The Penny Letters: "I didn't start saving until I was 26"

Updated: Feb 15

Age: 28

What industry do you work in?: Travel and Tourism

What city do you work in?: Brighton

What is your experience about?: Saving

How much have you saved in total?: 10,000

Tell us your story: I didn't start saving until I was 26. I've had at least a part time job ever since I was 17, I knew about the concept of saving because I knew my grandparents had put money away for me when I was born. My family was well off so it took me longer than it should have to grasp the fact that having money to fall back on would be a good idea (at age 24 and having lived independently for a year already and earning £22K I had to ask for money from my mum for pay for a £200 car repair bill). I wouldn't say I was spoiled, I just hadn't needed to be completely financially independent.

My initial savings goal was to have £4K for emergencies. I started an excel spreadsheet and calculated my outgoings, and seeing my projected savings over 12 months was motivating. But I didn't get serious about sticking to the budget I had set until I starting using the money app Yolt.

Before, I allocated myself X amount of "fun money" every month, which was supposed to cover everything that wasn't fixed bills. But Yolt lets you break down that disposable income into allocated budgets for eating out, shopping, beauty etc and it wasn't until I did that that I actually stuck to my budgets. Regular pay rises have of course helped, but I've now saved £10K in an easy access cash saver which is my Emergency fund, increased my pension contributions to 8% and have set longer term goals like saving £5K for moving house and £15K to set aside for maternity leave in the future. Having that money behind me that I've built up entirely on my own makes me feel powerful - it means I have choices.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone else who is trying to save?

Give your savings account a name, a fixed goal, and a realistic time frame. Then set yourself a monthly budget that allows you to put aside money regularly whilst still enjoying life. If you feel like impulse buying, ask yourself first if it's worth sacrificing the goal you've set yourself.