By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A pageant obsessed mum has slashed her weekly living costs in order to spend £7,500 on her toddlers competitions.
Scrimping on just 30 per week to feed her family of four, Portia Richmond, 27, from Derby, would rather spend any extra cash on glitzy dresses and spray tans for her only daughter, Amelia, three.
With one dress costing up to £500, Portia spares no expense on Amelia’s pageant dresses – even if that means they all live on a tight food budget and only buy second hand furniture.
Dodging the branded items and heading instead for the own brand super savers, the devoted mum says Amelia’s pageant wardrobe means everything to her.
Portia, a stay at home mum, said: “One pageant can cost more than £1,500 so I have to cut back on other costs.
“For the pageants, I’ve got to be looking at a minimum of £500 for one outfit and for make-up, spray-tan and hair, they’re around £100.
“Shoes cost about £30, photos are another £25 and with travel on top is another £20.
“So we’ll save where we can, so we can be sure Amelia can compete.
“I know I’m quite tight when it comes to spending on other things such as food shopping but it’s worth it.
“For the four of us, I’ll cook a spaghetti bolognese, feed us all and I freeze another four meals out of it, same with curry dishes, casserole and soup
“I’ll bulk buy my meat and freeze it so I just have to top up on veg each week.
“I don’t buy branded items, and if I need new furniture for the house then I’ll buy them second hand, never brand new.”
The tot’s mum hit back at trolls, fiercely defending her decision to allow her tot to start competing at three-year’s-old – complete with spray tan, makeup and daring outfits.
Portia herself only stopped competing in pageants last year, and began her daughter’s pageant career at age two – estimating she’s spent around £5,000 on her toddler’s journey so far.
Spending the small fortune on everything from dresses, shoes and hairpieces, to spray tans, entry and make-up, Portia claims her tot’s a natural and loves the make up and glamour.
Reflecting on Amelia’s most recent pageant last month, which saw her move into a new age bracket, mum Portia said, “We did this one on the cheap side.
“The entry fee, with the jackpot extra which essentially means she gets extra competitions to enter in came to about £145.
“For her three outfits, we could have spent about £1,500 but went nearer only £700 for this one.
“But it still took time to get her ready, with a spray tan on the Saturday evening and then another one on the Sunday morning.
“By 7:30am we get picked up and do everything there at the venue.
“I start by curling her hair, and putting in her hairpiece, which takes about 45 mins.
“Then I do her make-up, foundation, eye shadow, bronze, eye lashes, and glitter which is another half an hour.
“Then I get her into her dress, and let her get comfortable.”
Portia added, “Amelia’s dad, Jayce doesn’t really agree with pageants, thinking if I’m going to get her into anything it should be something professional like dance not pageants
“But he’s not seen her in one, so doesn’t really understand it – Amelia is happy doing them, which is all that matters as you can seen how much she loves it.
“Yet my son, Coleson-Christopher, two loves to help her practice for them at home.
“It’s worth it absolutely – we don’t go without and we still have lovely home cooked healthy meals just like everyone else.
“I just do it on a budget and love to see Amelia enjoying it – the community is like a family.”
The determined mum added: “I wanted to get her into modelling initially but the work is more spasmodic and not as guaranteed.
“Some people don’t agree with the make-up but Amelia loves it.
“They can call me a pushy mum, but at the end of the day, it’s just like a dance competition with a crown at the end instead of a trophy.
“People have this preconceived notion that I’m pushing her into it, but that’s not the case at all.
“Amelia will come downstairs, twirling her baton or whatever prop she’s going to use and want to practice.
“People think it’s a bitchy environment, with mums competing but that’s not an accurate perception.
“Amelia loves doing it and loves the different themes – she’s always itching to be on the stage, and I’ve already got family members helping me to make dresses and routines for the next show.
“I hope she continues doing them into the 18+ Miss categories, and I’ll invest as much as I need to into them – I’ll even choreograph all her routines!”
BREAKDOWN ON AVERAGE OF ONE PAGEANT
ENTRY FEE: £100 – £150
OUTFIT OF CHOICE: £50-£100
SPRAY TAN: £20
BEAUTY DRESS: £300-£1000
TOTAL SPENT ON PAGEANTS SO FAR: £7,500
WEEKLY FOOD SAVINGS FOR PORTIA:
ALDI OWN BRAND TINNED TOMATOES: 30P PER TIN
ALDI OWN BRAND TINNED BAKED BEANS: 30P PER TIN
ALDI OWN BRAND CRISPS: 18 PACK FOR £2
ALDI BREAD: 49P
ALDI BROCOLLI, CARROTS, LEEKS: 39p
BUTCHER OFFERS: MULTIPACKS FOR £20, RANGE OF CHICKEN, MINCE AND PORK
TOTAL WEEKLY SPEND: £30