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Shopaholic mum who blew £5k over Christmas didn’t spend a penny in January by TRADING her skills for freebies

A shopaholic who blew 5,000 over Christmas went cold turkey and did not spend a PENNY in January by trading her services for food and supplies.

Psychology teacher Jackie Mather, 55, lavished gifts on her family over the festive period and even bought four Christmas trees for different rooms in her house.

Jackie Mather, 55, managed avoid spending a penny in January by trading her skills for freebies including setting up an ironing service
Jackie used her skills to trade for food and essentials in January

But after looking at her bank balance she realised her spending was out of control and challenged herself to spend nothing for a month.

She lived off tinned food, emptied her freezer and even ditched car journeys in favour of walking or running.

And to maintain a supply of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables she offered ironing services, private tuition and car cleaning in exchange for everyday supplies.

The mum of two said: After Christmas, I realised Id spent more than 5,000 and had to do something about my spending habits.

I knew that I had to take drastic action, so decided to have a no-spend January.

Everyone thinks that I am absolutely crazy, but so far I have been successful and I really think Ive turned a corner on my spending habits.

Jackie, of Bramcote Hills, Nottingham, told how she bought four Christmas trees and bought everything her two sons aged 24 and 25 wanted.

One of the four Christmas trees that Jackie bought for her home

After initially planning to have a 100 emergency budget for January she changed her mind and decided to spend absolutely no money.

She has been eating food out of the freezer and cupboards and exchanged services for any fresh supplies she needs.

Jackie reckons it and has saved her 1,500 which she now plans to spend on a cruise.

Ive told all my friends what Im up to and offered my services in exchange for food, she said.

This week, I helped a friend from my running club sort stuff out in her house as she is a hoarder. In exchange, I got milk, eggs and some paper towel.

Another Christmas tree that Jackie bought for her home

Simple supplies like petrol have now become luxury items and she has been saving fuel by running to and from friends houses.

She said: I used to spend all my money on sports massages, going out for lunch and shopping sprees.
I used to throw out food all the time if I didnt eat it. But now I know how absolutely crazy that is.

Now Jackie never throws out food or spends money on things she does not need.

One thing that I will do is not spend unnecessarily, she said.

I will make sure that I have a shopping list and stick to it when I go to the shops.

Jackie bought a total of four Christmas trees in December

Even Jackies husband David, 56, an electrician, has got involved in the challenge.

She says: Although David is still working, he doesnt spend any money for the home as he knows how important it is to me that we take this seriously.

Before, he would buy a take out, or pick up supplies on his way home, but now were entirely relying on me and my jobs.

The mum of two realised she had spent 5,000 in December, including four Christmas trees

Jackie and David now plan to spend the money they save on a cruise to Dubai.

She says: After January is over, were going to book an all-expenses paid cruise to Dubai.

It just shows that it is possible to save huge amounts of money if you can just cut back.

It really was extremely tough, but I would recommend others to give a challenge like this a try, but I promise its not for the faint hearted.

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