Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well!
I was always crap with money, even from a young age. One of my best friends growing up saved her pocket and birthday and Christmas money, squirreling it away in a junior savings account. When we first started working aged 16, she’d budget and plan and organise, whilst I’d splurge, and spend, and impulse buy. I’ve always been like it, from when my dad would give me £10 to go into town with when I was 13 and I’d buy my return bus fare and 2 books and have a penny left to show for it.
In adulthood, I was always the same; my wages would last a matter of days, any windfall of money would be obliterated on shoes and bags, clothes and cocktails and shots. It’s how I got into debt, being reckless and fickle with money, not seeing the value in it, excusing spending with complete abandon as ‘living in the moment’, rather than the truth which was that I had no respect for money, or myself.
I don’t know what the moment was, or the epiphany, but it took some time. It’s been years since I had the light bulb moment that I was sick of being skint and in debt, and every penny I had going straight out to a bank or credit card company every month, and wanted to actually make a positive change. After that, and finally clearing my mountain of debt, I was still crap with money. Not so much with spending money that wasn’t technically mine, but with spending every penny I had, never mind pounds, and never having an emergency pot to fall back on.
I started doing a few things to completely revolutionize my spending, and my financial situation, and I wanted to share them with you.
1) Live below your means – even if it’s at first.
If you’re saving for that mega holiday or expensive bag, you’ve got to put up with living a bit more of a basic existence for a while, and it’s the same if you’re trying to clear debt. You may have to sacrifice going out for cocktails for drinks evenings at home, and your monthly £300 ASOS spree for rooting in the back of your wardrobe for things you’ve not seen for years – but it’ll pay off in the end. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life, because there’s literally no point in anything if you don’t, but sometimes it’s about finding a way to do the things you love on a budget, or tweaking them temporarily to get to your financial goal!
2) Budget, budget, budget.
I used to mock my friends for their relentless Excel spreadsheets but now I love them. Inputting the minimum you’ll earn each month and all of your outgoings is really handy to see. You can then work out what you need for each area of your life, e.g. rent, bills, food, childcare, social life, beauty products, etc – and if you can afford to, what you want to save each month. Then, if you end up getting more money than usual because of overtime, or if you’re freelance and had a bigger project get paid that month, you can decide what you want to do with it, whether you want to spend or save, or do half and half.
3) Look at your outgoings.
I avoid looking at my bank statements on the app like the plague at the best of times, but when I finally caved it was an eye opening experience! I was paying for a load of free trials that I’d never even used that had committed me to the full sign up, to apps I didn’t use, and worst of all it finally showed me that the odd £6 in Sainsburys, £14 in Co Op and £21 ASOS order SERIOUSLY adds up, even when you don’t think it does! I streamlined everything a bit more, and felt so much better for it. I finally cancelled all the shit I didn’t use and was paying for, too! The savings app I use too (more about that below) can help you save money on your bills too and you can download it here https://friends.withplum.com/r/WWtgLB (AD Referral Link)
4) Open multiple savings accounts.
My bank allows me to have 5 savings accounts, and to rename them, so I’ve utilised that by having 5 and naming them different things such as ‘Holiday’ and ‘General Savings’. I’d really recommend doing this rather than having all your money in one pot if you can – although if you’re saving for a house deposit or something and want to earn as much interest as possible, it’s probably best to have it in one account to maximize your interest!
5) Use Plum.
Yes, I know I speak about it a lot – but I am on a mission to get as many as people as possible saving money. I know what it’s like to have 1p in your bank account and not be able to afford to even get the bus home from work because you earn shit money at the same time as being in debt and loving online shopping – I’ve been there, I think most of us have! However, I didn’t realise how easy saving could be until last year when I discovered Plum. It’s a free app that you connect with your bank account and it manages all your savings for you. It literally takes money out of your bank account and deposits it into a separate savings account on the app that you can withdraw your money from at any time, and you have your money back in about 10/15 minutes. It looks at what you can afford to save and puts little bits away for you here and there, which you don’t even notice, and before you know it, you’ve got a couple of hundred pounds put away for a rainy day. It’s fantastic, and you can download it here https://friends.withplum.com/r/WWtgLB (AD Referral Link)
I hope you enjoyed this post – let’s all get saving!
All my love BGP xx