Finances are a huge part of everyone's life, and when you are in your twenties the thought of saving for a house or a car can seem like an impossible milestone to reach. I am currently in that boat having graduated university in 2019 and, moving permanently into my own house, I didn’t think it was possible to save while still being able to make the most out of life and have fun. YouTube helped me change that mindset.
The tips I will be speaking about below give examples of how I have changed up my finances during lockdown with the help of specific Youtubers and the topics they cover. I found that by listening to likeminded people at my own pace; on a topic I was pretty hesitant about, helped me adapt my finance to a point whereby I now feel comfortable and able to manage them. This will of course not be the same for everyone, as what one person feels is easy to manage may not be the same for another. Therefore, it is important to remember, that these tips can be altered and adjusted to work with your daily routine with the overarching advice being whether you decide to make a big or small change to the way you manage your finances it must be right for you and your situation.
Easily Manageable Budget
A lot of you may be doing this first tip already, as was I, however it is important to constantly review old practices and incorporate new ideas. I definitely thought I had the best budgeting spreadsheet going, that was until I saw a spreadsheet designed and produced by a Youtuber named Patricia Bright, which definitely caught my attention.
The name Patricia Bright’s was already familiar to me due to my love for beauty and fashion. However, I was unaware of her financial background until the launch of her second channel - The Break Platform.
As I was already familiar with Patricia’s style of video, I was keen to see how this would transpire into the not so glamourous world of finance. I believe that Patricia’s honesty and relatability allows her audience to resonate with her content and make them think ‘if she can do it so can I’. Patricia’s professionalism shines through her work while still continuing to be exciting, which is just one of the reasons why I have been using the spreadsheet for a good few months now.
I enjoy using this spreadsheet as a focal point for all of my finances as it is clean looking and simple to use, plus all of the techy bits such as formulas had already been inputted which saved me many hours. It was then just a case of inputting my predicted budget for the year in one tab, and updating my actual spending weekly on a separate tab. I set a reminder every Sunday afternoon so that I can review my actuals against my budget for the month. This enabled me to feel that I had full autonomy over my finances as I was setting my own budget and tracking spending at my own pace. I started to see clear patterns that I had previously overlooked and was able to think of simple changes which could be made instantly to have a positive impact on my overall budget.
Now I did invest a little of my own money into this tool, but I believe that it is worth it IF you know you will use; and benefit from using it. I personally feel that I have already seen a return on my investment just by the way I now feel when approaching my finances.
Writer Recommends: Patricia Bright – How To Build Your Own Financial Plan When Sh*t Hits The Fan! Investing, Saving & More
My next tip is not a specific aspect I have changed regarding my finances during lockdown but rather an idea I have had for a while with lockdown providing me sufficient time to conduct in depth research regarding investing/saving money.
Initially when I heard the term investment being mentioned in various YouTube videos I thought, probably the same as many of you are, ‘what do I have to invest’, ‘Investments can only be made once I am settled into adulthood’ but my research found different.
ISA’s can be a useful tool for anyone looking to invest but do not want to commit to a set amount each month. Savings ISA’s can be as flexible or strict as you make them, it all depends on the type of ISA you take out. Personally, I loved the fact that once have put money aside into my ISA I cannot take it back out again, this really helped me to separate my savings from my personal money. Knowing that I couldn’t dip into my savings whenever temptation called meant that I had to be committed and have a plan for how much I would contribute each month. Setting a savings goal and plan is essential to ensure that you are not over-saving and leaving yourself short for essentials, but also that you are not neglecting your savings- this balance can be hard to achieve if you do not keep track of how and where you are keeping your savings.
Which leads me nicely onto how I keep track of my savings. The best piece of advice I have received in regard to saving is to be consistent. I have attempted to implement that by sticking to the same day every month in which I deposit money into my savings account. For some it is unrealistic to put the same amount of money away every month, which is why just sticking to a day and not an amount means that you are still getting into the routine of putting money aside, but not worrying about the amount specifically as any amount saved is better than nothing saved at all.
Moneybox is a savings apps which I have used in the past to help me track and even add to my savings by collecting spare change from every transaction I make. This is a great feature if you are keen to start saving but not prepared, unable, or like me you sometimes forget to put money straight into your savings account. Moneybox also has a feature which allows you to invest your money through a Stocks and Shares ISA which differs to the ISA previously mentioned. The conversationofmoney YouTube channel was created by a financial advisor and contains some great content on investing in 2020 and the future. There is a video which specifically talks you through how to get the most from using the Moneybox app and what investment opportunities there are (Stocks and Shares ISA). Although I have not yet actively started my investment journey, I feel that by watching various videos I have broadened my knowledge and confidence on the topic, and on a personal note I feel that the confidence I gained helped me to develop my decision making skills in other aspects of my life when before I may have felt not in a position to take action. Therefore, when I do feel in a position to start investing my money, I will do so with the tools to help me be successful with it.
Writer Recommends: conversationofmoney- Should I invest amid coronavirus outbreak
Compare and switch
It seems a pretty simple action but one that most of us do not take. Don’t settle with what you are paying now, as I guarantee after a bit of searching you will find a cheaper price for many of your household bills. I don’t know about you, but I was always that person to look on a price comparison website but then never follow through and actually switch even though I knew it would save me money, I know it sounds crazy now I’m writing it down. I’m sure many of us have done it, maybe because we have been able to justify it by either saying we haven’t got enough time or that we simply want to do something more exciting. However, we can’t use those excuses as much now which is why I think this tip is a such good one during lockdown as there is real money to be saved and plenty of time to look into doing it.
One of my favourite quotes on this topic is one from Martin Lewis the ‘Money Saving Expert’ who said that ‘The sin of inaction is bigger than the sin of inaccuracy’. Now this really stuck a chord with me as I am a self-confessed perfectionist and would regularly not act out of fear of getting it wrong. However, getting it wrong is not the point, the point is that when it comes to switching providers taking action means you will be rewarded with a cheaper bill, not taking action out of fear of failure will just result in you losing out on saving your money.
With almost every YouTube video I have watched with a topic relating to budgeting I have found there is a section for ‘Fun’ or Personal Expenses’. Now these terms clearly can mean very different things to different people however the principle is the same, budgeting is not about total restriction but rather restrain and reward.
While you are thinking about all of the savings and budgeting tips mentioned it is important to remember to think about yourself too. Sometimes we can get bogged down with an endless number of things that we can’t buy (and let’s be honest Instagram does not help us, while trying to save). So to combat this I started to see all the things I couldn’t buy, as the things that I will buy but only once I am able to do so, and honestly I found once I was able, most of the things I had wanted didn’t really matter any more.
I believe that by giving myself a personal monthly budget, aside from the main expenses, to spend on whatever I desired helped me to gain a sense of financial freedom. I began to buy smarter by investing in better quality products which seemed to last longer and may actually save me money in the long run instead of buying cheap and often. So, I could feel great and unrestricted regarding some of the things I want, while in turn saving money and buying less at the same time.
Youtuber Caitlin the founder of the Caitlin’s Corner YouTube channel speaks in one particular video about how she found it easier to differentiate where her money was being assigned by having different bank accounts. For example, she separates her wages into 2 categories household expenses and personal expenses. I love this idea as it allows you to see the true amount of money you have for yourself as well as what you have for all of the important things. This helps to prioritise what you can realistically afford to buy, so it may take 3 months to save up for some straighteners you have wanted, but at least you know you can get them eventually. Sometimes setting a goal for yourself, especially regarding money, can have a much greater reward once the goal is achieve as the sense of satisfaction is something you can’t get by sticking it on a credit card.
Knowledge is power
Throughout all of the points I have made so far there has been one common element which factors in their combined success, and that is knowledge, my final tip. Now I know knowledge is a very broad word to use and you are probably thinking, great we are being given advise about something we do every day, which is true. However, if you are striving to hone a particular skill such as finances the potential knowledge you can gain by watching and listening to other experiences shape the way you think about your own situation.
For example, I was the type of person that would watch a YouTube video, say on a DIY project, and then when it came to recreate what I had learnt I seemed to get frustrated when it didn’t turn out exactly like the video. These unrealistic expectations can be hard to shake, and I know YouTube has a bad rep for encouraging this, but I believe if you look at things from the perspective to simply gain knowledge and not copy an idea then that is where new ideas begin to form.
A Youtuber known as ‘The Budget Mom’ gives a great example of how she tailored the knowledge and information she had gained from various sources over the years to create a bespoke way of managing her finances that worked for her. She explains that by trying many different methods of budgeting she was able to pick out the key parts of each method which suited her lifestyle, then by fixing them all together she created a bespoke finance experience she loved. Without the patience, persistence and knowledge she had acquired over the years she wouldn’t have this now essential resource for herself and her family.
I have started to incorporate some of those ideals into my spreadsheet, which although made by another I intend to fully make my own. By removing what I know does not work for me based on previous failed budgeting attempts and increasing the features which draw me in I believe this will help me to create the best tailor-made budgeting plan which is unique and works great for me and my environment.
Writer Recommends: The Budget Mom: The Budgeting Method That Changed My Life.
As previously mentioned, I am no finance whiz and will never claim to have or know where to find all of the answers for any finance related issue. But as I have been putting some of the tips mentioned into practice along with conducting the research to write this blog post I cannot stress the relevance and importance the final tip has had on my personal finance journey. I don’t know about knowledge is power, but knowledge should never be underestimated!
Blog post author: Jasmine Wilson
Jasmine is a recent graduate of the University of Chester and a YouTube enthusiast. She believes technology is great tool for learning and what they didn’t teach us in school we can find out for ourselves!
Jaz is proud to share her knowledge as a Talk Twenties Ambassador - "every 20-something has knowledge to share"
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