A money-conscious family of seven are in the running to be named Britain’s savviest and win £5,000 of prizes for their frugal lifestyle.
The Abell family, from North Luffenham, are one of eight families who have been sharing their money-saving tips in an online blog as part of an annual competition Nectar Savvy Family.
When the blogs close on Friday next week, each blog will be looked at by a panel of judges including television presenter Sarah Beeny.
The winning family will get a package of prizes worth £5,000, including 100,000 Nectar points, £500 of fuel, a £500 Sainsbury’s gift card, £500 to spend on eBay and easyJet flights.
Julie Abell, who lives with partner Woody Hodson and their three sons, was inspired to enter the competition when she noticed an e-mail from Nectar on the same day as a friend commented that she always knew where the best bargains were.
She said: “It just rang a bell in my head so I spent five minutes filling in the application form. It was quite an impulsive decision.”
Julie, who works for software company Helix, thought nothing more about the application and didn’t even tell her family.
In her application, Julie, 44, mentioned that the large family spent just £100 a week on food and live in a two-bedroom house in Edith Weston Road, which the couple are currently renovating on a tight budget.
At the time her father Eric, 74, was also living with them.
Just a few weeks later, she had a telephone interview.
Julie said: “They asked me for a top tip and I said to never throw anything away. When they asked for an example, I was put on the spot but I said I’d used black bananas the kids wouldn’t eat to make banana bread that they all loved.”
She said she was “completely shocked” to find out the family had reached the final eight and for the last few weeks, Julie and Woody and sons Benjy Abell, 19, Sam Hodson, 17, and Jack Hodson, 15, have all been contributing to the blog.
Woody, 44, an electrician has been sharing home renovation tips and Julie’s daughter Natasha, 23, who is away at university, has been sharing advice for students.
Julie said: “We are all really enjoying the blogging but it is hard work as we have to write at least three a week and it is about the things we do everyday.
“To us the things we do are just the way we live our lives as a large family on a budget.
“We don’t deprive ourselves. If we can save money in one hand, we can enjoy it in the other.
“ We don’t want to come across as a smart Aleck, we just understand what it’s like to live in a recession and I hope our tips are helping people.”
To see the blog visit www.nectar-savvy.com/index.php/the-abell-family.