On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers
Welcome to the second in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Ilona, aka Mean Queen, who blogs at Life After Money. Ilona, who is a retired lorry driver, says, ” I live with three cats, I make do and mend, being very careful with my spending, only buying what I need. I have no qualms about buying second hand from car boot sales and charity shops, and getting free stuff from skip diving. Money saved is put towards holidays, a decent car, and days out. I love life, and it needn’t cost a fortune to enjoy it.” Here she is, on the money.
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
We didn’t get pocket money when we were kids, Mum couldn’t afford it. My first wage packet at 15 was £4 and 5 shillings. I had to pay Mum board and had a bit left over which went on make up and fabric to make clothes.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
No, never. I have always lived within my means. Mum taught me that if I didn’t have enough money to buy something I wanted, I saved up for it.
What was your worst money decision?
Buying a catering trailer and setting up a business on an industrial estate. I hated it, it didn’t last long. I sold everything at a loss.
What was your best money decision?
Buying my first house. I didn’t think so at the time because I was skint for many years. I am now in my third house, and in a good position, having paid off my mortgage.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
I buy second hand wherever I can, charity shops, car boot sales, skip dive for free stuff. I take my time looking for bargains, and wait until I find the right price. Food shopping: I buy at different places, reduced yellow stickers, discount stores. I spend time searching for best prices.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I take food and drink with me from home if it is a day out. I look for free entertainment, and very rarely pay an entrance fee to visit somewhere. It has been know for me to walk around the outside of a historic building taking photographs, but not pay to go in.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Don’t try to keep up with everybody else. Stay true to your individual style, dress how you like, don’t follow the crowd. Spend a bit, save a bit, and don’t borrow. If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
That’s difficult. 90% of my purchases are bargains. I buy as cheaply as I can and when all the small savings are added up it means I have extra money left over in my purse. I shopped at the four big supermarkets for Rip off Britain, spending £5 in each, and coming away with £80 worth of food.
What was your most recent purchase (not including bills, groceries, etc)?
I don’t buy very much for myself. A few small items for crafting purposes maybe. A new office chair a few months ago because the one I was using was old and uncomfortable. I reckon I deserved a new one because I spend so much time sat in it.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
No. Because I am mindful of what I spend my money on. I am disciplined enough to not waste any. I know I can afford everything I buy.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I don’t make long term plans. The only goal I have is to eventually sell the house and spend the money. I have no idea when or how that will happen, but I firmly believe that I came into this world with nothing and will be happy to leave with nothing.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Buy a slightly newer bigger house in the area I am in now. Buy a motorhome and go travelling. Then look for good causes to give a lot away.
I hope you enjoyed reading Ilona’s thoughts on money. If you missed my first On the Money interview with Katy Kicker, you can find it here.