Guests have to bring their own teabags: meet Britain's 'stingiest pensioner'

By Samantha Luiz
09 February 2016

At 66 years old, Ilona Richards has been described as Britain's "most frugal pensioner".

A former lorry driver, Ilona was never a big-spender. But the elderly tightened the purse strings when she had to take 12 weeks off work following an operation.

"Not long after I went back they announced they were shutting the depot. I was seven months short of my 60th birthday and the time seemed right for a bit of a change."

She started off by keeping track of her spending in a notebook.

Over the following years, her penny-pinching routine became more extreme, never spending more than a £1 (R23) on a meal.

Aside from requesting her visitors from bringing their own teabags, she also wears layers of clothing so she doesn't have to pay for heating in her house.

"Don't encourage guests!

"My house is too cold for most people, so they don’t come and that saves money."

The pensioner buys most of her clothes from charity shops and buys pants meant for teenage boys as they last longer and don't have VAT added on top.

"It's all about prioritising what's important. I believe having less gives you freedom.

"I wouldn't want to be rich as you'd be worried about keeping your money safe - if you don't have much money you have less to think about."

Ilona, who also blogs about her thrifty habits, has shared some of the proven ways she saves money.

Here are her top tips:

1. Write down all purchases in a notebook to identify where you can save

2. Use sun cream as a moisturiser all year round

3. Eat your food in date expiration date order

4. Water down fruit juice to make it stretch further

5. Cut your own hair

6. Don't use washing up liquid unless necessary

7. Save bath water for flushing the toilet


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