AMIE Cooper earns £31,000 a year, but she's struggling with debt buying her first home and getting married a year later.
The 31-year-old research assistant from Liverpool has been in debt since her university days, but spending £10,000 loan towards her wedding has only pushed her further into the red.
Amie has started paying back the loan but she also has debt on credit cards that she desperately wants to clear.
This is where our Cash Clinic expert steps in. Rebecca Goodman tells Amie to cut back on the £160 a month she spends on gig tickets and takeaways.
She also recommends the couple rent out a room in their three-bed house, as well as their driveway to boost their income by £180 a month.
Amie said: “I’m mainly worried about my credit card debt as it’s causing me a lot of stress and I’m always trying to find ways to make my repayments.
My credit card debt is causing me a lot of stress
“I want to be debt-free and not to feel guilty for buying a treat for myself once in a while."
Here we reveal how Amie can save £5,000 a year, get back into the black and on top of her finances so she can begin to put money aside for the future.
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 [email protected]
Housing: £270 per month
New spend: £270 per month
Income boost: £180 per month
Amie bought her three-bedroom semi-detached house in Liverpool in 2016 with her now husband. The couple borrowed £130,000 and have £100,000 outstanding on the mortgage, which is a fixed-rate deal at 4.5 per cent.
When they bought the house with the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme, they put down a 5 per cent deposit, and the mortgage is with Nationwide.
As the current mortgage is a fixed rate, if they were to switch before 2021 – when it is set to finish – they could face a penalty charge.
Therefore, they should stick with this deal for the time being. Amie's half of the mortgage costs her £270 a month.
Amie’s main goal right now is to get out of debt, and one way to boost her income and clear her debts sooner, is to use her home.
Renting out a spare room in the couple’s house, could generate around £350 a month. This works out at £4,200 per year.
This could be earned tax free, under the government’s Rent-a-Room scheme. If this amount were to reach over £7,500 a year tax would need to be paid on anything over this.
Amie also has space outside her house for another car. Renting out her driveway could be a less invasive way of generating some extra cash.
A quick search on Parklet shows car parking spaces in her neighbourhood going for £100 per month, or £1,200 per year.
This combined extra £450 a month could be used to pay for Amie's £270 a month mortgage cost, leaving her with a £180 income boost on top.
Amie should, however, check that this is allowed with both her mortgage and home insurance provider first, as she wouldn't want to invalidate her existing cover or mortgage term.
Entertainment: £160 per month
New spend: £40 per month
Saving: £120 per month
In her spare time Amie loves to go to music gigs as well as to theatre and comedy shows – but she needs to cut back.
If she could drop her spending from £100 a month to £40 a month on gig tickets, she’d be saving £60 – or £720 in a year.
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