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 33-year-old photoshoot producer who wrote off her credit card debt by having a "boring year" and believes living in the Lake District makes saving a lot easier.
Location: The Lake District
Occupation: I run a photoshoot production/consultancy business, managing and producing mainly fashion shoots for high street brands.
What is your current salary?
At the end of last tax year, my salary was £42,000 p.a. I’m on track to make approx. £60,000 next tax year.
How long have you been earning this amount?
I’ve only been running the business two years, but prior to this I was on a salary of £50,000 for my full time role.
Do you receive regular financial help from friends, family, or a partner and how do you think this has impacted your relationship with money?
No, not for many years now. I used to ask my Dad for help with rent etc. when I was younger but, since my salary went up to management level, life’s been a little easier and I’ve really improved my budget management.
How would you describe your relationship to money?
I’m fairly casual about spending on nice things for myself and my family but I do keep a close eye on my accounts. Saving is not my strong point, however I have just bought a house so I’m getting better.
Do you believe you feel you are currently in a stable position financially?
Yes, currently I’m lucky enough to have some money set aside in case work dries up or something happens.
How did you achieve stability?
Honestly, I think it’s because I moved up north where everything is cheaper than London. I also had a baby, so I don’t go out drinking or eating fancy dinners as much as I used to.
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?
It’s fairly recent, I do think becoming a parent gives you a reality check, so I’ve been a lot less frivolous. I did get into some credit card debt in my mid 20s going on luxe holidays. But, prior to setting up the business, I knuckled down, sold loads on eBay, and paid off every penny. A boring year but worthwhile.
Do you own any properties?
I own one property — a three-bed house — but bear in mind I live in the Lakes, so my monthly payments are pretty low compared to most!
How did you come to own that property?
I lived with my family with my baby daughter and saved for three years.
Did you have any help from partners or family members to put down a deposit or pay the mortgage?
I had a small percentage from my Grandma as a gift for my house deposit.
What does financial stability look like to you?
Not worrying about paying the rent, having enough money to shop well (quality food as well as nice things), and some [money] leftover for a few trips a year for me and my daughter, as well as wider family.
What advice would you give to young women who are worried about achieving financial stability?
I would say it can be a long process and you do have to commit to it over a reasonable period of time. Saving a large amount can take years, not months, but if you start to make changes now you can make a difference to your situation quickly.
What one piece of advice would you give to young women who want to improve their relationship to money?
Look after yourself, don’t rely on anyone else! Take on an extra job or learn a new skill that could boost your earnings. And if you want to go freelance or work for yourself but you’re worried about unstable income, save up for a while before you make the leap. You’ll need that buffer.
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