Let’s Talk About: Money

Ok I know you’re probably thinking, ‘why is Sarah writing about money’? You usually see me post about music, parties and festivals, but I thought I should write about something else that I’m interested in, MONEY! It’s a taboo subject with over half of UK adults never talking about their finances, which in my opinion needs to change. I don’t want you to think I’m tight, materialistic or a greedy person, I’m just passionate about making a good living, saving it and then using it wisely to further my profit. Whether it’s through buying a property to building up air miles on a credit card, there’s so many ways we can use our money wisely. Basically I think Martin Lewis is a don and if you don’t know who he is then go and check out his website HERE the guys worth £87 million! He is THE money saving expert.

Saving is one of those things that we all should do but doing it seems impossible. We live in times where people are living in the moment, spending more than they earn because YOLO. We like to spend money but we don’t like to talk about it. We forget about the rainy days and just whack everything on the credit card. People want to live their best lives, go on nice holidays, wear nice clothes and eat in nice restaurants, but what about all the debt we’re racking up? What about the end goal? What are we working for if we just blow it all on pay day?

I’m not writing this to give lectures or to tell you how great I am at saving money. I’m not even writing this to try and make you open a savings account, I just feel like we should be talking about money because it’s something we all need whether we like it or not. I think the start of the year is a great time to get your finances in order and start 2019 the right way. When I speak to people about saving money no one seems that bothered.  When I mention it to friends they laugh, like I’m the odd one. So many times I’ve heard, ‘I’m living in the moment, you can’t take it with you’.  The more I write about this the more I realise how much young people should be talking about it. If you haven’t saved any money, don’t feel guilty, saving is SO hard to do. Once your bills are paid then all you want to do is treat yourself because you’ve worked your arse off all month, I totally get it! What’s the point in working if you can’t spend it? But we have to draw the line somewhere and realise when we need to stop spending.

I believe we should be teaching kids in school from a young age about how to open a bank accounts, understand interest rates and mortgages. This is something most people will have to deal with at some point in their life, if they aren’t lucky enough to have family or friends to ask advice then bad decisions could be made in the future.

From a young age I’ve been taught to save. I was brought up in a single parent home so my mam had to be sensible with the money we had. As boring as this sounds, I actually like trying to save. Friends always seem surprised when they find out I’m quite sensible with it. From the age of 13 I’ve worked. My first job was in a chip shop but I eventually got let go because I kept doing the till wrong, I was definitely distracted by the chips! Then I started babysitting and saving my money for when I went on family holidays, from this it made me realise that saving money meant prizes!

Fast forward to age 21 and I decided that I wanted to buy a house. At the time I was on the dole (job seekers allowance) so it was a pipe dream but I knew I wanted property and I was going to work my arse off until I bought myself one.  I ended up getting a job as a contractor dealing with PPI complaints (I know, random AF). The money was good but I HATED it! When I was there I tried to do everything I could to understand money. I was lucky enough to make friends with people in the office who were part-time accountants or ex mortgage advisers and asked for their advice on shares, savings and mortgages. Eventually when I was 26 I finally bought a house, it took 5 years of graft and determination but I managed to save enough money to get the house. I’m now a landlord which seems pretty crazy, I’ve got the bug for it now and have started saving again to buy the next one.

Some people set their 5 year plan and usually buying a house is the end goal. I now live in London and the problem with London is the house prices are literally through the roof! The 5 year plan then becomes a 15 year plan, renting just seems easier and people feel trapped forever and never believe they could actually own their own place. Even if you’re not planning on buying a house and just want some saving tips then I want to pass on a bit of knowledge of how to save money and set yourself on the right path to finally getting out of debt and on the ladder.

Tips for saving

  • STOP spending more than you earn!
  • Open a tax free ISA
  • Limit yourself to 1 credit card and only use it for emergencies
  • Get a credit card with good benefits i.e air miles
  • Sign up to banking ‘rewards’ schemes, Natwest give £100 cash back a year for every bill you pay
  • Stop saying yes to everything, you don’t need to go to every party
  • Limit yourself to 1 deliveroo a month
  • Get a Monzo card, it breaks down your spending and you can pre-set budgets
  • Shop around for best deals on electric, gas and phone contracts using comparison websites
  • Buy your mobile phone out right, it seems a lot at first but you would end up spend double on a 2 year contract
  • Budget your food shopping per week and limit yourself to eating out once a week
  • Set a 5 year plan, how much you want to save and what you want to do with the money
  • Use Splitticketing.com to find the cheapest train fares
  • Under 30? Get a young persons rail card which gives you 30% off all train tickets

Tips for buying a house:

  • Open a ‘Help to buy ISA’ the government adds 25% to your savings, up to a maximum of £3000, FREE MONEY and it’s tax free 
  • Be aware help to buy schemes only let you buy a new build
  • Check your credit score using Experian, Noddle or Equifax this is something lenders look at when deciding whether they want to lend you money or not
  • Check you don’t have defaults (unpaid bills that might stop you from getting a good credit score)
  • Get a credit card to build up good credit, banks can then see that you’re a sensible lender and you can pay your bills off every month
  • Have extra savings put aside to pay for solicitors and mortgage brokers fees, this can be between £2000 – £5000
  • Be prepared to look at LOTS of houses, don’t just pick the first one you see. I looked at over 30 houses before I bought mine
  • Buying a house is one of the most stressful things you will ever do but also one of the most rewarding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t fully understand