Updated: Dec 29, 2020
2020 was a big year for all of us, we've had to cope with so much, and come out the other side. While I know a lot of us cannot wait for the hope that 2021 brings with the vaccine being rolled out, let's reflect on our achievements of 2020. This was a HUGE year for me. I completely turned my life around with my finances. I started the year with £3,500 worth of credit card debt and a tax bill of £1,000. I was lost in my job and had no idea where I wanted to go. So let's see how that has changed.
I started the year unhappy in my job, I was no longer freelancing, earning a lot less money and simply just not enjoying myself as much as I used to. My money habits were much the same as they'd always been. I was putting end of the month groceries on my maxed out credit card, and regular date nights as I didn't want to admit I couldn't afford drinks and meals out in my new relationship. One thing did happen though, I found The Money Fox on Instagram, and little did I know at the time, this would be the start of something new.
The month I committed to change! I opened an instagram account called @millennialsaves to keep myself accountable while paying off my credit card and started side hustling to earn a little more cash. It worked and I earned a nice amount from Matched Betting (find out if Matched Betting is For You) but nothing had really changed. My mindset hadn't been changed, and I hadn't reviewed my spending habits. I'd simply made a fancy spreadsheet, told the world I was going to pay off debt, made more money.. and then spent that money. But the key point is, I'd started.
And finally, it clicked. In March it seemed like everything finally clicked for me. Aided by the impending doom of Coronavirus which meant I spend a lot of time indoors before they even announced the lockdown. I started a new job (just in time as theatre has basically been closed since the first lockdown!) and was so much happier within myself. I committed to a plan, and put every penny I could towards paying off my credit card debt and side hustling the rest. I made my first overpayment of £350 with the final pay check of my theatre job.
We were in full lockdown and my money had nowhere to go! No frivolous spends here, no drinks out there.. I finally had money, it was a very strange feeling! It made me realise for the first time, I already have everything I need, and drinking alcohol at home is a lot cheaper than buying it at bars! I moved in with my boyfriend as lockdown was announced (it was accidental - plumbers had come around to refit my ensuite bathroom in my house share room and I was working from home - just before lockdown was announced - and was going to stay a few days so I could work without distraction.. and then lockdown was announced.. couldn't go back now!) but this meant my expenses went up as not only was I paying my normal £620 rent, I was also contributing £100 towards bills.. and our food bill went up. The first lockdown was harsh, we couldn't even get the bus! So our nearest supermarket was Waitrose.. yup! So we started doing our weekly shops there which came to £80-90! In April I only put £200 towards my debt.
My side hustles had finally kicked in, I had been accumulating profits and decided to cash out. From side hustles alone I paid off £750 towards my credit card which was a HUGE achievement! This month, we heard from Rishi that those self-employed with returns from before 2019 would get help with the SEISS Grant and I realised I qualified. Although I had quit my full time theatre freelancing work a few months previous, I had done so under the idea that I would boost my income with weekend and evening freelance work as I had taken another significant pay cut to change career. Now this was impossible due to Covid, I decided to apply for the grant. And with the first payment, I paid off all of my debt. I was debt free. For the first time in my adult live.
On the 1st June I reached 1,000 followers on Millennial Saves! I had started planning my content and posting daily. I had decided to fully commit to this as an educational platform for millennial women, not just my own person money diary. I wrote blogs about Matched Betting, 20Cogs and Free Shares (my two favourite side hustles), reached a savings rate of 49.5% now that I had no debt to pay and finally moved out of my house share and in with my boyfriend, cutting my fixed expenses from £880 to £670! I had finally started focusing on getting my Emergency Fund to £5,000 - 6 months expenses with a little buffer. At the end of June my Emergency Fund was sitting at £2,000.
I focused more on posting educational, and valuable content and saw my page continue to grow, I was now at 2,000 followers! The main point for July was that I started Investing seriously. Before I had used money gained from free shares to play around, but now I was trying to choose my investments more wisely and started investing £25 a month. But here's a bummer... I'd used my credit card again (because I didn't want to eat into my hard earned savings...) What you have to realise is.. I had become debt free in a blink of an eye because of a grant I was fortunate enough to be able to get. I hadn't actually had that long to challenge my money mindset, and so I still struggled.
The month I wrote The Financial Workbook! Over the course of this year, not only had I run this instagram page and followed a few of other people's journeys.. I had actually taken 3 coursed about personal finance and the economy. I learned so much so decided I would write a book where everything you need to know about the basics of personal finance was in one place, along with worksheets you could use to apply the knowledge to your actual finances. Something I wish I'd had available when I started! Also, my Emergency Fund reached £4,000!
With the release of The Financial Workbook complete, September was a lot quieter for me. I continued with my educational content on instagram and had my first ever collaboration with Step Change, the debt charity. My temporary contract with my job was due to finish at the beginning of November so I had applied for a full time position at the company.. I didn't get it.. but I did get a 3 month extension to my contract! Oh, and we hit 3,000 followers!
As my favourite, spooky, month of the year.. October was a bit spend-y. We were out of lockdown and we were celebrating. Meals out. Drinks out. Halloween decorations galore! Needless to say.. the Emergency Fund stalled here for a bit.. But in other news, that full time job I didn't get? Another position opened up, and I got it! I now have a permanent contract, working 33 hours a week, giving me tonnes of time to also focus on building Millennial Saves as a small business.
Now up to £4,500, the Emergency Fund was almost complete! But now began the task of Christmas shopping, and no... I hadn't used a sinking fund... 2020 was the year of financial learning. And fear not, I've got a sinking fund set up for 2021! In November I ran a 50% off sale and released a bundle of my products, the Get My Sh*t Together bundle.. and made £500. My highest earning month from Millennial Saves, ever!
Are you ready for the many achievements in December? Here we go!
£5,000 Emergency Fund Complete!
5 Figure Net Worth for the first time EVER
5,000 followers on instagram
Wrote the Ultimate Side Hustle Guide
Started saving towards my next BIG goal: £25,000 for our First Home
I would LOVE to hear what you got up to in 2020! Drop a comment below!