A frugal saver in her 20s has revealed how she managed to save thousands of pounds for a deposit for a flat in north London.
Maria Bagalexis scrimped and saved £30,000 (NZD$58,500) over five years to be able to afford the keys to her one-bedroom flat, reports The Daily Mail.
The 29-year-old didn't spend a penny more than she needed to by giving up takeaway coffees, exchanging her car for walking to work and making packed lunches.
She used extreme penny-pinching tactics to cut back on every expense and lived on only the basic essentials for 12 months - but says it was worth saving every penny to gain her own independence.
The keen saver was able to stop spending money on going out with friends at the weekend by working extra hours.
She told The Mirror: "I kick-started my savings five years ago. I worked overtime every weekend for years so I could knuckle down to some serious saving."
Miss Bagalexis completely changed her lifestyle and was frugal with every payment she made.
She said: "I sold my nice BMW car for a cheaper, older Toyota Auris model, saved on road tax and fuel and chopped £600 (NZD$1,170) off my insurance bill."
She changed her job to one that was closer to home, ditched her gym membership and also managed to save £25 (NZD$48) a month on her phone bill by keeping her old mobile.
She said: "I did smaller things like making packed lunches for work and giving up takeaway coffees, and it added up to savings of around £25 a week."
"At weekends I would meet my friends in a local park and we did our own bootcamp.
"It was great fun being outdoors and social without having to spend anything."
Miss Bagalexis decided she needed drastic measures to be able to reach £30,000 in savings needed for a deposit.
She said: "So, I moved in with my mum to enable me to do some intense saving – I had an agreement with her that I paid just a nominal amount towards my keep and I put the rest away towards my deposit."
The hardest part of being canny with her money was not being able to buy any new clothes.
But Miss Bagalexis learned to be thrifty with her wardrobe and borrowed from friends and family when she had a special occasion such as a wedding.
She said:"'I didn't buy any clothes, unless it was something necessary, like a basic pair of jeans."
The efficient penny-pinching was not easy and house prices would often rise every time Miss Bagalexis had saved up enough for a deposit.
She said: "But eventually it all paid off and I now have a place.
"I love it. I have friends who rent and don't see a way out of that."