week. 

Emma tries to organise her finances and uses a spreadsheet to track exactly what is coming in and what is being paid out. However, despite her efforts, she always seems to overspend. 

She said: “It’s been on my to do list to go through all of my finances and shop around to get better deals but I never seem to find time to get round to it which is why I contacted to help me out.  My main concern is that I find it very difficult to keep out of the red each month, even though my incomings are more than my outgoings, I always seem to overspend.  I just want to have enough extra at the end of the month to not be panicking about going overdrawn.”

Although Emma seems to slip into the red every month, she is in the lucky position as she doesn’t have any outstanding credit cards or loans and the only unsecured credit she has is a Next Directory account with a small balance of £33.

On the face of it Emma seems to have some good deals however we have still managed to save her nearly £580 through looking at her contents insurance, utilities, mobile phone and current account.

Emma said: “I’m pleased with the savings made as I think my finances are fairly lean as I do try to shop around for good deals.”

Home insurance – total potential saving £109

Emma lives in a Victorian townhouse which has been converted into 2 flats.  She lives on the top floor and therefore owns the freehold to the whole building with the people below her paying half of the buildings insurance premium per month.  With this in mind, Emma would need to go to a specialist insurer to ensure that she would be getting the right cover to meet her needs as many of the mainstream insurers may not accept this scenario. 

While we weren’t able to help Emma makes savings on her buildings insurance, we did identify that she could reduce the cost of her contents cover significantly. Her current policy is with Lloyds TSB and she paid an annual premium of £160.02 for £20,000 of cover. A quick search on found that if Emma moves this policy to AXA she would pay just £50.80 over the year giving her a saving of £109.22.

Gas & electricity - total potential saving £159

As we frequently find with our money makeovers, Emma could make a substantial saving by switching her energy provider. She receives both her gas and electricity from Scottish Power and pays by monthly direct debit. Her annual bill is £345.60. However, we found that if she swapped providers and moved to npower’s Sign Online 15 tariff she would pay just £186.34 over the year making a saving of £159.26.



Mobile phone - total saving £120

Emma has a contract with 3. She pays £35 and receives 400 minutes of calls and 250 texts. However, she is no longer tied in to her contract and could slash her monthly cost, and receive more free minutes and texts each month by switching to Vodafone. Vodafone’s tariff costs £25 a month and includes 600 minutes of calls and unlimited texts for just £25.00 per month. She’ll be tied in to an 18-month contract, but over the year stands to save herself £120.00.

Current Account - total earned/saver £190

Emma had banked with Lloyds TSB for years however she has been savvy enough to take advantage of the Alliance & Leicester Premier Current Account, which up until the 28th May offered a £100 switching incentive to new customers.  Emma is due to receive the £100 in August by which time all of her direct debits and standing orders would have been moved over to the Premier Account.

By moving to Alliance & Leicester Emma is also taking advantage of a £500 interest free overdraft for 12 months just in case she does slip into the red.  Previously she would have been paying a rate of 19.3% EAR with her Lloyds TSB account – this should save her about £88.80 over the year.

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