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In the studio with Laura Whitmore BBC Radio 5 Live

Laura Whitmore

Broke Girl on the City talks to Laura Whitmore on BBC Radio 5 Live

Top tips for January on BBC Radio 5 Live

Laura Whitmore invited me on to the first BBC Radio 5 Live show back after the New Year, to discuss money and January budgets. It’s a tough month, but I share my top tips on how you can thrive not just survive in 2020!

Broke Girl in the City web header

Why I started Broke Girl in the City

When I first moved to London, it wasn’t long before I got myself into £35k worth of debt. Just for trying to get on the career ladder and not being able to live sustainably on my salary. I have worked in film, TV, music, nightclubs and hospitality. As well as marketing, PR, events, digital and social media. Yet my relationship with money has been the defining one.

I was made redundant in the summer of 2016 on the morning of Brexit. During that summer, when I was job-hunting. I decided to start this blog. At first, I focussed on what amazing things everyone could do around the city on a budget. I also wanted to explore what it means to be broke and how that impacts the whole of your life. Moving further into personal finance and how to both save and make money, as I continued to write this blog.

Laura Whitmore

Laura and I met during our time working at MTV. worked in the Marketing Department when she won Pick Me MTV. Our lives have been intertwined ever since. Laura has been following my blog for some time. We thought the start of January would be the optimum time to join her on-air to discuss how to get through January, but also look at how to best manage your finances.

Talking with Laura Whitmore

Talking about debt and money still has to be one of the greatest taboos. No-one like to talks about money, struggling or being in debt.

Laura told us of her own story when she started MTV and flew to LA on her first trip. She didn’t get paid for the first three months but had already paid for a house and moved to London. Can you imagine not being paid for the first three months of your job in London? She went out for an expensive meal with her producers but struggled to pay for the meal. A glamorous lifestyle, but she said, “I can remember thinking I can’t afford this lifestyle. Everyone thinks I’m on loads of money but I’m not”.

Let me share with you the tips I shared with Laura Whitmore on-air this January.

Let’s talk positive. Set clear goals. What should you do if you have got yourself into a situation? – Laura

Most of the stress and anxiety you feel about money comes from not taking control of your finances. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Pull together a budget for yourself. Set clear goals. It’s knowing your situation and taking control that will kickstart your journey to feel better about your money situation.

Spending Tracker

Track your spending

I use both the Spending App and Monzo. Every time, I buy something I manually input my expenses into the app to track where I am spending my money. Monzo does this automatically. It’s a great way of consciously tracking your spending each month.

Monzo card helps you track your spending.

Set aside money in pots

Monzo is a card mobile app with a debit card. Each transaction is categorised and helps to look at where your money goes each month.

When I first starting using Monzo I created weekly pots of spending money. I soon was borrowing money from my future self. What really helps is to create separate money pots, for rent, bills and spending money. I hide money from myself. Allocate a budget and try to stick to it each week.

Automate everything

Every month my salary would go in on the last day of the month. With my direct debits and standing orders leaving my account on 1st month. Credit card bills, phone bills, rent. Everything is automated to leave my account on the same day. It’s the easiest way to budget.

Also, try and save a little each month so money leaves your account on the same day too. Saving £25 a week for a year using an online Virgin Money account, really helped me. It doesn’t matter how small the amount. Start saving today.

Make up brushes

Strip back

When I wasn’t earning for some time, I completely stripped back. Cancelling all TV subscriptions like Now TV and Netflix. Deciding not to buy make-up for a year.

I completely stripped back and this made me value things that I bought in my life and what I spent my money on. Make sure you look through your bank account and credit card statements and cancel non-essential items. It’s good to have a spring-clean of your finances this time of year.

I’m not frugal by nature

Being frugal doesn’t come naturally to me. I minimise my life so as not to spend too much money. Yet I am one of those people who likes to go out spend time with people, will spend my last pennies buying people drinks at the bar and will impulsively buy something rather than shop around. I have had to train myself to be more conscious about my spending and finances. Create healthy financial habits this year, which then come naturally to you.

Loan approved

Payday loans

I talked to Laura about how I took out payday loans, which snowballed into a financial disaster. I have covered Wonga this month, but there were many other payday loan companies, as well as this payday giant who continued to lend me money.

If things get this bad for you. It’s time to really look at your finances. That’s where I am here to help! Don’t let money ruin your life.

Laura Whitmore on the decks
Taking a break from filming Love Island, DJ Laura Whitmore was pictured last night DJ’ing at a FREE pop-up spin workout party in Shoreditch for CLIF, the makers of plant-based CLIF BAR energy bars, aimed at helping people reset their fitness routine in January whilst staving off winter blues. Credit: Gary Handley

Free things to do!

Check out all of the FREE things to do wherever you live. Check your local listings and community for classes and activities. Above is a photo of Laura who was DJ’ing at a FREE pop-up spring workout party in Shoreditch. There are always free or cheap things to do.

  • MacDonalds are giving away free meals & drinks through their app