Welcome to the latest in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Vicky from ibeatdebt.com.
Conversations with money bloggers
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
I remember getting pocket money when I was a child and saving it up to buy people presents at Christmas.
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
After my dad died I got into debt. I didn’t realise how bad it was until I went on a money management course. Going through all my finances and seeing how bad they were was really scary. I definitely felt out of control, but the debt charity I started working with took control of everything and they were amazing.
What was your worst money decision?
Doing a 0% balance transfer from credit card to credit card with no long term plan to actually clear the balance.
What was your best money decision?
Getting financial advice from a debt charity. I’m not sure I’d have ever cleared it on my own. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Where possible I buy own brand products. The vast majority are of equal or even better quality, but by avoiding the big brands you can save a small fortune.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
I take bottled water and snacks to avoid spending money when I’m on the go, but obviously that’s not always possible or appropriate. If I know I’m going somewhere specific (for example for a meal) I will look for a voucher or promo code online before going.
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
It seems obvious but don’t buy things you can’t afford and avoid the temptations of credit cards.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
The exact desk I wanted for my new house and which costs nearly £200 in the Ikea catalogue I managed to get for free from Freecycle! I had to store it for a while before I moved but I was so happy I got it.
What was your most recent purchase (not including bills, groceries, etc)
I bought a dress from Monsoon for the evenings on my upcoming holiday from a charity shop for £4! You can find all sorts of bargains and I love them. I have a few clearance ones near me – including one where everything is £1 – it’s always worth checking out when passing.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I try to, but it’s quite hard when it’s just me at home – I have to pay all the bills and do all the budgeting myself. There isn’t an exact figure that I limit myself to, but I am always looking for ways to save money (such as taking my own lunch to work) and even make extra money on the side from things like surveys and mystery shopping.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I hope very much that I won’t be working until I’m in my 70s (or maybe even later with the way things are going). I relocated (including buying a new house) at the end of last year, and started my new job only a month ago, so I’m not making specific time sensitive goals now, but I do want to clear my mortgage and retire early if I can.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Clear the mortgage and have a holiday with friends and family. I’d then get some financial advice about the best way to maximise that money . I’m sure you could probably retire on that if you invested wisely (perhaps with property and then living off the rental income) but I would need to investigate my options.
Vicky blogs over at ibeatdebt.com It covers all things money, including how I got into and out of debt, and also how going forward I manage my money – saving money and making extra money with side hustles.