I was invited on to BBC Radio Bristol this morning to talk about how we teach kids about money. I couldn’t make it so I thought I’d summarise my thoughts here instead.
1.Live within your means
The best bit of advice about both finance and happiness comes from Charles Dicken’s fictional character, Mr Micawber
”Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
2.Have a plan
If you are taking on credit or a loan then have a plan of how you will repay it. Putting something on your credit card today is a bad idea if you won’t be able to pay it back as your debt will just increase each month.
3. Learn to cook
Eating at home is so much cheaper. Compare some of the prices charged for avocado on toast compared to making it yourself. The same goes for barista coffee.
Inviting friends around is a cheap way of socialising. At uni I would cook a Sunday roast while friends brought wine, beer and dessert. My brother went one step further and arranged for the girls in his student flat to buy the food for him to cook.
The same goes for learn to sew and do a bit of basic DIY so you can repair instead of replace.
4.Know where your money has gone
The new challenger banks will analyse where you are spending your money. A quick glance at the app on my phone shows that eating out is a big expense and this is a luxury that I know I can reduce if I need to save more money (see tip 3)
5.Consider the environment
Most things which help the environment will also save you money so it’s a win-win.
Reduce-your parents are right, turn off your lights! (and computers and chargers etc). Consider whether you need to buy something in the first place
Reuse-consider buying second hand, exchanging clothes with friends, etc
Recycle-easy enough to adapt clothes by adding something extra or cutting trousers into shorts when you’ve had enough. Best if you have sewing skills but a pair of dressmaking scissors and some glue can go a long way.
But best of all is to build a life where you are not dependent on oodles of money and things for your happiness.