A family of four who were facing bankruptcy just four years ago have revealed how simple lifestyle changes have seen their debt halve and their savings rapidly grow.
Speaking to That's Life!, Angela Stembridge, 42, and her husband Scott, from Wanaka, New Zealand, opened up about their once "lucky" life which saw them living in a lakeside four bedroom house, according to Daily Mail.
Photo / Angela Stembridge Facebook
But after a "bad business partnership" and selling their family cafe, they were faced with more than $100,000 of debt and panicked about how they would support their two young kids Emily, now 11 and Ryan, now eight.
The family packed up and moved into a two bedroom rental home in a "cheaper suburb" before researching other ways to cut costs - including cooking meals from scratch and cutting the grocery cost down.
"Keen to keep the kids involved, Scott and I sat down with them. 'Mummy and Daddy are going to change our habits, we're not going to buy junk food anymore. We're going to make things ourselves'," Mrs Stembridge told That's Life!.
Motivated to make a change, Mrs Stembridge made simple adjustments like creating her own pasta sauce using tomatoes from the market and making barley water from lemons.
She also started to cook every Sunday for the week ahead and would bake homemade treats like banana bread with her children to include in their school lunches.
All fruit was purchased from the local market and after coming across a book about a woman who slashed her family's grocery bill, Mrs Stembridge also tried making her own cosmetic and cleaning products.
The result was a family grocery bill of just $120 - a far cry from the $230 they were once spending each week and a saving of over $5,700 each year in groceries alone.
Mrs Stembridge also started making her own cleaning products using baking soda and taught herself how to make deodorant, air freshener and even bug spray.
"Scott was really impressed when I whipped up a laundry detergent too," Mrs Stembridge said, adding that she also ditched make up altogether and made her own natural lip balm.
The family then decided to move to their dream place, Wanaka, and once there, filled their new home with a sofa made from wooden pallets and beds with second hand mattresses.
They also grew a vegetable garden and a "medicine garden' with natural ingredients.
"If the kids got a scrape, they didn't ask for bandaids. 'Mum, can we have some of your magic cream?' they asked instead," Mrs Stembridge told the publication, adding that the cream is made from coconut oil and natural ingredients.
Since embracing their new sustainable lifestyle, the family has saved more than $22,000 at the supermarket and make extra money by selling products at the local market and running an online blog.
Now close to paying off all their debt, the family plan to eventually live off the grid "completely" and continue to share with others how "easy it is to live more sustainably."