On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers
In the latest in my On the Money series I spoke to Kirsty from the Money Saving Mum.
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
My earliest memory is probably the £5 notes my great granddad used to give us whenever we saw him. That and the £1 my dad used to sneak me in a morning before school so I could have school dinners with my friends instead of the pack up my mum made me every morning!
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
Before having kids we had never ever had a loan. Everything was saved for and if we didn’t have the money we didn’t buy. However, since having children we have had to extend and renovate our house, change cars and move bedrooms, all within quite a short period of time. So, yes, maybe I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the loans we now have, but only because we’ve never had them before. I know deep down it’s totally fine. There are none that we can’t afford plus the kitchen, a chair and Christmas overspend(!) are on 0% interest. I certainly don’t feel out of control with our finances, just maybe a little anxious.
What was your worst money decision?
Ooooh, I’m quite frugal and thrifty with my money (hence my blog!) . Because I suffer massively with anxiety I’m constantly thinking ‘what if’, so I actually find this one quite difficult. Not the way I want to necessarily think as on one hand I’m prepared for everything but then on the other I’m never living for now. I’m having cognitive behavioural therapy as we speak to help so I do find this one really really hard to answer!
What was your best money decision?
Best money decision would have to be the purchase of our own home. We also had the loft converted not long after we moved in to save having that cost when we had kids. We got on the ladder really quite early at just 19 and are still in that house 12 years later. I have to say for sure the house was our best money decision (oh, and the artificial grass #bestthingever!).
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
My best tip for saving money at home has to be to batch cook, freeze meals AND meal plan! I recently published this handy blog post on freezable foods to save you time and money.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Shop around…. yes, it will take time but it is worth it. Just be conscious of the prices in every store you go into. For example, I know that the dog treats in Heron’s are cheaper than anywhere; I know that I can get 50g more cheese at Iceland than Asda for the same price; I know the big 80p bag of chocolate fingers at Heron’s taste just like the Cadbury’s ones and that Uncle Ben’s rice is cheaper in Poundstretcher than anywhere else. Just take a look around and make notes as you’re out and about.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’ve never been one to go out week in week out drinking my money away. I’ve thought of it like that since I was probably exactly that age! So I would have to probably say don’t change!
What was your biggest ever bargain?
Probably very recently upon a visit to a Boots store that was closing down. I picked up a couple of ingrowing toenail kits for just 10p each…. they were meant to be £15 EACH!
What was your most recent purchase?
Our most recent purchase was our new puppy. Because he was already 12 weeks old and one of the last in the litter, the breeder just wanted rid (for the dog’s own sake, not in a horrible way!). They reduced him by a massive 70% so we took it as a sign. That and the fact it was 10 years to the day that we got our eldest dog from them. We brought little Walter home about 5 weeks ago now.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
We are sticking to a budget more so now that ever before, particularly with the loans we have at the minute. Having gone through our incomings and outgoings for the first time in a long time, we’ve recently cancelled insurance policies and maintenance contracts. I spoke about this in this 5 Frugal Things link up, where I decided to cancel our British Gas homecare cover.
We have a set amount in the budget for food shopping, car insurance, tax and petrol, plus an amount that goes into the joint account for the bills each month. A newer budget we have recently started implementing is for shopping. We are trying not to spend more than £60 a week and are managing this at the moment after boycotting Asda and, as above, buying things from certain places.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
Yes, but without actually realising I think. We started the mortgage quite young, as I’ve already mentioned, with 40 years on the mortgage. We are still paying the exact same amount now as we were then and have managed to reduce it to just 10 or 11 years. This is because we are technically overpaying. Where we could have reduced our monthly payments every other year we haven’t, so I guess that’s a financial goal without really meaning it to be!
In the last few years I have said I would love to be mortgage free at 40 but I only have 8 years until then so I’m not sure. It’s not impossible, but it might be a stretch!
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Get a cleaner. Seriously! I would love a cleaner. I really feel it would help us so much but right now it’s a luxury we cannot justify.
What you want to really hear, though, is that I would also purchase a house with a big garden and a big drive way. A driveway where I can plonk my car anywhere on the front. I currently can’t use my passenger door because we have to squeeze two cars on our small front garden! First world problems I know, but you asked!
Kirsty started her blog as a way to make herself accountable for the savings she had to make to her day to life after reducing her hours at work. Mum of two, wife (of one!) and the owner of three (yes, three) dogs, Kirsty is the ultimate mum-trepreneur. In addition to her part time office job and blog, the Money Saving Mum, she is chief vlogger over on her family YouTube channel and is a freelance virtual assistant (more information here).
If you enjoyed Kirsty’s interview, you can meet some other great On the Money bloggers here and here.
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