Personal finance interview with Fiona Hawkes from Savvy in Somerset

Today, we are having a conversation with Fiona Hawkes from Savvy in Somerset. She loves saving money as well as spending it. Her blog is mainly focused on money saving and her journey to be debt free in the next 10 years!

Hi Fiona, thanks for joining us today. Is there a particular reason you started blogging and giving money advice? Do you also have a specific financial goal?

Starting a blog was something I had wanted to do for a long time – I’m really good at saving money and wanted share my ideas with others. I love writing too, it’s so nice to have a creative outlet that is totally different from my day job as a chef. I’m also hoping I can move over to blogging full time once we start a family.

Our current financial goals are gradually paying off our mortgage (to save on interest) and saving up a deposit to buy a second house (so we can rent out where we live now). We are happy where we are for now but we don’t really feel it’s big enough to be our permanent family home.

What’s the best way you have found to make money online? Do you have a money making tip you would like to share?

I’m a self confessed Facebook addict, so Facebook is actually one of my favourite places online to make money. There’s so much you can do, from selling your old stuff, entering competitions, selling your story to magazines. I’m also in Money Making Mastermind group run by another blogger and it’s great for sharing and swapping ideas.

Best Tip: Never take the tags off clothes until you have worn them properly (not just tried on) – if items end up never getting worn it means their resale value will be higher.

What’s the biggest financial mistake you have ever made? Everyone has one. 😉

Not saving more when I was younger. It took us five years to save a good deposit to buy a house, I wish I’d had the foresight to start sooner. When I first had a full time job I was just so excited to have my own money I spent the majority of it on clothes and shoes. I also regret just giving a lot of those clothes and shoes away and not selling them on Facebook or eBay!

What’s your favourite supermarket? We are interested to know how you have managed to reduce your food shopping and if there is a secret formula.

No Secret formula I’m afraid – just putting in a bit, well quite a lot, of effort. I don’t do a weekly or monthly ‘Big Shop’, I do lots of small late night shops to grab reduced bargains. Then about once a month I’ll go to Lidl to stock up on things like rice, noodles and pasta. Before going shopping I’ll always check shopping apps like Checkoutsmart to see if there are any bargains or freebies I can grab. I use coupons sometimes too – either for free products or money off a certain amount spent.

My favourite supermarket for late night bargains is Co-Op. My local one is in the middle of housing estate rather than in the middle of town so there always seems to be loads of reduced food left when I pop in on my way home from work. I also use Sainsbury’s quite a bit as I love the quality of the food and they seem to have quite reasonable middle of the day reductions.

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

I have a banking app on my phone which is great for checking my current account and moving money about if I need too. Not a tool as such, but I actually love the old school method of putting the money for each bill in an envelope so you can’t use it. I do this with my shopping budget – I keep £50 in a separate purse so I can easily see what I’ve spent and how much I have left.

How often do you check your finances?

My banking app means I can check my finances whenever I need to which is great – it makes checking direct debits and any unusual activity on my account really easy to track.

What’s your bank?

I currently bank with Santander. The 123 account has a great interest rate and offers cashback on bills so even after the monthly fee I’m still making money. I have savings accounts with Santander too and their app makes it really easy to move money around between accounts as and when I need to.

Make sure to visit Fiona’s blog at Savvy in Somerset, if you want to read more personal finance interviews, just check our section.

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. ;)