My guest in this week’s On the Money is Nick Daws from Pounds and Sense, where he shares his thoughts on not just financial matters but also on holidays, health, food and drink, relationships, and so on.
Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
Trips to the sweet shop with my dad to spend my pocket money. It was an old-fashioned sweet shop (even then) and you could buy all manner of loose sweets from huge glass jars. I loved the tiny, multi-coloured fruit drops!
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
Yes, when I was a lot younger. I was unemployed and got into debt, and was constantly swapping this around from one credit card to another. My dad helped me out with a loan, which I repaid by instalments when I got a new job.
What was your worst money decision?
Buying my last car must be up there among them. It was a second-hand Nissan Micra and cost around £2000. It just seemed to be jinxed. First the power steering failed and I had to get a new steering column for it. Next the exhaust fell off, and then the air con broke down (costing £400 to repair). Finally, the car’s electrical system failed completely, leaving the immobiliser jammed on. The garage couldn’t fix it and after just one year I had to sell it for scrap for £50. I hope I have more luck with my current car, which is a Vauxhall Corsa!
What was your best money decision?
Hard to say, but maybe investing in a Nutmeg ISA. This shot up in value by over 25% in 18 months. I only wish I’d put more money into it now.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Get a smart meter installed. I know some people have reservations about them, but I have cut my energy use (and cost) by around 20% since getting mine last year. I have also just received a substantial (£400) refund from my energy company for a surplus that had built up on my account.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Before going out, check online for potential discounts. If you are going to a visitor attraction, for example, it’s often possible to get a discount on the normal price by buying tickets in advance on the website. If you’re planning a shopping trip, again check the website/s for the store/s you intend to visit and see what bargains they are advertising. It’s also well worth signing up for loyalty cards with stores you shop at regularly, as you can often get a discount and/or bonuses this way.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Try to put money into a savings account regularly, even when it’s difficult. You will be grateful if or when the hard times come. Also, money saved when you are young has much more time to grow into a substantial sum.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
Maybe my washer-dryer. My late partner Jayne and I bought it for £100 twenty years ago and it’s still going strong today – admittedly with a bit of TLC from my washing machine repairman. He has told me that when eventually I have to replace it, I will be lucky if my next machine lasts five years.
What was your most recent purchase?
A Sekonda unisex watch. My previous watch was quite chunky and a female friend pointed out that it was making my wrist swell up when I was wearing it! I am very pleased with my new, elegant, smaller watch. It tells me the time and nothing else, but that’s all I need from a watch.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
Not really. I try with some things (e.g. groceries) but it’s difficult because I’m self-employed and my income can fluctuate considerably from one month to the next. That’s my excuse anyway!
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I am semi-retired now (I’m 62) and work part-time as a blogger and freelance writer. I enjoy this and value the extra income it generates, so I have no plans to fully retire any time soon. My mortgage is also paid off, I’m pleased to say. I don’t really have any other particular long-term financial goals. I just want to have enough money coming in to pay the bills and enjoy life to the full.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Write substantial cheques for some special people in my life who could really do with the money.
Thanks so much to Nick. You can find his blog Pounds and Sense here. I like it because it is one of the very few that look at life from a 50 plus perspective.