So it was my 33rd birthday on 23rd April (happy belated St. George’s Day btw), and I thought it would be fun to share a list of 33 money-related tips, apps, books and other things that I have found useful over the years.
When I was first starting out as a doctor 9 years ago, I thought I’d be rich and settled by now. How little did I understand of life back then!! I’ve learnt that things change, people change, and it often takes far longer then we think to sort something out. I don’t mind birthdays – as one of my friends put it “another year older, another year wiser”. So true.
Here are my 33 things…..
- Its ok not to be perfect when it comes to money – I think this is a big one for me. I told myself for years I was “rubbish” with money and it held me back. We all make mistakes (and that’s absolutely ok as long as we learn from them!)
- How I talk about myself makes a BIG difference – I have learnt that when I use negative self-talk, I very quickly get stuck in a rut of feeling low and struggle to get out of it. I am working on being my own best friend. It doesn’t always work, but I’m definitely not as bad as I was.
- Persistence is key – getting out of debt and sorting out my long-term money habits is hard work. I have wanted to give up so many times. I always somehow manage to carry on though – even if it is for a few steps at a time.
- Having an emergency fund has been an absolute game-changer for me. I have used it to bail myself out on more than one occasion. I now have to build it back up again after another life-oopsie, but I’ll get there, I have no doubt.
- The importance of the need for a f***-off fund. I can’t tell you the number of times one of these would have been helpful in my own life. Its definitely a goal I’m working on.
- Slow and steady wins the race. There is no point in throwing too much money into savings in one go. Life unfortunately always happens, and then you have to take it out again. Small amounts being saved with consistency is a much better strategy as it is far more sustainable.
- I’m looking at the triggers I have when spending money. I’m realising that my need to spend money impulsively is all due to stress and people pleasing. Stopping myself overspending is hard to do. The first step is awareness that I’m doing it, then its doing other things instead of spending and building up my stash of “fun” money so that I can spend guilt free every month within the confines of my budget.
- I use my budget to keep an eye on when I’m starting to overspend again. Audible books now are limited to one a month, and I’ll exchange books or listen to podcasts rather than buy more credits for example. I very rarely buy food at work – I’m mega into batching food and taking leftovers in for lunch!
- I’ve stopped buying certain things, like souvenirs. No one wants them anyway, so why bother!!
- I started using plum last year, and I think it is amazing! It’s a Facebook messenger robot that you allow “reading rights” access to your bank account. Then, every few days, the robot takes a little bit of money from your account and saves it for you. This method really works for me! I use it for paying for travelling and other things I want to buy. You can even invest with plum. They are linked to Ratesetter, a peer-to-peer lending platform that can earn you up to 2-3% in interest. Its all free to use, and they don’t charge any fees. Plum also gives you a run down of how you spend your money so you can see where you can make changes and improvements. They are growing and innovating all the time, so why don’t you sign up too?
- Moneybox is another app I use that takes money out of my account automatically, but this is purely for investing. I think it’s really clever – it rounds up all the every-day transactions you make to the nearest pound, then it collects all these odd pennies and invests them for you. It allowed me to pick the investment “risk level” I wanted, and then does the rest automatically. I can even make extra top ups if I want to. Nifty! Give it a go!
- Circle is an app that I use to transfer money to my friends and family. It’s so fast – literally money is in my account within 2 hours. There are no fees involved, and they are also working on free money transfers abroad as well. Currently they offer US Dollars and Euros without any added transaction fees. Why not give it a try?
- The recent WASPI campaign really highlighted to me how little I knew about my pension and retirement. So I did some research and found out more about my own pension. It was eye-opening to say the least! I have since released a retirement guide using alcohol as an analogy…I find they work well together!
- My aim is to have lots of different avenues of income in retirement. I don’t want to rely on any one thing. So I have set up an ISA, a LISA, a SIPP AND I have my own work place pension. The state pension will be the cherry on the top (if it still exists when I reach my 60s that is).
- I have never been one to put off doing things, so I have vowed to keep working on my bucket list and not wait until I “retire” to live my life.
- Over the last 6 years, I have changed my relationship 3 times. I have learnt different things about money from each of them. The first, I learnt not to give up control of my money to anyone else again. The second, I learnt not to overspend to keep up with anyone else and that saying “no” sometimes is ok, and the third, who I am still with, I learnt how to be frugal and spend my money wisely. What have you learnt from your relationships?
- I have realised pretty quickly that not everyone in my family “gets” what I’m learning and teaching about. Investing to them is far too risky, and the whole concept of money management is far too boring to discuss. This is when I need my extended “family” to help me – I have found myself some brilliant new friends to bounce ideas off and get me through the tough stuff.
- Through the process of changing myself, it has caused some friction in my relationships. I don’t want to be surrounded by negativity and complaining, so sometimes this has meant “unfriending” people on social media and keeping my interaction with certain people to a minimum. It helps me to keep my thoughts positive and upbeat, rather than negative and destructive.
- I started my blog by introducing the supermarket challenge – using only cash for purchases for a month. It seriously works! When I’m feeling especially broke now, I switch to using cash only and become really mindful of where I spend it.
- I have embraced the use of spreadsheets and now track everything from the percentage of money I spend on “essentials” and “education” etc to my net worth. This has been the best thing I have done for my money. Focusing my energy on tracking the improvement in my numbers, rather than the amount of debt I am in really really helps my confidence and motivation.
- I use the money-pie method of budgeting – I don’t feel restricted because this method allows me to cover all bases so to speak. Why not have a read and see what you think?
- I have tried being a buy-to-let landlady and for me personally, it sucks!! I will be writing about this at some point. All I’m saying for now is – if you think this is something you want to do, be very careful who you put in there and don’t skimp on the management company looking after it for you. Make sure the property “washes its face” so to speak and leaves you with some monthly cash flow AND a buffer for emergencies.
- I have explored the world of stock market investing, and I have to say, I love it!! So much so that I have created a course on how to invest, specifically in the same kinds of funds I do.
- I have dabbled in cryptocurrency speculating – I think doing things like this is ok, providing I only put a small amount of money in. This is the tip of my investing pyramid.
- “You are a badass at making money” by Jen Sincero is one of those books I will listen to again and again. Its funny, to the point, and full of positive messages. Making money is not something we need to be ashamed or embarrassed about! I have learned so much from her and I keep discovering new things every time I hear it.
- “The millionaire next door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko although American, taught me that genuinely wealthy people do not act like we often see “rich” people portrayed on TV. Ordinary people with ordinary jobs have become millionaires purely by using principles like frugality, saving and investing. It was a real eye-opener for me.
- “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers was the first audible book I ever listened to, and it got me hooked! She has taught me that fear will always be there, and that limiting myself and staying in my comfort zone will not help me to change but pushing through my fear and learning to live with it will. It’s a valuable lesson to learn for a lot of things in my life, and it is a book I will remember for the rest of my life.
- A list of things that I have learnt about myself and money would not be complete without Ann Wilson being in it! She has taught me so much over the past 3 years about how to manage my money and I have some much appreciation and gratitude for that. Her money-awesomeness is amazing and seriously inspiring!
- It goes without saying that Warren Buffett is an idol of mine when it comes to investing. This man is literally a genius, and it can be easy to dismiss his wealth as something not “do-able” for the average person. I have listened carefully to his messages, and even though he has amassed such a huge fortune using his ability to pick stocks and assess the markets (that goes unrivaled by the way), he started from humble beginnings, and has said time and time again that index trackers coupled with compounding are the best thing for the ordinary person to create wealth. Message received loud and clear – thank you Mr Buffett!
- Denise Duffield-Thomas is the amazing woman who has taught me about money blocks and has given me practical steps to try that helps me to push beyond my own. I have her to thank for finding the idea and then the courage to start this blog. I have a lot of appreciate and gratitude for her too!
Other Awesome Things
- Podcasts – seriously, these things are awesome! A quick search will bring up loads on my favourite topics, and they are brilliant for short, sharp bursts of learning. So many of the money lessons I have learned have been through podcasts, and even better, they’re FREE!
- Smartphones – I have no idea how I would cope without mine. Being old enough now to remember what it was like not to have one, I couldn’t imagine going back to that again. It has revolutionised access to my banking, my ability to connect with people from all over the world, and of course, for learning purposes, in whatever medium I choose!
- The Internet – during my 33 years, I have known what life was like without the internet, right through to having the world at my finger tips on my smart phone. The internet has changed my life, and it has changed our society. While there is a lot of negativity aimed at some aspects of the internet, no one can argue that it has brought the world much closer together. I would not have been able to completely change my money story had it not been for the internet. Period.
Turning 30 and having a late “quarter-life” crisis has completely changed my life for the better. Having had a chance to reflect on my past, heal old wounds and plan for an amazing future has meant that my 30s have been the best years of my life to date. I have learnt to embrace things as they are, and work with what I’ve got. I regret nothing because it has led me down this path – my life is unfolding exactly how it is meant to.
So there you have it – 33 things for my 33rd birthday. I hope you have spotted something in the list you could use or work on too. I would love to hear all about it.
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Every week I'll send you something inspiring, useful and fun related to our favourite m-word.....MONEY! I look forward to "meeting" you. Love, Dr Nikki x