Conversations with money bloggers
In this week’s On the Money, we meet William Pointing from Great Deals Made Easy, an online money-saving blog focused on cost comparison and cash back sites. He aims to help people save money and find great deals the easy way.
What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?
I remember doing a paper round when I was 14 in my local area. I would get £6.80 for an hour’s work, which would be delivered through my door in a brown packet each week. I’d spend it mainly on fast food and cinema outings (which I would do most weekends) as there was nothing else to do (I looked very young, so sneaking into a pub was out of the question).
Have you ever felt out of control with your money?
When I left university in 2006, I moved back home to the parents and got a local job, paying £18k at an event marketing company. My rent was minimal and yet I seemed to spend practically all my money in bars and pubs on Friday and Saturday nights and the odd holiday. Socialising rather than saving was my priority, which in hindsight was foolish, as I could have got a bargain flat at that time (2006-8). I spent time in my overdraft and treading water financially for several years.
What was your worst money decision?
I’d say going on an independent gap year travel trip with not enough money saved beforehand. After several months of fun, the lack of money became very apparent. I was stranded in a remote part of Australia, working in a frozen prawn factory to make ends meet. Feeling lonely and a bit desperate, fortunately (but embarrassingly), my parents bailed me out and got me back home.
What was your best money decision?
Investing in mutual funds has been a great decision (Fidelity in particular). I’ve experienced a 10% return to date on my savings and it is relatively risk free, as you are investing in 20+ companies with experts in their field, so if one company goes belly up, you are not exposed.
What is your best tip for saving money at home?
Use comparison sites (such as uSwitch, Money Supermarket, ComparetheMarket.com) to find exclusive best in market deals for your home services. They always beat the provider’s direct site offers. These sites are great for broadband, mobile phone, gas and electricity, personal finance and insurance deals.
What is your best tip for saving money out and about?
Use cashback sites (TopCashBack and Quidco) when buying a high value item. Most retail outlets will be on these sites and you can get free cashback just by clicking a button before you buy in store (you can register your card in minutes).
What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?
Put 15% of your salary into a mutual fund each month. After approximately five years, you will have deposit for your first flat.
What was your biggest ever bargain?
An all-inclusive last-minute holiday via Thomas Cook (booked online), to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for £340 for a week. This included return flights, free food and alcohol and a 4 star hotel – Everyone else at the hotel paid at least double. I was very popular amongst my friends for organising that trip!
What was your most recent purchase?
I bought a second-hand guitar for £40.
Do you stick to a monthly budget?
I keep a mental note of how much I am spending and only check accounts when I make big purchase.
Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?
I don’t think I’d ever like to retire (and not be involved in projects, etc), but I would like to not need to rely on a permanent job and be mortgage free by the time I am 50.
If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Buy a property outright and take my friends and extended family on an exotic holiday on me.
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