What’s your financial secret sauce?

Kara Gammell
Finances expert
minute read
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Posted 16 APRIL 2021

We asked Mim Shaikh, Debris and Sapphire Bates what worked for them and how you can use their top tricks for getting your finances on the right track.

“Save. Stack. Invest.”

Influencer Mim said that the thing that made the biggest difference to his money was realising the power of planning ahead.

Just like you wouldn’t go on a road trip without planning your journey, you need to be focused when it comes to savings: research shows that people who set savings goals save faster than those who don’t.

What’s more, figures from NS&I show that people who have a financial focus save up to £500 a year more than people who don’t.

Make savings easy

If you have been meaning to save more, but just can’t seem to find the cash, try transferring your savings automatically on payday.

If you have more than one goal, determine which ones are most important and make those your priority – but be realistic about how much time and money it will take to accomplish each goal – an estimate that is too low will only frustrate you, while one that is too high may put you off.

Have a jam jar mentality

If you are saving for more than one thing at the same time, don’t keep all your money clumped into a single savings account – when the cash is lumped together into a single account, it’s tough to know how much more you need to reach a particular goal.

You could open additional savings accounts to avoid this problem. As each account has a name and specific purpose, you will have an added incentive to pay into it.

“Get it all down somewhere”

Influencer Debris explained the importance of budgeting.

Without a proper budget, many of us just muddle through our lives simply trying our best to stay one step ahead of our bills.

But this head-in-the-sand mentality is one way to ensure a life of spending more but getting less.

A good budget will be able to show where your money is coming from, how much there is and where it is all going.

Where to start

Research suggests that creating an annual budget instead of a monthly one is more successful, mainly due to a lack of confidence in our annual estimates – we tend to allow more leeway for unexpected expenses.

Carefully look through bank and credit card statements to see exactly where your money is being spent.

Many of us overlook the little extras that can send a more balanced budget into the red.

Once you know where you stand financially, it will be easier to make sure all your outgoings are covered, and you are able to siphon off money into a savings pot.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Budgeting isn’t about guilt. It’s about being informed and adjusting your behaviour accordingly.

Remember that if you take a too severe approach, you’ll struggle to stick with it – so be realistic when you record your expenses and allocate cash for spending.

“Know your history”

Influencer Sapphire talked about credit scores and the importance of staying on top of it.

Before a bank or building society offers you a credit card, loan, mortgage or overdraft, they will look up your credit score to get an idea of how likely you are to pay the money back.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to throw your credit score in to a mess, either. Just one missed or late payment on a credit card, loan or mobile phone bill, for instance, could knock you out of the running for the best deals or interest rates.

You can get a statutory copy of your credit report for £2 from one of Britain's three credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

You can also get a free credit report by signing up for a free trial - but remember to cancel at the end of the introduction period (usually 30 days) or you'll pay a monthly fee.

What to watch out for:

Things that you should watch out for in your credit report include the details of all your current and previous financial accounts, when you have applied for credit in the past, how much credit you have available to you (in the form of credit cards, for example) and your record of paying off debt.

How to improve your credit score:

If your credit score isn’t in the best shape, don’t panic – there are things you can do to fix it.

Not being registered to vote, for instance, can play havoc on your credit score as lenders verify that you are who you say you are by checking the electoral roll.

It costs nothing to do, plus means you have a say in who is running the country – it’s a win/win.

What’s more, if you spot any mistakes, for instance, such as an incorrect address, you can contact the credit reference agency to set it right.

Watch to learn Mim, Debris and Sapphire’s secret to being good with cash

3 things to do right now...

Set yourself a reminder on your phone to make one money change this week. When that task is accomplished, set yourself another one. Little steps can have a massive impact on your finances – and setting up a digital prompt will get you going.

Download a free budgeting spreadsheet. Go for the one that feels right for you, not the one you’re told to. You can always start simple and get more complex later.

Pick a good friend, let them know you’re thinking about managing your money better and ask them if they have any tips. Starting on the journey together can make it easier.

Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.

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