Catherine Morgan, the founder of The Money Panel, shares tips on how we can be better equipped to handle money issues.
6 quick-wins to manage your money
- Make a spending plan – Not a budget as this insinuates a restriction of money. Look at where you are spending money and how this aligns to your personal values and life goals.
- Set small goals that are achievable like saving money on food for one week or better your savings rate by shopping around.
- Use cashback websites like Quidco and Topcashback for your online purchases
- Create separate money pots for the unexpected costs that are commonly not accounted for, such as a Christmas account and a car expenses account.
- Just start! A small amount of money saved or invested each month can have a substantial positive effect over a long period of time, which is commonly referred to as ‘compound interest.’
- If you have debts and don’t know which one to focus on paying-off first, try using a Snowball calculator. It is normally always best to repay debt off first before starting a savings plan.
Building your ‘spending plan’
Find the best way to track your spending; you could make a list on paper or there are many tools available, like Yolt or YNAB. Monitor your spends weekly not monthly; it’s easier to manage a smaller number of transactions. Understand what you earn and what you spend, list your essential outgoings separately to your occasional spending like clothes or cosmetics. If you are overspending against what you earn, you need to decide whether to focus on increasing your earnings or decreasing your spending. Lastly, make a list of things you spend that make you happy and evaluate whether you could get as much satisfaction in a cheaper way? E.g. shopping around.
Plan done. How to stick to this?
- Set yourself small goals
- Give yourself an accountability partner – buddy up with a friend and challenge each other
- If you spend more when you are feeling emotional, try not to make any big financial decisions when you are stressed.
- Leave the item in your online shopping basket for 48 hours – see if you still need it when you return two days later.
Should everyone have an investment portfolio?
I believe everybody should have the opportunity to start investing. The earlier you start the better. The main reasons I come across that prevents people from starting early is a lack of confidence and a fear of asking for expert advice. This is no surprise because there is a huge gap in the market as to where people can go for guidance.
How can someone start investing?
There are some excellent providers on the market, like Money Box, who offer investments that are easy to set up and cost effective. Find a company that you connect with and don’t feel shy to speak with. Another great way to start investing is to form a money club with your friends. It can be a lot of fun and you can help each other perhaps taking a topic each to research and report back!
Catherine spent 17 years in finance working for the big names of high street banks. After the birth of her first son, she made the entrepreneurial move to start a Personal Stylist business – her goal was to help women feel more confident about their bodies especially after childbirth.
In 2017 she decided it was time to combine her passion for helping people with her financial know-how. She launched The Money Panel to provide money guidance and financial coaching to those that really need it. Want to know more? You can read her full story.