Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s weekly dive into the world of finance – your finance. These uncertain times have reminded us just how much understanding our money matters and yet… how little we talk about it and how much it’s shrouded in secrecy.
This stops now.
Keen to break that money taboo, we’re chatting all things personal finance from money saving tips to ISAs and pensions. Each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, grab a cuppa, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…
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I work in ecomm on £45k a year, but I’ve always felt clueless financially. Now I want to educate myself about money – where do I start?
Ayesha* is 29, works in retail and lives in the south east. She was made redundant in the pandemic and took another job for less money in a different city. Here’s her money diary.
I lost my job at the start of the pandemic, and after being out of work for six months – living with my parents – I found a new role. It meant a bit less money and also moving to a new place. I’ve ended up renting a room in a houseshare quite far from my work as it’s all I could afford.
I’ve been in the new job for a year now, and feel totally stuck. I’ve asked for a pay rise but have been told there’s no chance of that. I’m constantly worried about money, and that means I haven’t been able to socialise to meet new people, so I feel really lonely too.
It’s so hard being single, I think if I was in a couple I’d have someone to share the burden, and things like rent would be cheaper. I find myself hoping to meet someone just to have some financial support, which is not how I want to live my life!
Losing my job really scared me last year so I feel as if I have to keep this job no matter what, but it makes me feel trapped as there’s no scope for a pay rise or promotion. My pay day loan will be paid off in the next few months, once it is I know I can’t think of it as extra cash as I need to put it into savings. I’m too scared to try investing, because what if I lose it? I don’t know how o manage my money so that I’m not constantly worried all the time.
I’m on £31k and have just launched a side hustle, but often end up relying on my partner’s income. How can I start saving for my future?
Current account: £50
Savings account: £300
Annual salary: £26,000 before tax; £21,344 after tax & deductions
Monthly wage: £2,166 before tax; £1,779 a month after tax & deductions
Any other incoming payments: £0
Bills: £450 on phone, contact lenses, gym, car tax & insurance etc
Other: £180 for food, £90 for petrol
Splurges: The odd Deliveroo as a treat
Weekly budget: I try to stick to £100 a week
Student loan and a pay day loan debt: I pay £160 off a month
MY MONEY THOUGHTS
My worst money habit: Feeling anxious ALL THE TIME. Checking my balance and feeling sick when I see how little is there.
My biggest money worry: That I’ll always feel stuck in this trap of not having enough and dreading the end of the month.
My financial hopes for the future: To feel stable and build up a buffer in case I lose my job again.
Current money mood: ? ? ?
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Up from here
First of all, I’m so sorry. The last year and half really has been an absolute s*** show and it sounds like you’ve been through it. The pandemic has been merciless in all manner of ways and you really don’t deserve this. I wish I could give you a handy quick fix or saving hack but sadly I can’t. What I can do is reassure you that what you’re going through now isn’t your future and things will get better. I promise.
I think part of the problem is that it understandably feels very overwhelming and your worries are deeply interconnected: work isn’t paying enough, you don’t enjoy it but you desperately need the money (and some…) to get by. I think the best approach is to start with the short term before we focus on the big picture. For now, give yourself a single goal each month. At the moment, that’s paying off your payday loan. Take each month at a time, write down your goal and tick it off on payday. Investing can wait, you’ve got loads of time for that.
Checking your bank account is something I’d usually encourage but if you’re struggling with financial anxiety, it can easily get out of hand. You do have savings and you’re smashing your payday loan repayments but I know that’s not the point…it sounds like redundancy has really knocked you. When we experience a traumatic event it’s common to worry it’ll happen again; our minds help us better prepare for next time. Whilst I can’t promise you won’t ever face job insecurity it can be helpful to know that your fear and anxiety isn’t always reflective of the true risk. Instead of checking your account spontaneously, allow yourself an intentional weekly check-in where you review how you’re getting on. Are you roughly on track? Sticking to your weekly budget? Is your budget realistic? Allow yourself a little flex and I urge you to keep enjoying the odd Deliveroo!
The bigger picture
Once you’ve got your payday loan paid off, things will feel easier but whilst it’s important to save an emergency fund, don’t leave yourself struggling to get by each monch. If you have to save a bit less to live better, that’s fine! With the short term taken care of, you can turn your attention to the bigger questions. In terms of income, there are a few options. How can you earn more in your current role/company? It sounds like you might be limited here. How can you earn more elsewhere in the same sector? And finally, how could you pivot your career to earn more? This doesn’t have to be a monumental career change but think about similar sectors you could transfer or upskill into. Investigate courses, speak to people doing different jobs to you and look at dream job descriptions for a sense of where your skill set might be lacking. This doesn’t have to be overnight, just set yourself a manageable career based task each month.
Being single comes at such an outrageous premium that I don’t blame you for trying to find a person to share the load! Connection, not just romantic, is also vital to our mental health. Whilst I know socialising can induce next level financial anxiety, your emotional well being is so important. In addition to writing down your monthly goal, give yourself a ‘social’ budget, even if small, to enjoy. If things still feel difficult, it’s really worth getting extra help (there’s loads out there!). Speak to your GP or a therapist. The trick is to look for ‘means tested’ ‘sliding scale’ or ‘low cost’ therapists. Alternatively you can refer yourself on the NHS via IAPT. Sending love and luck.
Alice Tapper is the author and founder of Go Fund Yourself. For more money guidance and tips, follow her @gofundyourself.
This column offers guidance, not financial advice. For personal investment advice, it’s always best to speak with a financial advisor.
*Name has been changed.
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