Hello there, I’m Charlotte and a big welcome to my LottyEarns blog. I’m a personal finance journalist and have been in the industry for nearly ten years (I was the original DealsHunter at MoneySavingExpert). I’m not the kind of money saver who won’t put the heating on when cold, or one who will only eat pig’s snout (I’m not really sure that’s a thing either) to save money; I’m the kind who loves going out for fancy cocktails and going on swish holidays – I just want a bargain while staying financially stable.

As well as writing for LottyEarns, I’m a senior editor at the Money And Pensions service, and run the website Swansea Reviewed. I also work as a freelance journalist and have appeared on the radio, newspapers (the Mirror, Times), magazines (GoodHousekeeping, Delicious) and websites (Citizens Advice, Money Magpie). You can see a more complete list of my articles over on my LottyEarns in the Press page.

What I’ll do on here

I’m addicted to finding deals and I’m bloody good at it! LottyEarns is where I will be putting my finds. I’ll show you how to make cash (I’m a couponing/eBay pro) and save money while you’re at it. I also have a penchant for combining crafts and money saving – last month I discovered I really enjoy making my own cheese. What can I say, I’m complicated.

You’ve probably noticed I’m a bit of a big mouth and I have a lot of opinions, so as well as talking about my life, and the things I’ve been doing – I’ll often tell you about things I love and hate when it comes to money and spending. There’s nothing I hate more than wasting money on products and experiences which are rubbish, so if I love/hate something or think it’s a waste of money, I’ll let you know.

What I won’t do

I’m never going to be dishonest with you. If I’ve been paid or gifted with anything, I’ll let you know. And even if I have, it ain’t going to make a jot of difference to what I’m going to say. If it’s a load of rubbish, I’m going to say it is – this girl can’t be bought!

I’m also never going to sell your details or recommend you sign up to dodgy sites that will sell them on, or spam you to make a quick buck.

The same goes for gambling deals – as a blogger, there’s frankly a lot of money to be made if you put them on your site. I’ve had years of experience of looking at their T&Cs and not only are they tricksy as hell, it’s unlikely you’ll come out a winner – 50 free spins my arse!

How I got into money saving (sob stories ahoy!)

I had everything I wanted as a kid, there was always heating, holidays and food. What I didn’t realise what that my mother was incredibly thrifty (she takes pride in the fact that she convinced my sister and I, that we thought ‘town’ was the car boot sale). What I did realise is that my father worked incredibly hard.

I then went to university to study law, and presumed I was going to be a brilliant lawyer (think, Elle from Legally Blonde) and be paid a huge amount of money, meaning I could live a life like Beyonce. I moved to Notting Hill with friends (doh!) and used all my savings and spent A LOT of money on a luxury flat. You can guess what happened next – couldn’t find a job. Nothing. I started to find that the longer I was unemployed and the more jobs I applied for (and heard nothing back from), the harder it was to get out of bed and do anything.

I found myself roaming money saving sites and forums talking to people who were in the same situation as me, l read everything I could about saving money and finding freebies and deals – I became obsessed.

I finally got a role, and did it for a year. It was all going well, until I noticed people started disappearing from the company. I found out the company didn’t win a particular contract and they had to let go of the vast majority of workers – I was out of a job. I remember standing in the middle of Chancery Lane sobbing my eyes out – I couldn’t bear the idea of being jobless again.

At the same time, my housemate had to move out to go to university, so my boyfriend and I had no-where to live. For a good six months we had to stay in spare rooms/sofas while we got our lives together. We finally got enough money together and we moved into a house share. I decided I needed more experience on my CV, so got an internship which got me writing experience. After a while, I applied for a job at MoneySavingExpert as a deals writer/researcher and the rest is history!

I learned quickly that everything can be fine one minute, then the next – everything crumble around you.  So, learning to be thrifty and money-savvy in life was essential… as well as learning where I could get free cocktails, free theatre tickets and how to use coupons to get free food!

Want more?

Hopefully you like me and want to see more bargains tips (or maybe just me generally gossiping?). If so, follow me on Twitter @lottyburns, Instagram @lottyburns and on Facebook. You can also email me: [email protected]

Sign up to the mailing list (don’t worry – I’m no spammer), and when my newsletter is up and running I’ll be in contact.