Confessions of an Editorial Assistant

15 December 2008
I’ve been working at Moneywise for close to a year now and while I still have a fair way to go before I start tipping shares to friends in the pub I have learnt enough to know that my attitude to my finances is pretty poor.

It is said that recognition of bad habits is the first step towards correcting them though and as I embark on 2009, I’m hoping I can take a more proactive approach to my finances. New Years resolutions usually don’t last more than a week before your good intentions to go to the gym five times a week or bring homemade, organic, fair trade, whatever else, soup to work every day, are swept away in a reality bites–style comedown.
So instead of putting unrealistic expectations on myself, I’m going to start things off simply so that I don’t feel completely overwhelmed by attempts to understand the finer points of split caps and give up.   

The first thing I need to do is sort out where to put my money. It is tempting, with inflation, to defend my decision  – or should that be lack of – to keep my savings in my current account given that all savings accounts now offer significantly reduced interest rates at the moment. I could use the same excuse for not having an ISA too but like Michael Jackson saying he didn’t have a nose job, it would be all lies.

So number one (and two) on the list is to move my fledgling savings pot into an ISA and savings account. OK there might not be any 7% fixed rate accounts available but getting me to keep my savings separate from day–to–day available funds should instill a better savings ethic.

Knowing where my money goes is another simple but nonetheless valuable principle I need to apply. That means reading my bank statements, knowing how much I spend at the shops and not allowing myself to get more cash out than my weekly limit. As mentioned in ‘How (not) to do your tax return’, I am trying to keep all paperwork filed together too, which should make this an easier process.

Feeling ever so slightly smug I am paying into a pension already. It’s at this point though that the air of self–satisfaction evaporates and I have to admit to being a SAMAD – that is ‘still at mum and dad’s’ despite ahem, being well into my twenties.  The economic benefits are obvious: no mortgage and low living costs mean it’s easier to save money.

On the flipside though because I don’t have the same pressure to keep as tight a reign on my money, my SAMAD status has probably also contributed towards my lazy financial habits. A radical step to this would be to move out and stand on my own two feet – various other platitudes to follow. But realistically this isn’t an option at the moment and I’d miss my cat – and family of course.

OK so I can’t move out but if I do the above steps then I’ve ad least managed to shake myself out of my inertia. And one day, I too can take on a colossal mortgage, complain about energy price hikes and surf endless price comparison sites for home insurance policies. One step at a time though…

Nathalie Bonney is editorial assistant at Moneywise