Coronavirus has without a doubt had an enormous impact on the economy. We’ve seen a drop in earnings, employment, and personal income.
But, if anyone can manage their money during Covid-19, it’s going to be a money blogger.
We caught up with Laura, a personal finance blogger and money coach from London to hear how she’s been managing her money during Covid-19.
Hey Laura, can you give us a little introduction?
I am Laura, I am 26 and I live in London. I am on a mission to demystify money and help women feel empowered by their finances.
I want to show people that you can have fun and still save for the future, it does not need to be one or the other.
What inspired you to start a finance blog?
One of my fav questions – so when I was younger I wanted to be an actress, so I made the choice to not go to University and when I left school after my A Levels I got a job at 19 and started saving up all my money so I could afford to go to Drama School.
By the time I was 22 I had saved £15,000 but 2 weeks before I started the course, my 2 best friends asked me to go travelling with them. It was never a question of whether I could afford to go or not, purely whether I wanted to go.
I decided to go (best decision ever) and when I got home, I realised the freedom that money can give you.
So, I started helping friends with their money; helping them clear debt, save more, budget effectively etc. and decided that I really wanted to help more people, so I set up the blog!
Has the Covid-19 crisis had any impact on your finances?
Yes, it did. I was furloughed from my full-time job, so my pay was cut to 80%, but luckily because I have kept my proportion of expenses to under 50% of my income, that salary cut was not detrimental.
And because of lockdown, and not being able to go anywhere, I was able to save a lot more (a lot of my money goes on eating out!).
I had a savings goal of £20,000 by December 2020 but I hit that number in June. 6 months early!
That’s incredible! Has anything surprised you in lockdown?
I think I was quite surprised by how quickly things change: One minute the thought of lockdown was so unrealistic (because it is so far-fetched from anything we have experienced) and the next minute, lockdown is happening and it’s illegal to be outside for too long. Crazy!
I also surprised myself by how much I enjoy working out at home! I love the gym and thought I would really miss it, and in some ways I do but so much of working out is about how good it makes you feel and you can get those same feelings from a sweaty workout in the lounge, and that has really taken me by surprise! A good surprise nonetheless.
So, has Covid-19 taught you anything about your money?
I think for me, lockdown simply re-affirmed for me the importance of an emergency fund.
I always talk about it on my blog and Instagram, and I say to people how important having money in savings for a potential emergency is so important. Usually the reply is ‘what kind of emergency though?’ and we could never have foreseen this pandemic happening.
Job security is a worry for everyone, but having money saved for living and bills can really help reduce any money related worries.
Also, I invested in myself heavily over lockdown; I bought books, I paid for a money and manifestation course, and I realised how important constant learning and educating myself is.
Investing in yourself is the investment that offers the highest return every time!
Can you give us your favourite personal finance tip?
Pay yourself first. One of the things that helped me save so much money, and prioritise my goals, and understand my own spending habits… was paying myself first.
So every time I get paid, I would sit down to work out my budget and I would factor money into my savings first, like it was a bill (paying myself) then I would spend what is left over.
I am a big fan of the zero-based budgeting method, where you give every penny and pound a job, and a huge part of that is allocating a good % into my savings to work towards my future goals.
If you spend first, and save what is leftover, you will never have any savings!
And finally, if you had to describe your finances using one emoji, what would you pick and why?
I would pick the little emoji that is the classic money face. The one with the tongue out that’s a dollar sign. 🤑
There are a few reasons for this: I think a lot of people would associate it with greed, but I think there is no shame in striving to be wealthy.
Also to me it means not being afraid to talk about money and discussing finances and that is so important. Money is empowering because of the freedom it can give you and this face just sums that up for me!
So, what lessons can we take from Laura?
Laura has given us some great insight into how she has been managing her money during Covid-19. Here’s a quick roundup of her best points:
- Saving money gives you a huge amount of freedom
- Aim for your expenses to be less than 50% of your income
- Consider whether you really need to pay for an expensive gym membership
- Focus on building an emergency fund
- Pay yourself first!
- Talk about money – the more you discuss money with your friends and family, the better you’re likely to be at managing it.
If you liked this interview, make sure you give Laura a follow on her Instagram account.
And, If you’re a fan of Emma and would like to be interviewed for this blog series, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or on the Emma Community. And don’t forget to check out our other posts on managing your money during Covid-19.
Emma is a money management app that connects all your bank accounts to track your monthly spending and subscriptions. Emma will help you visualise and take control of your finances. Make sure you aren’t overspending, and show you practical steps to start budgeting effectively.