This year I’ve been doing some serious adulting and with that comes getting my finances in order. I turn thirty next year and I definitely feel that having the end of my twenties looming over me has had an impact on my attitude towards my money and lifestyle. I spent what little savings I had launching my business and have been living pretty recklessly over the last few months and it’s something I knew needs to stop. I didn’t need to do much to change my situation: a bit of reading, a few app downloads and an attitude change and I’m on my way to a fruitful thirties.
I started with looking at the big picture… my credit score. I had never wanted to check my credit score as I assumed it would be horrific because I’d been paying off my credit cards with the minimum payments rather than the full whack, but you know what? It was above average and pretty healthy! #win I use ClearScore to check my rating, it’s really easy to use and gives you tips on what you can be doing better, which I like! It also alerts you with any changes to your score which is great in case of fraud or anything sinister that needs seeing to.
I then went through my direct debits and iTunes subscriptions. You’d be surprised at how much stuff you’re paying for that you don’t even realise. Check your subscriptions and whether you can lower the price on any of them: phone bill, insurance, random iPhone apps. Then cancel EVERYTHING you do not need to be spending money on!
I decided to Marie Kondo my house, selling clothes and furniture that didn’t spark me joy and putting the money in different pots – house objects in a house pot shared with my boyfriend and money from personal items went into my bank account and then into my savings pot in my Monzo.
To save I use a couple of apps that have been invaluable to my survival as a freelancer:
I downloaded chip in April 2018 and it has been my absolute saviour. Chip is an automated saving app that takes an agreed percentage of your bank balance on a weekly basis. Once you connect your bank account it works out what would be a convenient amount for the app to withdraw from your bank and deposit into your Chip account. As a freelancer, my bank balance varies on a weekly basis so I have seen anything from £5 to £60 be withdrawn. I was lucky to have a significant amount of money in my Chip account when I went freelance which meant I was able to pay my rent between that awkward timing of final full-time paycheck and first client invoice. It also helps wonderfully when clients pay late and you need to dip into some cash. You get a standard 1% interest rate but by sharing your code you can get up to 5% so here’s my code: UB4U2K, go download the app!
I am genuinely obsessed with my Monzo card, not only is it pretty, but it keeps you in check with your spending. Monzo is a new(ish) online banking app that notifies you as soon as you spend (oh the shame) and categorises your spending so you can take a look at where you’re going wrong. I transfer a set amount to my Monzo account at the beginning of each month and try to only spend within that budget. A feature I really like is the roundup function, so every time you make a purchase that isn’t a full pound, the app automatically rounds up and adds the change to a separate pot (similar to Moneybox). You’ll be surprised how quickly that pot fills up! You also have two saving account options in the app: A Fixed Savings Pot at 1.55% interest if you don’t withdraw before three months or a Tax-Free Cash ISA Pot at 1.14% interest, both pots will need a minimum of £500 to open. I transfer 20% of each client invoice to the Tax-Free Cash ISA pot and save it for tax season. LOVE IT. Download the Monzo app and use my Golden ticket to get £5 to spend on your first purchase https://join.monzo.com/r/yuffnja (I also get £5 so win-win!)
One of the most recent apps I’ve downloaded thanks to quite a few friend’s recommendations, Moneybox is an investment app that rounds up your purchases to the nearest pound and invests the spare change. I’ve chosen to send £10 a week to the app for it to invest for me, the jury’s still out on this one as I’ve only just downloaded it but I’ve heard great things from friends so will keep you updated!
Something I found really beneficial to my journey was getting my money mindset in check. I started this by looking through all my bank accounts and credit cards and creating an excel spreadsheet to see where I was at and where I needed to be. I have saving goals for certain things like my future wedding (speaking it into existence), house deposit and starting a family, so seeing how far off I was from these goals was a nice kick up the ass. I also looked into my pensions and researched self-employed pension options, I’m futureproofing!
I’m a huge fan of Otegha Uwagba’s In Good Company podcast and episode twelve and thirteen were particularly helpful for my journey so I would definitely recommend. I ended up buying Money: A User’s Guide by Laura Whateley immediately after listening to ep12 and it is possibly the best £7.99 I have EVER spent. If you’re a millennial looking for a financial awakening like me or just want tips on buying a house, saving on bills or pretty much anything finance related, this book will be your bible and is an absolute investment. I’ve already handed my copy over to a friend and there’s a bit of a queue, I think I might start buying it as a birthday present for everyone.
Lastly, I joined a money accountability group through Rich Girl Chronicles. It’s a five-week Whatsapp group that is supposed to “help create habits that will set you for the beginning of the rest of your life”. We’re in week three of this so the jury’s still out on this one too. I don’t like Whatsapp groups and any forced socialising in general and I seem to be as clued up as the person leading the group (thanks to my weeks of research) so I’m not totally convinced I spent £12 wisely, but who knows what gems I might get from it? If you haven’t done the extensive research and you love connecting with people this would be great for you! I have also been invited to a Money Mandala group but I don’t think I’ll be joining as after a quick Google the internet heavily suggests you do not join one… and they aren’t totally legal so I’ll keep to my apps for now!
What are your finances like? What apps are you using to save and invest?