EXCLUSIVE: Mum can afford Christmas this year thanks to clever Martin Lewis saving challenge

A hard-up mum will be able to celebrate Christmas this year after following a Martin Lewis money-saving hack – and now she’s branded the financial guru her “hero”. Karen Stocker, 45, says she was worried about what she’d buy for her daughter, Taylor, 6, or husband, 45-year-old Peter, and feared they may not have a turkey for the table this year.

But everything changed when Karen, from Plumstead, London, started following a savings plan with her spare change throughout the year – known as the 1p Savings Challenge.0

The initiative, made popular by the money saving expert, starts with saving one penny on January 1, then two on January 2, then three on January 3, and so on, with the last day of the year totalling £3.65.

By following the plan as best she could, Karen was able to save up £582.70, and now the family are set to join in the festivities – all thanks to Martin Lewis.

Karen said: “Thanks to Martin, I have peace of mind this Christmas.

“We’re actually hosting this year so will be having all the family up for Christmas dinner. All being well, they’ll be about 12 of us.

“So it will cover the cost of the Christmas food shop, drink and some presents. It will just ease the burden so much and thanks to Martin I won’t be worrying where to find the money from.

“In my eyes, he’s made it for us.

“I’m really looking forward to affording some treats – a nice big cheeseboard for my husband along with some vodka and wine! Oh, and a nice big turkey.

“Over the past few years, everyone has found it tricky to celebrate with family, so I’m really hoping this Christmas will be a bit more magical.”

Karen started saving money as she felt the financial squeeze as the cost of living spiralled over the year and she wanted to make sure it wouldn’t affect Christmas.

She continued: “With everything going up, it’s nice to know I can afford presents or to pay towards a bill. I saw him speaking about it on ITV earlier this year and was determined to do it.

“I would try and do it daily as best I can but if I missed a day I would just make it up. I made sure to buy one of those tins you can’t get into until you use a can opener. That way I had no temptation to break into it.

“It was fun opening it up last month and counting it all up. If I hadn’t saved something, I would have had to give [something up].

“It would be either cutting down [on costs] or presents, or not having all the food at Christmas. I’m definitely going to be doing this again next year.

“In the current climate, it’s a great help.”

Overjoyed, Karen posted the hack on Facebook – with the post already clocking up over 2,200 likes.

“So I did the Martin Lewis one penny challenge this year and have just opened my pot,” she wrote.

“I opened it early as wanted it for Christmas and had paid in ahead some weeks (I missed the last few weeks) but I worked out in advance what each weekly total is and some weeks put a bit more in.

“If you save for the 365 days you will save £667.95. In my pot with a few weeks missing I have saved £582.70.

“I am going to start another pot from tomorrow and then pay for the full 365 days next year, thanks Martin Lewis. You don’t miss it doing it in small amounts and you can always save it in different orders, just tick it off on the chart. Recommend doing.”

Facebook users have come out in droves to praise the supersaver.

One person said: “What a good idea! I’m going to start one. Thank you for sharing.”

Another social media user added: “Well done! I am rubbish with money, I actually never knew about this challenge, I’m going to find a jar right now and pop in a penny or two.”

“Thank you for sharing as I’d missed this and will definitely give it a go,” added a third person.

A fourth Facebook user joked: “That sounds like a diet that doesn’t stay the distance.”

Someone else commented: “I’ve done this before… sometimes I would pay it backwards so towards Christmas I’d be paying less.”