Tuesday, 1 October 2019

How I'm getting my money management back on track

It’s taken almost a month, but I finally feel as though I’m back into some sort of routine after the summer break. 

It’s been a long slog in my house. Renegotiating bedtimes (move over Boris, I’ve got proper skills), getting homework done, remembering swimming kit. But I think we’re (getting) there.

Now some sense of normality has returned to my life, I’ve decided to take a good look at my finances. 

I hold my hands up: things have slipped big time. All the good habits I’d got into since the start of the year disappeared over the summer as quickly as a toddler in a soft play. 

So, I’m going to start again. 

The first thing I’m going to do is get back into the habit of saving. As a part-time journalist with two young kids, I’m not exactly raking it in. I may not be able to set aside hundreds of pounds a month, but anything is better than nothing. 

I need the flexibility of an easy access savings account in case I want my money quickly to pay for a broken windscreen wiper/nursery day-out to the farm/new pair of football boots (for my son, just to be clear). 

I’ve had a Marcus account since it launched last year, and it pays a market-leading 1.45% on £1 to £100,000. 

You can get a better interest rate if you don’t mind tying your money up. 

Lock your cash away for a year and you can earn 1.75% from Ford Money on balances between £500 and £2m, or if you prefer a high street name, 1.41% from the Post Office on a minimum balance of £500. 

If you can commit to saving every month, you may want to think about a regular savings account. Some of these pay as much as 5% (First Direct, HSBC, M&S Bank) but you need to have a current account with the provider to be eligible. 

If you don’t want to go down that route, Coventry Building Society recently launched a regular saver paying 2.5%, which is open to anyone. 

The other thing I’m going to do to get back on track is start budgeting again. 

There are loads of ways to budget. You could try apps like Squirrel, Money Dashboard or Mint. Or you could just create an excel spreadsheet listing all your incomings and outgoings. 

I like the old-fashioned pen and paper method. 

Once all the boring stuff has been accounted for (mortgage, phone, petrol etc), I set myself a weekly spending budget. 

Some people I know physically withdraw their ‘allowance’ at the start of each week and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I transfer my money into my second current account, which I use solely for money management. 

I have a Starling account and I love it. It’s app-only so no branches and is so easy to use. 

I really like its round-up function which automatically rounds up all your purchases to the nearest pound and sticks the spare change into a separate savings account. So, if you buy a coffee for £2.60, you’ll save 40p without doing anything. Monzo offers the same sort of thing. 

 * All rates correct at time of writing, please check terms, conditions and details before opening any new accounts or moving your money. This website does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research and check accuracy and reliability of providers. 


  1. Those are pretty good interest rates for easy-access cash.
    This month I've done something I've never done before: actually write down everything that I spend money on. In the past I've done the process in reverse: budget at the beginning of the month (write down how I will spend money) and try my best to stick to it.
    It's been interesting so far to see where my money is going. I spend WAY more on groceries that I'd realized. And I do think that I curb excess purchases such as lattes when I know I'm going to write it down at the end of the day. 😉. Kind of like a diet journal in this respect.
    Wow, there are so many budget Apps. I'm kind of like you, though; prefer pen and paper (and spending with cash as much as possible).


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