An idea rests in the back of many of our heads that ‘one day’ we will be good with money.
It hides in the same dark corner as thoughts like ‘I’ll drink sensibly – one day’ and ‘I’ll remember my mum’s birthday – one day’.
The truth is, most of us are dreadful with money. It’s also not just an LGBTQ thing. Your straight mates are almost certainly struggling just as much as you are.
We caught up with some very normal LGBTQ people with very normal finances and very normal money problems. We asked them for their tips on maintaining our own financial health. Here’s what they had to share.
Check your statements
Chris is a 41-year-old actor from London. His advice is simple, but something very few of us find time to do. He says we need to check our bank statements.
“It’s really simple, but saves so many problems,” he says.
“I developed huge anxiety about every aspect of my finances, worrying about over-spending, going overdrawn, earning too little. I didn’t even like to know my bank balance when I made withdrawals.”
But Chris wasn’t just avoiding peering into the abyss of his own overdraft. He nearly missed seeing he was being ripped off.
“The wake up call was when I was preparing a tax return and realised an employer had underpaid me by nearly £2,000 over the course of a year. I’d not even noticed because I never looked at my statements.”
“Fight the fear and know what’s going in and out of your account. Make a point of querying odd charges or payments, rather than passively presuming everything’s fine.”
Most banks will offer an app that makes this super-easy. Check your transactions each day and you’ll have a firm grip on what’s going in and out of your account.
A second bank account is your new best friend
Charlize Golightly is a 25-year-old make-up artist from Cardiff. She is, by her own admission, rubbish with money.
“Money is molten lava for me, its burning nature fuelled by thoughts of what to spend it on,” she says.
Despite this, she does have a pretty smart way of putting some money aside from her earnings.
“I’ve always found having separate accounts within online banking to be a life-saver,” she says. “I have a ‘save the change’ account that stores the pennies from purchases which adds up slowly but surely.
“Any time I’m logged into my online banking, I transfer a little bit over to the ‘save the change’ account. Got £228? Transfer that £8. You’ll never miss it and when that rainy day comes you’ll have enough for a takeaway. My other best advice is to fall out with some people and save a few on birthdays next year.”
Pretend you get paid less than you do
Steve is 35 and works in radio. When wages drop into his bank account, he gets rid of some of it.
“As soon as I get paid I put a chunk of my wage into my savings,” he says. “It goes there straight away and I pretend it didn’t even exist.
“Then I budget for the remainder of my wage.”
It doesn’t need to be a big amount. Putting aside a small sum of cash each month may not help you save for that dream home. However, it could help you out in case of an unexpected financial crisis.
“If there’s any nasty surprise I can use that saved cash in an emergency. If I don’t use it, I’m beginning to save each month.
“Essentially, pretend you’re paid less than you are.”
Credit card debt. Deal with it
Darren is a 39 year old video editor from London. He lives in a three bedroom house in East London with his long-term boyfriend.
His first step to achieving that was to get rid of his credit card debt with one go.
“I had massive credit card debts – mainly left over from my student days,” he says.
“The moment I had a steady job and regular income I consolidated the lot into one big loan with the lowest interest rate I could find.
“Knowing one set amount was coming out of my account each month to cover the payments made me much more at ease.”
He says having debt spread across various cards felt like an ‘insurmountable hill’ he had to climb.
Share the knowledge
What are some of your money-saving tips? Slide into our DMs or post in the comments below to help others benefit from your experience (or mistakes!)