Conversations with money bloggers
Welcome to the next in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Ruth from Ruth Makes Money.
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
The one that sticks in my mind the most is being about 11, and my dad gave me a fiver to go into town with some friends on a Saturday afternoon. I felt like I’d won the lottery! I managed to pay for bus fare, buy several bits of make up from Tammy Girl, including a glittery lipstick, have lunch, and still save a little bit of it. Mind you, this was 20 years ago now! Thankfully, I grew out of my penchant for glittery lipstick.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
I’m generally on the ball with keeping an eye on my finances and planning for things in advance. I’ve been self-employed for quite a lot of years now, so I’ve created monthly money habits that help me to feel in control. Still though, there’s often something that needs to be addressed. I’ve realised recently for example that our energy spending is way too high, so that’s something I need to sort shortly. It might be a cliché, but being in control of your money is always a journey, not a destination!
What was your worst money decision?
Something that I regret is not paying into a pension sooner. Whilst I’ve always been quite good with putting money aside for the future, I know that I haven’t been as proactive as I could be when it comes to making sure that cash is being put to the best possible use. It’s a priority that I’m making this year.
What was your best money decision?
Going self-employed! It was a big leap into the unknown, but it’s one that I’m thankful for every day. I’m in control of my own earnings, I earn money on my own terms, and I have much more freedom than I did when I was working for someone else.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Cooking from scratch. My partner works away most of the time so I’m usually just cooking for myself. It can be tempting sometimes to grab a ready meal or a packaged sandwich and a bag of crisps if it’s been a long day. Cooking proper meals, though, saves a significant amount, and it’s also one of my favourite ways to wind down and relax. I’ve got plenty of go-to recipes that are super quick and also reasonably healthy, and I feel much happier when I’m sticking with a meal plan.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Where possible, walk instead of taking the car or jumping on the bus. If I’ve got a spare afternoon, I love walking into my local town – about three miles away – and going for a swim or checking out the charity shops for my reselling business. When you work from home it’s easy to become quite sedentary, so it gets me out of the house, it gets my step count up, and it costs nothing.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I’d probably just say to keep on doing what you’re doing.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
I resell on eBay, and along the way, I’ve found quite a few charity shop bargains for myself. My favourite is a designer silk dress that I paid £6 for! I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve worn it now, so I’ve definitely had my money’s worth from it.
What was your most recent purchase?
I’ve just been out today to pick up books to read on an upcoming holiday. Two friends and I are doing what we call ‘holiday book club’ – we all bring three of the same book, then we swap around when we arrive so we all end up reading the same three over the course of the holiday. We accidentally did it a few years ago when we picked the same book without realising, and it turned out to be quite fun to discuss the latest storyline developments around the pool!
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I wouldn’t say a budget as such, but I’m mindful of my spending. I love taking a few holidays a year, and we also love eating out. However, there are places where I’ll actively try to cut back on spending, so I can make the most of my money and spend it on what matters most to me.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
Paying off our mortgage as quickly as is reasonably possible is a big priority! It’s the only debt that I have. I’d love to get rid of it within ten years – so around half what the term currently is. Our fixed rate period just came to an end, so we re-mortgaged and managed to shave four years off the term. I’m also trying to make regular overpayments. There’s a really useful calculator on the Money Saving Expert site that shows you how much you can save by making overpayments, and it’s amazing the difference you can make even if you’re just paying a small amount extra each month.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
I’d treat myself to a fancy bottle of champagne. Then I’d pay off that bloody mortgage!!
Ruth blogs at RuthMakesMoney.com about genuine ways to make money online. Whether you want to pay off a credit card, save for a holiday, or even ditch the 9-5 for good, she shares practical advice and guidance for making that happen. She’s been self-employed for over seven years, and lives in Durham with her boyfriend and her Airedale terrier, Jax.
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