‘Money Can Actually Buy You Happiness’ – Millionaire Exclaims After Swapping House With A Poor Household(Read)

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Indeed money is so tight that factory worker Neil and his wife Louise recently found themselves with just 18p left in their bank account.

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But the couple and their four children were given a taste of a life in excess when they swapped their modest council house in Watford, Hertfordshire, for a six-bedroom detached home in Chelmsford, Essex belonging to self-made millionaire Steve Haslam and his family.

Tight budget: Neil Brimicombe and his family, who had just 18p in their bank account, swapped their modest council house (pictured) for a six-bedroom home and lived like millionaires for a week. Pictured, Neil and Louise with children Alfie, Louisa, Alfie and baby Summer

For seven days, Neil and Louise spoilt themselves and their four young children on the Haslams' £3,000-a-week budget, splashing out on Ugg boots, golf lessons and a £131 romantic meal that cost roughly as much as their entire weekly shop.

Meanwhile Steve, who went from cleaning pub toilets to building a restaurant empire, discovered what it was like to count every penny as he tried to feed his family on the Brimicombes' £140-a-week budget.

Luxury living: Restaurant entrepreneur Steve Haslam and wife Jo with their children Holly and Oliver outside their £1million six-bedroom family home in Chelmsford, Essex. The family struggled to buy enough food with the Brimicombe's £140-a-week budget

The experiment was filmed for Channel 5's Rich House Poor House, which sees a family in the lowest 10 per cent of earners in the UK swap lives with a family in the highest 10 per cent. The experience challenged both families to consider whether money really can buy happiness.

For the Brimicombes, the programme was an opportunity to spend a week living without the burden of financial pressures.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Louise, who is a stay-at-home mother to Alfie, Louisa, Alfie and Summer, said: 'I don't think it made us any happier. It just made the stress of life go away, that week the stress wasn't there because we didn't have to worry about money anymore.

'We're happy in our lives, we're happy with our home and our family life. The money side of things it's just a worry really but we're happy.'

New experiences: Neil Brimicombe took his son Alfie to one of Holly Haslam's golf lessons. The expensive hobby can cost

Husband Neil works 12 hours a day in a window factory and is the family's sole earner. The busy family life means that the couple rarely spend time alone.

I hear so many people say "no money can't buy you happiness" but the reality is it can buy you happiness through memories because you can create phenomenal memories

While living at the Haslams' £1million home, the pair treated themselves to a lavish meal out which they were shocked to find cost almost as much as their weekly budget. They also went on a shopping spree, buying a Hugo Boss watch and Ugg boots.

Meanwhile their children enjoyed their new lifestyle. Son Alfie discovered he had a hidden talent for golf when he took advantage of Holly Haslam's pricey lesson.

Speaking on the show, Neil said: 'Watching him smile and being really happy and doing stuff touches me. One golf lesson could be my entire food shop for a whole week.

'I'd like to give him everything, you know. It's actually heartbreaking that if he really did want to do it I can't do it for them.'

Fifty miles away in Watford the Haslams pulled up to a more modestly-sized home where Neil and Louise's children are forced to share bedrooms.

Steve, who started out cleaning pub toilets and now owns 12 restaurants, was shocked when he counted the £140 he'd have to feed himself, wife Jo, and their children Holly and Oliver for a week.

Their first dinner was fish fingers and chips left over in the freezer, but there wasn't enough fish fingers for the whole family and Steve went without.

At home the family has a cleaner, ironing lady and gardener, but were forced to do the chores themselves in their new home.
The children also appreciated the reality of the situation. Holly said: 'I just bought a golf jacket from Lacoste for like £89. It must be quite tough for them.'

Speaking to FEMAIL, Steve said he took part in the experiment so his children could appreciate how hard he worked for the money that has given them a privileged lifestyle. But he believes money does bring people happiness.

'I hear so many people say no money can't buy you happiness but the reality is it can buy you happiness through memories because you can create phenomenal memories,' he said.

'We're fortunate enough that a couple of years ago we bought our house in Spain and I can't tell you how many great memories that's created.'

However the experience did teach him the importance of quality family time.

Both Steve and Jo, who usually work gruelling 90-hour weeks, vowed to continue spending more time together and with their children once the show ended.


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