Number one singles, BRIT awards and worldwide sales of over 20 million records all prove that Steps, who started out as a novelty act, smashed it when it came to the world of pop. However, at the beginning of the career, the band existed on merely £50 a week.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, the fivesome revealed that their early days were really quite tough.
“We didn't start making any money until after that first theatre tour,” explained Claire Richards. “We'd been going over two years before we actually earned any money.”
The chart-toppers however had ways of making their money go further, like sharing a flat and making the most out of hotel breakfast buffets.
Listen: Steps talk Britney Spears, life on tour and why they’re happier this time around
“We didn't have two pennies to rub together,” said Ian ‘H’ Watkins.
He continued: “We used to travel to Europe quite a lot and we used to make sandwiches at breakfast time to last us through the day because we literally had nothing.”
Faye Tozer-Smith said that even when they started making money they knew that they had to watch the pennies.
“I think we were made well aware right at the beginning, that what you spend do you have to recruit before you earn your money,” she said.
“Whereas a lot of the other pop bands from what we saw seemed to be spending a lot of money and doing all these amazing things… We were a little bit tight and penny pinched ourselves because we were aware of it.”
The singer, who carved out a career in musicals once Steps disbanded, recalled removing a sun bed from a tour bus that Boyzone had used to help save them money.
Richards agreed, saying the ‘90s, when they first made it big, was crazy when it came to splashing the cash.
“It was about the private jets and it was about chauffeur-driven cars everywhere,” she recalled.
“Nobody thought about the costs. All the record companies were like that as well. It was just a free-for-all, and then it got to a point where record companies realised they just couldn't do that anymore because the business had changed and the money just wasn't there anymore.
“I honestly can't even begin to imagine what we may have had in our bank accounts that we've just wasted because nobody was paying attention to it.”
Since the group reformed in 2017, they’ve made it their mission to be in control of their career – and their finances – and Claire has taken a major role in ensuring that the band aren’t taken for a ride.
“Being in a pop group is great, but ultimately it is a business and it's our business,” she said.
Read more: The rise and fall of Steps in pictures
“If nobody else is going to pay attention to the fine detail, then we can't be upset if we don't.”
She continued: “Hopefully we are a really good point now where we are partners. We're not just pawns in it anymore.”
The new album from Steps, What The Future Holds, is out on 27 November.
Watch: Steps announce their comeback