Five Things I’ve Learnt Lately (And They Are ALL Money Related)
OK, so before we get into this post, I feel really passionate about women taking control of their finances, but at the same time, I’m no money expert. HOWEVER, I do feel like I’ve learnt some useful information to share with you all and we should be talking about these things more. I would always advise you do your own research before you make any big decisions and I personally find moneysupermaket and moneysavingexpert great online resources, you should check them out!
Take Control Of Your Score
Ah! The world of credit scores! It’s a tricksy one! So traditionally I’ve struggled with my credit score, not because I’ve maxed out a credit card or refused to pay back a loan, it’s actually the opposite! I’m a debit card kinda gal and the problem with that is I have no track record. No credit = No credit rating, and that makes it hard to get credit to build up a credit score. What does that mean in real terms? Lemme tell you! A few years ago, I applied for a credit card and because I had virtually no credit rating, they declined my application. Embarrassing? Slightly, but more importantly, after I got declined for a credit card that rejection actually showed up on my history and none of the other banks wanted to give me a credit card because of it! Which starts a very nasty cycle! If this is you, go have a read of moneysupermaket.com or moneysavirngexpert.com, both of which have loads of great advice.
Pre-credit crunch it was easy to apply for endless cards and loans, hell, even mortgages could be self-certified (where you basically told the bank you could pay it back, rather than prove it with payslips!). These days, lenders are strict on giving credit, because who wants to loan money they might never get back. If you have a poor credit score, don’t worry! You can improve it, but these things take time, so do it sooner, rather than later as even if you are 5 or 10 years away from applying for a mortgage, it’s good to have your credit score looking good for a long period of time before this. To check and manage your credit score, you can sign up to Experian (it’s about £14 a month, but they do have free trials if you just want to check your credit score as a one-off) and you can track the points you accrue each month (or loose! oops!) and go from there. Essentially, what the banks / lenders want to see a regular repayments of your debts and management of your finances. They want to see a trend rather than erratic behaviour, so don’t spend £10,000 and then pay it off the next day and then spend £5,000 the following month and pay back the minimum amount. Slow and steady wins the race. What I’m saying is, you don’t need to cut up all credit cards, you just need to manage them most effectively. Create a trend. Be predictable. Also keep a check on your APR rates, some can be as high as 40% whilst others are around 16%, also some credit cards will earn you gift vouchers or air miles, and others will give you 50 days before interest starts to accrue, whilst others will charge interest instantly if there is a historical balance on the card, but the APR might be lower. So it is worth thinking about which card is best for you! If you have racked up a little credit in your past and your credit score has taken a hit because of it, remind yourself, these things happen and then try to think up a plan to pay it back and manage it as best you can. Say for instance you have a phone on contract, two maxed out credit card and a bank loan; My best advice would be to keep paying back the instalments of your loan and try to get your credit cards down to about 85% of the balance available, which is a manageable amount and a good start on beginning to pay it back, and also make a big impact on that all important score. Once you hit that milestone, you want to be thinking about getting the total balance down, set aside a little money every month and know that everything you pay off the card will reduce your interest repayments and help you in the long run. As above, if you are thinking about applying for another credit card, maybe a 0% balance transfer card (Tesco do a good one, it will give you 12 months interest free to help get your interest payments down and make your money work harder for you), but your credit rating is already in the poor / very poor category, then avoid applying for another cards until your credit rating is a little healthier. FYI, even if you get a letter saying ‘you are pre-approved’ it might not mean you are REALLY pre-approved, this also happened to me. It was very frustrating! So why do you need a good credit rating? Well for one thing, you can’t buy a house without one, but not only that, you won’t be able to take advantage of any interest free credit options, buy a car on finance… or even get a credit card for emergencies or travel. Even if you are 10 years away from buying any of these things, it’s better to start building up your credit rating sooner, rather than later.
Invest In Yourself
Much like ‘knowing your worth’, ‘investing in yourself’ can be difficult. It takes time and hard work to say ‘I’m worth this fee‘ or ‘this is how I work best‘ or even ‘I believe in myself‘. We spend so much of our lives giving, in particular to employers, but maybe it’s time to stop giving 100% of yourself to your work and think about how you can scale that back and do something for YOU instead. Maybe you have dreams to start your own business, learn a new skill, work on a passion project or change career paths. Investing in yourself comes in many forms and maybe you need to sit down and figure out what that looks like for you. It might be physically spending the money on new equipment which will help you take your passion to the next level, or it might be investing time and money into personal therapy, life coaching or even a business or training course. Whatever investing in yourself looks like to you. Do it. Use your annual leave, take your lunch breaks, don’t work late every night. Even if you don’t know how you want to invest in yourself yet, you won’t discover it until you take a step back and stop going full throttle for someone else company. Give yourself time and space to breathe, think, create, learn and never ever be afraid to invest in yourself.
Music Magpie is AMAZING!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been having a bit of a purge of old books, dvd’s and CD’s. I have oodles of old phones in my drawers as well as CD’s I never listen to (oh hey spotify!) and DVD’s I never watch (I see you Netflix!). It was my mum who recommended Music Magpie to me and even though I had heard of it and seen the adverts I had never used it or realised quite how good it is!!! Honestly, it’s GREAT! I’ve filled boxes with DVD’s I’ll probably never watch again and even though you don’t get much per item, if you clear out a cupboard it will soon mount up. Personally, I’d rather shift a load of DVD’s I’ll never watch again and use that money on the next 6 months of Netflix subscriptions, #JustSaying! I’ve filled about 3 small boxes so far and I’ve got more to do, it’s kinda addictive if I’m honest! If you want to get involved, just download the app, scan the barcodes and box it up. The shipping is free and if you are lazy like me, you can even arrange for a delivery company to come collect it from you for FREE! It’s honestly so easy and between my boyfriend and I, we have about £100 coming our way very soon! If you sign up and use my referral code (FASHION LUNCH), you’ll get an extra £5 added to your total, and so will I!
Things You Don’t Want To Think About
I wasn’t sure if I should mention this point, but it is something I’ve learnt lately and I think it’s important to share. As some of you might know, a few weeks ago my partner lost his father. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s been a really difficult time and quite frankly, the last thing we, or anyone, should be considering at this time is money. However, it turns out funerals are REALLY expensive. We all know weddings cost a lot, but honestly, I had no idea funerals could cost almost as much. We are having a simple burial and it’s costing over £5,000 and please bare in mind, this cost doesn’t include the plot, a family car, flowers or food / drinks for the wake. The loss of a loved one is rarely expected and even for high earners, £5,000+ is hard to find overnight. I think if you are from a low income family, you can get a *little* help from the government, but it’s not for the full amount and quite frankly, it must be stressful having to apply for help at this difficult time. Also, the banks are meant to release the funds from the current account of the deceased to pay for funeral costs, but not everyone has that kind of money in their bank account and quite frankly, the money hasn’t yet been released to my boyfriend yet and he paid the funeral directors two weeks ago. I know it sounds morbid, depressing and we all hate chatting money, but honestly, these times are super stressful already and money shouldn’t even be a consideration at this time. If this is something that worries you and you want to plan ahead, then there are plans you can set up in advance so the money side is all taken care of years in advance. And if you want to plan further ahead, it might be worth thinking about a life insurance policy too, so that you know your family are provided for if you leave the party early.
Be A Dog With A Bone
Sometimes I see my boyfriend at work I’m honestly impressed at how my sweet, funny, dog-loving, great-cooking sweetheart turns into this professional man with a plan. He uses lingo, he’s friendly but assertive, he’s got a vision and he’s just really great at his job. However, what impresses me the most, is the way he attacks things in her personal life with the same tenacity that he does in his work life. It could be anything from asking the council to collect the fly tipped mattress at the end of the road, or it could be him researching local builders firms and double checking the materials they are using to make sure they are the best quality on the market. Be that dog, get that bone! No REALLY! Whatever you want, a job or promotion, a healthy savings account, the handbag of your dreams, a holiday to vegas, a better credit score or even just to clear your wardrobe of your old clothes and make some money in the process… whatever it is! You have to get in there, all guns blazing and make it happen. Give it the same level of motivation, organisation and passion that you would at work and show yourself exactly what you can do!
I hope this post was of help. Once again, I’m gonna remind you I’m not a money expert. Us ladies need to take more control of our finances, do more research and more importantly talk to each other. Personally, I find Moneysavingexpert and Moneysupermarket great online resources which I highly recommend bookmarking!