Money Talks With Emma Gannon.
Written by Emma Gannon
Let’s talk more about money, mindfulness and financial health in 2018. Emma Gannon shares her money tips after a year of daring herself to be more open about money: making it, managing it and talking about it.
My New Year’s resolution last year was to talk more candidly about money: whether that be publicly online, with colleagues or with friends over dinner. That didn’t mean going up to strangers in the street and demanding to know their salary (can you imagine?), but my resolution was to just simply be less awkward about it.
Disclaimer: I’m no Martin’s Money Saving Expert — I have friends who work in the financial sector and actually know stuff, but even though I am in no place to give financial advice, I felt compelled to use my platform to at least open up some conversations. To try and rid ourselves gradually of this idea that money is a taboo topic. After all, it’s such a huge part of our lives that we hide away out of sight.
I used to be terrible with money. I felt physically sick for years at the amount I knew I had frittered away over the years, on bad decisions, overdraft repayments, stupid impulse buys. I used to clam up at any mention of it, in and outside of work, even something as simple as a bill was being split. Money just made me feel so tense. Turns out you don’t have to be an expert to get the conversation about money out there and start opening up dialogues that can be really helpful and practical. Sure, it can be awkward at first, it’s an emotional topic, we all have different scenarios going on.
But the benefits of an honest conversation outweigh any initial awkwardness. After my year of money talk, I feel less uptight, less secretive and less guilty about money (spending it, losing it, making it, saving it). I’ve learned tools and tips to help in my short-term and long term money goals, simply by not being afraid to ask questions.
It’s good to talk.
That said - here are a few things I’ve learned this year, that I will carry forward into 2018.
| set up a weekly notification
Checking your bank balance can feel like ripping off a plaster. Sometimes we want to do it as quickly as possible as the result might be painful. If you’re that person who dreads looking or forgets to look, sent up a weekly reminder from your bank’s app via text message. I get mine sent to me every Monday so I can start the week in the know.
| get a bank that categorises your spending
A bank like Starling Bank really helps you understand what you’ve been spending each month and where the majority of it is going in one handy snapshot. The ‘Categories’ tab is useful to see where you seem to be spending (or over-spending) and ‘Merchants’ for realising you might keep going to the same Pret one too many times.
| remember: it’s not personal
One thing I learned this year is that when you ask for a pay rise, or for an increase on a fee for a certain project, don’t take the answer as a personal attack on you. The employer will take into consideration your request and will say yes or no depending on whether it is feasible or not. The answer is never a reflection on you as a person, and no one will think badly of you for asking the question. Always ask! It’s nearly always works out as a yes.
| set up a non-judgement WhatsApp group
Having a group of like-minded friends in the industry who I can ask openly for advice has added so much to my working life. I don’t work in a traditional office, so my online networks can act as my office most of the time. Being able to ask a fellow self-employed friends for a ballpark number or how much they charge for a similar project makes all the difference. It takes the stigma out of conversations around money and it feels really good to be helping each other get paid our true worth.