In my On the Money series, I speak to UK Money Bloggers about their own experiences with personal finance. This week I meet Emma from the Money Whisperer.
On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
I lived next door to a newsagent when I was little. I used to get 10p pocket money and I would go round to the newsagent and buy 10 penny sweets in a little paper bag. What can you buy for 10p nowadays?
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
I’ve always been good with money, which is rooted in my parents giving me a good grounding in my relationship with money. I got a part time job when I was 15, worked part-time throughout university and didn’t take out a credit card until I was in full time employment. I am an accountant; we have a reputation for being cautious when it comes to money!
What was your worst money decision?
In 2006 I moved to Australia on secondment with the firm I was working for in London at the time. In the months before I got the secondment, I had been house hunting for a 2 bedroom flat in Clapham. They were expensive but then so was rent and I figured I was throwing money down the drain. I regret not buying a flat and renting it out whilst I was away. I ended up staying 7 years in Australia and in that time, London house prices rocketed. I could have come back to a nice little nest egg.
What was your best money decision?
Learning about investing. I started buying shares when I was in Australia and when I came back, started investing in to a stocks and shares ISA regularly. The power of compound interest is amazing.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
I used to be guilty of wasting food. I’d buy too much without thinking enough about what we actually needed. If there was something new or exciting on the end of an aisle, I’d throw it in the trolley without thinking. I now meal plan and shop online which has reduced what we spend and what we waste.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I always carry a bottle of water on me as small bottles of water are so expensive if you buy them out and about. If I ever do get caught out, I’ll buy a large bottle as they are cheaper than small ones!
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Opt in to your workplace pension and increase what you put it to it every time you get a pay rise. Saving for the future is so important. If you start off putting just a small amount away each month, your future self will thank you.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
I have a gel manicure set which I got in the Christmas sales about 4 years ago now. I do my own manicures and pedicures sitting in front of the TV while the children are in bed. At £50 a pop to go to a salon and have your nails done, this is the gift that keeps on giving as it has saved me so much money over the years.
What was your most recent purchase?
I’ve just bought tickets for Lapland UK. I love Christmas and for me, it’s the whole build up which makes it so magical. I love our family to enjoy the experiences around Christmas time – ice skating, seeing Father Christmas, the panto, etc. I’ve wanted to go to Lapland UK for a couple of years but have waited for the girls to be old enough to remember it hopefully.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I’m not a fan of the word budget. It sounds restrictive. We always make sure we spend less than we earn each month, and we are mindful of when in the year our big expenses are e.g. house insurance, car insurance. In this respect, we have a money plan but not a budget in the true sense of the word.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
Being in a position where we can choose to work is the ultimate dream for us, and we hope to be in that position by the time we are in our 50’s. Right now we are putting the foundations in place to enable this – investing in both the stock market and property, and seeking out alternative passive income streams.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Buy a holiday home big enough for my whole family to spend time there for all school holidays together. Somewhere near a beach 😊 .
Emma started writing at The Money Whisperer because she believes that financial health and wellbeing is not a luxury just for the wealthy – it’s a basic need for all. As a parent – she is a mummy of two little girls – she aims to share with other parents good money habits and help create the foundations for them to live their best lives. She writes broadly on personal finance from why everyone needs life insurance through to investing in children’s pensions.