Savvy mum-of-twins has shared how she slashed her spending by £1,000 a month

A savvy mum-of-twins has shared how she slashed her spending by £1,000 per-month to overpay her mortgage – putting her on track to pay it off in just ten years rather than her agreed 30.

Kristen Ashcroft, 33, lives in Essex with her husband Technical Services Manager Darren, 40, and their twin sons, four.

The couple became inspired after they watched Sarah Beeny’s series, ‘How to Live Mortgage Free’ and decided to make paying off their mortgage in the next five years a personal goal.

Kristen’s savvy budgeting methods mean that they can make an overpayment of £1,000 on their mortgage each month.

She achieved this by eliminating fixed expenses such as childcare and car payments, and reducing how they spend money.

So far the couple have paid off £41,000 and have done so in just two years, 9 months and on one salary, leaving £184,000 remaining.

They took to Instagram to share their budgeting journey on their page ‘Project Frugal,’ which has garnered them 5.5K Instagram followers.

“When we stumbled upon the TV series, it was a light bulb moment,” she said.

“We realised that if we worked diligently to pay off our mortgage fast, got smarter with money, and learned to live with less in general, we wouldn’t need to earn so much to live comfortably.

“It was our ticket out of the rat race.

“Since then, we set out on a mission to live frugally so that we can overpay our mortgage dramatically and clear it quickly.”

For Kristen living a simple life meant escaping the rat race and home educating their children.

“For a long time, we never generated any additional income, we purely started budgeting better, cut back on spending and focused on living as frugally as we could,” she said.

“The keyword here is ‘frugally,’ not necessarily cheaply, meaning that we decided what was truly of value to us and spent money mindfully on those things, cutting back aggressively on everything else.

“I think it’s important to note that we are still getting less money than we used to when we both worked full-time London-based jobs.

“And yet, we are in a far better financial position.

“The biggest difference is our spending habits ‘we live well below our means.”

Despite being happy with her new lifestyle there are some luxuries Kristen does miss.

“As much as I love the home gym we’ve created in our garage, I do miss the Bodybuilding gym that we used to go to,” she said.

“It wasn’t some run-of-the-mill fitness centre ‘it was the real deal. The atmosphere was second to none.”

By making changes to her everyday life, Kristen now saves an additional £13K per year. The breakdown per year is as follows:

Cutting out TV Licence and Sky Package – £517.50
Cancelling Spotify Premium x 2 – £239.76
Meal planning & swapping supermarkets – £2,880 – £3600 per year.
Not buying lunches out – £3,680 per year
Not buying coffees out – £3,206 per year
Switching to SIM-only phone deals – £888 per year.
Cancelling our gym memberships – £840

Kristen’s quest for a frugal life stems from a traumatic event when she was still a teenager, fifteen years ago when she was forced to become acquainted with her own mortality and re-evaluate her priorities.

“When I was 18 years old, I was leaving work, walking back to my car, when I was hit by a car,” she said.

“The man that hit me got out of his car, saw me lying there in my blood, unable to walk, and then got in his car and drove off.

“I was left for dead, but my screams were heard by a nearby neighbour who came to my aid.

“For a few hours afterwards I was unable to move from the waist down, so I feared I was paralysed.

“Thankfully, it was nerve damage rather than a broken neck or back.

“I suffered a lot of physical injuries, but nothing compared to the mental impact of the accident ‘and the horrible stress of the four-year legal process thereafter.

“I ended up becoming depressed. After much resistance, my mom eventually encouraged me to get help from a social worker/counsellor via her work’s employee assistance programme.

“The man I saw was super helpful.

“He helped me to realise that the accident had made me re-evaluate life, and what’s important to me, and he helped me to learn to listen to those instincts.

“I was suddenly privy to a kind of clarity I hadn’t had before ‘I always knew life was short, but now I really and truly felt it.

“As a result, I made some drastic changes in my life, quite quickly ‘I started living more for me, instead of living in a way that I believed I should be.

“I dropped out of college, quit my part-time job and found a job working in the field I was studying in.

“I also moved out of my parents’ house and, eventually, left an abusive relationship.

“To this day, that accident still shapes how I live my life and make decisions.

“I know in the very depths of my soul just how short life is, and so every day I make a point of living intentionally.

“I don’t follow the crowd, or simply do what’s expected of me because “that’s how it’s always been done”.

“Instead, I live life on my own terms, and in a way that brings me (and of course my family) the most joy and fulfilment ‘and that way, as it turns out, is living simpler.”