Hands up, Alice and I have an unhealthy relationship we money; the more we earn the more we spend. We are the proverbial goldfish of the current account balance, we will grow into whatever income we have, always finding a way to level up, never content with what we have.
This causes so many issues; our biggest issue is that we desperately want to have a house but the numbers involved seem scary, we have invested all of our savings into our business and looking at starting that pot again from scratch almost seems, well, helpless. Buy a beautiful house with just 100k deposit today, they say!!!!!!! Zero to 100k seems like such a long journey and the fear of the enormous task at hand I think stuns us into inaction.
The other big issue is that we work seriously hard, and with that comes a belief that we deserve the lunch we had last weekend at £200 for 2 adults and a pair of non eating kids. It also means I deserve my ten pairs of sneakers I bought this year and the beautiful red wine I drink on a Friday night, right?
But my relationship with my bank balance is awful – do you remember those single days when you would get drunk after work on a Friday, remember that you texted someone, and that text said something it didn’t and the sober-you the next morning couldn’t look at what you sent? Well that’s me apart from I spend and then don’t want to know what it all adds up to – and how big of a dent that’s taken out of our new-house nest egg. It’s not just me; the kids are so used to being spoilt that they constantly ask for new stuff and Alice and I are both weak. Alice could actually justify the legs off a donkey; I have seen it happen and those legs turn into diamonds that walk straight onto her wrist, into her ears and onto her fingers 😉
So we truly strive – and need – to have a better bank life balance. We have nailed work life and now we want a healthy bank life but where do we start you ask? HSBC have this test available here.
Give that a go and then have a real think. Answer the question truthfully and think about what your biggest challenges are.
We devised four ways to help us save and to not spend.
Number one is a great visual representation of how looking after the pennies helps you to look after the pounds. We don’t spend cash much but decided that what we needed to do was to spend notes and save coins. Each day we return home weighed down with gold and silver and to then deposit that into a big glass jar. The kids love throwing the money in every day and it actually grows, unlike our electronic bank balance.
Step two was the hardest but has absolutely murdered the impulse buys and anything that we can’t justify. So everything that you want to buy – save for essentials – Sunday through Friday gets written down with the reason you need it Then, Saturday morning, we revisit that list as a family, decide what we actually need rather than want and buy those goods, services etc during the course of that day. We obviously purchase food, baby milk etc etc as and when we need it but this was a game changer. On reflection after a long week, when you look at the price of what you would have bought and what you have bought it kind of made me feel a bit foolish.
Step 3 was to stop shopping for food online. With us, we put anything and everything incoherently into the basket because it’s on offer or we fancied it. Instead, Alice now meal plans for us – yep, we are those people but it means we don’t waste anything, know what we are eating and stop all those random trips to pick up food on the way home and the even worse Uber Eats deliveries when the kids had gone to bed.
Step 4 download this badass app from HSBC Connected Money (available on all good app stores ;)). This little pocket rocket of an app allows you to see all your money in one place and keep track of where your money really goes. It allows me to figure out how much money I spend on coffee each month, eating out etc without having to do the work myself. Best of all it tracks your spending so you know if you have been better than you were previously. Basically, it’s the little Davey Crocket that we all need on our shoulders