This week we caught up with Bekki, a money-saving London based millennial and the founder of @TheLittleSpender; an Instagram account that helps you spend less in London.
We thought it was difficult to find cheap places to eat in London until we came across Bekki’s page and she has since convinced us otherwise. If you are interested in cheap eats, budgeting and fried chicken check out our interview with Bekki and make sure you give her a follow!
What inspired you to start your page?
I’ve always had an interest in personal finance, but it wasn’t until I moved to London 6 years ago that I had to really think about my spending. I was determined to not let a low salary stop me from experiencing everything London had to offer, so I began finding lots of little ways to spend less money, from restaurant offers, to free fitness classes, to ways of getting a free lipstick. These little hacks enabled me to have fun, see my friends and stick to a small budget. Over the years my friends would come to rely on me for ideas, so I decided to start sharing my tips on Instagram for everyone to see!
How do you budget?
My budget is pretty simple – at the start of the year I work out how much money I’m paid each month, I then add up all of my fixed expenses (bills, rent, gym membership etc) so I know exactly how much money I have left to play with. I then think about my priorities for the year, things I’m likely to need money for, holidays I want to go on etc. Understanding my priorities helps me decide how I want to split my money – currently, 50% of my salary goes toward fixed expenses (boo), 30% goes into savings and 20% is spent on everything else. To make sure I don’t dip into my savings, I transfer the 20% into a Monzo account and live off that each month. I feel like I’m always banging on about the positive effects Monzo has had on my finances, but it really has made sticking to a budget much easier! I also find that having separate accounts for bills, savings and monthly spending makes managing my budget a breeze.
What are your favourite 3 cheap eats in London and why?
There are so many great cheap eats in London, so this is a tough question! Crust Bros is a really great pizza joint near Waterloo and they have a daily Instagram deal where you can get a pizza for £5! DF Mexico offers 50% off their tacos on a Monday which ends up being a super cheap meal out. And lastly I’m a huge fan of fried chicken, so I’d say Bird’s “Wing Wednesday” offer of 12 wings and a beer for £10 is a solid fave. Deals like these are my favourite things to post about on TLS!
What is your favourite cheap meal to cook during the week?
I am seriously obsessed with all pasta dishes, which luckily is one of the cheapest things you can cook. My go-to cheap meal would be chilli, tomato and prawn pasta. I’ll often cook a big batch on a Sunday and take to work for my lunches. I’m fortunate enough to have an Aldi and a Lidl really close to me, which means I can cook a week’s worth of lunches for under a tenner. Both supermarkets also stock really good quality frozen fish, so another favourite is something like a salmon and sweet potato traybake with roasted veg – super cheap to buy, and really easy to cook!
How do you balance eating out and eating in?
Eating out at restaurants is my favourite thing to do, and I’m lucky to have a group of friends who also like food as much as me! Although I might eat out a few times a week, I rarely spend more than £15 on a meal and I will sometimes sacrifice getting a desert or a beer to keep costs down. My whole mantra is based around balance, and I like spending less so I can go out more.
If I think I’ll go over my monthly set budget for eating out, I’ll be conscious to cut back on other areas of my life, for example, I might put myself on a clothes shopping ban, or I might walk to work every day that week, to ensure that my overall spending is in line.
Can you give us one saving tip?
The classic money saving quote of “Pay yourself first” is actually a really good saving tip. Each month as soon as I’ve been paid I will allocate my money into separate accounts so I know exactly what I have available to spend. I find it really helps reduce any stress around money as it means I don’t have to keep checking that I have enough money in my account to pay for my phone bill etc.
What is your favourite money book?
Laura Whateley has a great book offering up loads of practical money advice, from how to budget, tips for buying a house, to how to get started with investing – I began turning the pages down at interesting points until I realised I was turning nearly every page down (It’s called Money: A Users Guide). I’ve also just started reading a book by Alex Holder, and am so far enjoying hearing how different people have such different relationships towards money and finance.
What’s next? Any trips planned?
At some point, I would love to see some of South America – particularly Lima as I’ve heard the food is unreal. I’m sure I should be using my savings for something more sensible, like a house, but that feels way too adult for me right now.
Who is your BFF?
Amy, she’s a complete legend! We met at Uni and have been besties ever since. She moved to Dubai last year, which although is shitty for me, has meant I’ve had free accommodation on my last two visits!
Going to a festival this year? Check out our money-saving tips for festival season here.
Chat with other Emma users, share tips, give product feedback and get updates on new features! 🐻