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Every Thursday I will be bringing you another instalment of my guest series, Money Talks. I’ll be featuring bloggers from all walks of life giving their answers to money-related questions. Hopefully, you will find a new blog to read and learn more about other people online. Money Talks will be live every Thursday and I’ve got some absolutely fantastic bloggers taking part! Hope you enjoy it. If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch. This weeks instalment features Wannabe Debtfree. You can check out the Wannabe Debtfree website here.
When did you start blogging?
I started WannaBeDebtFree as an Instagram account initially, to track my journey towards debt freedom. As it gathered interest, and I realised how big the community of people working towards the same goal to save money was, I started my blog in September last year. In the beginning, my blog existed solely for me to tell my story but as time went on, I started to how others could get value in everything I was learning about saving and making money so I started to gear my posts in that direction in July this year, and things have taken off from there!
What inspired your blog name?
It was more of a mantra than anything else in the beginning! If I’m honest, it’s not something I would have picked for a long-term venture, because now I am debt free, but it’s stuck with me. Now I have people following my blog and Instagram that I know from the gym, through a friend etc., and I wonder if they think of me as ‘wannabedebtfree’ instead of by my actual name!
I considered changing it as I became debt free but I love it too much; it resonates with a lot of people here in the UK with many of us in debt and really worried about it, so I guess it’s a keeper.
What is your attitude to money – are you a spender or a saver?
A saver, definitely! When I started paying off debt, I had a £16k mountain to tackle. My partner and I had financed a new car on a whim and got way in over our heads on a house renovation project and we realised that the way we were living wasn’t sustainable long-term, so we started to budget and learn to live within our means. As we’ve paid off our debt, I now realise how vicarious our previous position was; if something had went wrong and one of us couldn’t work, we would have been screwed. So now I’m working on building savings, with plans to buy an investment property. I want a Plan A, B and C- I want our future to be budgetproof.
What is the best bargain you have ever purchased?
A few years ago, I got two Kindles for £27! Let’s just say a Tesco error in my favour! But to be honest, I’m not about bargains these days; in my own personal experience, bargain hunting added to my financial woes because I was still seeking out ways to buy things without really considering if it was something I wanted or needed, and I was more swayed by the price than anything else. So now if there is something I need to buy, I obviously look to save money but it’s the deciding factor in my decision-making process.
What is the biggest splurge you have ever made?
My house! The cost of housing is just (insert exasperated emoji here!). We bought a house that had been partially renovated, which we paid a premium for, then re-renovated because we realised that the previous work was terrible. Renovating was costly- about £25k in total, with £13.5 borrowed from our bank.
I wish I had a more interesting story, like the holiday of a lifetime or a Chanel handbag, but isn’t getting in over our heads with housing the rough reality of our generation?
If you have £100,000 right now what would you do with it?
Pay off the majority of my mortgage, keep a little bit for savings, go on a nice holiday and treat my friends and family to a nice day out! If you’d ask me this a few years ago, I probably would have such a better plan filled with cocktails and parties but wealth depends on what you spend, not what you have coming in, so I’d spend it on something sensible. Having my mortgage cleared is my absolute dream, and would give my fiancee the opportunity to cut his working hours, so I’d see that as money well spent.
If you could go back 10 years & give yourself one piece of money related advice what would it be?
I’d put myself on a sensible budget and show myself the reality of what I was going to face over the next few years if I continued as I was; the reality was that having the pressure of a mortgage and lots of debt and bills meant that my health suffered and the last few years have been a painful lesson to live within my means. I would give myself a good shake and tell myself to stop buying things that I thought would give me self-esteem and working on actually building my self-esteem instead. I’d stop shopping the sales thinking I was getting a bargain when in reality, I wouldn’t wear those impulse purchases. And to buy a used car- always buy a used car!
What was the last item you purchased?
A Cher t-shirt from TK Maxx for £3.99. It works as a long lounging-around-the-house with leggings top, tucked into my skinny jeans or my new favourite skirt from New Look. I’m all about the multi-wear outfits these days, and I’ll get a lot of wear out of it.
What is your favourite ever blog post?
One of my favourite podcasts is The Minimalists, which discusses how to get out of a materialistic mindframe and live a more meaningful life. Their blog, of the same name, is a great resource for anyone looking for support in simplifying their lives, turning away from fixating on spending and finding their real self underneath their layers of ‘stuff’. A blog post that I particularly love is the story of how Joshua Fields-Millburn, one half of The Minimalists, quit his six-figure job. It’s a great read and so inspiring for any of us who want to stop climbing the corporate ladder just to find that our wages are taken up by bills and buying to compensate for the stress of our jobs.
What is your biggest money regret?
I have so many unfortunately! Buying clothes that ended up being donated without being worn, buying a brand new car on a whim even though I was on a temporary working contract (and worrying so much about it afterwards), and more or less every takeaway I’ve ever bought! A big regret is going into the home buying process so blindly- we bought our home without doing much research, we didn’t get the best mortgage deal and we bought a home that didn’t fit in with our plans (why pay for someone else’s renovations when you are planning on doing your own regardless).
But my ultimate regret is getting to my thirties before realising that other people’s opinions are what made me so broke; I was always following the herd and trying to be what I thought I should be, rather than embracing who I was. Once I stopped, my bank balance recovered (although it still has PTSD I think!).
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