Money natters: Louise Dwyer tells us how she saved up for her worldwide jaunts

By Natasha Culzac
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Self-professed FOMO sufferer, Louise Dwyer, 26, can’t say no to a good time.

Based in Clapham, south London, with her best friend, and enjoys festivals, holidays, and all the quirky events the big city has to offer. And she has no regrets. For Louise, spending money on these experiences is worth it, even if it means that her dream of buying a house might take just that little bit longer to achieve.

To help her reach her house buying goal, Louise is thinking of relocating from London to her hometown Warwick, where she may move in with her boyfriend and enjoy considerably cheaper rent while saving for a deposit. We asked Louise how exactly she managed to save up for these worldwide jaunts and how her attitude to money has changed over the years.

Dreams

Q: When you were a kid, what did you imagine your future would look like?
A: I thought that by 30 I’d have a house and probably a kid, but I don’t think that’s happening any time soon. My aspirations were to be content, financially stable, have a partner, kids and definitely have a house. But I think what happened was that I had too much fun in my 20’s and spent more time and money on travelling/holidays instead. But I don’t regret it - I’ve enjoyed the route that I’ve taken.

 

Q: Are you currently in your ideal job or profession, and if not, what would it look like?

A: At the minute I like my job, but in the long term I’ll probably do something slightly different. I work in communications and am a project manager which is something I enjoy. It’s been a good stepping stone but I don’t see myself staying there forever. I’d like to get into communications and events. I think for people my age, it’s more of a trial and error to find out what you actually want to do and what your goal is.

Q: What are the biggest factors holding you back from stepping into that job right now?

A: To be in events it’s a bit of a vicious circle – you can’t get into it unless you’ve got loads of experience. So you’ve got to really start at the bottom and settle for a small salary so you can grow. If I get more communicational events experience I can reach my goal, so I’m just putting my name down on stuff and taking baby steps to improve my CV. For example I try and volunteer as much as I can to help the organisation of internal work events (like recognition or product launches) or charity events (comedy nights, raffles, charity football matches, cake sales, charity runs). I haven’t thought much about doing an additional qualification, so that’s maybe something I could look into. I’ve decided my next role will be a marketing and comms exec one, not just comms, as this usually involves an element of events , which hopefully I could learn from.

 

Q: If I gave you £10,000 tomorrow what would you do with it?


A: I’d use £2K-3K on a month-long trip to somewhere exotic like the Maldives or Mauritius. But my partner and I are trying to start saving for a house – it will probably take five years to get there but I think I’d put some money towards that. We would probably put it in a help to buy ISA because that’s a good scheme and you only have to put around £200 in it every month. I’d also get out of some overdraft debt because I’ve got about £500 I need to pay off and then about £750 on a credit card, but it just feels like it’s never ending.  The plan is to jump ship from London and go back to Warwick and move in with my partner because it’s so much cheaper. Or the other option is to move in with my parents for six months to save a little more and then find a place with my partner after.

 

Q: And if I gave you £50,000?

A: I guess I’d put most of it on a house and buy a new car – you know, the usual things.

Money management

Q: Who inspires you financially, and why?
A: My dad. My mum has literally no clue how much bills are or how much the mortgage is. My dad’s the organised one, paying the bills and putting away money for a holiday etc, so he taught me to be the same. I’m quite organised when I’m going out so I take after him. At uni I was lucky in that my parents gave me £100 every month to help pay for food and things, but my dad taught me that if I spent it in the first week then it’d be my own fault and I should budget responsibly. He wouldn’t just give me more money if I spent it all! What I like about my parents’ financial habits, though, is that if they want to treat themselves, they will - they won’t always be super scrimpers.

 

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 how savvy do you think you are with your money?

A: I’d say I’m about a 7. I never go over my means, I wouldn’t go down to my last penny. I probably splurge a lot more than I should, like going out for drinks and dinner when I can and should cook at home. For example last night I was hungover and splurged on a takeaway. However, my best friend and housemate, Pip, would be an 8.5. She’s really good at saving. When we went travelling to Australia she did all the budgeting and saving for the whole travels, so we had the cheapest cereal and stuff like that. I remember her buying cabbage and carrots for our stir fry because they were the cheapest vegetables, and I was like maybe we should splurge on a courgette next time, but it was twice the price of a carrot so she wouldn’t allow it haha.

Q: Who is the biggest influence on your spending habits?
A: Out of me and my mates the biggest influencer would be a bit of both. I’ll say to my friends “yeah let’s just buy a ticket” haha. I have big FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so I don’t want miss out on experiences like holidays or going to festivals. When I was younger I was worse and I couldn’t miss out on anything even if it was just a night out, but I’m getting better now. I just have to remind myself that sometimes I don’t need to go and spend my money on things because they will always be there - I guess I’m getting a bit more mature.

 

Q: What’s your biggest money weakness?
A: It sounds really sad but probably bottles of prosecco! If I’m in a club or a bar I’d buy it because it would be cheaper than getting a glass in the long run. Otherwise, it’s probably my daily lunches. I don’t make packed lunches, instead I just go out and spend money at lunch and they really add up.

Money attitude and feelings

Q: If you had to pick three words to describe your future what would they be and why?
A: Hopefully content, happy and stable. I just want to be financially stable, I don’t want to be mega rich. I guess I just want to be comfortable. I’m definitely a work-to-live type of person.

 

Q: What are your best and worst purchases, and why?
A: I’d say travelling would be a best purchase, I remember booking Thailand while I was already in Australia because we didn’t want to go home. That was a fun experience and a spontaneous purchase. Worst purchase? Two ski coats that are both really similar. I spent about £100 each on them. I don’t know why I bought the second one - I guess that’s what I do when I have a bit of money.

Q: How do you manage your money and save up for holidays?

A: At the start of the month I put away all my outgoings. I pay my monthly credit card instalment and I try and put away £100 each month away for saving in my ISA. But what sometimes happens is I put that £100 in, and move it back again when I run out of money. Currently I’m okay - sometimes it ends up only being £60 or £70 in the savings each month, but If I put it away at the start of the month I’d only take it out if I desperately need it. I also put purchases on the credit card, especially if it’s a spontaneous purchase, then I’ll be good afterwards and pay it off.

 

Q: Do you have a savings pot at the moment?

A: Yeah, it’s only got about £350 in it. It’s not a lot, but that helps me pay for my holidays if I need it or any big events that I wanna go to like festivals.

Decision and influences on them

Q: How have you previously saved up for your travelling trips?

A: At uni when I had a part time job, I’d put all the money I got from that into a kitty for travelling and stuff like Glastonbury. I’d use my student loan instalment for everything else like rent and going out. Right now, however, I’m umpiring netball matches in London for extra cash outside of work and I put that away. I do two to three hours a week. It’s not a lot but any money but what I do get I put away. I enjoy it as well because it’s a social activity, so I don’t mind doing it after work. I get more out of it than just the money. I got into it while at uni - my netball team at Lancaster University were looking for some umpires and were offering training for the first level of qualification. Once qualified, you were then paid for umpiring, so I jumped at the chance to earn a bit of extra cash. When I moved down to London I joined a social league and they, too, were looking for more umpires so it just went from there. I umpire for Playnetball and they are always looking for new umpires. There’s lots of similar companies, though, such as Go Mammoth. If you’re interested, just get in touch with the management there and they will help you out - but obviously it’s easier if you already know the majority of the rules!

 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given in life?

A: My dad said “always go with your heart and not with your head”. He said do whatever makes you feel good and happy. You don’t always have to go with the most sensible decision. When I finished uni, I got offered a job in banking and back then the safest option was to take it. But I felt it wasn’t right for me at that moment and I just wanted to go and work a ski season instead. I didn’t know what to do and dad gave me the guidance I needed. It actually worked out best because the company that I went on the ski season with I ended up working for. After the ski season I joined their graduate scheme, so it all worked out in the end.

Q: What are you proudest of in your life?
A: I’d say travelling. It probably sounds silly but I’m proud that I’ve seen parts of the world that some people may have not been able to. I’m proud of the experiences that I’ve had, seeing different countries while being so young. Going to some of these by myself, too, was quite a brave thing to do.

 

Q: What are your top money priorities for the next few years?

A: In the next two years I’d like to get rid of my overdraft, which hopefully will be done if I move back in with my parents for six months. And then I’d like to start saving for a deposit for a house. In three to four years I’d like to be settling down with my partner more and buying a place of our own.

 

Author bio: 

Thanks to a journalistic career history and a childhood at Sylvia Young Theatre School, Natasha has her fingers in a few professional pies, doing her best impression of a model and actor as well as personal finance writer. Outside of work she compulsively watches BBC period dramas and constantly lies to herself that this year will be the year she learns French, once and for all.

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