I paid off £10,000 debt and bought first home by giving up smoking and using discount scheme

A MUM-OF-TWO gave up smoking to help pay off £10,000 worth of debt.

The savings she made from cutting the habit out her life meant she could afford to buy her council home too – with the help of a housing discount scheme.

Emma, from Leicester, revealed that she would usually spend £20 a day on cigarettes, reports The Mirror.

This would quickly add up to £280 each week.

The 42-year-old cleaner, along with her partner who would spend just as much a day, gave up smoking in 2017.

In the four years since, they have managed to put the money they saved toward clearing debts and owning their home that they had lived in since 2014.

Emma used Right to Buy to purchase her property which is a scheme that helps council tenants buy their home at a discounted price.

The policy gives council tenants a chance to buy their home at a discount of up to £108,000 in London and £80,900 in the rest of England.

They need to have lived in their property for three to five years already to qualify for a 35% discount.

There's an extra 1% that can be claimed for every year after that (up to 70%).

It was originally introduced by Margaret Thatcher through the Housing Act 1980.

The debts Emma owed included payday loans, a leased car and her electricity provider.

Emma told The Mirror: “We looked at just how much it was costing us and realised how much better off we’d be if we stuck that money towards our debt repayments instead.”

The couple applied for Right to Buy back in August this year and managed to claim a discount of around £40,000 in the process.

They didn't have to put down a deposit but they did have to fork out £2,000 in solicitors fees.

Unlike standard applications, you're not required to put down a deposit for a Right to Buy purchase.

It's the discount offered to you by the local authority that acts as your deposit instead.

Back in 2019 the Right to Buy scheme was under pressure to be scrapped, so Emma and her partner were fortunate to make use of their discount.

It emerged that councils were spending millions renting homes they then sold for below market rate.

It's not as straightforward to get a mortgage with Right to Buy as with buying any other home- Emma struggled, especially with her credit history in tow, but was finally accepted by specialist lender Together.

Not all mortgage lenders offer Right to Buy mortgages so you need to do some shopping around if you're planning on using the scheme yourself.

If you're not eligible for the scheme either, or it doesn't work for you, there are other discount schemes in the property market to take advantage of.

The Deposit Unlock scheme, for example, lets you buy new build home with only a 5% deposit, meaning you have to fork out less in upfront costs.

Often, developers will offer incentives to buyers looking to bag new-build properties to, like one couple who got £12,000 free cash so they wouldn't miss out on securing the house.

 

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