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100 money tips I wish I’d known earlier

This is my 100th blog post! When I first started The Twenty Percent I couldn’t imagine reaching 100 posts – it feels like quite an achievement! To celebrate, I’m going to share 100 money tips.

100 money tips is a lot, so I’ve enlisted the help of some friends. That way, you won’t have to listen to me droning on about money tips for hours on end.

Beware, this is going to be a long post. So grab yourself a cuppa and get yourself comfortable. There’s a lot of money tips ahead…

Money tips from the UK Money Bloggers

Here are the UK Money Bloggers top money tips.

1.     Pete from Household Money Saving

I wish I had known that putting my savings in a low interest rate account would actually lose me money in the long term thanks to inflation.

2. Claire from Stapos Thrifty Life Hacks

Automate your savings. You can do this by pairing up Monzo with IFTTT.

3.     Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums

My tip would be to downshift brands. Start at the bottom and work your way up if you don’t like the taste. Chances are, you probably won’t even notice in taste but you will in price difference!

4.     Fiona from Savvy in Somerset

My tip would be there’s almost always a way to save money on what you want to buy, it can just take a little bit of effort. Whether that’s finding the item second hand, looking for a discount code, waiting for a sale or using cashback. I spent so much money when I got my first full time job just because I could, even just using one of the above would have saved me loads!

5.     Collette from Cashback Collette

I wish I’d known you could get cashback on just about anything from bills, holidays, insurance, the weekly food shop, mortgages, phone contracts, and loads more things. Even after I’d discovered cashback, for a long time I thought you could just get it for online retailers like ASOS! Using apps like Shopmium and Airtime Rewards as well as TopCashback and Quidco has helped me save hundreds, if not thousands, over the last few years

6. Kemi from Fine Stewards

I wish I knew sooner about having a better mindset towards money. To see money as a resource that “makes things better” not just for me but those who are in desperate need. This taught me that saving alone is not enough in developing generational wealth and helping as many people possible. Rather taking bold and calculated risk is a major key to increase.

Investing, going into business, even donating helps you cultivate a mindset of abundance not lack, and encourages you to do more with what you’ve got.

7.     Kathy from Glitz and Glamour Makeup

I wished I had known you could get dividends from buying shares. I’ve only started buying shares in the last two years and I’m delighted with the profit I can earn from them. As long as you don’t invest more then you can afford, it’s a great way to make a bit of extra money.

8. Bear from Save Like a Bear

I loved collecting as a child and understood that acquiring items can get costly.

No one taught me though that you should add a sort of personal storage tax. It would have cost me a £20,000-30,000 top up to buy a house with an extra bedroom… None of my collections were worth the space it would cost to store them. I wish I’d known earlier it’s possible to enjoy your interests without having them tangible always.

9.     Christos from Christos Fallas

My best tip is to pay yourself first.

Instead of budgeting for the month then saving the remaining amount….

When you get paid, allocate a set amount of money to savings / investing and adapting your lifestyle to the remaining budget.

This way you will develop better self discipline with money and will most likely save more. You can still then save any leftovers over too.

10.  Sara from Debt Camel

If you really weakness is buying things online, take back control by uninstalling shopping apps and stopping using Klarna, LayBuy etc. You can still buy stuff, but it is just little bit less tempting and harder to overspend.

11. Fiona from Financially Independent

Knowing the importance of an emergency fund and having one in place! It’s essential to help you get out of debt and is the best buffer you’ll ever have while you sort the rest of your finances out. I’ve been caught out over the years while trying to pay off debt. Having an emergency fund in place first meant I could finally concentrate on paying off debt and still be able to cover emergencies like when our boiler needed replacement.

And more recently (though now debt-free), being able to pay for the unexpected expense of our car exhaust falling off!

12.  Emma from Bee Money Savvy

The tip I wish I’d known earlier is that “being good with money and doing good don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Green energy tariffs are often the cheaper options, ethical investments can outperform non-ethical investments, and reusable will most likely be cheaper than disposable in the long-run”

13.  David from Money for Monday

My tip would be that it’s okay to budget for nights out and to say no to going out occasionally without having to explain why. Not all your friends and family are going to understand your financial journey, remember that what you’re doing is to benefit you in the long term.

14.  Faith from Much More With Less  

My tip is I wished I’d started investing in the stock market earlier, once I’d set aside emergency savings. Using a low cost tracker fund is really easy, compared to agonising over individual shares or funds.

15.  Amy-Jo from Be Your Own Date

My tip is “Learn to say “no” – put simply, if you can’t afford it. You can’t afford it! I know that this can be difficult sometimes, especially as there is a people-pleaser within us all to some degree.”

16. Joleisa

The money tip I wish I’d known earlier is that loaning money to friends and family can see you lose these relationships fast when it’s time for repayment. If you can afford to give it away, do so, even a small percentage of what they ‘need’.

17.  Emilie from Millennial Saves

I can’t believe it took me 25 years to learn that you could have multiple current accounts and that using a separate account just for bills/ subscriptions and another for food will make everything easier managing your money month to month!

Money tips from money bloggers on Twitter

Here are some of Twitter’s favourite money tips.

18. The Financial Wilderness

Understanding the importance of diversification is really key to good investment – index/tracker funds do this effectively very cheaply.

19. Blackbullion

Just because your money is earning interest, doesn’t mean it’s increasing in real value!

20. Chris from Financial Hamster

Create sinking funds for big bills like your car insurance or tax, water bills, and holidays for example. This way you won’t be taken by surprise when the bills come!

21. Scott from Money Nerd

Only go the supermarket AFTER eating. I guarantee you will spend less on things you don’t need!

22. Gary from Super Saving Tips

Start saving for your retirement the first day you’re eligible at your first job. Your retired self will thank you later.

23. Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader

Save early. Save as much as you can. Take full advantage of any employer contributions you have in your workplace plan.

24. Tom from Mantaro Money

I would really recommend automating your savings and investments – it makes life so much easier!

25. Jane from Shoestring Cottage

Learn to save for the things you need. Consider buying as much as possible second hand – it’s good for the environment as well as your wallet. Use the money you save to overpay your mortgage!

26. A Lawyer and Her Money

If you strive for a zero waste lifestyle, it automatically cuts out 80% of products you could buy. But you feel better about it.

27. Two to Fire

The best time to invest is…now!

28. Revilio Explains

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s personal finance for a reason.

29. Tread Light Retire Early

Here’s a tip for any American readers. Start that Roth before you pay off your student loans. Make investing for retirement a habit early.

30. Handful of Thoughts

Saving and investing are not the same thing. Although I’ve always been a saver, I wish I would have started investing earlier.

31. Money Saved is Money Earned

My favourite money tip is simple, but effective. Invest as much as you can as soon as you can.

32. Baby Boomer Super Saver

Get started! Even if you start saving for retirement a little late, you still have time to catch up. But you must start.

33. Matt from Vosper Financial Planning

Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should buy it!

34. Money Saving Central

Figure out your finances and write everything down! You can’t begin to save money until you truly know how much you have coming in and coming out down to the penny

35. Bella Wanana

Read personal finance books to help improve your own financial literacy.

36. Laura from Be in the Know UK

Take advantage of ways to earn some extra money for relatively little effort. You can do this by completing online surveys, mystery shopping or selling old items online.

37. Noob Investor

I wish I’d known earlier about paying myself first. I spent years working waiting until the end of the month so I could move a bit into my savings that inevitably was rarely there. Now I budget and pay the surplus over at the start of the month. I feel much more secure as a result.

pound coins stacked on top of each other in a large pile

38. The Money Earner

I wish I’d known about cashback. Every time you buy something see what cashback you can get from it or use cashback credit cards.

The next 5 come from Imag Invests

39.

Always call when at the end of your phone/tv/broadband contract and try and get a better deal.

40.

Try and time your bills/utilities etc. around Black Friday so every year you are getting a new deal

41.

Pool with friends and family Netflix/Sky/Amazon subs

42.

Use credit cards wisely and to your advantage (0% offers, free flights, accom etc.)

43.

Value up packaged bank accounts and see if you’ll get value for money

44. Seven Dollar Millionaire

Saving always comes first. In the dictionary, and in life, saving comes before spending. Spending is your costs, not gain. Saving is your profit. Why are you doing this for no profit? Plan to save first.

4 tips from Get It Done

45.

Being good with money is more than just knowing what you have and paying the bills.

46.

Start investing early. Compound interest is your friend.

47.

Dividends are true passive income.

48.

You don’t have to be good with numbers to be good with money.

Allan Molina

49.

Live as simple as you can. 

50.

When in time you feel and think you have enough, share.

51.  Miss Personal Finance

Set money aside to enjoy yourself. Life is there to be enjoyed.

52.  Financial Freedom Council

Increase the gap between income and expenses. Once you’ve done this, invest the difference.

53.  Radical Fire

Low-cost index funds are an excellent long-term investment. I used to dabble a lot in crypto and individual stocks. While that can be fun, 90% of my portfolio is now index funds, which seem more secure in the long-term.

54.  Luke from The Progression Playbook

Calculate your net worth and savings rate every month. This way you’ll be able to see your progress and set your goals more easily.

55.  Side Hustle Rich

If a big number seems too daunting, carve them out into goal-based milestones. Then, instead of seeing one giant goal, work towards climbing each step in turn.

56.  Money Mentor

Drip feed money into markets each and every month from as young as possible, and to ignore the usual bear markets along the way, which can cause some investors to stop their monthly payments through fear.

My own money tips

The Twenty Percent Logo - my year of blogging. Black background with pink lightbulb and a pound sign in the middle

Here’s some of my own money tips I wish I’d know earlier.

57.  Never live beyond your means

This is crucial. If you spend more than you earn, you will find yourself in a cycle of debt. It’s difficult, particularly at the moment when many are on reduced incomes, but spending less than you earn is the simplest and most effective way to take control of your finances.

58.  Think twice before you buy

I only started doing this recently, but it’s already saved me a lot of money. The idea is to avoid impulse buying and instead only purchase what you really need and/or want.

Put the URL of what you want to buy into his google calendar a month ahead. By the time the ‘appointment’ comes around, you usually don’t want to buy the item anymore.

59.  Save what you can

It doesn’t actually matter how much you save at this stage. The idea is to build the habit of saving. This way, as your income hopefully increases as your career progresses, you will still look to save and can increase the amount you put aside each month.

Even as little as £20 a month will make a difference and can forge the habit for later life.

60.  Avoid lifestyle inflation

Try to avoid getting into the mindset of spending your whole paycheque. As your salary increases, of course treat yourself or spend a little more. But, also use this as an opportunity to save more.

If you’re happy doing your weekly food shop in Aldi, there’s no need to suddenly switch to M&S because you got a pay rise! In the long run, you’ll be better off investing the difference. You’re also never above looking for freebies or discounts!

61.  Start investing

There’s a well know quote along the lines of: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago….the second best time is today.’

Even investing a small amount will help you learn about the process and, again, help forge habits for later life.

62.  Compound interest

Compound interest is very important. Described by Albert Einstein as the eighth wonder of the world, the basic principal is the longer you hold investments or savings for, the greater returns you stand to achieve.

Investing now will leave you with far more money in 50 years, than waiting and investing the same amount in 30 years’ time.

63.  Make sure you have a healthy relationship with your money

Try treating your money like an employee that you are going to put to work for you for the rest of your life.

Value your money, but equally make sure it is working as hard as you work to earn it.

64.  Don’t pay too much in banking fees

You can lose money by paying too much in fees.  This is a particular issue with investment accounts.

However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid paying for advice when necessary. Financial advice can be an invaluable tool for many.

65.  Buy only what you can afford twice

The idea is to avoid creating unnecessary financial risk and leaving you with too little money to avoid paying for essentials.

It also covers you in the event of price increases or unexpected expenses.

66.  Pensions

Sort out your pension. As a minimum, you should be paying into your workplace pension scheme. You can also choose to up your contributions to this if you want to save more.

67.  Have a growth mindset

Try learning new skills and building your knowledge. This will allow you to demand a higher salary and/or make extra money via a side hustle.

68.  Know your value and be confident in asking for what you’re worth

Similar to the above, it’s important to be able to ask for pay rises when necessary and to negotiate contracts and salaries as required.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this straight away in your career, it’s important to learn the ropes and gain experience first, so you’ll be able to ask for more later on.

69.  Don’t forget about the tax…

Know your worth and add the tax!

When calculating freelance rates, don’t forget a certain amount will go on tax. Account for this when you’re pitching for work.

70.  Keep on top of interest rates to get the most value for your money

 Interest rates are frustratingly low everywhere at the moment, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still look for the best rates.

71.  If an investment looks too good to be true – it is

From time to time, you’ll come across investment opportunities offering ‘guaranteed’ returns or similarly improbable benefits. These should always be avoided as there are nearly always scams and you will end up losing your money.

72.  Own your finances – don’t bury your head & ignore them

Pay attention to your finances. However bad you may think they are, it’s always better to address them and know what you’re dealing with, rather than ignoring them. They won’t go away.

73.  Invest in Life Insurance and Critical Illness cover while you’re young

This is something most people ignore until they are older, but the longer you leave it, the more the price will increase.

Additionally, if you are unfortunate enough to develop any illnesses or injuries before you take out cover, they may not be covered by your provider.

74.  Learn about ISAs

ISAs are great saving and investment vehicles for anyone in the UK. Additionally, you can save £20,000 a year without paying tax on any gains.

Some ISAs, like the LISA, have additional benefits. You can read more about the benefits here.

75.  Automate your savings by using direct debits

This is a similar idea to paying yourself first. If you struggle to save, set up direct debits to your saving accounts straight after pay day. It’s much harder to spend money if it’s not sitting in your current account.

76.  Treat your credit card like cash – don’t use it if you can’t pay the bill each month

Credit can be a really useful tool but should only be used responsibly. Using a credit card, can offer rewards and help build your credit rating. But, you should only use your credit card to buy what you can genuinely afford.

77.  Avoid Buy Now Pay Later schemes (if you can)

They advertise it to make it look safe and fun, but it isn’t. You could lose your home if you can’t keep up with the repayments. Be careful with Buy Now Pay Later.

Klarna’s T&Cs…

78.  Create multiple streams of income

It can be really useful to have money coming in from multiple sources. Covid-19 has demonstrated how vulnerable even many ‘safe’ jobs are. Not relying solely on your main job for income will help protect you if you suddenly find yourself out of work.

79.  Build an emergency fund

Much like having multiple streams of income, an emergency fund is designed to protect you in case you suddenly lose your income.

Some recommend having 3 months of expenses saved, others as much as 6 months. Whatever you can save, will go a long way towards protecting you in case of an emergency.

80.  Learn about tax and tax planning

Make sure you’re paying the correct amount of tax and filing correctly. If you earn more than £1,000 outside of your main job, you must complete a Self-Assessment tax return and pay any tax owed.

Tax planning can also be useful. For example, if you invest, use an ISA. Each year you can invest £20,000 tax free.

81.  Wills

If you don’t have a Will already, you need one. Even if you don’t think you have much worth passing on, or your bank balance is near zero, you should still have a Will.

82.  Set your future goals

It’s much easier to save money and spend responsibly if you have a clear goal. This can be anything from getting out of debt, to buying a house or even going on holiday. Whatever it is, make sure you keep it in focus whenever you’re struggling to manage your money.

83.  Don’t try and ‘keep up with the Joneses’ – just do you

Your money is yours, no one else’s, so spend it (or save it) how you choose. It can be easy to get caught up scrolling through Instagram and seeing people on lavish holidays or with the latest iPhones or designer clothes. If you value these things and can afford them, then great – go for it! If not, don’t let other people’s actions distract you from your goals and plans.

84.  Be generous

Be generous with both your time and money. What goes around comes around and you’ll be richer for it.

85.  Volunteer

You can learn so much from volunteering and develop skills which will benefit your career and your life more generally.

86.  Talk about money

How can you learn about something if you don’t talk about it? Your friends and family are an amazing resource and will likely have the same concerns or problems as you. Talking things through can really help.

87.  Make sure you’re on the page

Particularly in a relationship, it’s important to be on the same page about money. Money causes so many arguments, so it’s much easier – and less stressful – to agree what you’re happy spending in advance.

88.  It’s ok to say no

If you’re friends are doing something that’s outside of your budget or you don’t want to splash for an extra drink, it’s ok. Just say no. There’s a chance someone else will be relieved too!

89.  Plan ahead

Plan ahead for big events – whether it’s a birthday, Christmas or a holiday. Spread the cost over a few months, rather than having a last minute panic.

90.  Upcycle rather than buy new

Before you splash out on a shopping spree, take another look at your wardrobe.

Maybe you can restyle some old items of clothing by pairing a different top with a different skirt or trousers. Alternatively, try some new accessories – these tend to be much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit!

91.  Buy second hand

If you do decide to buy some new items, look at second hand alternatives. Try sites like Depop, these tend to be much cheaper than buying items new. It’s also much better for the environment to buy second hand!

As a bonus, you can sell some of your old items on these sites and make some extra cash for yourself!

92.  Reduce your food waste

Did you know the average family of four could save £60 a month just by not wasting so much food?

In UK households we waste 6.5 million tonnes of food every year, 4.5 million of which is edible. Use your leftovers and save some cash!

93.  Turn appliances off

Turn off appliances rather than leaving them on standby when you’re not using them. According to Uswitch, UK households waste £227 million a year just by leaving appliances by standby. That’s the equivalent of £80 per household.

94.  Switch utility providers

Loyalty is not rewarded. However, many companies try to claim they give you a better deal if you stick with them, this is usually not the case.

It is always worth shopping around to see what deals are out there and whether you can get a better deal. Some people save over £200 on their electricity bill, simply by taking an extra 30 minutes to look at different providers.

95.  Give yourself a pay cut

Set up a standing order for 10% of your salary every payday to leave your account as soon as your wages hit. Set up another account for this 10% to go into. Get used to living within your means on that (slightly) smaller amount. You can do it. If it is not there you won’t even notice it, let alone spend it.

96.  Have multiple savings accounts

Have separate savings accounts for different purposes. This keeps you focused and helps to remove the temptation of dipping into a generic savings account when you want to treat yourself or perhaps splash out on a fancy holiday or similar.

97.  Learn as much as possible

Speak to as many people as possible and learn from their experiences. It’s also worth reading reliable and accurate content.

98.  Don’t rush

Don’t try and do everything in one month. You’re not going to solve your financial problems that quickly. These things take time. Rushing won’t get you there any quicker.

99.  Give yourself a break

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re doing your best. At times you might slip up or make mistakes. This is completely normal. Don’t dwell on these. Instead, learn from your mistakes and move on.

100. Have fun!

And finally – we’ve actually made it to 100 money tips… Your life is there to be lived. Don’t spend all your time hidden away afraid to save money or chasing wealth. Enjoy the journey.

If you’ve made it this far – congratulations! I hope you enjoyed this list of 100 top money tips. Do you have any money tips you’d like to add to the list? Share your favourites below!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts and find more money tips!

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

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