Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s weekly dive into the world of finance – your finance. These uncertain times have reminded us just how much understanding our money matters and yet… how little we talk about it and how much it’s shrouded in secrecy.
This stops now.
Keen to break that money taboo, we’re chatting all things personal finance from money saving tips to ISAs and pensions. Each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, grab a cuppa, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…
Gina* works in broadcasting in London on £22.5k a year, and feels pressure to keep up with her higher earning friends. She wants to plan for a girls’ holiday next year. This is her money month…
I’m a runner in broadcasting in London, and renting a two-bed flat with a friend. A big chunk of my income goes on rent, which is annoying. But I’d never have gotten this job if I’d stayed living with my parents miles from anywhere, so I’m seeing it as an investment in my career.
After uni I was so excited to get this job in media, and am really enjoying it. But two of my best friends got graduate jobs in banks and are already earning loads more than me. I really enjoy my job and would be so bored doing theirs, so I’m not jealous. It just makes it difficult when we go out together – I’m always the one ordering the cheapest meal or drink, and having to work out the bill at the end when they’re happy to ‘just split it’. They don’t do it to be horrible, I just think they’ve gotten used to having lots of disposable income so they don’t think about it.
We’re now planning a girls’ trip next summer and I really want to be able to go and enjoy it fully without stressing about money. I have plenty of time, so I need to set up a savings plan, and maybe a budget for the holiday that I can get us all to agree to in advance?
Beyond the holiday, I need to get into good savings habits for life in general. I’m hopefully going to be earning a bit more in the next few years, but I’m starting from such a low base and would love to get to the point where I have a buffer.
Current account: £302
Savings account: £267
Annual salary: £22,500 pre-tax; £18,964
Monthly wage: £1,875 pre-tax; £1,580 post-tax
Any other incoming payments: £0
Other: Gym membership, weekly food shop, Netflix etc = £85
Splurges: I recently bought a new handbag, it wasn’t designer but it was £110, which is more than I’d usually spend on myself!
Weekly budget: Don’t have one but definitely need one.
Just my student debt.
MY MONEY THOUGHTS
My worst money habit: Eating out, I love going for a nice meal and drinks with my friends.
My biggest money worry: Always being the one who can’t afford to keep up.
My financial hopes for the future: I want to do well in my career – I know I’ll never be a millionaire, but I want to earn enough to own my own place one day.
Current money mood:🕵️♀️ 🙏 🤷🏼
1. Financial FOMO is real
Even though you know you love your job, there’s a little part of us all that really struggles with the idea of not having quite as much money as our peers. It’s awkward feeling like the only one who’s anxious at the ordering of yet another round of espresso martinis. It’s worth being aware that this is something nearly all of us feel – for some, happiness is quite literally about out-earning everyone you know (I do not recommend this). It sounds like for you, this is a practical question of enjoying life and not feeling the pressure to ‘keep up’ with your mates.
2. What matters
It’s brilliant to hear that you recognise that your happiness is what really matters. It’s a rare thing to have found a career you enjoy. Unfortunately, there is really only one sustainable solution to financial FOMO and that’s honesty. Once you’re familiar with what you can and can’t afford (we’ll get onto that soon), learning to communicate that with your mates is key.
3. How to be honest
But I get it, this is SO much easier said than done. A helpful reframing is to think of financial honesty as a healthy form of self-respect and boundary setting. Put your own financial future first and don’t let your spending (and ultimately your saving…) be dictated by someone else. Two tips for doing this well: Communicate directly – say upfront when you have a preference or concern; and communicate early – don’t leave it until the Michelin dinner is booked or the holiday is planned before speaking up.
4. Talk about it
So on that note, have a chat about this holiday. You can keep these conversations light – say that as much as you’d love to spend two weeks in the Maldives or have a blowout trip to Vegas, you’re needing to do some serious financial planning. One strategy, if money is just too awkward, is to use an anonymous poll so you can all vote on what you’d be comfortable spending.
5. Make it happen
Whatever the budget, you have lots of time to get your saving game on. Work out what you need to be saving monthly (bump it by 10% just to be on the safe side). In the spirit of prioritising your own financial goals and boundaries, you’ll want to prioritise your saving too: make it happen automatically with a standing order the day after payday. Then with what’s left, you can establish a weekly budget.
Alice Tapper is the author and founder of Go Fund Yourself. For more money guidance and tips, follow her @gofundyourself.
This column offers guidance, not financial advice. For personal investment advice, it’s always best to speak with a financial advisor.
*Name has been changed.