On the Money with Emma from Bee Money Savvy

bee money savvy

In the latest edition of On the Money we meet Emma from Bee Money Savvy. Emma is a 20-something recent graduate who is in the process of saving up for a deposit on her first home. Whilst a student, Emma had to find ways to make her student loan stretch further while working part-time to fund her masters.

Emma created beemoneysavvy.com in 2017 to pass on her financial wisdom to her fellow millennials, aspiring home buyers and anyone looking to gain financial freedom.

Conversations with Money Bloggers: Bee Money Savvy

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

When I was around 6-years-old we would visit my great-grandad every few months. He would always save pennies in a jar for when we visited and we would take them to be exchanged for notes. I can’t remember what we spent the money on, but I remember admiring how saving small amounts of money could add up so quickly.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Growing up I would often see my parents just getting by with their finances, so I’ve always been very money conscious. I’ve never really allowed myself to get out of control. I’m happy to admit that even from being a teenager I’ve always been a bit of a cheapskate.

What was your worst money decision?

A few years back, and in the midst of being love-struck, I decided that my wardrobe wasn’t ‘cool’ enough for the person I was dating. To impress him I bought a ton of branded clothing, including a jumper that cost me £150! I’ve worn that jumper twice!

What was your best money decision?

I was a very sensible student (the majority of the time). As soon as I enrolled on my degree I knew that my student loan wasn’t going to cover my living expenses so I went looking for a part-time job. I worked throughout my degree as a lifeguard, fitness instructor and sports coach. On top of that I managed to earn enough to open a savings account.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Regularly switch energy providers! If you haven’t switch energy providers for over two years you could save around £200-£300 just by switching.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Go card free! If you’re an impulse buyer then pay with cash. Only withdraw the exact amount you need for the day/week. That way you can only spend what you have on you and you can see exactly what you’re spending.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Shop for the best deals. It’s so easy to get blinded by shiny new technology/clothes/etc. and not consider that the shop next door could be offering a better deal. Check multiple retailers before making a big purchase and haggle where appropriate (phone providers are always worth haggling with). I have been stuck in so many over-priced phone contracts throughout the years.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

bee money savvy

I was pretty happy with the broadband deal I got last year. I managed to find an £18 a month deal but then went through a cashback site and got £110 cashback plus a £50 prepaid card. With the money from cashback and the pre-paid card my broadband works out at £56 for the whole year!

What was your most recent purchase?

My partner and I went 50/50 on a new game for our Nintendo Switch. We managed to save money by buying a gift card, getting cash back, as well as earning some Nintendo loyalty points in the process.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

I’m not strict when it comes to budgeting, but I am always hyper aware of what I can and can’t afford and how my finances for the month are looking. As well as my banking app, I use a chat bot to send me updates on how much I’ve been spending.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share? 

I’m hoping to buy my first home in the next year or two. I’m currently in the process of saving up for a deposit (and convincing my partner that we should move away from renting and towards buying).

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

If I won the lottery I would pay off any debts that my family has, treat myself to a holiday, buy my partner a car (I will definitely get brownie points for that answer) and start looking for a house!

Thanks so much to Emma for her contribution. Great advice about switching energy providers and using cash back sites such as Top Cashback and Quidco. Check out Bee Money Savvy for more of her tips.

You can read more of my On the Money series here and here.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

On the Money with Joleisa.com

Joleisa

Jo and Leisa are twin bloggers who both gave up the ‘joys’ of teaching to enjoy their second passion: writing. This lead to them starting two successful blogs: joleisa.com and joleisareviews.com. They hail from the sunny isles of Jamaica but have called the UK home for nearly two decades. They lead a simple, frugal lifestyle and aim to inspire others to do the same. Their blog led them to having a spot on Channel 5’s Shop Smart Save Money, which gave them a bigger platform to promote awesome frugal living ideas.

Conversations with money bloggers: Joleisa

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

As little girls we used to get a little bit of money to buy snacks. The shop was not far from home so we would walk to the shop and eat the snack on the way back home. Saving any money didn’t even cross our minds! Those were the days!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes, certainly. Before the frugal bug hit, we used to spend without a care in the world with little or no thought of saving, etc. Even as grown teachers, we used to be sympathetic to any and everyone who needed to borrow money (most of whom never repaid), we would grocery shop when there was no need and we would buy more clothes for the entire family than was necessary.

What was your worst money decision?

Perhaps one of the worst money decisions made was being duped into having a credit card. It was the most stressful time ever! Soon after getting the card, the spending spree began. Not being money savvy at the time and having ‘free’ money, I was certainly caught out. I ran up a bill that seemed impossible to pay off. That’s when I decided: ‘Never again!’. I pledged that if I ever paid it off I would never ever get one again. That was over 14 years ago and I have kept to that promise, thank God.

What was your best money decision?

Debatable, but perhaps investing in real estate, both here and abroad. That way we have somewhere to stay for part of our vacation when we go abroad and also our properties  give a good rental income. We think that is a good investment as well for other reasons: when the stress gets too much, we can sell on or if the market is very favourable for sellers, we can benefit.  I wish I understood the stock market more, though, because I hear there is some money to be had that way.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

joleisa

In a word (or two, in fact) MEAL PLANNING. Man, we have wasted a lot of money on food! But not any more! We plan the meals for up to a week, shop for just those ingredients and then execute the meals. Along with that we also batch cook and freeze or  refrigerate meals for the family.

One good tip: if there is a glut on the market for a particular food  produce, then it is usually reduced in price so that is a good time to buy the produce and get your culinary creativity going. Look at various ways to use the product, who knows, you might even invent a recipe! We have invented quite a few and have saved lots of money along the way.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Plan, plan, plan.  Plan for as many incidentals as possible. Think, will I be out at lunch time? Should I pack myself something to eat or am I making a conscious decision to buy a ‘treat’ lunch? Is my destination near enough so I can walk, saving me petrol or bus/train cost? Just think, think, think. Don’t be caught out by making impulsive purchases. It’s so good to do a little victory dance when you are back home and you have stuck to your plan.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Learn how to make and use a simple budget. The simple parts should be:

  • Money coming in
  • What I MUST spend
  • Savings
  • How much do I have left to spend

I find if this is simplified for youngsters, they are more likely to understand and to take it in. Many have no knowledge of money management (a sad state of affairs in schools). We should not sit back and think, they are 18 and they are adults now, so they should know. They can’t know if no one teaches them. So teach them the simple way and eventually they will get it.

Warn them against using money that is not theirs (credit cards!). Advise them to save up for what they want rather than buying things on the spur of the moment and paying for excessively long periods of time and with interest. Let us try to spare them the hell we went through because of lack of knowledge.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

Recently, on the Channel 5 show, Shop Smart, Save Money, we managed to purchase ingredients for three meals for a family of four for £9.00! That was a real bargain. Needless to say, we won that challenge!

What was your most recent purchase?

Hair products. We are doing a no spend January (except for must-buys). My hair is breaking badly so I have bought some products which promise to heal it. We will see!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

In a word, yes. However, we are so adept at the budget now, it is not written. However, it does follow the same format as detailed above for under 18’s.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Yes. We would love to become debt free by the end of 2019 (except for our mortgages). Hopefully we can retire at 60, by which time we should have paid off all mortgages. The plan is to be healthy enough to do some travels.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Well, first thing to do is to pay off all debts including mortgages, then retire earlier and start the travelling earlier too. Of course, we would support some worthwhile causes and make some  family members and close friends financially set for life.

Thanks so much to Jo and Leisa for this brilliant and interesting contribution. Check them out on Shop Smart, Save Money too! If you enjoyed this, check out some of my other On the Money interviews here and here.

 

On the Money with the Money Principle

money principle

This week we meet Maria Nedeva, a business school professor and the creator of The Money Principle, where she teaches people in financial trouble how to build sustainable wealth. You can follow Maria’s work on Facebook and Twitter. 

Conversations with money bloggers 

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money? 

I was probably four or five years old. Growing up on my grand-parents farm meant I didn’t have much awareness of what money was or how it worked outside of fairy tales. When living back with my parents, I remember having a stash of small coins. This was my treasure. I discovered chewing gum and bought some…I couldn’t believe that all my treasure was gone. This is my first experience of ‘paying pains’. 

Have you ever felt out of control with your money? 

Oh yes. I was not in control of my money until approximately nine years ago. And it wasn’t only a feeling either – I really had no control. This means that I didn’t know how much I earned, how much I spent and how much things cost. I had no savings and no investments, at least not substantial enough to mention. I just wasn’t interested. Having wealth in property and pensions was accidental rather than a thought through strategy. 

Nine years ago, we reached a crisis point – we were £100,000 in consumer debt. This is when I decided that things will change, and I would become a ‘money master’. We paid off all consumer debt in three years and continued to increase our wealth by investing.   

What was your worst money decision? 

money principle

In the mid-1990’s, John and I decided to invest some money (approximately £6,000) in the stock market. We had to do the old-fashioned thing: select shares to buy and make sound decisions about the (small) portfolio later. 

Instead of reading up on some companies and learning about value stock investing, I put some of the money in a company because I liked its name. Okay, I wasn’t that shallow – it was also in biotech and I suspected biotech would be big. Yep, you guessed it – within several months I lost 95% of my investment. 

Since that time, I’ve made money and I’ve lost money; but I’ve never bought shares without doing my homework. 

What was your best money decision? 

My best money decision was to learn about, and experiment with, investing in businesses. Businesses not only yield unrivalled returns; they also make money by contributing value to people and society rather than speculation. 

What is your best tip for saving money at home? 

When I analysed our spending for the first time (nine years ago) I found that up to 80% of overspending on our budget was from: 

  • Wasting food; 
  • Overpaying for insurance; and 
  • Entertainment. 

I would also emphasise that saving around the home, or any saving, for me is about reducing waste. Hence, my tips would be: 

  • Make a weekly menu a buy for what you are going to cook; 
  • Batch cook and freeze meals; 
  • Snap out of  the ‘I don’t like left overs’ mentality. What is left from dinner is your lunch, not rubbish. 
  • Check your insurance payments regularly; use comparison sites to do this. Even our life insurance is a fraction of what we used to pay (and we are decades older). 
  • ‘Entertainment’ is only what makes your life more enjoyable. How much of this is free? 

What is your best tip for saving money out and about? 

At first, I thought to say that I don’t do this.  But I do, I just do it differently. I focus on two things: buying quality and training myself to want less. 

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance? 

People will tell you that mastery of money comes from learning how to save and invest it. Don’t believe them! Money mastery comes from learning how to spend money mindfully. 

What was your biggest ever bargain? 

Our house, I suppose. Its value has increased five-fold in 25 years. 

What was your most recent purchase? 

A pair of shoes. I was in Capri and my shoes were killing my feet (at least this was my excuse for buying a lovely, and comfortable, pair of Italian shoes). 

Do you stick to a monthly budget? 

This is difficult for me to answer. If you ask me whether we have a monthly budget, and stick to it, the answer will have to be no.  Still, I know exactly what we spend every month and the ‘God knows what’ budgeting line when I do our budgeting is very small (no more than several pounds). 

There are two things behind this apparent conundrum. First, we minimise our spending by controlling our wants. And second, we have built a positive monthly cash flow that affords us spending flexibility. 

Do you have any longterm financial goals you would like to share?

I used to dream about a time when no employer would control my life. This is no longer a ‘long-term’ financial goal – I’m already in a position where continuing in my university professorship role is a matter of choice. 

My long-term desire is to build enough wealth to start a foundation to deal with some of the most acute problems of humanity. One of these is inequality in all its manifestations.  

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? 

First thing I would do is let it rest for several months – this way most of my emotions would have settled.  After that, I’d start researching businesses to buy/invest in. (I know, this sound far too boring, but my foundation is not going to build itself.) 

Thanks to Maria for a really interesting perspective on money. Check out her blog, the Money Principle! You can read more gems of wisdom from my On the Money series here and here.

On the Money with Sam from the Money Nest

money nest

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.

money nest

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.

If you enjoyed this post see my On the Money interviews with Mean Queen Ilona and with Emma Drew.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

On the Money with Mum on a Budget

This week we meet Mum on a Budget, Nicola, who tells me about her money wins and mistakes, and how happiness comes from accepting who you are – not from buying stuff.

mum on a budget

Conversations with money bloggers: Mum on a Budget

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember being allowed to go into the MetroCentre (a huge shopping mall) with my friends when I was about 13. I was given £15 pocket money (in exchange for doing chores) and I always made sure I spent every penny, even if it meant buying a few penny chews to eat on the train home! I wasn’t always as thrifty as I am now.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

When I first started earning a salary, I used to try and keep up socially with my colleagues who earned much more than me – going to expensive bars after work each Friday, followed by clubs with £10 entry fees. I soon realised that not only could I not afford that lifestyle, it actually wasn’t making me happy.

What was your worst money decision?

I bought a flat in 2006 – as everyone knows, the global financial crisis hit two years later. As I was moving abroad, I had no choice but to sell it in 2010 and ended up losing £25k overall. It taught me that property is not a short term investment.

What was your best money decision?

Moving to Australia for a few years after I got married. Going over there wasn’t a financial decision at all, but we were lucky enough to be working in Perth during the mining boom which meant that salaries were high. We were able to save a lot of money and put down a large deposit on a house when we returned to the UK.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

When I need something new, I always consider whether or not I could buy it second hand on eBay or Gumtree. I just picked up a never-used steam mop on Gumtree for half the price it was selling brand new.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

One of our biggest expenses when out and about is family lunches. We never go anywhere without a discount voucher. Most family-friendly chains these days do special offers if you’re willing to do a little bit of planning in advance. Vouchercloud is a good app for finding restaurant deals.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Ultimately, happiness doesn’t come from buying new clothes and make up. Work on accepting yourself as you are.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

mum on a budget

A couple of years ago we were at the rubbish tip, getting rid of some things. A car pulled up next to us and the driver got out and pulled out a Peppa Pig bike, ready to throw it into landfill. My husband stopped him – turns out there was nothing wrong with it, he was only getting rid of it because his daughter had outgrown it. We happily took it off his hands and now riding it is my daughter’s favourite thing to do. I since learned that Argos still sell it for £80. It makes me sad that some people are so wasteful.

What was your most recent purchase?

Some vests for my kids to wear under their clothes now that the weather is getting colder.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Yes – my husband and I use an app called Goodbudget to set our budget each month and to track our spending. I find accounting for everything we spend helps us evaluate whether or not we really need to buy something.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

We are on track to be mortgage-free by the age of 40, so I’d love to hit that milestone. I would also love to be able to help with the financial costs of my children going to university, if they choose to go.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

It’s very practical and boring, but I would pay off our mortgage, and the mortgages of our close families (luckily my husband and I have small families!). If there was any left over, I would love to take the kids to Disney World.

Nicola blogs at Mum on a Budget.  Having given up her job as an accountant in order to stay at home with her two young children, she loves sharing her tips on how to life well on a restricted budget. 

You can meet more money bloggers like Mum on a Budget here and here.

On the Money with Sue Foster

In my latest On the Money guest spot I welcome Sue Foster, who blogs about practically everything! Her blog is great for money saving and making money too. See the link at the end.

One common theme I have seen throughout my On the Money series, is that everyone, being older and wiser, says that they wish they had saved more when they were young. Sue is no different. How do we get this message to our young people?

on the money

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember my first pay packet. I was so excited. I went out and treated myself to some clothes.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes, through my divorce when my husband stopped paying into the house and left me and my
daughter short of money.

What was your worst money decision?

Nothing specific comes to mind. There are probably plenty of things I have wasted money on and
not really needed.

What was your best money decision?

Buying a run-down flat and doing it up as best I could with the little money I had. It had its problems
but was worth it in the end as I made a good profit and it got me on the housing ladder.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Always at the start of each month take off your outgoings, allow for shopping and a bit of spending
money, then put the rest away in the savings.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

on the money

Shop around and find the best price. Don’t buy the first thing you see. Also, never go supermarket
shopping on an empty stomach!

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

To save more, but at that age you spend your money on going out and buying clothes and don’t
think of the future too much.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

An old Ford Escort Estate car I bought for £400. It served me well for a few years then I traded it in
for £1000! (This is also my approach to cars!)

What was your most recent purchase?

School clothes for the kids.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Yes, I’m very good at sticking to a budget. I have a book where I write down all my outgoings at the
start of each month, so I know exactly what I have to spend.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I’d like to eventually run my blog full time and work from home, then relocate.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Put my house up for sale and move, plus buy a newer car.

Sue Foster is an online retailer and blogger. She blogs about making money online, saving money,
running a business, WordPress and various lifestyle information, which includes topics such as health
and fitness, beauty and pets. You can read Sue’s blog here.

I am happy to have had a lot of frugal and personal finance bloggers take part in On the Money to date. You can read some of the others here.

On the Money with Corinna from Inspiring Life Design

This week’s On the Money guest is Corinna from the blog Inspiring Life Design (link below).

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

From as far back as I can remember, I recall my grandmother giving me 30p every week which I had
to put into my silver piggy bank. I wasn’t allowed to spend this, though (Mum monitored that!). My
first memory of having money that I could spend was when I reached about 10 years old. I would
get £1 pocket money a week and I was allowed to go to the shop over the road to buy crisps or
sweets!

on the money

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes. In my mid-twenties I got into credit card debt. I wasn’t particularly spendy, it’s just that I lived a
little beyond my means month after month (mostly spent on entertainment, buying clothes or
home-ware items). Before I knew it I’d racked up several thousand pounds of debt that I didn’t know
how to pay off. Being in a situation where I had debt and didn’t know how to get rid of it raised a
lot of different emotions for me. I felt depressed, helpless and vulnerable.

Luckily I received help from my parents in the form of an interest free loan (which I then paid back over time). I
managed to take control of my spending by cutting up those credit cards and paying back as much as
I could every month.

What was your worst money decision?

I held onto my first property, a lovely flat located in a marina in Southampton for too long after I
moved out. After I moved to my house in Coventry I didn’t want to sell the flat because it had so
much sentimental value to me, so I went through a period of leaving it empty as my “2nd home”, or
rented out to tenants at various times. It took me 8 years to finally put that flat on the market and
sell it. During those 8 years I ploughed a lot of money into the flat for council tax, services and
maintenance. From an investing point of view this was a terrible idea, but at the time it was the right
thing for me. I’m glad that I finally let it go, because this removed a huge financial stress in the end.

What was your best money decision?

That would have to be my decision to start investing in a pension from a relatively young age. I
started when I was about 24 as I got my first graduate job. This has meant that I’ve now got a
reasonable size pension to build upon toward my financial independence goal. More recently my
decision to start investing in low cost index funds, filling up my ISA allowance each year, has
continued to grow my investments. I would say that I’m about 30% of the way toward financial
independence from my investments alone.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

I hate paying to use a gym. So instead I work-out at home for little to no cost at all. I do a
combination of running on my aerobic rebounder, yoga and workouts available from free YouTube
videos. I’ve saved myself a fortune in expensive gym memberships, and I’ve also saved myself a lot
of time.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

I take my water bottle with me everywhere and so rarely need to buy a drink when I’m out. If I’m in
the mood for a hot drink I’ll also take a tea or coffee with me in my Contigo flask (it’s a great watertight
insulated drinking flask). Same goes for snacks, I often pop a breakfast bar in my bag to snack
on, in case I’m peckish.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

To learn about basic investing and to start investing in low cost index funds as early as I could. If only
I’d started investing at 18 I might already be financially independent now!

What was your biggest ever bargain?

on the money

I can’t think of a big bargain. However, years ago I popped into a supermarket to grab a loaf of bread.
When I got there, I found the loaves of bread I liked reduced to 20p each so I picked up 4 of them
(because at the time I froze my bread). Since I didn’t need anything else I headed straight to the
check-out. Something must have gone wrong with the till because when the cashier rang the
reduced bread through it totalled a negative amount, and she actually tried to give me money for
taking the bread (I think it was about 50p)! She said she needed to give me the money to make her
till balance. I told her that I didn’t feel right being paid to take the bread, so I politely declined the
money, suggested she gave it to charity, and walked out of the store with my 4 loaves of bread for
free!

What was your most recent purchase?

A light ring so that I can make my YouTube videos pretty!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

I plan my finances out monthly to make sure that I have enough money set aside to cover big bills
that crop up annually. Every month I budget an amount of spending money which I roughly stick to.
Some months I go a bit over, some I’m under, it all pretty much works out.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Yes! My goal is to be financially independent (so that I could retire if I wanted to) within the next 7
years. I plan to achieve this through a combination of my pension and ISA investments, building
these up so that they are 25 times bigger than my annual expenses. When I hit this target I should be
able to live off my investments using the 4% safe withdrawal rule.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Gather my closest family to tell them. I’ve always imagined that I would drive straight to a
supermarket or wine store and buy the biggest bottle of champagne I can find, then tell my family
while celebrating. I’d probably be a bit boring with the winnings though. I’d share with my nearest
and dearest, then use the rest to fund an immediate early retirement!

A bit about Corinna: I live in the Midlands (UK) with my boyfriend and our three cats, and I have a goal to
become financially independent within the next 7 years. I have a blog, inspiringlifedesign.com,
where I talk all about my money making side hustles. I’m passionate about helping others realise
that financial freedom is possible for everyone. In sharing my side hustle adventures, I want to help
as many people as I can to make money from their own income hustles, so that they can become
financially independent too.

Corinna can also be found on You Tube. Many thanks for your contribution, Corinna!

If you enjoyed this interview, check out my other On the Money posts here and here.

Your Money Sorted! On the Money with Eileen Adamson

Every fortnight or so I run another in my On the Money series, talking to money bloggers about their mistakes, wins and advice they would give us to help manage our money. This time I speak to Eileen Adamson from Your Money Sorted.

on the moneyConversations with money bloggers

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember taking my bank book to school and paying money into my TSB account.  I loved seeing the figures grow each week.  My first memory of spending money is probably when I got my Saturday job. I felt that I could buy things for myself that I had previously not been allowed to have.  Pringle jumpers were all the rage, but I had to have M&S ones, because my mum refused to spend the money on a Pringle!  Being able to buy my own felt good!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes, just after I graduated with a massive overdraft and a student loan.  I remember getting paid each month, taking me back into the black, and then straight back into overdraft again as soon as the rent was paid.  I hated this, and vowed that once my overdraft was paid off, I would never have another one.  And I never have!

After our twins were born, I felt out of control of my money for a good 10-12 years.  I am a planner, who is much happier when I know that I am financially secure.  We had planned to have 2 children, and a fairly comfortable lifestyle, but a surprise set of twins changed all that.  A new car, an extension, and 3 lots of uni fees to save for, suddenly changed our lives.  Financially it made a huge difference to us, and I let that really get me down for years.  It wasn’t until I started working on my mindset, that I realised that actually I was the problem, not the money!

What was your worst money decision?

Not considering the impact that part-time working would have on my teaching pension.  I had always planned to retire at 55, but discovered a few years ago that my pension will not support that.  I have now taken steps to remedy this, but I kick myself at the missed opportunities.

What was your best money decision?

Buying a book by Denise Duffield Thomas for a tenner – it has completely changed my outlook on money, and subsequently my life!

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Be very clear about what is important to you and your family.  Don’t get caught up in a competition with the Jones’s – they are probably up to their ears in debt anyway!

on the money

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Simple – always shop with a list.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Start investing in the stock market now. Little and often for the rest of your life will help you to become financially secure, and therefore free to do what you want.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

Getting gifted a £10k car has to be the biggest bargain ever!  A family member no longer needed their car, and gave it to us.  I know – I still can’t quite believe it either!

What was your most recent purchase?

A new screen protector for my phone.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Kind of.  We don’t spend more than we earn, prioritise saving and things that are important to us, so we are happy with the way we spend.  However, I don’t actually budget – I use mindful spending, and think carefully about my purchases, so I don’t need to set myself rigid budgets.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I plan to retire from teaching at 55, and head off travelling round Europe in a camper van with my hubby.  I plan to still be running Your Money Sorted, but that can be done from anywhere in the world, so it’s all good.

We should have the mortgage paid off in 3 years, but I have always had a wee hankering to buy and run a holiday cottage, so we might be looking at doing that instead of paying off the mortgage.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Buy a holiday cottage!

Eileen blogs at  Your Money Sorted  and is a financial coach working online with UK based women, helping them to develop a better relationship with money, and become happier, healthier and wealthier. By gaining an understanding of how their personality affects the decisions they make, Eileen can help them to implement changes which will allow them to feel calm, positive and confident that they are in control and making good financial decisions. You can find her here:

https://www.yourmoneysorted.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/yourmoneysorted/

https://twitter.com/YourMoneyCoachx

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/yourmoneysorted/

Many thanks to Eileen for a most enlightening interview. To read more of my On the Money series see here and here.

On the Money with the Female Money Doctor

Every couple of weeks or so I talk to a fellow money blogger in my On the Money series. This time I am featuring Nikki from the Female Money Doctor.

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers 

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money? 

on the money

I remember playing “shop” at school and at home, using a plastic till and plastic money, but I don’t recall ever really having a sense of what money was. I knew that you used it to buy things, but the idea of saving was alien to me. I had a savings account with the Halifax, but I didn’t continue to use it once I got to university. Money had no value or importance to me. As my mum used to say “it burned a hole in my pocket” whenever I had any and I always spent it rapidly! 

Have you ever felt out of control with your money? 

Absolutely – feeling out of control was the catalyst for learning about my own finances and then teaching others the same concepts. When I went travelling in 2015 at the age of 30, I had a massive epiphany that I would be in debt forever if I didn’t do something about it. I’m still paying for the mistakes of the past, but I’m moving in the right direction. 

What was your worst money decision? 

Buying a flat when I should have rented. After a huge break up with an ex, I wanted to prove that I could stand on my own two feet and purchased a flat in my late 20s. My life then rapidly changed within the two years of owning the flat, and I ended up meeting the love of my life, quitting my job and moving in with him outside of London. I am now in the headache of selling the flat, which has so far not gone as smoothly as I would have liked. Still, the consolation is that it gained a fair amount in the time I had it, so at least I have some fodder to pay off a big chunk of debt and build up my savings and investments. 

What was your best money decision? 

Learning how to invest! I feel so much more in control now. I know that I can shape my future by building up my own funds in addition to what I would get from my pension. I’ll always be grateful for that (I just wish I’d learnt this when I turned 18!). 

What is your best tip for saving money at home? 

I think our biggest expenses are our entertainment and our food. Careful planning of meals throughout the week and using ingredients up from the freezer and our cupboards is the best way I know of keeping food prices down. Spending money on entertainment packages like Sky is fine if you use them, but with companies like Amazon and Netflix allowing you to stream shows and films, and Freeview boxes showing you pretty much every channel, do you really need to spend all that money on Sky or Virgin? If you decide the answer is yes, always watch out for renewal hikes in price, and if you threaten to leave you might be able to negotiate a discount! Just hold firm and be prepared to follow through on the threat if you’re not getting anywhere. 

What is your best tip for saving money out and about? 

Like the tip about saving money on food with planning, the same goes for when you’re out and about. Plan well ahead, ESPECIALLY if you have children. Research discount codes online using Wowcher or Groupon and get stuff much cheaper. Use your loyalty cards. If you work for the NHS or other emergency service, you’ll often come across discounts like 20% off in Nando’s! Take packed lunches wherever possible, or seek out restaurants with special early-bird discounts and savings. There is no need to curb what you do, just find cheaper ways to do it! 

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance? 

on the money

I’ve already alluded partially to this, but it would be to get investing straight away. Open a stocks and shares ISA and start putting in whatever you can. I had just started university when I was 18, so the other thing I would advise is to live well within the budget of my student loan. I studied in London, so this was hard to do, but I don’t regret taking out the loan. I just regret not having a tight rein on my money and using credit cards to plug the gap. 

What was your biggest ever bargain? 

Myself and my partner Tom recently had our garden landscaped. We pulled in a few contractors to offer us ideas and quotes. Of the four we had quotes from, there was one that was over £2000 CHEAPER for basically the same design. Why? Because he was new in business and was not VAT registered, saving us a huge VAT bill. Moral of that story, get more than one quote and find out if you can save on VAT. It literally saved us thousands! 

What was your most recent purchase? 

Clothes! I was in desperate need of heat-wave proof home and work dresses, so I did some online shopping and picked out a few things at discount prices to see me through! They’re quite classic styles, so should do me for next year too. 

Do you stick to a monthly budget? 

Absolutely – it’s the only way I could “pay myself first” by saving and investing, contribute to having fun, pay off debt and cover the bills at the same time. Without a budget I’d be clueless! Sometimes it is hard to stick to, especially when an unexpected bill occurs, but I am a huge advocate of the emergency fund. We know the unexpected happens, so having a little bit tucked away for “just in case” times is a real comfort. 

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I’m letting our mortgage be paid off over time with inflation. We have a repayment mortgage too, so I know this is covered. My goal is to pay off all my credit card debt by the time I turn 35 (just under two years time), and then I will be throwing as much as I can at investing. I don’t plan to retire early necessarily, but I would consider a six month on, six month off type lifestyle where I travel during the dreary English winters with my boyfriend Tom. I have to be earning enough to cover both of us to have this lifestyle as he would not be able to continue in his current job for only six months of the year. For now, I’m all about getting that debt paid and holding that dream on my vision board for motivation! 

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? 

This is such a fun question to answer! I’d get my debt paid off, pay off the mortgage, and then start looking for ways to grow the money so that we’d never have to work again unless we chose to. I’d likely invest in property and top up my investments in the stock market. I’d of course also have some fun and take a prolonged trip somewhere warm and exotic. A girl can dream right?!  

Dr Nikki Ramskill is a GP based in the UK and also a blogger at The Female Money Doctor. She decided a few years back to make some big changes in her money life, because she was sick to death of feeling like she never had any. Nikki wants to help take the stress out of money management so that we can all lead happier, healthier lives. Her mission is to help women make more empowered decisions about money because she feels that we have the power to change the world around us, not only for ourselves, but for our families too.  

Check out these other posts in my On the Money series for more financial confessions and sensible advice here and here.

 

 

On the Money with Emma from the Money Whisperer

In my On the Money series, I speak to UK Money Bloggers about their own experiences with personal finance. This week I meet Emma from the Money Whisperer.

on the money

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers 

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money? 

I lived next door to a newsagent when I was little. I used to get 10p pocket money and I would go round to the newsagent and buy 10 penny sweets in a little paper bag. What can you buy for 10p nowadays? 

Have you ever felt out of control with your money? 

I’ve always been good with money, which is rooted in my parents giving me a good grounding in my relationship with money. I got a part time job when I was 15, worked part-time throughout university and didn’t take out a credit card until I was in full time employment. I am an accountant; we have a reputation for being cautious when it comes to money! 

What was your worst money decision? 

In 2006 I moved to Australia on secondment with the firm I was working for in London at the time. In the months before I got the secondment, I had been house hunting for a 2 bedroom flat in Clapham. They were expensive but then so was rent and I figured I was throwing money down the drain. I regret not buying a flat and renting it out whilst I was away. I ended up staying 7 years in Australia and in that time, London house prices rocketed. I could have come back to a nice little nest egg. 

What was your best money decision? 

Learning about investing. I started buying shares when I was in Australia and when I came back, started investing in to a stocks and shares ISA regularly. The power of compound interest is amazing. 

What is your best tip for saving money at home? 

I used to be guilty of wasting food. I’d buy too much without thinking enough about what we actually needed. If there was something new or exciting on the end of an aisle, I’d throw it in the trolley without thinking. I now meal plan and shop online which has reduced what we spend and what we waste.  

What is your best tip for saving money out and about? 

on the money

I always carry a bottle of water on me as small bottles of water are so expensive if you buy them out and about. If I ever do get caught out, I’ll buy a large bottle as they are cheaper than small ones! 

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance? 

Opt in to your workplace pension and increase what you put it to it every time you get a pay rise. Saving for the future is so important. If you start off putting just a small amount away each month, your future self will thank you.  

What was your biggest ever bargain? 

I have a gel manicure set which I got in the Christmas sales about 4 years ago now. I do my own manicures and pedicures sitting in front of the TV while the children are in bed. At £50 a pop to go to a salon and have your nails done, this is the gift that keeps on giving as it has saved me so much money over the years.  

What was your most recent purchase? 

I’ve just bought tickets for Lapland UK. I love Christmas and for me, it’s the whole build up which makes it so magical. I love our family to enjoy the experiences around Christmas time – ice skating, seeing Father Christmas, the panto, etc. I’ve wanted to go to Lapland UK for a couple of years but have waited for the girls to be old enough to remember it hopefully. 

Do you stick to a monthly budget? 

I’m not a fan of the word budget. It sounds restrictive. We always make sure we spend less than we earn each month, and we are mindful of when in the year our big expenses are e.g. house insurance, car insurance. In this respect, we have a money plan but not a budget in the true sense of the word.   

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Being in a position where we can choose to work is the ultimate dream for us, and we hope to be in that position by the time we are in our 50’s. Right now we are putting the foundations in place to enable this – investing in both the stock market and property, and seeking out alternative passive income streams.  

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? 

Buy a holiday home big enough for my whole family to spend time there for all school holidays together. Somewhere near a beach 😊 .

Emma started writing at The Money Whisperer because she believes that financial health and wellbeing is not a luxury just for the wealthy – it’s a basic need for all. As a parent – she is a mummy of two little girls – she aims to share with other parents good money habits and help create the foundations for them to live their best lives. She writes broadly on personal finance from why everyone needs life insurance through to investing in children’s pensions 

 I hope you enjoyed the latest in my On the Money posts. You can read some others here and here.

On the Money with My Money Cottage

In this week’s On the Money, I meet Clare from My Money Cottage.

Conversations with money bloggers

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I don’t really have many memories of money as a child. Money wasn’t really talked about! I knew we were financially OK and I never needed to think about it. Probably my first memory is when I was given £1,000 when I turned 18. I blew the lot within a few weeks and I really regretted that for a long time. I don’t think I’d give my children that kind of money at 18 unless it was a specific purpose.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes! About nine years ago, we went through an incredibly tough time financially. Both myself and my husband were both made redundant within a month of each other. I was pregnant with our second child and Christmas was coming up. It was the most difficult time financially of our lives. We had to take drastic measures to get through it.

What was your worst money decision?

My worst decision was buying on credit cards. We racked up a lot of debt very quickly without a thought for the consequences. Now, if we can’t afford to buy something with cash, then we don’t buy it.

What was your best money decision?

Keeping hold of our house when we decided we needed somewhere bigger. We now rent but we’ve still got our first home so we’re building up equity there. When we come to buy our forever home (hopefully in two years), we’ve got a great deposit sitting in that house.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Meal plan. I’m always banging on about meal planning but it’s honestly the best thing I do that regularly saves us money. I meal plan for at least 5 out of 7 nights every week and it saves us hundreds of pounds over the year.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

on the money

Take drinks for the kids! Honestly, no matter where we go and how long we’re out of the house for, somebody needs a drink!

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Put that £1,000 that your Dad gives you away for when you REALLY need it!

What was your biggest ever bargain?

This is a tough one. I suppose I’d have to say that we got a good bargain when we rented our last house. We’ve moved out of the area now but the house we rented before this one was found through a friend. The landlord didn’t want a deposit from us which really surprised us! I’m sure if he had taken a deposit we would have got the money back when we moved out, but at the time this made a big difference to us. It meant almost £700 still sitting in our bank account rather than being tied up in the DPS. Looking back on this, I’m not sure it was actually legal for him to do what he did, but we really appreciated it at the time!

What was your most recent purchase?

I bought a fairy door to go in the garden. It was only £3 and my daughter is obsessed with fairies!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

We stick to a weekly budget, simply because I find this easier to manage. If I thought “Ooh, we’ve got x amount to last the month”, then it wouldn’t last the month! Breaking it down into a weekly budget works much better for us.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

We want to buy a house within the next three years. That will be our final house purchase so we’re working hard at the moment to build up the funds to make that possible. Retirement hasn’t really entered my head yet to be honest. I love working and I’m not prepared to think about retiring! We do both pay into pensions so at least that’s covered.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Buy a house. Then – a holiday somewhere sunny.

Thanks to Clare for this. It’s good to hear that somebody worked their way out of such a difficult financial disaster! You can read more about Clare at My Money Cottage.

To read more of my On the Money series, see here and here.

On the Money with Jane from Skinted Minted Mum

This week’s On the Money guest blogger is Jane Wallace from Skinted Minted Mum. Jane is a journalist and author who now blogs about family finance with her friend and former colleague, Charlotte Beugge.

Conversations with money bloggers: On the Money

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money? 

Buying a Texas bar at the newsagent on the Finchley Road, London with my pocket money. 

Have you ever felt out of control with your money? 

Sometimes, when lots of bills arrive at the same time.  

What was your worst money decision? 

Investing in a Middle East/Africa fund just before the oil price crashed (four or five years ago). Its value sank. Fortunately I hadn’t put too much money in it… 

What was your best money decision? 

Buying a one-bedroom apartment aged 26 in Oval, London. 

What is your best tip for saving money at home? 

Use comparison websites and move energy supplier and insurer every year. Loyalty does not pay. 

What is your best tip for saving money out and about? 

Make a list and stick to it. Bring your own lunch/snacks/bottle of water. 

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance? 

Save – even if it’s just a little. 

What was your biggest ever bargain? 

A half-price sofa in the Laura Ashley sale. It’s still fabulous 15 years on. 

What was your most recent purchase?

on the money

A pair of shoes – some summer sandals.  

Do you stick to a monthly budget? 

Yes. However, I do borrow and pay back from an emergency fund occasionally. 

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I’d like to get a full state pension. In my case, that will mean saving up to buy extra years. 

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? 

Make a large donation to Surfers against Sewage. Then buy a shack on a beach in a warm country. 

Great choice! A shack in a warm country sounds just the thing. I have no idea what a Texas bar is though! To read more from Jane, go to her blog Skinted Minted Mum.

To read more from my featured bloggers in the On the Money series, see here and here.

 

 

 

On the Money with Debt Camel

on the money

This week in On the Money we meet Sara Williams from Debt Camel,  a wonderfully clear and helpful blog to help people get out and stay out of debt. Sara says:

“I have been a volunteer adviser at my local Citizens Advice in London since 2001. I am a member of the Institute of Money Advisers and have the Certificate in Money Advice Practice professional qualification.

“As a debt adviser I am very familiar with the sorts of worries people have. Sometimes there aren’t easy answers, but I set up Debt Camel to look at what really matters to people who have a debt problem.”

Conversations with Money Bloggers

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember enjoying sticking Green Shield stamps into books in the ’60s, and arguing with my sister over which of the big items our parents should save up for. Of course they always cashed the stamps in for something practical but boring like a frying pan, to our disappointment!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

No, I feel lucky that my husband and I both had a similar cautious approach to spending. Both times we bought a house it was a stretch, so we didn’t go on holiday for a couple of years and redecorated it ourselves, that sort of thing.

What was your best money decision?

To pay off the mortgage as fast as possible. Interest rates were high when we bought our first home, about 14% I think. As they dropped, we always left the mortgage repayments the same. And any extra overtime, pay rises or bonuses went to the mortgage.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

My son left home in the autumn and I have only just got around to asking the water company to switch to a water meter. The rule of thumb is that if the number of people in your house is the same or less than the number of bedrooms, you will probably save with a water meter. That should be several hundred pounds a year for my house.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

That one is easy – have absolutely zero interest in cars, they are money pits. Treat them as a means of transport, not a status symbol or a luxury, so buy something practical with a good reliability record and then keep it until it is very old. My previous car was changed at 14 years, I’m hoping my current one lasts as long or longer.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

I was 18 in the late seventies. That was a different world: no student loans, good final salary pension schemes, rampant inflation. I’m not sure any advice to that young adult would be at all relevant to this generation, who have a much harder path to tread.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

In 1987 during a couple of weeks between jobs I went down to stay with my parents in Dorset. There I treated myself to a very expensive sheepskin coat, happy I was getting a big pay rise. I can’t remember any longer what I paid for it, but I am still wearing it 30 years later. If it’s cold but not raining, it’s what I wear for dog walking several times a week.

on the money

What was your most recent purchase?

I have a broken wrist at the moment, so I have been going out a lot less than normal. Ordering books from Amazon has been my lifeline.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I am retired with no mortgage and a reasonable pension. So I would give it to my children. Aged 25 and 23, they need it a lot more than I do!

Many thanks to Sara for her contribution to my On the Money series. Do hop over and have a look at Debt Camel. It is a mine of useful information about debt and personal finance.

To see more of my conversations with money bloggers, see here and here.

On the Money with Pounds and Sense

on the money

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? 

on the money

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.

You can read more of my On the Money series here and here.

On the Money with William Pointing from Great Deals Made Easy

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.

on the money

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?

on the money

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.

Thanks so much to William for this week’s contribution. You can visit William’s site to find all the best deals here. For more of my On the Money series, see here and here.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

On the Money with Victoria from LyliaRose

Conversations with money bloggers

on the money

In this week’s edition of my On the Money series, we meet money blogger Victoria from LyliaRose.com. She says, ‘I live with my husband Ben, our young children Bella and Reuben and four chickens.  I’m a full time blogger, home money maker & mum.  I’m also a pretty rubbish wife and homemaker as I spend most of my day blogging, which I absolutely love!’

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I started a paper round when I was around 14 years old. This was my first experience of regular money  as I’d never had pocket money.  I used to spend most of it on junk food and stationery at the local shops!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes absolutely.  Before I hit 20 I got into dreadful debt as I opened loads of store cards and credit cards when I turned 18.  I’d had no experience or education in money before and got hooked on being able to buy whatever I wanted without thinking of the consequences.

What was your worst money decision?

Definitely opening store cards and credit cards to buy things I couldn’t afford.

What was your best money decision?

Deciding to buy my first home.  Yes, I have a mortgage at the moment, but at least my payments are paying towards an investment for myself and the children and I’ll own something at the end of it.  I rented for 11 years prior to buying and I dread to think of the total amount I paid towards someone else’s mortgage!

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Use cashback sites for everything!  They’re not just for online shopping, but also for utilities, broadband, mobile phones, insurance and more.  You can make a saving and get cashback for most of the things you pay for at home.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

on the moneyIf you’re visiting an attraction,  check for online tickets before you go as they are usually cheaper than buying on the door.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Budget budget budget!  Work out your incomings and outgoings to see what’s left for spending and stick to it!  If you can’t afford it, save or don’t buy it.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

My Nutri Ninja.  I wasn’t sure whether to buy one, but I’m so pleased I did.  I use it almost daily to make smoothies or homemade oat milk and it’s still as powerful as new.  I’ve had a few years now.  Even though it wasn’t reduced I’d class it as a bargain as I get so much use out of it and it wasn’t high priced in the first place. Sometimes I see more value in getting something I’ll use constantly rather than a bargain that might sit in the cupboard for years!

What was your most recent purchase?

A TV for the children’s playroom.  I saw there was cashback available online so I managed to get the store manager to match it.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Yes, we try to.  I work out our household income and outgoings every month then put a portion into savings and divide the rest into weekly spending money.  We do our best to stick to it, but sometimes something unexpected might pop up like our vacuum cleaner breaking last month.  Luckily we have our savings to dip into if we really need to.  Without a budget we just spend willy-nilly so I find it makes us a lot more careful with our personal spending.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I’ve only just started saving towards my pension in the past year so I’d really like to get on top of this and save as much as possible in the next thirty years.  I’d like to be able to have the option to retire in my early 60s and be financially comfortable in thirty years.  I’m not sure I would retire then, but I’d like to be in the position to be able to.

I also want to pay off my mortgage asap.  It’s huge and we’ve only had it four years so we’re at the very start of the mortgage journey.  It’s rather depressing seeing the large chunks of interest go out each month and I’d love to reduce it drastically. However, ­­having two young children and doing up our first home is our focus at this moment in time.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Pay off our mortgage!

Thanks to Victoria for her contribution to On the Money. I love the tip about checking to see if tickets are cheaper online – they usually are and we often forget to do it! You will find her blogging about making money and healthy living at www.lyliarose.com and www.healthyvix.com.

For more in my On the Money series, see here and here.

 

On the Money with Emma Drew

I am delighted to feature money maestro Emma Drew in this week’s On the Money interview.

Conversations with money bloggers

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember my Mum taking me to the wholesalers with her (she and my Dad ran a store) and letting me pick out my own items to sell. Then I started a ‘tuck shop’ and any money I made was mine. I quickly learned that if I reinvested money in more stock then I could make even more money. It was great earning my own pocket money in this way.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

When I first went to university and got my student loan it was the most money I had ever had! Not only did I have this money, but I also was living in a city that had shops, bars and restaurants – something I didn’t have in my small village life back home. I spent so much money straight away, on clothes and eating out. I felt like I couldn’t stop spending and that I couldn’t control my money. That’s when I got into debt, which took me years to pay off.

What were your best and worst money decisions?

I was lucky enough to buy a house when I was 18 – back in the days when you could walk into a bank and get a mortgage easily. My parents didn’t want me paying rent because they saw it as dead money. I had to furnish the house myself. The third bedroom never got rented out, so it wasn’t as great an investment as we originally thought. It actually proved to be a great decision because nowadays it is rented out and earns me a passive income every month. However, it was a struggle as an 18 year old to have to pay for every repair, all the bills, etc. I’m not sure I would have done it again.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

on the money

I love shopping my kitchen or my wardrobe to see what I already have. Sometimes clothes have fallen off their hangers and I discover something I had forgotten about. Or when we are trying to have a lean spending week, we try to make meals based on items we already have in.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

I try to make sure that every penny I spend benefits me in some way. That means using a cashback or rewards credit card (paid off every month), as well as scanning my receipts and uploading them to apps like Shoppix and Receipt Hog to earn more from them.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

I would tell myself to stop buying everything! Now that I’m 30 I don’t have any of those items I spent my money on and got into debt over.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

I love scouring charity shops for bargains, and I have found a charity shop where everything is £1. I regularly pick up Joe Browns, Jaeger and Laura Ashley from there, which I either keep for myself or we sell in our eBay store.

What was your most recent purchase?

Very boring – we got some socks for my husband from Primark for £6.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Ish. We have a budget in the sense of knowing how much everything costs per month. However, if we see a great deal that means spending more one month to stock up, then a bit less the following months we will often do that. I redo our budget every six months to account for anything increasing in price (like council tax).  Any savings we have made, maybe from switching utility provider, can also be factored in.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share? 

I am really fortunate to run my blog full time, so that almost feels like retirement. Our next big financial goal is to buy a house. However, we are looking at increasing our income first so that we can purchase the Dream Home, even if that means waiting a little bit longer.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Buy the Dream Home and furnish it! The Dream Home has a swimming pool, an annex for my Dad and outbuildings that we can use for office space.

Emma blogs at EmmaDrew.Info.  Emma is a personal finance blogger who blogs about ways to make money, save money and live the life you want. She lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband and two cats.  If you are looking to make extra money online, find ways to save money and connect with like minded people then head over to her blog.

You can read some more of my On the Money interviews here and here.

On the Money with Jennifer from MamaFurFur

In my latest On the Money blogger interview, I speak to Jennifer at MamaFurFur.

On the Money: conversations with money bloggers

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I can remember fondly my Grandpa giving us a 50 pence piece pocket money each Saturday.  At the time it seemed like a huge amount of money to buy a few sweets or save up. When it was our birthdays we used to get a £10 note.  That seemed like a lifetime’s worth of money and I would use it usually to buy books from the local book shop.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

No, but I have felt what it feels like for debt to  be overwhelming.  My husband came into our marriage with debt on credit cards of around £22k and I’m proud to say that we cleared it off as a partnership over 3 years and I am so thankful for the experience it taught me.

What was your worst money decision?

Being honest right now – I wish we didn’t have car payments. However,  a few years ago when I didn’t know a lot about financial freedom and goals we took out loan deals to get new cars.  Very soon though we will be at break even for those deals and we can hand them back. Personally I know I don’t want a car payment again.
on the money

What was your best money decision?

Waking up to the fact that financial freedom can be achieved by absolutely anyone if they know how – and that is my mission –  to inform as many people as I can how to get rich enough to live their ideal life.  It’s all maths really and just dedication.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Spend your hard earned money as wisely as you can. Simplify your life and then pay yourself and your family in the future before you spend your pay cheque.  I’m all about investing our money as much as we can, with the balance of living life.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

I’m amazed at the cost of eating out, as I make most of our meals at home from scratch and take lunches to work for myself and my husband.  The cost of a “meal out” or takeaway is enough to put me off it, never mind the health benefits of avoiding it.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Pay yourself first a minimum of 10% of your income – pay that into your pension and some form of savings – and then spend the rest if you want.  That one 10% rule will change your life and make you thankful you learnt and applied it from a young age with the power of compound interest and time.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

I would have to say our home as, for the cost of it, it contains everything I love most and keeps it safe and dry (aka my husband, my two young boys and my cats).

What was your most recent purchase?

I purchased two new tops for work from Tesco actually – I am amazed by the quality of supermarket clothes and find that most of the time the fit and material is better than most shops in a higher price range too.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Yes, I work on a zero budget system so each penny is accounted for. Usually we have money left over each month which I then put in our holiday fund or invest.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Absolutely – I have plans and strategies in place to be financially free within the next 10 years and live off our investment incomes.  I also have plans to help people do likewise with my blog and youtube channel. I don’t want anyone to suffer having to choose between the life they want and financial stress and burden.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

With the knowledge I have right now, I would invest the amount I needed to live financially free off the interest payments, then pay off our home. If there was some left over I would purchase property outright for my family each to stay in with an amount also to invest to live financially free.
If the world should bless me with a lottery win, I’ve got it all planned out and saved already!

Jennifer blogs at Mamafurfur.com. She says:‘I know that other parents and individuals might be struggling to balance family commitments and put food on the table.  I want to give them as much information as possible to create financial security and freedom, so that they can create the life they truly want without those stresses and pain.’

For more of my On the Money series with your favourite money bloggers, see here and here.

On the Money with Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny

In this week’s On the Money interview, I talk to Mrs Mummy Penny herself, Lynn James.

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

My earliest memory of money is where I used to spend hours counting my dad’s tankards of coins he used to collect. There were 20p’s and 5p’s. As a very young girl, maybe 5 or 6, I would pile it up and put it into bank bags for him to pay into the bank.

My earliest memory of spending money was getting my 50p pocket money per week and spending 10p per day on sweets in the sweetie shop up the road on the way to school.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

So many times. I have written about this at length, most recently being my confessions of a personal finance blogger. In April 2017, I felt very out of control with a big amount of debt to repay. We could cover the minimum payments, but the journey of debt repayment felt so long and painful. Turns out income levels changed and therefore debt repayments could increase dramatically. The huge amount of debt will soon be paid off.

However, this isn’t the only time this has happened, I have a tendency of getting into this debt cycle regularly and was only reminded of it this week when out for a drink and a chat with one of my best mates. I live in the present and want things now. My tendency is to buy and pay later, rather than saving and then buying later. I don’t want to live like this but it is behaviour of twenty years engrained into me.

What was your worst money decision?

on the money

My worst money decision was to say no to contributing to my pension during my 20’s when I was working in a well-paid job with Tesco. I was earning good money and the Tesco contribution was double mine. But I decided that I couldn’t afford the £100 or so a month it would have taken out of my monthly salary. A silly decision that has probably cost me around £40k in my pension pot. I really regret this decision.

What was your best money decision?

I first bought a house when I was 24. Despite the crazy pension decision, I did get onto the property ladder as early as possible. I have moved to a new house twice since then and have generated more and more equity and value each time. We now have a large chunk of equity in the house, much more than the mortgage we owe, so I feel very comfortable that I made the best decision there.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

A regular check of your direct debits and budget is a worthy exercise. Every few months is fine or maybe before a big financial decision is taken. You might be surprised at what you find in your expenses. There may be payments that can be switched to a different company to make a saving or even cancel if you are not using the service.

I recently checked my expenses and made a big saving of £42 per month by switching broadband and removing Sky Sports and Sky Movies from our TV package.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Always have a water bottle and few snacks stashed in your handbag. This always saves when I am out and about. It also stops me from having a little browse in the expensive shops at Kings Cross when I am at work.

What would be your advice to the 18-year-old you regarding finance?

I would tell myself that credit cards should not be relied on. Not to start adult life with the mindset that credit can be used to get everything right now. I would emphasis the importance of saving up to buy thing that you want and waiting.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

Oooh, tricky question. I am generally good at negotiating on all big things. We recently bought two cars and saved £5k off the list prices. We agreed to pay £225k for our house 9 years ago and negotiated this down to £222k on the day of exchange at the last minute. Our house is now worth at least double that, so it was a great investment.

Or maybe that 5p carrot cake that I found in the Co-op a few months back?!

What was your most recent purchase?

I was in London for a series of meetings this week and spent a shockingly high amount of money on Green’s juice drink from Pret A Manger. It felt like I was being very healthy getting it, but it cost £3.79!!

I was also in London last week and was early for a meeting near Regent St, so popped into H&M for a browse. Due to extreme debt repayment I rarely buy clothes, but I did invest in a new pair of pumps, a red and blue Breton top and the most beautiful orange frilly sleeve top. I spent £40 so nothing excessive!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Yes. We have a strict budget with every cost accounted for, even for the irregular costs and random items that need to be paid every few months or once a year. The base bills are paid then another chunk goes into a saving account to allow for the one-off costs.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share? 

I want to have enough money in my pension to retire comfortably. Fortunately, I have a pension plan from my employment during my 30’s but that needs to be regularly added to. I also have a stocks and shares ISA,but that is more of a pot for my children to give them freedom to choose their future paths at the age of 18.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I would go on the most luxurious holiday, probably Necker Island for 10 days. Then I would plan out what we should do with the money. Most likely a new house, some money given to friends and family who need it, and investment.

Lynn runs the blog MrsMummyPenny and says: ‘This has been my full time job for the past three years, after quitting the corporate world to start my own business. My background is commercial finance and I qualified as an accountant back in the day. My website is a blog all about personal finance: healthy wealth, body and mind.’

Thanks to Lynn for this eye opening on the money interview. It’s good to know that finance experts make mistakes too! For more in my On the Money series, see here and here.

 

On the Money with Faith from Much More With Less

In this week’s On the Money interview, I talk to Faith from Much More With Less.

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

on the moneyWhat is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

My earliest memory of money is intense frustration, when my pocket money went up from 10p to 20p a week. Every week we stocked up on penny sweets, and I had grand plans about stretching to a Sherbet Dib Dab when my pocket money rose to previously unknown heights. Then my Dad said I could still only spend 10p on sweets, and had to save the rest! Shocker. I have stuck to a savings habit though.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

No. I’ve always been boringly sensible with my money, something my mother drilled into me. Mind you, I didn’t enjoy seeing my bank balance go down when freelance work dried up, my flat mate moved out, and the bills and mortgage payments were mounting up. I ended up temping to make ends meet.

What was your worst money decision?

My first job after university had a big salary, a lot of travel and longer hours. I did save money and start a pension, but I also spent a lot with nothing left to show for it, on things like takeaways, clothes in airports or Ocado deliveries. If I had my time over again, I’d make different decisions.

What was your best money decision?

Buying my first flat in 1999. At the time, I worried I was too late to benefit from property prices that had risen sharply since 1995. Well, I lived in London, so it turned out I wasn’t too late! All the effort scraping together a deposit and covering the mortgage really paid off. Without buying that first flat, we’d never be living in a home we love today.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Go through all your direct debits. Cancel anything you don’t need or use any more, then aim to find better deals on everything else. Cutting the cost of bills like your gas, electricity, mortgage, mobile, broadband, landline, car insurance, breakdown cover, household insurance and life insurance can save loads without affecting your lifestyle in the least.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Take your own food and drink. Carting around refillable water bottles, packed lunches and snacks for the kids has saved us thousands of pounds over the years.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Start investing in the stock market sooner, even if you can only salt away £25 to £50 a month.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

With the benefit of hindsight, my first flat was a bargain. Otherwise, a Folio Society set of Mapp & Lucia books for a fiver from a charity shop. I love the books, love the bindings and illustrations, and would never have spent the £100 odd they seem to be selling for. Our £50 sofa from a charity shop was a good buy too.

What was your most recent purchase?

Couple of school PE T shirts for my children. It’s all glamour round here.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

on the money
No. Is that heresy for a money blogger? I keep a spending diary and check our bank balances regularly. This means I have a good sense if there’s more money going out than normal so we can rein it in a bit.
Fundamentally, we avoid spending wherever possible, only buy stuff we genuinely need and aim to get good value when we do buy anything. We keep a cushion of cash in our current account, to avoid any risk of going overdrawn.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share? 

I am incredibly grateful that we’re already mortgage-free, after selling up in London and moving to a less expensive house in Suffolk. Having a lower cost of living means I can work part-time from home, as a freelance personal finance journalist and money blogger, and be around for the children. My husband has been able to return to working for the charity sector. Long term, we’re salting money away in ISAs and pensions for a more comfortable retirement. The state pension is low, and I don’t fancy being forced to choose between heating and eating.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Fab family holiday and a fancy new kitchen! Then support some causes close to our hearts and invest the rest.
 
Faith Archer is an award-winning personal finance journalist, who also blogs at Much More With Less about moving to the country, living on less and making the most of it. You can also find Faith on her new column at Woman & Home magazine!
If you enjoyed this On the Money interview you might also like to read about some other money bloggers here and here.

On the Money with Vicky from ibeatdebt.com

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

on the moneyWhat 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?

on the moneyGetting 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.

If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other On the Money interviews, here and here.

On the Money with Helen from the Complaining Cow

Welcome to the latest in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Helen from the Complaining Cow.

Conversations with money bloggers

complaining cowWhat is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

Saving up using the Cheltenham and Gloucester building society money boxes. They had a grid thing across the top so you could put money in but couldn’t take it out! It helped me save! I can’t remember the first thing I bought though.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

No, I have always been good at saving.  I was brought up not to spend what you don’t have. That has stayed with me throughout life and I instil this in my son.

What was your worst money decision?

Not sure I have one.  Although I have bought a few clothes over the years that were certainly mistakes!

What was your best money decision?

To save regularly each month. As a child getting money for Christmas etc I learned to save some and spend some. This attitude helped me buy my first car and flat.

complaining cow

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Don’t force yourself to go without something. If you keep doing that it will bring you down. It is far easier and kinder to yourself to save what you can afford and live within your means. Don’t deprive yourself from too much for too long or one day you will just stop and blow it all and won’t be able to keep it up. Establish good habits.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

If you can be bothered, do your research before hand. There are many deals and discounts to be found.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Save but don’t sacrifice enjoying life too much for it! Also make sure you become aware of your consumer rights. Many young people are easily fobbed off when they get faulty items or receive poor service so they are out of pocket!

What was your biggest ever bargain?

Probably my flat.  I bought it in the late ’80s so it as gone up in value quite a bit!

 What was your most recent purchase?

I can’t remember, so I must go shopping! Oh – a holiday!

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Nope. Mortgage is paid off. I’d like to bring some more money in as soon as possible so that my partner can retire though!

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Look to see best way of investing to see if I could live off the interest. Then, lots of holidays and I would do more voluntary work.

Helen is the Complaining Cow, a blogger and best selling author who speaks and writes in the media about consumer rights. Take a look at her website here. Her book, How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!, is an Amazon bestseller.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, meet some more money bloggers here and here.

On the Money with Fiona from Savvy in Somerset

Conversations with money bloggers

Welcome to the next in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Fiona from Savvy in Somerset.

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I can remember being allowed to buy a toy I wanted in the sales after Christmas because I had some Christmas money to spend. I think it was one of those situations where I was quite surprised my Mum had said yes!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

on the money

Not out of control as such, but when I first got a full time job I spent the majority of what I earned for the first few years. Money was always tight when I was growing up so it was that feeling of ‘Wow, I can buy whatever I want now I have my own money’!

I bought some GHD’s and Converse to begin with (which seemed like proper luxuries to me at the time!) and then probably spent £30 – £50 on clothes a week for the next two or three years!

After giving my Mum rent money and going out partying two or three nights a week that was most of my wages gone. Gradually my hours increased and I decided to learn to drive, so that gave me a focus to be more sensible with my money.

What was your worst money decision?

It cost me a lot of money to learn to drive – in part because I didn’t have my own car to practice in (I didn’t see the point in buying one as none of my family drive, so no-one would be able to sit with me). By the time I had finished lessons, passed my test, bought my first car and paid for things like insurance and MOT I was completely skint. Five days after picking up my first car I was in an accident on the motorway (not my fault) and the car was a write off.

Between lessons and buying the car I’d spent almost £5k and had nothing to show for it. I couldn’t afford to just go out and buy another car, even a cheap run around. Due to various complications, it took over 18 months for me to get a settlement from the insurance company. Luckily I didn’t need the car for work.

Because I went so long after the accident without driving, it had a huge impact on my confidence. I ended up being too nervous to drive for almost four years. In the end I ended up paying out for even more driving lessons to help regain my confidence.

I think this just goes to show how much of an impact different things can have on your finances. It really made me never want to be in position where I couldn’t afford to replace something essential, like a car, again.

What was your best money decision?

on the moneySaving up a huge deposit when we bought a house. This has meant our mortgage is substantially less than most of our peers and it’s for a shorter period too.

It took five years to save up the amount we wanted, but knowing we’d able to survive on one wage if we needed to has given us a great sense of financially security. Doing this has allowed me to give up my day job to blog even though the income can be varied and in turn means we won’t have to worry about childcare when our baby arrives.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Make sure you check all your household bills regularly to make sure you’re  on the best tariff or deal that you possibly can be. Never let anything, such as insurance, auto-renew as they always put up the prices and it’s usually cheaper if you shop around.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Eating out is a big part of our lives. I’m a total foodie and love letting someone else do the cooking! We try to budget for it and set ourselves a spending limit for each meal out.

Using something like Tastecard or a Gourmet Society card is great for this. I’m all  for two for one meals if I can get it! Also we try to eat out during the week rather than on a Friday or Saturday. Usually Indian and Chinese restaurants will have a cheap set menu on a week night.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! I think it’s so hard though when you’re young – especially as it’s unlikely at that age that you’d be ready to buy a house or start thinking about a mortgage.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

My biggest bargains tend to be food related. I love buying reduced food at the end of the day and stocking up my freezer.

  • The best have included two £10 gammon joints for 49p each.
  • Packs of fresh king prawns and scallops for 5p each.
  • Sliced  topside of cooked roast beef packs for 10p each.

What was your most recent purchase?

As we have a baby on the way, we’ve been trying to get everything we need for her for as little money as possible. One weekend we attended a Mum2Mum baby event. It was brilliant – loads of bargains! We managed to get several of the ‘big’ things we still needed for very little. We found a jungle gym, brand new bouncy chair and a huge selection of vests, dresses, shoes, etc. All for just over £20.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

The main thing we budget for is food shopping. We’ve got really good at only buying what we need, with occasional treats thrown in if we manage to grab a few a reduced bargains that lower the cost of our overall shop.

The rest of the time I would say we’re careful but don’t specifically budget as such. We’re both a bit antisocial so we are quite happy at home. I usually meet a friend for coffee and cake once a week and do a monthly quiz night and that’s about it. As mentioned above, I do like a nice meal out with my husband but we always look for offers to keep the cost down as much as possible.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

It has always been our aim to pay of our mortgage as soon as we possibly can. However, we have made some decisions recently that mean this may take a little longer than planned. My husband has decided to go back to college to retrain. This has meant a whole new career path and needing to take a bit of a pay cut while he learns. While this will affect our finances in the short term, once he’s qualified we will be much better off financially. It’s all about the long term and what we can do now to make our lives better in the future.

It also goes back to what I mentioned before about saving a big deposit for our house. Having a small mortgage meant we could afford for him to retrain and still keep a roof over our heads without having to worry.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Pay off our mortgage and buy another two or three investment properties to provide rental income. Once that was sorted, then we would do some fun stuff like holidays and a new car!

You can read Fiona’s blog here.

If you would like to read more in my On the Money series, see here and here.

 

On the Money with Ruth from Ruth Makes Money

Conversations with money bloggers

Welcome to the next in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Ruth from Ruth Makes Money.

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

on the moneyThe one that sticks in my mind the most is being about 11, and my dad gave me a fiver to go into town with some friends on a Saturday afternoon. I felt like I’d won the lottery! I managed to pay for bus fare, buy several bits of make up from Tammy Girl, including a glittery lipstick, have lunch, and still save a little bit of it. Mind you, this was 20 years ago now! Thankfully, I grew out of my penchant for glittery lipstick.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

I’m generally on the ball with keeping an eye on my finances and planning for things in advance. I’ve been self-employed for quite a lot of years now, so I’ve created monthly money habits that help me to feel in control. Still though, there’s often something that needs to be addressed. I’ve realised recently for example that our energy spending is way too high, so that’s something I need to sort shortly. It might be a cliché, but being in control of your money is always a journey, not a destination!

What was your worst money decision?

Something that I regret is not paying into a pension sooner. Whilst I’ve always been quite good with putting money aside for the future, I know that I haven’t been as proactive as I could be when it comes to making sure that cash is being put to the best possible use. It’s a priority that I’m making this year.

What was your best money decision?

Going self-employed! It was a big leap into the unknown, but it’s one that I’m thankful for every day. I’m in control of my own earnings, I earn money on my own terms, and I have much more freedom than I did when I was working for someone else.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Cooking from scratch. My partner works away most of the time so I’m usually just cooking for myself. It can be tempting sometimes to grab a ready meal or a packaged sandwich and a bag of crisps if it’s been a long day. Cooking proper meals, though, saves a significant amount, and it’s also one of my favourite ways to wind down and relax. I’ve got plenty of go-to recipes that are super quick and also reasonably healthy, and I feel much happier when I’m sticking with a meal plan.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

on the moneyWhere possible, walk instead of taking the car or jumping on the bus. If I’ve got a spare afternoon, I love walking into my local town – about three miles away – and going for a swim or checking out the charity shops for my reselling business. When you work from home it’s easy to become quite sedentary, so it gets me out of the house, it gets my step count up, and it costs nothing.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I’d probably just say to keep on doing what you’re doing.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

I resell on eBay, and along the way, I’ve found quite a few charity shop bargains for myself. My favourite is a designer silk dress that I paid £6 for! I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve worn it now, so I’ve definitely had my money’s worth from it.

What was your most recent purchase?

I’ve just been out today to pick up books to read on an upcoming holiday. Two friends and I are doing what we call ‘holiday book club’ – we all bring three of the same book, then we swap around when we arrive so we all end up reading the same three over the course of the holiday. We accidentally did it a few years ago when we picked the same book without realising, and it turned out to be quite fun to discuss the latest storyline developments around the pool!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

I wouldn’t say a budget as such, but I’m mindful of my spending. I love taking a few holidays a year, and we also love eating out. However, there are places where I’ll actively try to cut back on spending, so I can make the most of my money and spend it on what matters most to me.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

Paying off our mortgage as quickly as is reasonably possible is a big priority! It’s the only debt that I have. I’d love to get rid of it within ten years – so around half what the term currently is. Our fixed rate period just came to an end, so we re-mortgaged and managed to shave four years off the term. I’m also trying to make regular overpayments. There’s a really useful calculator on the Money Saving Expert site that shows you how much you can save by making overpayments, and it’s amazing the difference you can make even if you’re just paying a small amount extra each month.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

I’d treat myself to a fancy bottle of champagne. Then I’d pay off that bloody mortgage!!

 

Ruth blogs at RuthMakesMoney.com about genuine ways to make money online. Whether you want to pay off a credit card, save for a holiday, or even ditch the 9-5 for good, she shares practical advice and guidance for making that happen. She’s been self-employed for over seven years, and lives in Durham with her boyfriend and her Airedale terrier, Jax.

If you enjoyed this post check out some of my other money blogger On the Money chats here, here and here.

Some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

 

On the Money with Penny Wise Life Rich

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

In the latest in my On the Money series, I meet Cat Plummer from Penny Wise Life Rich. Here’s what she had to say.

on the money

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I remember having birthday money when I was very little and being able to choose what I wanted to buy.  It was really exciting because I could choose whatever I wanted – but I didn’t want to spend it all. I don’t remember what I bought though. Another memory that springs to mind is having an amount to spend on penny sweets. I always made sure to choose the 1p or the two for 1p sweets rather than buying any 2p or 5p sweets. I obviously wanted to get my money’s worth then!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

I had a period of time when I was at university when I did feel a bit out of control with it all. It felt like no matter what I did, the debt just kept creeping up. I was doing a full-on teaching degree, so I wasn’t left with much time to work when taking into account study and teaching placements. Each year the debt just seemed to grow even though we were being so sensible. I used to spend every summer working every hour I could to cover the gap that my loans didn’t meet. I was so glad to finally graduate so that I could start earning a proper, regular salary.

What was your worst money decision?

This made me chuckle, but it was probably cashing in my pension when I was 18 or 19. I ended up with £700 but I enjoyed spending it! I think I booked a holiday with it. I do wonder what that would look like now but hey ho!

What was your best money decision?

on the moneyThe best decision we made was to clear the debts and save like crazy to buy our house. Aside from that, it was to go on a honeymoon to Mauritius. It wasn’t cheap but we saved for 18 months after our wedding and it came at a time when I was really suffering burnout in my teaching job. Without this holiday I’m not sure how I could have got through the last few months of teaching. It really did recharge my heart, mind and soul.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

One of the main places that I saved money both times I got out of debt was with food. Taking stock of what I had in, creating meal plans, writing a shopping lists, batch cooking. If your income is pretty fixed, the grocery budget is a good place to start to shave some pennies.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

If I know I am going to be out and about I try and think about where I’m going to be and how that might impact on spends. I try and plan as much as I can. So, it might be searching out vouchers, or checking points cards, or even getting cashback. My bank offers cashback on certain purchases so I check to see if I am going to any of those places. I also try and allocate a budget, and if you are a bit skint, always ask yourself- do I need it?

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

You really don’t need that credit card! Or the four after that. Lol!

What was your biggest ever bargain?

Probably our kitchen. We negotiated keeping the range cooker as part of our house purchase and we got the new cupboard and drawer carcasses free! We asked at new build site what they were going to do with the immaculate kitchen they had just taken out of the show home and they were just going to throw it away! So we asked if we could have it! We then bought the worktops, etc. and Mr P fitted it all.

What was your most recent purchase

My most recent purchase (as I am writing this post!) is a carpet for our spare bedroom. We are currently tackling one room at a time and the spare room is next on the list. Our next purchase after that will be double glazing for the front of the house. What we are doing now, as we don’t want to get into debt again is to save up for each purchase at a time to make sure we’ve got the money before we buy it.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

I do, yes. It really is the only way we can stay in control! We’re not restricted though, and this is a common misconception about budgets. I prefer to call it a spending plan as we plan where we’re going to spend our money. We sit down at the end of each month just before payday and work out how much we’ve managed to save, if we’ve gone over budget and also what we’ve got coming up in the next month. This works really well for us as we’ve managed to do everything we really want to do just with some careful planning.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share? 

I’d really like to pay off my mortgage early. I haven’t come up with a definitive plan in relation to that as we’ve got some other things we want to do to our house first, but definitely before we retire. I’d love to retire early too but as I’m currently 33 I think I’ve got a bit of working left to do first!

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

The very first thing I would do is pay off my mortgage, then I would pay off my Dad’s and mother-in-law’s mortgages. I’d love to go back to Mauritius again so I’d want to do that too, plus buy myself a new car!

Cat Plummer is a money blogger and money coach and writes over at www.pennywiseliferich.co.uk. She lives in sunny Sussex by the sea with her husband and crazy cocker spaniel. Cat loves to help people save money and learn more about their money stories. She believes that you can lead a penny-wise but rich life.

If you enjoyed this post, have a look at my interviews with Mean Queen and Katy Kicker.

 

On the Money with the Money Saving Mum

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?


on the moneyMy 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? 

on the moneyOoooh, 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.
This post may contain affiliate links.

On the Money with Mean Queen

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

on the moneyWelcome to the second in my series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. This week’s guest is Ilona, aka Mean Queen, who blogs at Life After Money. Ilona, who is a retired lorry driver, says, ” I live with three cats, I make do and mend, being very careful with my spending, only buying what I need. I have no qualms about buying second hand from car boot sales and charity shops, and getting free stuff from skip diving. Money saved is put towards holidays, a decent car, and days out. I love life, and it needn’t cost a fortune to enjoy it.” Here she is, on the money.

What is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

On the moneyWe didn’t get pocket money when we were kids, Mum couldn’t afford it. My first wage packet at 15 was £4 and 5 shillings. I had to pay Mum board and had a bit left over which went on make up and fabric to make clothes.

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

No, never. I have always lived within my means. Mum taught me that if I didn’t have enough money to buy something I wanted, I saved up for it.

What was your worst money decision?

Buying a catering trailer and setting up a business on an industrial estate. I hated it, it didn’t last long. I sold everything at a loss.

What was your best money decision?

Buying my first house. I didn’t think so at the time because I was skint for many years. I am now in my third house, and in a good position, having paid off my mortgage.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

I buy second hand wherever I can, charity shops, car boot sales, skip dive for free stuff. I take my time looking for bargains, and wait until I find the right price. Food shopping: I buy at different places, reduced yellow stickers, discount stores. I spend time searching for best prices.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

I take food and drink with me from home if it is a day out. I look for free entertainment, and very rarely pay an entrance fee to visit somewhere. It has been know for me to walk around the outside of a historic building taking photographs, but not pay to go in.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Don’t try to keep up with everybody else. Stay true to your individual style, dress how you like, don’t follow the crowd. Spend a bit, save a bit, and don’t borrow. If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

That’s difficult. 90% of my purchases are bargains. I buy as cheaply as I can and when all the small savings are added up it means I have extra money left over in my purse. I shopped at the four big supermarkets for Rip off Britain, spending £5 in each, and coming away with £80 worth of food.

What was your most recent purchase (not including bills, groceries, etc)?

I don’t buy very much for myself. A few small items for crafting purposes maybe. A new office chair a few months ago because the one I was using was old and uncomfortable.  I reckon I deserved a new one because I spend so much time sat in it.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

No. Because I am mindful of what I spend my money on. I am disciplined enough to not waste any. I know I can afford everything I buy.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

I don’t make long term plans. The only goal I have is to eventually sell the house and spend the money. I have no idea when or how that will happen, but I firmly believe that I came into this world with nothing and will be happy to leave with nothing.

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Buy a slightly newer bigger house in the area I am in now. Buy a motorhome and go travelling. Then look for good causes to give a lot away.

I hope you enjoyed reading Ilona’s thoughts on money. If you missed my first On the Money interview with Katy Kicker, you can find it here.

On the Money with Katy Kicker

On the Money: Conversations with money bloggers

Welcome to the first in a new series of interviews with well known money bloggers, On the Money. My first guest is Katy Stevens, from KatyKicker.com. Katy is a UK blogger covering topics including parenting and money saving. She lives in Essex with her husband Thomas and 2-year-old daughter Daisy Blue. Katy loves to help people make and save money, kick their finances into touch and live their best life. I hope you like the series and discover some fascinating new blogs.

on the moneyWhat is your earliest memory of having and spending money?

I can remember standing in line at school waiting to buy my lunch. I would always try and work out how I could have the most filling meal by spending the least amount of money. Usually because my friend Bradley and I were trying to work on our short stories and needed supplies!

Have you ever felt out of control with your money?

Yes. When I was on maternity leave after having my daughter I was suffering from postnatal depression. Fortunately we have good cash flow, so I didn’t accumulate debt or anything, but I wasn’t controlling my money well either.

What was your worst money decision?

Moving into a flat with my ex just before the recession started. Whoops. Thank goodness we didn’t buy that bigger new build flat we went to look at twice!

What was your best money decision?

Saving up to buy a house with my husband. We’re feeling so excited for this year and looking forward to having a 50% LTV (loan-to-value) – hopefully!.

What is your best tip for saving money at home?

Meal plan and cook from scratch. Two tips I know…! By cooking from scratch you’ll eat healthier, get better nutrition and save LOTS of money. You ARE trading your time a little but your body will thank you for it, and so will your purse-strings.

What is your best tip for saving money out and about?

Take drinks and snacks with you – particularly if you have children. When we were on holiday recently the drinks were £1.80 a bottle. We took our own bottles and packed drinks every day. As we were out 2-3 times a day this saved us a small fortune, even without the snacks we packed too.

What would be your advice to the 18 year old you regarding finance?

Don’t keep up with the Joneses. They won’t care if you build up debt and can’t afford to live your current existence anymore.

What was your biggest ever bargain?

It’s hard to pick just one! One of my favourite ever bargains was a white gold, diamond and topaz ring. It was reduced by 90%, thanks to an error when I worked at a high-street jeweller. I bought it the same day I saw it. The next day we got the email down from Head Office to advise us to adjust the prices, and my purchase was already safely at home!

What was your most recent purchase (not including bills, groceries, etc)?

Birthday presents for my daughter who recently turned two. We went to Toys ‘R’ Us and took advantage of their closing down sale to get lots of bits, that were only marginally cheaper than Amazon and Argos still. Sad times!

Do you stick to a monthly budget?

Not really…! We have a budget for bills and expenses, and I keep a lose budget for groceries. We’re in a good time of our life. I don’t want to waste money unnecessarily but we have days out, lots and lots of holidays and live a good life too.

Do you have any long term financial goals you would like to share?

We are looking to buy our house this year, with a 50% LTV. I want to be mortgage free in five years – although maybe 10 years is more realistic!

If you won a million on the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Become mortgage free. Maybe my husband would finally quit his job then!

You can find more tips from Katy at KatyKicker.com. Watch out for the next On the Money interview, which will be every fortnight.