5 ways to manage your debt | post-christmas debt tips

This weeks post-Christmas debt tips comes to you from desk of the beautiful Francesca at From Pennies to Pounds. Francesca helps young women take control of their money through budgeting, and shares ways of earning extra money that can be done from home around the kids, even with little spare time.  So read on for her tips on how to manage that post-Christmas debt.

5 ways to manage your post-christmas debt

5 ways to manage your debt | post-christmas debt tips

Christmas is an amazing time of the year, and so much fun!

But is it just me, or does the cost slowly creep up and up, until you have no idea how much you have actually spent?

There’s the wrapping paper, the cards, the presents – oh my the presents, the school nativity play, the school trips, Christmas jumper days, trips to see family and friends around the country, the Christmas tree, decorations, and don’t even get me started on the food.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement whilst reading this, don’t worry – you aren’t alone.

At the beginning of the year last year, around 7.9 million Britons said that they were going to be behind in their bills after overspending at Christmas.

37% of the UK said that they were going to put Christmas on the credit card, with the average amount of debt in the UK being £8000 per person. (Source)

When you’re paying off debt, you have less money for the things that truly matter to you. From personal experience, paying off your debt gives you a sense of freedom – like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy – I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.

With that in mind, I’ve put together some tips to help you pay off your post-Christmas debt:

Add Up All Of Your Debt

I know, it’s a pretty scary thought that you’re going to see it all written down in black and white – but that’s why you need to do it.

Putting this step off is not going to help anyone but the credit companies get more money off you in interest. Would you rather have your money, or them?

The debt is already there, it just needs to be written down, so that a plan of attack can be made against it.

Don’t worry though – once you start looking at it and working out how to get rid of it, the wheels will be set in motion and you’ll be on your way to living your best life ever.

A good place to start is to look at your online banking. Head to the section where your direct debits and standing orders are, as your monthly debt payments will be listed there.

Go through your paperwork, your emails, your bank statements – and write down all of the companies on there and the monthly payments you are making.

The next step will be to find out the interest rate, if the interest rate changes at any point, and how long you have left to pay on it.

If you aren’t sure about this, or can’t find your paperwork – give the credit companies a call and find out from them.

Try To Reduce The Interest Rates

Once you’ve found out the interest rates, it’s time to see if you can reduce them at all.

The interest is what makes debt so hard to pay off, and it’s so frustrating when you end up paying back way more than what you originally borrowed.

Believe it or not, the credit companies can be more helpful than you think, as they do want you to pay off your debt (although of course they want the interest from you).

So with that in mind, speak to them. Ring up your lenders, and tell them you are planning on paying down your debt and tell them that you want your interest rate reduced (tell them nicely, but still tell them. Don’t ask – tell).

It’s also worth looking at if you can get a 0% balance transfer. I did this when paying off my debt, and it made a huge difference. But please think about this carefully before going ahead with it.

The reason that I say to be a bit cautious is because getting a 0% balance is taking out a new line of credit.

Also, the 0% will run out after a certain amount of time, so this is also something that is worth checking. Will the new interest rate be higher than what you are currently paying, and will it mathematically make sense?

Money Saving Expert is a great resource for looking at the various 0% balance transfers that are available, and they will check if you will be eligible without a hard credit footprint.

Reduce Expenses

This may not sound like the most fun thing in the world to do, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as you may think – it can be really freeing, and show you which things you value.

It’s important to realise that this is temporary as well – this is just to help you pay off your debt and get back on track.

A great way to reduce expenses is to create a budget. When you are creating your budget, write down all of your expenses.

Look at your online banking under the direct debit/standing order section. This will show you your fixed expenses that always come out, such as mortgage/rent, utility bills, internet etc.

You can also go back through your bank statements and receipts to see the variable expenses each month – the expenses which vary in price. These could be your grocery shopping, petrol etc.

Once you’ve got all of your expenses up and together, it’s time to look at how they can be decreased.

A common mistake at this stage is to only look at the small expenses. I want you to look at all of them – as you can get some quick, big wins with the larger expenses.

Things like your mortgage – can you get a cheaper rate? With your utility bills – go on comparison websites, see which you can get for less, but with the same service.

Food shopping is an expense that is easy to reduce, even if you want to eat the same things, by good organisation.

Meal planning is a big help here, and it’s a lot quicker and easier than it sounds. Just make a list of everything that you usually eat (we all tend to generally eat the same meals over and over) and that’s the start of your meal plan.

Examples could be: chilli, pasta bake, pizza, steak and chips, burgers, chicken and rice, lasagna, risotto, curry and so on.

The benefits of writing it down and figuring out which meals you’ll be having each week (you can mix them up, they don’t have to be rigid), is that you know what you will need to buy.

Heading to the grocery shop without a plan means coming out with a lot of stuff, but not much for making meals out of!

No Spend Days

I am personally a big advocate of no spend challenges, because they can help to shake things up a bit.

It’s not about not spending any money – it’s about figuring out what is important to you, and noticing your habits and triggers.

A No Spend Day is a day where you don’t spend anything – apart from of course essential spendings such as paying your bills.

Unplanned things are banned – things that you get without really thinking about it, like some snacks from the corner shop, some clothes, impulse purchases on Amazon when you’re having a random browse.

We’ve all done it, but if you are determined to pay off your debt, this is something that will really, really help you.

The key to having a successful No Spend challenge is to be prepared. As much preparation and organisation as you can do!

Things such as making a packed lunch every day, taking snacks and water with you when you pop out anywhere (especially with the kids), meal plan, a schedule and routine that will let you know what you are doing that day.

If you end up spending money, please don’t just throw in the towel – it’s not about who is the best at not spending any money, but it’s to look at your habits and the triggers that are causing you to randomly overspend.

When you can see the things that cause you to spend your money on things you didn’t even want, you can then prepare ways to prevent this in the future. It’s all about becoming self-aware and working on new habits.

Earn Extra Money

So as we mentioned before, when it comes to budgeting, you ideally want to have more income, less expenses when it comes to tackling your debt (or just in general!).

Firstly, take a look at your current job. Is there any overtime that you can pick up? Speak to your manager and let them know that you are keen.

Could you get a second-job? I worked as an admin before at a company where we had an NHS cleaning contract, and there were always jobs coming up – early morning, late evening etc. It’s worth looking on Indeed and other job sites to see if there are any that you could fit in.

There are a bunch of other ways that you can make money, such as:

  • Survey sites, such as Swagbucks
  • Using OhMyDosh
  • Pet sitting
  • Blogging
  • Freelance writing
  • Virtual assistant work
  • Selling your stuff
  • Re-selling on eBay or Amazon
  • Selling your creative makes on Etsy
  • Mystery shopping/dining

Earning extra money was a game changer for me when I paid off my debt. It allowed me to pay it off much quicker than I would have done without it, and introduced me to some great side hustles which I still continue today.

When it comes to paying off debt, it’s 100% possible to pay it all off, even if it seems like an intimidating number. You will have to put some work into it, but it will be worth it.

———-

As I’ve already mentioned Francesca helps young women over at frompenniestopounds.com to take control of their money through so many ways and encourages you on how to pay off debt and live the life of your dreams – the goal is more. More Money. More Time. More Living.

You can also find Francesca over at:

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Don’t borrow more to pay a credit card bill | post-christmas debt tips

Our first post in this months blog series on debt post-Christmas we have the lovely Sara Williams.  Sara is a debt adviser who writes about debt and credit ratings on her personal blog, Debt Camel so if you do need any guidance or help on debt then this is your lady!

Why you should never borrow more to pay a credit card bill

Don't borrow more to pay a credit card bill | post-christmas debt tips

January 2019 will be very difficult for millions of families in Britain. You may have been paid earlier in December than normal, so the money has to last longer, but then the catalogue and credit card bills start to arrive. 

Don’t panic!

If you realise you can’t pay the minimums to your cards and loans this month, this may feel like a disaster. 

It’s obviously not good, but don’t get panicked into doing something silly. The worst thing you can do is rush into signing up to an IVA – that’s a sort of insolvency like going bankrupt. It is being mis-sold to far too many people as the IVA firms make big fees from setting them up.

But the next worst thing is much less dramatic and may even feel sensible… it isn’t.

What you should NEVER do to pay off your credit card bill

“Rob Peter to pay Paul!”

Have you heard of this? It means you shouldn’t get deeper into debt in one place to repay another debt.

It’s folly to take out expensive debt such as a payday loan or borrowing from Provident. The interest rates are even higher than on your credit card or catalogue. It may let you pay January’s bills, but February is going to look a lot worse.

Guarantor loans are even worse than payday loan. Their interest rates may look a bit more reasonable but they can quickly be unaffordable as the loans go on for a long time. Then you are trapped, unable to look at sensible debt solutions because you would harm your guarantor. Avoid at all costs! 

Even another credit card isn’t a good option as it makes the next month harder.

What about a cheap loan?

If you have a good credit score and not too much debt, there are some good unsecured loans on offer from the major banks in 2019.

Anything under 7% looks like a big improvement on those credit card and catalogue rates. Sometimes this refinancing works well but you have to be determined or it can be a disaster. You need to close all your card and catalogue accounts apart from one and resolve not to use that for anything unless you can repay it in full at the end of the month.

Too many people keep accounts open “just in case”. But there is always the temptation to spend on them. If you do this, come January 2020 you will have high card bills arriving every month and you also have the loan repayments for years. 

Don't borrow more to pay a credit card bill | post-christmas debt tips

Or 0% offers?

0% balance transfer offers are a great way to reduce the interest you pay. But the minimum payments on these cards are often much the same as on your current cards, so although one will save interest (good!) it won’t cut the amount you have to pay each month. 

Don’t drift into more debt!

If you have remaining credit on a card and your overdraft, you may not realise until the end of the month that you only paid the high credit card bill by paying for food, or utility bills on other credit. 

Do it once and it’s not a huge problem. But if it happens a few times, soon you will be running out of credit and your underlying debts have gone up, not down. So keep an eye out for this.

Your better choices

Rather than carry on getting deeper into debt, it’s better to take positive action. If you have just overdone Xmas a bit, have a very cheap January. Check out all the different ways to reduce your food bills. Decide on no new clothes for adults for 6 months. Take 20 minutes to switch your gas and electric to a cheaper supplier etc.

If your situation is worse than that, call up the creditors and ask for an affordable payment arrangement with interest frozen. If this feels too scary, talk to a good debt adviser. Your local Citizens Advice can help or ring National Debtline if you would prefer to use the phone.

 

 

Big thanks to Sara for providing this extremely relevant and informative post for our post-Christmas debt series.  I have no doubt it would’ve been of massive help to anyone who is maybe a little worried on how they are going to get through January after overspending during the festive period & December.

As I’ve already mentioned you can find Sara over at debtcamel.co.uk but you can also find her over on Facebook @debtcamel or Twitter again @debtcamel so be sure to go check her out!

Thanks again Sara!

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Don't borrow more to pay a credit card bill | post-christmas debt tips

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Free budget planner | your first step to financially surviving January & 2019!

Were you one of the many thousands that said you’re ‘not going to crazy this Christmas?’  That you weren’t going to overspend this year or get yourself into debt at the expense of Christmas?

Having that mindset is brilliant and should be certainly something you continue with year in year out however for one reason or another it doesn’t always work out like that does it.

How to financially survive January and beyond?

Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

Although we budget for christmas all year around we have struggled a little this year with other things that require our attention (or rather money!).  It’s not always that simple to not get into debt at christmas or being that overwelmed with the things you feel you HAVE to buy that you just don’t enjoy it.

Throughout January I’m sharing with you some guest posts from fellow personal finance bloggers who either have experienced debt themselves or have the knowledge and experience to help you deal with any extra credit cards, overdrafts or loans you’ve racked up over the festive period.

Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

To get you started on the right foot and in preparation for some of the amazing content you are going to be receiving, today I’ve decided to share with you my monthly budget planner.  

I share this in the hope it will help you get your head around your money as far as getting down on paper your income and expenditure and help you manage your finances a little better.

This can be used by anyone not just those that are feeling the pinch of christmas; having your figures in front of you and in black and white can also keep you out of debt or help you work your way out of debt if you are currently in debt.

A  budget planner allows you to see where you are overspending too and where most of your money is going.

 



 


Since leaving my ‘guaranteed-income-every-month’ corporate job I realised we needed to look at our spends.  

The mindset of being able to see exactly what is going in and out of your bank every month helps massively and if after everything is calculated your expenditure is higher than your income then you need to stop, think and do something about it.

If the reason for this is due to debt repayment then these up and coming debt related series of blog posts throughout the whole of January will 100%  be of use to you (another reason to sign up to our newsletter and receive your FREE budget planner is to be notified of these as and when they go live too!) 

If you have any questions or need any guidance on the budget planner just give me a shout or drop me an email  and I will be happy to help.

Thanks for reading & I’d love to hear how you get on!

Kirsty x

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Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

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How to manage your money as a freelancer [AD]

It’s been 3 months since I wrote my last post on my freelance journey.  It was September 2018 that I officially left my government corporate lifestyle and decided to go all in with my full time freelance virtual assistant business but how is it going? What do I love, what do I hate and most importantly how am I managing my finances.

How to manage your personal finances when freelance

I’ve been blogging for probably around 3 years however I’ve only really been making money from my blog for maybe a year.. if that! The odd bits of extra income above and beyond my regular corporate from both blogging and from offering my services as basically a virtual administrative assistant were lovely; however when you no longer have the luxury of a permanent job paying you the same amount month in month out it does make you more conscious of your money.

What is a freelancer?

If you don’t know what a freelancer is; it’s a person who works as a writer, designer, virtual assistant or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.  For example freelance copywriter would complete a piece of work, submit to a client and bill for their time and efforts, a virtual personal assistant would reply to emails or take telephone calls and again bill the client for the time spent on that specific project.

Although working freelance is a great way to earn a little bit of ‘extra’ cash when you have a bit of ‘extra’ time but it’s you can’t class it as ‘extra’ money when you’re needing that money more so than ever to live off and keep a roof over your head!

There are so many things that didn’t even enter my mind before leaving my permanent employment but the fact that it all happened very quickly was probably a good thing.  Since becoming a self employed virtual assistant and working from home I’m having to ask myself questions constantly and monitor my finances like crazy!

Surprisingly to some, the money element hasn’t necessarily been the biggest anxiety trigger I’ve come across since going freelance but perhaps that’s because I feel I’m getting use to having a variable income and if I earn more brilliant but my aim is to never earn less than I used to earn at my corporate job.

I have a spreadsheet with all my outgoings on but I no longer have a set amount coming in each month so how do I actually manage my money?

Managing my money when self employed

Since leaving school I’ve always known what I’m expected to be paid at the end of every month; I’ve paid and had contributions made by my employer towards my pensions for the past 13 years and even NINO and tax… I haven’t even thought about any of that since leaving the corporate world!

Well until I attended the UK Money Bloggers awards last week and that my friend is where my eyes were opened… wide!

There were some amazing panel discussions that covered debt repayment, emergency funds and pensions but there was just one of the many talks that really hit home with me; a topic about your financial future.

It was later that same day that I was introduced to the team at Multiply.  Multiply is a personal finance app that help particularly freelancers and self employed people with the management of personal finances and plan for the future.  Since listening to the finance experts on the panels last week and downloading the Multiply app; I’ve realised there are quite a few things that I really need to start thinking about now I’m self employed.

As I’ve already mentioned, when I was in employment my freelance business and blog had always just been ‘extra money’ and has always been reinvested one way or another into my business but now it’s my actual income and I need it to pay bills and keep a roof over our heads I look at in a whole new light.

The Multiply app allows freelancers like me to feel stable, future proof your lifestyle and still achieve your goals.

I now have what I need right in front of me to keep a track of my variable monthly income and contribute to the things I’ve previously just brushed under the carpet.

Because my income changes each month I am on a flexible plan where I just update the app with my monthly income and it automatically updates everything within my plan.

For example as you can see below it’s telling me that my priority should be to create an emergency fund. It’s something we don’t have and have never have to be fair so we really need to think about putting aside some money and saving like hell for that bugger!

An emergency fund is not just for the car breaking down or washer flooding the kitchen type emergencies (don’t get me wrong it would help massively with these too!) but it’s also there to cover a lack in wage one month perhaps; something that is extremely common as far as being a freelancer because we don’t have a consistent income.

Unfortunately my calculations from last month suggest that I can’t really afford to put anything away towards it however all being well when I update it at the end of this month, if my income has increased it will suggest an amount I put away immediately.

Again due to my income from last month I’m unfortunately unable to again put anything into my Pension.

It’s another something I need to sort out as a matter of urgency to be fair but I do still have my government one on hold so I at least have something.  I’m just no longer paying into anything … I want to also make this a priority so really need to get meal planning and save elsewhere!

I needn’t be too disheartened about not being able to pay into anything yet though – all being well due to my variable income I may be able to more in next month to make it up.  Thats the flexibility with it; if I don’t have it I don’t have it but with this app managing your money it will not leave you short or encourage you to put money somewhere leaving you with little or nothing.

 

Within the pension section of the Multiply plan there is also a pension calculator so I can see what I will get from my state pension at 67 but if I was in a position to put some away I would alter the monthly contribution of which would adjust the private fund accordingly.

Managing finances is one of the hardest things to do when you have no idea how much you are bringing home each month but Multiply really helps you to see the bigger picture and allows you to not only plan for this or next month but in the years to come too.

If you feel this post is been of use to you then please feel free to share or you know of any other freelances that may benefit then again pass it on!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Multiply
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Good Money by Nathalie Spencer review | How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I’ve never gone out to look into the scientific reasons behind how we think of money; I thought I knew why I was like I am with money (past experiences!).  But reading Good Money by Nathalie Spencer, a behavioural scientist, has truly blown my mind!  Now I’m actually really interested and have a much better idea of the science behind how I think about, use and manage my money!  Read on for my Good Money by Nathalie Spencer review and how it can help you understand your choices and boost your financial wellbeing.

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I don’t read many books to be fair because I don’t actually like page after page of words.  I like graphics to break it up and Good Money uses a unique, visual approach to uncover the science behind how we think about, use and manage money and guides you to a wiser and more enjoyable relationship with your finances.

The book has 5 parts with a total of 20 lessons to get you thinking about;

  • Money and us
  • Money in the day to day
  • Resilience
  • Long term planning
  • Better with money

At the end of each of them there is a toolkit that help you track what you’ve learnt through each section of the book. They also include links to further reading, podcasts and videos that can give you more information on each specific category should you need it.

Do you know where you are you on the tightwad-spendthrift scale?

Nope I didn’t have a clue either but it was one of the first things I did when I came to the end of Money and Us!

I have always known I was quite sensible with money. Nathalie talks about the effects of a one off change that maybe shortlived as we become accustomed to changes in our situation. I can 100% relate to this!



I’ve wrote a post previously on the reasons we chose to stay in our current home and extend rather than move house. One of the reasons for that was that although on paper we could afford a bigger house… but could we actually afford a bigger house??

So many people see the figure of their dream house and the mortgage calculator giving them a ‘yes’ but there are so many questions that need to be answered before you commit. This book really makes you think about EVERYTHING!

I think Money in the Day to Day has to be my favourite lesson.

I don’t necessarily feel I have an issue with taking control of my finances, in fact I probably do it too much(!) but I know so many do. If you’re one that just bury’s their head in the sand when it comes to managing money then this section of the book will help you massively.

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I also thought I was already pretty good at getting good value for money but this section really made me think about it even more… just because a tag has 50% off doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth it!

Money Matters talks about the things you probably don’t actually WANT to hear but things that a lot of people HAVE to hear!

The section on dealing with debt is so informative to read from a behavioural scientific point of view. There are things in there that I have never ever thought about and it really put things into perspective.

“Different debt repayment strategies have different benefits. Some have financial gains, others might have motivational gains.”

Then I arrived at ‘Retirement ready?’…. no I am not!

I don’t know what I have in my pension.. I’m ‘only’ 32, I know I ought to start thinking about it but I don’t particularly want to!

Retirement is distant… maybe the books scientific explanation is the real reason why I don’t want to think about it yet??

Better with money

The final section of the book talks about financial well-being & how it’s not necessarily about scrimping, scraping and sacrificing but rather how you can enjoy spending your money and encourages you to set goals.  It was this section of the book that also confirmed my thoughts on how buying myself some time and hiring a cleaner is such a good idea!!

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

Money Matters is such a easy read with plenty of graphics along the way to help you visualise what is being talked about in each lesson of the book.

There are some really inspirational quotes and it’s actually made me think more about how I’d actually enjoyed reading into the psychological side of managing your money and not only how it affects me but how it affects other people and how the things that I do could possibly help them too.

Wherever you are on the spectrum; whether you’re a ‘tightwad’ or ‘spend thrift’, whether your in debt or have money spare each month; this book is for EVERYONE and I can not recommend it enough.

If you found this post of value or feel someone else might benefit from a read then feel free to hit those share buttons further down the page.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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5 ways to have a debt free Christmas

Christmas will be upon us before we know it and I’m not saying you have to think right now about what specifically you should buy your Auntie Cath this year…. but if you haven’t already you SHOULD 100% be working out how much money do you have to spend on gifts.

5 ways to have a debt free Christmas

Like I said, you don’t necessarily have to make a list of who, what and where just yet but if you want to then maybe consider having conversations with people to decide if you are just buying for the kids this year and not adults or you are going to do a secret Santa and buy for just one person; it will at least give you a rough idea of how much you’ll need.

For those who do want to get prepared; ask yourself;

  • How much can you afford?
  • How much are you willing to spend on your kids?
  • How much is enough?
  • What events are you going to have to attend, Christmas parties etc
  • Who else do you need to shop for
  • Any Christmas bonuses due?



If you work it out there are very few paydays until Santa gets stuck up the chimney so an ideal time to start planning for Christmas….

Food shopping

The next time you are doing your food shop pick up a savings card… popping just £2/week onto there will give you just over £50 for your Christmas food shop.

Track everything

5 ways to have a debt free Christmas

Not that kind of list … thats Santas job right!!?

What I mean is if you are already buying things as you see them for people, however small something might be take a note of what it is. I guarantee come Christmas there will be something you have forgot to dig out and find it the year after! Doing this will save you over buying too as it’s all written down in front of you.

Start a savings goal

I love these money challenge sheets particularly this one from Emma Drew. Mark off when you’ve saved/made just 1% of the total and see it fill up as the months go on.



Take the money out of the bank & divide your money up.

My main reason for doing this is to avoid the point I’ve made below.  But we have a Filofax with our petrol/shopping and can physically can see what we have left at the end of the month.  We are also going to start putting in there £100 each every month… we are buggers for eating out mainly because the working patterns we have and summer holidays certainly don’t help at the minute too but that is all going to change and we are NOT to go over that £100/month.  Anything we have left goes into savings. Get a plastic wallet and take the money out that you have to spend that month and make sure you buy everything with cash.

Don’t carry your credit cards around.

I tend to find it too easy to just ‘pop’ something on the credit card. Do not even attempt to take it out with you.

5 ways to have a debt free Christmas

Do NOT get into debt this Christmas…. please.  It’s just not worth it and you certainly don’t HAVE to… remember that!

Hope this helps!

Kirsty

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The 3 best financial investments I have ever made.

Having been inspired by fellow money blogger Mrs Mummypenny I’m today wanting to share with you some of the best financial investments I have ever made. I love reading these type posts; they really give me some fab ideas and even make me rethink things that I’ve maybe invested in but either haven’t yet seen the immediate benefit from yet or not actually looked at it as an investment!

The 3 best financial investments I have ever made

Now I’m 32 (just!). Some might say I’m not as ‘experienced’ as some in life but let me tell you money-wise….. we’ve had money, we’ve lost money, we’ve had wages reduce dramatically, redundancy AND a dismissal (because they were corrupt by the way!) so I think I’m in a pretty good position to talk about personal financial planning.

House purchase

21 years old I was when I bought my own house with my now husband.

That was 100% the best investment we have both ever made! We needed minimal deposit (just 5%) and bought before the dramatic price increases in both house prices and deposit requirements but don’t forget this was in 2007!

Also we took out the mortgage over a 35 year period reducing the term down every time the fixed rate was up for renewal. The amount we pay now is the exact amount we did back in 2007 and we have around just 10 years left to pay! That might not be possible for these days I accept that as we did buy at probably the best time and our original interest rate was over 6% but getting our mortgage over a long period of time initially and then overpaying every month since 2012 is something that helped us out both at the start and helped us out even more come 11 years later.



We were both working full time in relatively good paid jobs (then!) so instead of renovating every single inch of the 3 bedroomed house we chose to add another room and convert the loft to a liveable space.

We knew this was going to be our forever home so we invested in it while we had the money and decided to extend. If we were to do it now I anticipate it would cost a hell of a lot more than just the £4k it was back then!

And although it’s not to building regulations, 11 years later it is now my 7 year olds bedroom and we have a spare box room.

Artificial grass

Another absolute must as far as an investment is artificial grass. It was expensive and completely unknown 10 years+ ago but we got our first dog not long after we moved in and after going through I think two lots of turf, green/dead/wee patches we opted for ‘fake grass’.

There’s no mud, the kids can play outside when it’s been raining, we can hoover it, brush it, disinfect it and more importantly not kill it with the now 3 dogs of ours having gone to toilet on it!

That was something again we got prior to kids and one of the first things we invested in when buying our first house.



We’d probably would still have the exact same grass down now if we hadn’t have extended the downstairs a few years ago but the builders left it in such a state we had to replace.

You can see us laying our most recent grass in the vlog below:

Starting my own business

Whilst on maternity with my eldest during 2011 I decided to take it upon myself to start my own cake business. I had reduced my hours at work to avoid extortionate childcare costs and no longer had access to the full time pay I’d had for the previous 5 years. I had time and I needed money. Any money I made went straight back into making bigger more extravagant cakes for very little profit just build up a portfolio. I don’t regret this whatsoever because it allowed me to gain experience in both being self employed, running a business and obviously being a cake decorator. However the time I spent on the business and in the kitchen was to much. Way to much!

Redundancy

In 2013 hubby took redundancy from BAE Systems and whilst the majority of the pay out paid for our wedding in Florida in 2015 he gave me £1000 to invest into my business. I ventured into the wedding industry and bought new cake stands, a sweet stand he even made me the cutest child candy cart that I could hire out in addition to the baking the cakes/cupcakes etc.

Unfortunately not long after my youngest was born my hubby, now in another job by the way, ended up having to go onto shift work.  This meant I no longer had the weekends free to take cakes to venues or to do chair covers or even drop off our LOVE lights to Saturday night wedding parties because I now had two children (and a tiny Fiesta!) to look after pretty much on my own. Things were going really well but it just wasn’t meant to be. From dealing with hotels/venues, public liability, customers/clients, contracts and invoices; I was on it like a car bonnet and learnt so much of my social media skills from running my own business.

I still have a lot of my stuff in storage to be fair; slowly selling things off as and when I get around to it. Hubby still works weekends now so most things are just gathering dust but looking back just having that £1000 taught me so much and probably wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Thanks so much for reading!

Kirsty x

I’m taking part in the Monday Money linky with Lynn from Mrs Mummy PennyFaith from Much More With Less and Emma from EmmaDrew.Info

 

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