I’m a single mum earning £1,400 a month – I want to treat my son but I’m struggling with debts of £350 a month – The Sun

KATIE Lea is desperate to clear her debts so she can treat her son, but she's struggling to pay the bills after her ex-partner moved out of the family home in December.

The 35-year-old part-time midwife lives with two-year-old son Max in a two-bedroom flat she owns in Exmouth, Devon.

At the moment she earns a minimum of £1,400 a month (after tax) a month and receives £89.70 child benefit, plus £450 maintenance from Max's dad.

But Katie, who bought the property with her ex-partner last April, now has to pay all of the £1,333 a month mortgage and bills herself.

Plus, she spends £352 a month on various debt repayments, as well as extra on transport, grocery shopping, and socialising.

Our Cash Clinic expert Lily Canter recommends Katie consolidates her debts onto one cheaper loan, as well as switch her pricey mobile and energy contracts.

Lily also recommends a number of tips Katie could use to boost her income when Max is in bed, such as filling out online surveys.

Katie said: "At the moment I can't even afford to take Max to a local farm park and I have no idea how I am going to clear my credit card.

I can't even afford to take Max to a local farm park

"I feel I have cut costs everywhere and I don't know where else to save money."

To help Katie get on top of her cash flow, our cash clinic expert Lily Canter poured over her finances to work out how she could consolidate her debts, save money and boost her income.

Here's how our Cash Clinic makes Katie savings of over £7,500 in a year.

Why we've launched Cash Clinic

THE Sun has launched its new Cash Clinic series because we want to help you, our readers, to save cash.

For some, it's easy to get caught up with work and family life and to put our own finances on the back burner.

While for others, it needs an expert's eye to work out where further cutbacks can be made to already tight budgets.

If you'd like our Cash Clinic expert to review your finances and to feature in our series, please email [email protected]

Groceries: £300 per month
New Spend: £220 per month
Saving: £80 per month

When it comes to her two dogs – a spaniel called Jack and a Yorkshire terrier called George – Katie is pretty savvy and spends just £20 a month on their food by buying in bulk.

She currently spends £280 a month on groceries for herself and her son, but we reckon by making some changes she could reduce this by £80 a month to £220.

Katie admits she pops into Tesco three or four times a week to pick up bits she has run out of.

But by being more organised and shopping once a week for specific meals which she can cook in bulk and freeze, she should be able to reduce her spend considerably.

Using a free app such as FastBudget will also help her to track her spending and stick to a £50 a week budget.

Another way to cut costs is to switch from Tesco to Lidl where you can get a week's worth of vegetables for just £1.50, for example.

And the food waste app Too Good to Go has great deals at the end of the day which she could collect on her way home from work.

These include meals worth £10 from Costa Coffee and Yo! Sushi for £3, and boxes of Morrisons food reduced from £25 to £3.09.

Debts: £352 per month
New spend: £295 per month
Saving: £57 per month

Katie's biggest financial restriction at the moment is a number of debts and products that she is tied into.

She has a camper van on finance with Motonovo until January 2022 with an APR of 16.8 per cent. She repays £222 a month.

If she paid the total loan before the end of March this year the settlement balance would be £4,700, a saving of £607. There is no penalty charge for paying the balance early.

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