The Secret Spenders team visited the Fitzgibbon family in Kent, where the spending habits had not changed despite being one salary lower than usual. The family of four were hoping to save money for a loft extension, which would give their youngest daughter a bit more space, but at a price tag of roughly £35,000 it was not going to be easy.
TV presenter Anita Rani, finance expert Peter Komolafe and home finance expert Anna Whitehouse approached the family to see where they could save money and perhaps make a little extra.
The family has a yearly income of roughly £39,000 thanks to dad Ian Fitzgibbons’ job as an IT engineer.
However, their household income used to be nearly double this amount and the family had not yet changed their spending habits.
Mum Kerrie Fitzgibbon had lost her job during the pandemic and was concerned about her husband’s spending especially, sharing their story on tonight’s episode of Secret Spenders on Channel 4.
She said: “He’s a bit of a shopaholic. He’s got his interests but their expensive interests. He still wants to get nice things as if we’re both earning but we’re not. I want to be able to save money.”
Amongst these interests are vinyl record collecting, train memorabilia, spoiling his daughters and auction sites.
One surprising revelation was the family’s transport museum expenditure.
Mrs Fitzgibbon said: “We went as a family once and it’s not really my thing so I was like ‘Get me out of here’.”
Despite having only been to the museum once, the family had VIP ticket membership costing them £2,000 a year.
Neither of the pair knew that the tickets were eating so much of their budget, with Mrs Fitzgibbon saying: “If I had known that would’ve been cancelled a long time ago!”
However, it was his auction site obsession that Mr Komolafe was most worried about, where Mr Fitzgibbon was spending roughly £100 per month.
He said: “You know what it’s like, logic goes out the window when you bid and you end up spending more than you actually intended.”
When asked about how many vinyls he has, Mr Fitzgibbon replied: “I shudder to think, probably, 200, 300 plus” as he spends between £50 and £100 every month on this collection alone.
He shared that his collecting habits were first enjoyed in his childhood with his parents, and he hoped he was passing on similar happy memories to his own family.
Another soft spot for spending in the family revolved around their two daughters, as Mrs Fitzgibbon had some medical complications with her daughter Molly, haemorrhaging during her delivery.
Mrs Fitzgibbon explained: “I was holding Molly, she was literally a couple of hours old and all of a sudden I was like ‘You need to take Molly quick’. My world revolves around them. From the first day holding her it was very much ‘Whatever I can give you, you’re having’ but I just want to give them everything.”
Both parents as a result struggled to say no to their daughters, one of which has a rather expensive West End obsession.
Collectively, with out of school activities included, the pair were spending £420 a month on their daughters.
By reigning in the hobby and impulse spending for all members of the family, and putting budget thresholds in place for the likes of Mr Fitzgibbons’ eBay habit, the finance experts shared what they could be saving.
The pair were hoping for a figure between £5,000 and £10,000 by the end of the year.
However, if they took on all of the advice the experts provided, they could actually be saving a remarkable £17,260.
Mr Fitzgibbon concluded: “The amount of money we could potentially save and make out of this is phenomenal!”