I saved £40,000 by age 26 on a £23,500 salary with pay rise trick and side hustles – you can do it too | The Sun

SAVVY saver MATILDA Littler put aside £40,000 by the time she was in her mid-twenties – all while being on a salary of just £23,500 a year.

The now 27-year-old from Hertford started saving at age 14, giving herself a headstart to others.

She said it comes from her parents who had the mindset of saving for a rainy day, for financial security.

Matilda told The Sun: “My first job was as a pot washer and then I worked in a spa and in a farmer’s market shop.

"I’d get paid cash in an envelope and put it in my HSBC red money box.

"By the time I went to university, I already had £5,000 put away.”


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Once she finished studying, Matilda got work on a graduate scheme for an e-commerce company doing a different job every few months, from marketing to customer experience, and rented a flat in Watford with two friends.

It was then that she started seriously saving.

“My take home pay was around £1,600 and my rent was around £450, so I gave myself a spending allowance of £600 every month for food shopping, travel, clothes and going out.

"Then I also had a target to save another £150 from side hustles, so I was putting away £750 pounds every month.”

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She managed to stick to her strict allowance by using many different budgeting methods.

For example, she always lived below her means and reviewed her budget on a monthly basis.

Matilda also tracked her spending to see where she could cut costs.

She added: “I always have a meal plan.

"Every Sunday, I look at everything in my cupboard and try to make meals out of things I already have, or those I have to buy the fewest ingredients for.

"I always make a packed lunch, and I walk everywhere, whenever I can.

"Plus I use cashback sites, so when I’m spending I build cashback to put towards savings.”

'I've made £7,000 from side hustles'

Matilda also found herself with multiple income streams.

She started making jewellery as a side business and sold this on Etsy, vintage and Christmas markets as well as local shops in her area.

She also does side hustles for extra income, including surveys, user testing for new apps and selling skills on websites like Fiverr.

The latter is a website where freelancers can connect with businesses to sell their services.

Matilda said: “It’s really useful. I studied business and marketing, so, when I finished university, I would sell my skills to do marketing reports, or help with social media and websites.”

Matilda’s side hustles have contributed almost £7,000 to her savings and she now has a new side business selling portable Kanban boards, a project management tool.

“We’ve made £12,000 in sales in a month and are looking at around a £5,000 profit,” she said.

She also saves cash by shunning trends and the latest tech.

“I’ve had the same Ford Fiesta since I was 19, which gets me from A-B, and I always haggle over my car insurance,” she says.

Matilda also buys her phones outright, having recently got an iPhone 12 for £420, saving herself over £600 in total, had she got a new phone through a contract.

Matilda’s method of savings includes making use of a Lifetime ISA to put money away for the first home she plans to buy in a few years – and because she adds the maximum of £4,000 a year to her account, the government gives her £1,000 annually.

She also has a regular savings account with Chase, as an emergency fund.

“I’m always looking at interest rates and checking that Chase is still offering me like the best deal – if they're not, I'll put my money elsewhere.”

She now offers tips for others on her budgeting, saving and investment account A Millennial Saver on Instagram.

She recently got a new higher-paid job in project management, but still keeps to a strict allowance so that she can save more each month.

'I turn off my appliances at night'

Now living alone in her flat in Hertford, Matilda is also savvy with her energy usage – having managed to keep her electricity bills at the same level they were before all the massive hikes in tariffs.

She said: “I turn off all my appliances at the switch when I’m not using them, including the TV and microwave, and I have a rule where, if I go away for three or more days, I will turn the boiler off.

"People don’t realise how much energy it’s using.

"And, if I boil the kettle, I’ll put the rest in a flask to use later, so I don’t need to boil it again.

"I also batch cook, so I can reheat in the microwave to save on the cost of the oven, and I use an air fryer – ovens cost around 87p based on 40 minutes whereas an air fryer costs around 33p for the same time,” she said.

Matilda also makes maximum use of battery-powered lights.

She said: “I always think, if you can use anything that's battery powered, do so.

"There are now desk lamps and nightlights that are battery powered and I have fairy lights around my window.

"If I'm watching TV at night, they’re the only lights that will be on.”

Matilda has also added draught-proof strips around her windows and avoids radiators by wearing her favourite Oodie dupe from Primark and using an electric blanket.

“My tip is to use a low heat for longer as this saves more energy than putting it on a high heat for a shorter amount of time,” she said.

'I shower at the gym'

She saves on hot water by using her gym’s facilities.

Matilda said: “I go around four to five times a week and will always shower there and wash/dry my hair.

"The gym is pretty much next door to my building but it saves a lot on hot water in the long run.”

Matilda has also created sinking funds to prepare for any further energy price increases, as well as for Christmas and to save for holidays.

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She said: “This time next year, electricity may be 20% more expensive, so I’ve got a little bit of cushion.

"If you put £20 or £30 a month away, you don’t notice too much – but it has a big impact.”

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