This week’s On the Money guest is Corinna from the blog Inspiring Life Design (link below).
On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
From as far back as I can remember, I recall my grandmother giving me 30p every week which I had
to put into my silver piggy bank. I wasn’t allowed to spend this, though (Mum monitored that!). My
first memory of having money that I could spend was when I reached about 10 years old. I would
get £1 pocket money a week and I was allowed to go to the shop over the road to buy crisps or
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
Yes. In my mid-twenties I got into credit card debt. I wasn’t particularly spendy, it’s just that I lived a
little beyond my means month after month (mostly spent on entertainment, buying clothes or
home-ware items). Before I knew it I’d racked up several thousand pounds of debt that I didn’t know
how to pay off. Being in a situation where I had debt and didn’t know how to get rid of it raised a
lot of different emotions for me. I felt depressed, helpless and vulnerable.
Luckily I received help from my parents in the form of an interest free loan (which I then paid back over time). I
managed to take control of my spending by cutting up those credit cards and paying back as much as
I could every month.
What was your worst money decision?
I held onto my first property, a lovely flat located in a marina in Southampton for too long after I
moved out. After I moved to my house in Coventry I didn’t want to sell the flat because it had so
much sentimental value to me, so I went through a period of leaving it empty as my “2nd home”, or
rented out to tenants at various times. It took me 8 years to finally put that flat on the market and
sell it. During those 8 years I ploughed a lot of money into the flat for council tax, services and
maintenance. From an investing point of view this was a terrible idea, but at the time it was the right
thing for me. I’m glad that I finally let it go, because this removed a huge financial stress in the end.
What was your best money decision?
That would have to be my decision to start investing in a pension from a relatively young age. I
started when I was about 24 as I got my first graduate job. This has meant that I’ve now got a
reasonable size pension to build upon toward my financial independence goal. More recently my
decision to start investing in low cost index funds, filling up my ISA allowance each year, has
continued to grow my investments. I would say that I’m about 30% of the way toward financial
independence from my investments alone.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
I hate paying to use a gym. So instead I work-out at home for little to no cost at all. I do a
combination of running on my aerobic rebounder, yoga and workouts available from free YouTube
videos. I’ve saved myself a fortune in expensive gym memberships, and I’ve also saved myself a lot
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I take my water bottle with me everywhere and so rarely need to buy a drink when I’m out. If I’m in
the mood for a hot drink I’ll also take a tea or coffee with me in my Contigo flask (it’s a great watertight
insulated drinking flask). Same goes for snacks, I often pop a breakfast bar in my bag to snack
on, in case I’m peckish.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
To learn about basic investing and to start investing in low cost index funds as early as I could. If only
I’d started investing at 18 I might already be financially independent now!
What was your biggest ever bargain?
I can’t think of a big bargain. However, years ago I popped into a supermarket to grab a loaf of bread.
When I got there, I found the loaves of bread I liked reduced to 20p each so I picked up 4 of them
(because at the time I froze my bread). Since I didn’t need anything else I headed straight to the
check-out. Something must have gone wrong with the till because when the cashier rang the
reduced bread through it totalled a negative amount, and she actually tried to give me money for
taking the bread (I think it was about 50p)! She said she needed to give me the money to make her
till balance. I told her that I didn’t feel right being paid to take the bread, so I politely declined the
money, suggested she gave it to charity, and walked out of the store with my 4 loaves of bread for
What was your most recent purchase?
A light ring so that I can make my YouTube videos pretty!
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I plan my finances out monthly to make sure that I have enough money set aside to cover big bills
that crop up annually. Every month I budget an amount of spending money which I roughly stick to.
Some months I go a bit over, some I’m under, it all pretty much works out.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
Yes! My goal is to be financially independent (so that I could retire if I wanted to) within the next 7
years. I plan to achieve this through a combination of my pension and ISA investments, building
these up so that they are 25 times bigger than my annual expenses. When I hit this target I should be
able to live off my investments using the 4% safe withdrawal rule.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Gather my closest family to tell them. I’ve always imagined that I would drive straight to a
supermarket or wine store and buy the biggest bottle of champagne I can find, then tell my family
while celebrating. I’d probably be a bit boring with the winnings though. I’d share with my nearest
and dearest, then use the rest to fund an immediate early retirement!
A bit about Corinna: I live in the Midlands (UK) with my boyfriend and our three cats, and I have a goal to
become financially independent within the next 7 years. I have a blog, inspiringlifedesign.com,
where I talk all about my money making side hustles. I’m passionate about helping others realise
that financial freedom is possible for everyone. In sharing my side hustle adventures, I want to help
as many people as I can to make money from their own income hustles, so that they can become
financially independent too.
Corinna can also be found on You Tube. Many thanks for your contribution, Corinna!