A REFORMED shopaholic from Somerset has told how she went from splurging on clothes and nights out to saving for a house deposit.

Former pub chef Fiona Hawkes, 34, is now on a mission to get her Christmas for under £300.

Five years ago, she would spend £150 per month on clothes and £200 on nights out.

Then she and her husband set themselves the challenge of saving for a deposit on a house.

Chard & Ilminster News:

She said: “It was a complete lifestyle overhaul for us.

"We made lots of drastic changes, like getting rid of two cars and instead sharing one.

"Instead of going out weekly with friends, we stayed in and hosted them which saved so much money.

"I still wanted to have treats for these nights in and it was around this time that I started to discover cashback apps, like Shopmium."

Shopmium is a free app that gives users access to exclusive deals on everyday brands in supermarkets, offering cashback of up to 100 per cent.

Fiona said: “Cashback apps made a huge difference to speeding up our savings as food shops were one thing we couldn’t avoid as a necessity.

"I use the apps to find vouchers for freebies and discounts to stock up.

"For a night in, I was able to get beers and snacks for just 40p after the cashback.

“It helps with food shops too. Just this week I combined offers on an app in a supermarket to get four casserole mixes for 5p each instead of 90p.

"I always buy meat with yellow stickers to stock up on meat and freeze it as it's often the most expensive part of the meal.”

It took them five years, but eventually the couple saved £50,000 to put down a deposit on their family home.

Fiona, who now has daughter, is a money saving blogger, sharing tips and tricks to help others.

With Christmas around the corner, Fiona has gone thrifty for gifts in charity shops and secondhand sites.

And she has created a chocolate hamper for her dad for £2.31 - saving £18.

Chard & Ilminster News:

Margarida Do Vale, from Shopmium, said: “We're thrilled our app was able to help Fiona and her family achieve their dream of saving enough to become homeowners without having to give up too many luxuries.

"With new offers every week, Shopmium is a free and easy to use app that helps people save money whilst making their shopping fun.”