Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s weekly dive into the world of finance – your finance. These uncertain times have reminded us just how much understanding our money matters and yet… how little we talk about it and how much it’s shrouded in secrecy.
This stops now.
Keen to break that money taboo, we’re chatting all things personal finance from daily budgets to ISAs and pensions. Each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, grab a cuppa, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…
Amy*, 28, lives and works in Edinburgh as a senior consultant. She is saving for her 2021 wedding. This is her money month…
I have worked so hard in my job and am finally making good money – currently £39,140 a year. This includes a yearly bonus based on performance, and this year it was £1,168.66.
While I am very happy to be earning well, I am getting married (hopefully!) in Oct 2021 and this is taking most of our spare cash as I had no idea weddings would be this expensive. At the moment, I save £700 a month from a joint income. My fiancée earns just over £1,400 a month.
I am looking to quit my job after my wedding as, as lucrative as it is, it is making me very unhappy and is incredibly stressful. I have decided to prioritise my mental health. However, I know this means I could be earning a lot less and would like to plan my money wisely for when I make that jump. I would like to know how to save as much as possible – even with a wedding looming – so that when the time comes money will not be a concern.
Current account: I have a joint account with my fiancée and my own personal account. Joint account currently = £923.41, personal account currently = £92.52
Savings account: £9,768.50
Annual salary: £39,140 pre-tax (inc yearly bonus of £1,168.66)
Monthly wage: £3,163.82 pre-tax; £2,360.30 post-tax
Monthly wage post-Covid-19: The same
Any other incoming payments: My fiancée’s monthly income post-tax = £1,472.98. Yearly bonus based on performance = £1,168.86
Savings: £700 a month.
Splurges: Takeaways and sweet treats
Weekly budget: £40 a week for food for two adults and two cats
What I spent this month: Far too much as it’s Christmas present buying season!
Consolidation loan: £295.81 (comes out as part of bills)
Credit card: £150 (to be paid off at the end of this month)
MY MONEY THOUGHTS
What I want to save for: My wedding in October 2021. All wedding items to be paid for by September 2021. By then I should have around £3,398 saved. I intend to take a two-week sabbatical from work which will cost me half of my post-tax salary of that month. In addition, I intend to sell the shares I own from my company that I have estimated (based on current trajectories) to be worth around £2,658.56.
How I want to plan my money for the future: I have a 3% pension with my current employer who match up to 3%. I have shares post-tax I pay for around 3%. I would like to try to retire at 55 or earlier. Currently according to my government gateway account, my forecasted projected pension will be around £800 a month at the retirement age of my country (UK/Scotland).
My worst money habit: Frivolous spending on food, takeaways and of course Christmas!
My biggest money worry: I currently earn a good salary, but the job is stressful, so I am hoping that after my wedding I will not need such a big salary and can move to a job where I am earning around £27,000. My fiancée wants to buy a van, which is no problem, but that in turn may raise my monthly bills for tax, insurance etc.
Current money mood: 😭 😒 🙏
WHAT OUR EXPERT SAYS
1. Staying put
OK, so it sounds like you’ve got two things on your mind right now: the wedding and then the question of changing jobs and possibly taking a pay cut. First up, let’s separate these two issues and start with the most important thing; your mental health and career. You’ve acknowledged that your current job isn’t good for you, which is a huge step, but it’s worth asking the question: is staying another 11 months in a role that makes you so unhappy really worth it? If the answer is a big fat ‘yes’, go for it, but give it some serious thought or at the very least question how you could make it less miserable.
2. What’s the problem?
If that question got you thinking, then also challenge the idea that all higher paying jobs will make you unhappy. Before deciding that a pay cut is the only path to health and happiness, make sure you’ve understood what it was about your current role that just didn’t do it for you. Was it the toxic culture? The industry? The people? If it’s a case of ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ then maybe it’s time to find an employer who pays and treats their staff well. They do exist, I promise.
3. Number crunching
If on reflection, if you decide that a pay cut is definitely on the table, then it’s time to take a good hard look at the numbers. Yawn! Yes. Important? Absolutely. Facing the figures is essential to living affordably, avoiding debt and saving. Use a tax calculator and your current outgoings to work out how a lower salary would impact your lifestyle and ability to save. Of course, you won’t be saving for the wedding forever, but you will want to save to build up an emergency fund, to buy the van and to ensure you can enjoy all the other fun stuff.
4. Talk about it
Most importantly, involve your fiancée! Set aside an evening to talk through the points above and work through the figures together. It might also be a good idea to have a chat about the wedding plans and budget. Let’s be honest, it’s been a YEAR so I can’t think of anything better than having a wedding to look forward to. But to keep it affordable and to avoid debt, make sure you’ve really got all costs covered and budgeted for.
5. The fakeaway
The post-lockdown takeaway addiction is real and we’re all struggling. You don’t have to go cold-turkey but if you find those four dangerous words, ‘shall we just Deliveroo?’ being uttered with alarming regularity, maybe it’s time to find an alternative. Personally, I’m a fan of the fakeaway. Crispy duck? Chicken katsu? Look no further than the hundreds of recipes on BBC Good Food.
Alice Tapper is the author and founder of Go Fund Yourself.
This column offers guidance, not financial advice. For personal investment advice, it’s always best to speak with a financial adviser. *Name has been changed.
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