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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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Real Life Lessons from Kas

Me

I’m Kas, a 23-year-old South-West Londoner, who’s currently in between jobs. I live in a hostel for homeless people and after experiencing the lowest point of my life, I had to quickly learn how to look after myself. One of the biggest lessons I learnt was the importance of having basic personal finance skills. I want to encourage others to educate themselves, especially before they fly the nest and no longer have access to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

Before I moved into my hostel, I wasn’t even able to pay for the Tube to get there. Being completely ignorant about money I had no money and absolutely no savings prepared for such an emergency. I had to rely on the kindness of the Tube officers who let me through the barriers and it’s the motivation to never be in that position again that makes me so money-conscious now.

Why It’s Important To Save And Budget

Payday = Save Day!

This simple tip has really helped me and it’s pretty self-explanatory – instead of saving whatever I had left over at the end of the month, I put money aside as soon as I got paid.

I would strongly advise starting an ‘emergency fund’. Many people are just one paycheck away from being homeless if they have no savings. Job security is not guaranteed so look out for future ‘you’ and start saving now. A good rule of thumb is to have three months of essential expenses covered, so you can use those months to find a new job if you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation.

Build Your Credit Score

I was rejected from every phone network store when I needed a new phone contract because of my credit score. I had to make do with a brick phone on a Pay As You Go contract and even though I’ve upgraded to an iPhone, it holds a special place in my heart and so I’ve kept it.

The annoying thing is you can’t build your credit by financing something because your credit score is too low to pass the credit check – it’s the old catch-22 in action.

I found this great service called LOQBOX that is designed to help you build your credit score, even if it is currently very low. Since then, my credit score has certainly improved and I’ve found the financial tips they email you weekly helpful.

 

Tips For Reducing Costs On Essential Items

Shop At Charity Shops

I currently volunteer at a charity shop and you’d be surprised by what gets donated (I came across Christian Louboutin heels once!). Due to quarantine, everyone has had the time to clear out their wardrobes so charity shops are full to the brim with donations, which they’re eager to sell, so now’s the time to make use of their sales and find some real gems!

I’d recommend checking out Little Lives UK who support children who are disabled or disadvantaged and also Age UK who provide a wide range of services to help people later in life. The pandemic has been especially difficult for the elderly, so your contribution could make all the difference to someone suffering from illness or isolation.

Get A Bike

Bus journeys in London can really add up at £1.50 a journey. If you’re not going far, consider investing in a bike to travel. It works out cheaper in the long run, especially if you buy second hand. Used items have a reputation of being low quality but I’m pretty sure my bike is ‘fourth hand’ and it’s been going strong for over a year now. Gumtree or Ebay are great places to start.

TFL has a free cycling training scheme to reduce public transport because of COVID-19. They’re also improving cycle lanes around London, making it safer than ever to start cycling!

Live Within Your Means

We all wanna flex from time to time, I understand. But none of that is worth it if you’re wearing AirPods and Yeezy’s while your bank account is -£1987 in its overdraft (guilty). Make budgeting and paying off all your debts a priority.

If you want to be diligent about saving, look out for the cheapest mobile deals and cancel a subscription – you can alway rejoin later. Switch to Aldi/Lidl, they’re the cheapest supermarkets in the UK and not only are they easy on your food budget, they sell a lot of great, durable homeware. Also, a classic bonus tip, don’t shop while you’re hungry!

 

My Life Lessons To Live By

Gratitude

Instead of wanting to buy more and more material possessions, be grateful for what you already have, as insignificant as it may seem. The pandemic has been a harsh reminder that the things we take for granted could be taken from us at any moment, so take some time out of your week to be grateful for the things and people around you.

Respect

This might sound like a weird one but it sort of leads on from being grateful – I try to respect every possession I own and be grateful for what it has done for me, so in turn I make sure I look after it.

An example of this would be my room – after experiencing homelessness, I couldn’t be more appreciative of simply having a roof over my head, so I make sure my room is always clean and tidy as a way to say thank you.

Donate To Charity

No matter how broke you think you are, someone else out there is struggling even more and considers what you have a luxury – not only have those few pounds gone to a good cause and not on a cheeky Nando’s, it’s also deeply rewarding to give back.

 

 

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.