In this edition of On the Money, we meet Katie from KatieSaves.com. Katie lives in South Wales with her husband, their daughter and their dog. She started her blog as a place to document how she makes and saves money whilst on maternity leave and also how she generally simplifies and orders her life.
Conversations with money bloggers: Katie Saves
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. My siblings and I lost our mother to cancer when I was eight. My Dad was a bit clueless as to what presents little girls would like so he gave us a Christmas and birthday budget. I remember circling things in the Argos catalogue, adding it all up and making sure I hadn’t used up my £200 pot. This involved crossing expensive things out and swapping them so I could get more for my money.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
I’ve always been quite money savvy; growing up with not a lot makes you very aware! But when I was earning a very good wage at 21, my partner at the time and I were living beyond our means. He had terrible credit and so I racked up debt in my name. How naïve I was.
What was your worst money decision?
Aside from taking out credit for my ex, my worst decision was reserving a waterfront apartment with him. Luckily the relationship came to an end before the completion date or I would’ve ended up with a mortgage 2.5 times more than my current one!
What was your best money decision?
Leaving that relationship with lessons learned. I began living within my means. When I actually came to buy a house with my husband, we purchased one that was more than sufficient for a good price. We didn’t buy an expensive one just because we could get a big mortgage!
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Meal planning and batch cooking. We are terribly lazy when it comes to food and spend far too much on takeaways. Meal planning and making a few batches for the freezer takes that temptation away. Even on nights we can’t be bothered to cook, there’s something readily available rather than a £25 Dominos order.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I use Meerkat Meals a lot (which I got for less than £2 by buying a day’s travel insurance). I also have a Taste Card through my bank account. If we’re eating somewhere that’s not covered by either of those I’ll do a quick online search for a voucher. Also, cash envelopes is a biggie. Using cash to pay for things instead of swiping your debit card makes you much more intentional with your spending.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Don’t buy things on credit! You don’t need to. If you’re earning a good wage, be careful with your money and save for the future.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
My wedding dress! Although it cost £600, it was gorgeous – current season, lots of detailing and very flattering. It should’ve been £1400 but it was a sample. It just so happened to fit me like a glove so I didn’t even have to spend money altering it.
What was your most recent purchase?
I booked a hotel for after a gig hubby is taking me to for my birthday this month. We don’t get a lot of nights just us, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
We’re on a part-time single income, so we have to keep a very close eye on our finances at the moment. My wage just about covers our living expenses so we would be in trouble if we didn’t budget!
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I’m turning 30 this month and I’d like to have the mortgage paid off by the time I’m 40. I’m also hoping to be making enough from my side hustles that I can quit my job and not return to work when I go on my next maternity leave (no baby on the way just yet though!). We also want to buy a holiday home, so we have a savings plan for that.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
A big holiday for both sides of our families. Then I would pay off our mortgage and the mortgages of my nearest and dearest.
Many thanks to Katie for this insight into her life. Check out more of her money saving ideas at katiesaves.com.