In the latest in my On the Money series, I meet Samuel Jefferies from the Money Nest. Sam is on a mission to educate a generation. He aims to help 20-30 year olds who’ve missed out on the benefit of personal finance education in school, and breaks down everything they need to know about money now and in the future.
On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
My earliest memory is from the age of 5, when my parents had decided to start giving me pocket money and it felt felt like a new world had opened up to me!
My pocket money, however, was just 20 pence so I was limited to a 20 p vending machine offering two choices – bubble gum or miniature trolls!
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
At 19 I started a paid one year internship overseas, it was the first time I was totally responsible for my own finances. Part of my wage came from funding via a European government agency, the payment was paid in two tranches and shortly after moving over a decision was made to delay and reduce the initial tranche.
I had been relying on this coming through; my planned income suddenly crashed yet my outgoings remained the same. Worse still, I had to complete a planned internship as part of my university course so couldn’t simply drop out.
The bills kept pouring in and money really started to dominate my mind. It’s difficult to explain how this feels unless you’ve been in a situation like this. Thankfully for me, this only lasted several months, not years. I clawed myself out of the difficult situation by moving to a cheaper shared apartment, negotiating a salary increase by a factor of almost 100%, taking out an additional student loan and having my kind parents lend me £500 until the student loan came through.
In hindsight of course, I look back at this as a huge life lesson in financial planning, frugality and saving. It definitely taught me a lot and I’m glad I learned these lessons in my early adult life.
What was your worst money decision?
My first investment was in silver. I’d come across some of these scaremongering articles and thought since the fundamentals were positive and it had recently dipped it was the perfect time to buy. Unfortunately for me, it carried on declining (and still is!).
Thankfully I didn’t bet the house! But it definitely taught me the importance of good asset allocation.
What was your best money decision?
Books! The perfect example is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It. Written by an ex FBI hostage negotiator, the book teaches others negotiation advice. It cost me less than £10 but has made me at least several thousand pounds through negotiating rental contracts, cars and employment contracts.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
A classic but a clear winner for me is ensuring you compare all your insurance/energy/internet/phone providers every time your renewal comes up. The reduction in car insurance alone has saved me thousands.
An extra tip is buying your car insurance early. From my own research I’ve seen the cost jump by 20% or more when buying a week before compared to a month or two.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Try and make it easy on yourself by buying weekly groceries online against pre-planned meals. This way you avoid the temptation of wandering through grocery stores several times a week salivating over all the tasty snacks!
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Take it easy on yourself, everything will fall into place in time.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
In our previous apartment we knocked £100 per month off the monthly rent as we were able to move in the next week. It was a great spot and originally outside of our budget, so I was pleased I worked up the confidence to ask!
What was your most recent purchase?
Hmmm, difficult! I tend to spend my spare cash on investments, books and travel. We came back from a week’s road trip around the Scottish highlands recently – does that count!? It was awesome.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I automatically deduct my investments the day after I get paid, we shop online and I have a generous phone allowance so that only leaves socialising and clothes. I’d say I stick to it by around 10%. I’m not perfect but if I can get 90% there I’m happy!
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
We recently started planning to purchase a house, so that’s the big one. They’re expensive where we live (£300k for a 2-3 bed) so it will require a fairly chunky deposit!
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Buy ourselves a home, mortgage free!
Thanks to Sam for his interview. Head on over to the Money Nest to see what else he has to say.
This post contains affiliate links.