In the latest edition of On the Money we meet Emma from Bee Money Savvy. Emma is a 20-something recent graduate who is in the process of saving up for a deposit on her first home. Whilst a student, Emma had to find ways to make her student loan stretch further while working part-time to fund her masters.
Emma created beemoneysavvy.com in 2017 to pass on her financial wisdom to her fellow millennials, aspiring home buyers and anyone looking to gain financial freedom.
Conversations with Money Bloggers: Bee Money Savvy
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
When I was around 6-years-old we would visit my great-grandad every few months. He would always save pennies in a jar for when we visited and we would take them to be exchanged for notes. I can’t remember what we spent the money on, but I remember admiring how saving small amounts of money could add up so quickly.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
Growing up I would often see my parents just getting by with their finances, so I’ve always been very money conscious. I’ve never really allowed myself to get out of control. I’m happy to admit that even from being a teenager I’ve always been a bit of a cheapskate.
What was your worst money decision?
A few years back, and in the midst of being love-struck, I decided that my wardrobe wasn’t ‘cool’ enough for the person I was dating. To impress him I bought a ton of branded clothing, including a jumper that cost me £150! I’ve worn that jumper twice!
What was your best money decision?
I was a very sensible student (the majority of the time). As soon as I enrolled on my degree I knew that my student loan wasn’t going to cover my living expenses so I went looking for a part-time job. I worked throughout my degree as a lifeguard, fitness instructor and sports coach. On top of that I managed to earn enough to open a savings account.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Regularly switch energy providers! If you haven’t switch energy providers for over two years you could save around £200-£300 just by switching.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Go card free! If you’re an impulse buyer then pay with cash. Only withdraw the exact amount you need for the day/week. That way you can only spend what you have on you and you can see exactly what you’re spending.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Shop for the best deals. It’s so easy to get blinded by shiny new technology/clothes/etc. and not consider that the shop next door could be offering a better deal. Check multiple retailers before making a big purchase and haggle where appropriate (phone providers are always worth haggling with). I have been stuck in so many over-priced phone contracts throughout the years.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
I was pretty happy with the broadband deal I got last year. I managed to find an £18 a month deal but then went through a cashback site and got £110 cashback plus a £50 prepaid card. With the money from cashback and the pre-paid card my broadband works out at £56 for the whole year!
What was your most recent purchase?
My partner and I went 50/50 on a new game for our Nintendo Switch. We managed to save money by buying a gift card, getting cash back, as well as earning some Nintendo loyalty points in the process.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I’m not strict when it comes to budgeting, but I am always hyper aware of what I can and can’t afford and how my finances for the month are looking. As well as my banking app, I use a chat bot to send me updates on how much I’ve been spending.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I’m hoping to buy my first home in the next year or two. I’m currently in the process of saving up for a deposit (and convincing my partner that we should move away from renting and towards buying).
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
If I won the lottery I would pay off any debts that my family has, treat myself to a holiday, buy my partner a car (I will definitely get brownie points for that answer) and start looking for a house!
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