Rebecca Broad – Squaring up to Finances
I can understand complex biological theories, prioritise three different clients all insisting their email is the most urgent, and I even enjoy public speaking. But my brain grinds to a halt as soon as I think about money. At least… it used to.
Maybe I should have been taught more about managing finances in school. Perhaps it’s the £50,161.60 of student debt I feel hovering over me. It’s certainly something to do with the famously variable income of a freelancer. Either way, here are four tools I have used to yank my head out of the sand when it comes to my money situ.
SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNTS
Instead of blindly hoping my debit card stays in the black, I now have eight accounts covering different incomes, outgoings, and savings to help me understand where my money is coming from and going to.
Key to this is my Coconut account, from which I run all of my business finances. Coconut’s features are far too many to list here, but I love their in-app invoicing processes, expense categorisation, and instant notifications (especially the you got paid! ones, obvs). The clean design and unbeatable customer support alone won me over, never mind Coconut’s abilities to share access with an accountant, export data, and even estimate tax. I now actually want to look at my business finances, which makes it a total game changer for me as a freelancer.
PERSONALISED ENVELOPE SYSTEM
Some outgoings are the same each month – rent, therapy and so on. Therefore, they are all paid via debit or withdrawn in cash at the start of the month, even if I won’t pay them until later in the month. Accounting for future expenses means I’m not scrabbling around in the fourth week for absolute necessities or having to do arithmetic gymnastics thinking of future payments every time I check my balance.
CLEARING UP CREDIT
Some elements of financial life are downright confusing for the majority of us. Credit scoring is one of those: around half of UK adults have never even checked their report (Experian 2019). To save you, me, and the editors from falling into a confused slumber, I won’t attempt to explain scoring, but I will say that since signing up for Clearscore in March I’ve boosted my points by 5% (and my understanding by about 3000%) just by following the app’s simple recommendations.
I would like to feel informed about my money and calm at the prospect of discussing it. Once I’d identified that aim, I listed simple steps I could take to foster a positive mindset, and dedicated time to taking them. I’ve sat down with financial coach Julia Day, chatted with financial advisor Andrew Neligan, and followed social media accounts which talk honestly about money. Having open conversations with others increases understanding and lowers anxiety, which is exactly what I need when squaring up to my finances.
I’d love to know how you’ve got more comfortable with your money. Tweet me at @RebeccaComms or email email@example.com – perhaps we could catch up over a cuppa at Grow’s Coffee House on South St, Exeter!
Written by Rebecca Broad
Photo by Megan Elle Garratt