I bought a £220k house at 23 on an £18k salary after saving £7k at uni & haggled £15k off the cost of my wedding

I bought a £220k house at 23 on an £18k salary after saving £7k at uni & haggled £15k off the cost of my wedding


SAVINGS-OBSESSED Chloe Carmichael never pays full price for anything.

Whether it’s her weekly shop, new clothes or even her dream wedding, the 28-year-old will always push for a discount to make her hard-earned wages go further.

And her thrifty ways have paid off. Five years ago, Chloe put down a £105,000 deposit on a four-bedroom property in Glasgow with her husband James – buying the £220,000 house on an £18,000 salary.

When the pair tied the knot in 2018, Chloe haggled £15,000 off the price of their dream wedding – so they could make their budget stretch to a swish Maldives honeymoon.

She even worked three jobs at uni, so she could save £7,000 while studying for her degree at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Chloe, a brand manager, also shares her money-saving tips on Instagram, teaching her thousands of fans how to haggle and keep on top of their spending. 

“It’s my motto to never pay full price and I get a buzz every time I find a deal or get a discount,” she says.

“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 started bargain hunting when she started work at 17 – keeping the memory alive of her frugal dad Patrick Wynne. 

I work hard for my money, so why not make it go further?

“He’d always look for deals, find discount codes, print vouchers for restaurants and haggle,” she says.  

“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.

“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 for a property. 

Her student loan helped to pay her bills, and she managed to put away £7,000 during university.

After graduating in 2015, Chloe worked as a marketing assistant, earning £16,000 a year, which rose to her current salary of £27,000 with promotions. Each month, she put away at least £300 a month.

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.

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 bartered £15,000 off her honeymoon and big day. She only paid full price for one item – her £1,499 dress.

Her veil cost just £11, her flower centrepieces cost £10 each and her wedding favours cost just 49p from Home Bargains.

No matter what anyone earns, you can’t beat the feeling of bagging an amazing deal

She also managed to get a ‘freebie’ overnight stay for their Maldives honeymoon worth £2,000.

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.”

Chloe’s top tips

  1. A deal is only a deal if you were buying it anyway and the price is reduced, otherwise you’re spending money.
  2. Think about each purchase as cost vs hours worked – how long would you be willing to work for it?
  3. Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a deal. You have to price match before parting with your cash.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. Buy retailers’ own brand (especially food!) Cheaper doesn’t mean lower quality.
  7. Use cash back sites like Airtime Rewards, Quidco and TopCashback.
  8. Use an automated savings app – I love the Plum app

Chloe applies the same technique when booking holidays. She’ll get a quote from one company, and go to another to see if they can beat it – carrying on until she has the lowest price.

Pre-lockdown, the couple would enjoy three holidays a year – with her cheapest return flights costing just £25.

Chloe says: “I always book holidays well in advance. I’ve even been upgraded to a better room for free after emailing the hotel to ask 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.

“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 also looks after her pennies when it comes to food shopping, which costs her just £30 a week. 

She says: “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 says: “Now I only buy clothes and shoes from supermarkets like Asda and Sainsbury’s and shops like Matalan. 

“They’re great value for money, good quality and massively underrated!”

Chloe also shares her tips and deals online via Chloe’s Deal Club. She helps more than 10,000 people save money on beauty, travel, home and dining by emailing deals every week. 

She says: “I launched the group in May 2019 as I realised I could help loads of people save money.

“Then I decided to launch a VIP membership for a small annual fee.

“In total during lockdown, I’ve saved members more than £250,000 in total which is incredible.

“I’m really happy to be continuing my dad’s legacy with finding deals, but this time for thousands of people.

“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.”

Previously, a thrifty single mom explains how to buy a $60,000 house with $20,000 income.

These are three money TikTok hacks that’ll save you thousands without even noticing – including the 100 envelopes challenge.

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