Personal finance interview with Morgan Woods

Morgan WoodsMorgan Woods is a personal finance and lifestyle blogger. She currently writes on her own branded website morganmwoods.com. She is on a mission to help people improve their finances and live better. If you want to know about how to save money, pay a huge upcoming bill or turn your finances around, you should definitely head over her website.

Hi Morgan, thanks for joining us today. Can you first tell us what motivated you to become a money making/saving machine? I read your story and that was really touching.

Thank you. I think what really motivated me was my children. Showing them that anything is possible even when you’re in a bad situation, turning it around with determination and consistent action. I’m naturally very frugal, growing up we had no other option. But when I had some mental health troubles I had lost my frugal way.

What was the key to turn around your finances?

Mindset! I went from a money spending mindset to a money saving mindset. If there was any way I could save or make money in a situation then I would. I went from believing it was impossible for me to ever make/save money in my situation, to knowing that I can.. And I did.

What’s the biggest financial mistake you have ever made?

I was always taught to save up for a big expense but I got totally sucked into the ‘pay later’ trend. Store credit was my biggest downfall for a few years and I ended up getting into some (quite a lot) of debt. It took me 5 months to pay off everything and I have since opened a savings account to save up for such items.

What supermarket would you advise us to go for food shopping? Is it your favourite?

I don’t actually have a favourite store if I’m honest, I live in a small village and my nearest town only has a small Morrisons and Tesco. Morrisons is my most convenient store and they often have plenty of bargains and yellow stickered items. I regularly shop online with Tesco and collect clubcard vouchers. Tesco also have their price promise so I know if anything is more expensive in another big store they will take it off my total price. I’m also happy to shop in any of the other stores when I’m near to one and hunt for yellow stickered items. My best tip would be to wait until later in the day as that’s when products are more likely to be reduced.

What personal finance tools do you currently use to track and manage your money?

I currently have a homemade spreadsheet for all my earnings and outgoings. As yet I haven’t found anything to beat pen and paper. I know this makes me very outdated but there is something about writing it all out that makes me feel more in control.

At Emma, we are building an app that makes you avoid overdrafts. What’s your worst overdraft story?

I think this is an awesome idea! I initially got my arranged overdraft because my bank charges £30 for any bills that might bounce/going into unarranged overdraft. It worked out better at the time to get charged a few pence if I had accidentally gone into overdraft rather than £30 each time something happened. I was going through a bad patch with my mental health a few years ago and my spending became really reckless. I ended up relying on my overdraft each month, it took me a good year to get out of my overdraft in the end.

As a mum, do you have any specific idea on how you’ll teach your children financial skills?

I sat my children (now ages 8 and 9) down just before christmas and explained that we would be saving for our first home. I explained that it would take a combined effort from all of us but it would be worth it. We talked about ways that we would be saving the money and I asked for ideas from them as well. They still come to me with great little savings tips they’ve thought of. The most recent being swapping snack boxes of raisins for a bigger bag. Just popping a portion in a small tupperware pot for their lunchboxes. The children are very much involved in our money saving journey and already have a very entrepreneurial spirit.

How often do you check your finances?

Every day! I check my bank account through my phone everyday to see what has gone in and out. I then check any bills off of my spreadsheet and make sure I’m on track. It only really takes me 5-10 mins while I’m relaxing in an evening but helps me keep on top of it all.

Edoardo Moreni

I am the co-founder of Emma. I was born and raised in Rome, but went to Uni of Manchester, where I got my MEng in Computer Science. As a true Italian I love sushi and ramen. ;)