I am delighted to feature money maestro Emma Drew in this week’s On the Money interview.
Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
I remember my Mum taking me to the wholesalers with her (she and my Dad ran a store) and letting me pick out my own items to sell. Then I started a ‘tuck shop’ and any money I made was mine. I quickly learned that if I reinvested money in more stock then I could make even more money. It was great earning my own pocket money in this way.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
When I first went to university and got my student loan it was the most money I had ever had! Not only did I have this money, but I also was living in a city that had shops, bars and restaurants – something I didn’t have in my small village life back home. I spent so much money straight away, on clothes and eating out. I felt like I couldn’t stop spending and that I couldn’t control my money. That’s when I got into debt, which took me years to pay off.
What were your best and worst money decisions?
I was lucky enough to buy a house when I was 18 – back in the days when you could walk into a bank and get a mortgage easily. My parents didn’t want me paying rent because they saw it as dead money. I had to furnish the house myself. The third bedroom never got rented out, so it wasn’t as great an investment as we originally thought. It actually proved to be a great decision because nowadays it is rented out and earns me a passive income every month. However, it was a struggle as an 18 year old to have to pay for every repair, all the bills, etc. I’m not sure I would have done it again.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
I love shopping my kitchen or my wardrobe to see what I already have. Sometimes clothes have fallen off their hangers and I discover something I had forgotten about. Or when we are trying to have a lean spending week, we try to make meals based on items we already have in.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I try to make sure that every penny I spend benefits me in some way. That means using a cashback or rewards credit card (paid off every month), as well as scanning my receipts and uploading them to apps like Shoppix and Receipt Hog to earn more from them.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
I would tell myself to stop buying everything! Now that I’m 30 I don’t have any of those items I spent my money on and got into debt over.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
I love scouring charity shops for bargains, and I have found a charity shop where everything is £1. I regularly pick up Joe Browns, Jaeger and Laura Ashley from there, which I either keep for myself or we sell in our eBay store.
What was your most recent purchase?
Very boring – we got some socks for my husband from Primark for £6.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
Ish. We have a budget in the sense of knowing how much everything costs per month. However, if we see a great deal that means spending more one month to stock up, then a bit less the following months we will often do that. I redo our budget every six months to account for anything increasing in price (like council tax). Any savings we have made, maybe from switching utility provider, can also be factored in.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I am really fortunate to run my blog full time, so that almost feels like retirement. Our next big financial goal is to buy a house. However, we are looking at increasing our income first so that we can purchase the Dream Home, even if that means waiting a little bit longer.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Buy the Dream Home and furnish it! The Dream Home has a swimming pool, an annex for my Dad and outbuildings that we can use for office space.
Emma blogs at EmmaDrew.Info. Emma is a personal finance blogger who blogs about ways to make money, save money and live the life you want. She lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and two cats. If you are looking to make extra money online, find ways to save money and connect with like minded people then head over to her blog.