Welcome to How I Made It Work — Bustle UK's financial series which aims to demystify money and the process of achieving financial stability. This time, HIMIW hears from a 31-year-old manager of a doctor's practice in Greater London who has been saving since the very first time she was paid and believes her family has had a major impact on her relationship with money.
Location: Greater London
General job description: Practice Manager (GP Practice)
What is your current salary? How long have you been earning this amount?
My current salary is £52,000 + £8,000 bonus per year. I have been on this salary for about two years. When I started working for my employer 10 years ago, I started on £16,000. Since then, I have climbed the job role ladder from receptionist, to administrator, to assistant manager, to manager. Each with a pay increase.
Do you receive regular financial help from friends, family, or a partner? How do you think this has impacted your relationship with money?
I don’t currently receive any financial help from family or friends, although I was fortunate enough to live rent-free with my parents until I was able to move into my own home when I was about 26. I think not receiving any regular financial help since then has had a major impact on my relationship with money, in that I understand the effort behind each pound that I spend. I often value items by how many hours I had to work to buy them.
How would you describe your relationship to money?
I’ve always had quite a strict relationship with money, but I do also try to live a good quality of life and go on holidays. My family has had a big influence — my dad was never extravagant with money and always advised me to consider whether something was necessary before I bought it. And in my teenage years, my older sister moved back home to save a deposit for her own home. She was very strict with money while living with us and I think this had a positive impact on my own relationship with money.
Do you believe you feel you are currently in a stable position financially?
I definitely feel in a stable financial position and have done for some time. From my first ever pay-check I started saving, even if it was only a small amount. This meant that if something came up unexpectedly, like a car repair or a new boiler, I’d always have the money available to cover it and would not be left without a car or without hot water.
If yes, how did you achieve stability?
Never spending my whole salary and always saving something. Staying at home with my parents until I could afford to move out. I try to make savings where I can, using voucher codes, cash back website TopCashback, airline miles, reward schemes, or buying things in the sale. I always try to think of the best value option available, without compromising too much on quality. My spending is never extravagant.
If you feel financially stable, has this been the case for most of your life, a few years, or is it a very recent thing?
I’ve felt financially stable since I started my first job when I was 18. After this, excluding them allowing me to live rent-free, I didn’t ask my parents to support me with money again.
Do you own any properties (and how many)?
I own a flat in the UK and a rental property abroad.
How did you come to own those properties?
I bought the rental property abroad with one of my friends as an investment and used the bulk of my savings for this. The property was paid in full within five years and we receive a small monthly rental income. I then continued to save as much as I could until I had enough for a 10 percent deposit for my first flat.
Did you have any help from partners or family members to put down a deposit or pay the mortgage?
My brother lent me a few thousand for furniture as I had spent all of my savings on the deposit and fees. I paid him back within six months.
What does financial stability look like to you?
Being able to own my own home and car. Being able to go on holiday every year and have some savings for a rainy day.
What advice would you give to young women who are worried about achieving financial stability?
It is definitely doable if you put your mind to it. When you get paid, pay your bills and put some money into savings. Then learn to budget for the month on the money you have left over. Just small changes can make a big difference. Bringing your own lunch to work could save you £1,000 a year.
What one piece of advice would you give to young women who want to improve their relationship to money?
When you want to buy something, have a think about how necessary it is and how many hours you had to work to be able to buy it. You might think that the £150 handbag is not worth a whole day at work.