May 5, 20207 min read

How to manage your money in times of uncertainty.

by Eimear Varian Barry

I have always been very open about my financial situation on my social media. My long time followers have heard the story a million times. I felt huge shame when we were on benefits 5 years ago. Saoirse was a baby and it was impossible to find work when I was pregnant. I tried and tried. I ended up working in call centres for £5 an hour. I was grateful for the work. I was. It was something. But honestly. I was miserable.

I never knew my “hobby” and something that made me feel so happy and free, would become my business.

I was mortified when anybody asked me about my “career”. I didn’t have one. I was so lost and couldn’t see a way out. Everyone else seemed to have their sh*t together and I felt so far from being independently, financially secure.

We were very careful with our money at that time. We had to be. But we were fine. We were receiving temporary support from the government and for that I will always be extremely grateful for.

I had a good think of what my skills were and I decided I would buy second hand clothes from Kilo sales and sell them online. It went from strength to strength and within a month, I had 29 5 star reviews. It was covering our food shop! I was cross promoting it with my Instagram which helped a lot. Companies started to approach me and, well, here we are. I began earning money from having a reach on the app and doing sponsored posts. We came off benefits and all of a sudden I had an accountant doing a tax return for me. Having my platform is my calling. I feel honoured that people invest their time in following me on this journey. I get to document everything I love about life and still can’t believe it’s my business.

The reason why I am always so open about money is because I wish there would have been somebody talking about it online, when I felt so much shame having to be so incredibly careful with it. It would have comforted me so much. I know everybody is different and it’s a very personal subject. But I feel comfortable sharing my experience and love telling people how they can be more mindful with their money! I regularly talk on my Instagram about how you can achieve a fashion or an interior look for a lot less. I also love throwing an affordable family meal together and sharing it on my stories.

Managing our money worries is a time to connect with people around us for advice and support. People in our immediate network that we trust. We’re not all money experts, but if there is anyone you know who is used to giving advice about finances, try reaching out to them for advice.

SO. If you’re needing to be extra tight with your money at this time in your life, here are a few tips I have learned along the way and some info that may be able to help.

Know where you’re at.

Firstly, it’s really important to know exactly what is going out of your bank account. Which brings me to the issue of Direct Debits…

A few of my friends are meticulous when it comes to their money. I, on the other hand, have had a few subscriptions I totally forgot I had (say after those 30 days were free!)

I contacted my bank and put all my direct debits on hold for this month. I also put my tax, car and my mortgage repayments on hold for 3 months. I am self employed and earn over 50k. Even though the majority of my work has been cancelled for the next few months, I won’t be entitled to any help from the government.

Government Help.

You HAVE to educate yourself about exactly what you’re entitled to right now. And please, please don’t feel shame in it. Everybody is going through a financially turbulent time.

Don’t feel guilty about not having savings. Plain and simple. Nobody knew this time of great uncertainty was going to happen. Please don’t beat yourself up about not being prepared for a rainy day. It’s what you’re going to be doing from now on that matters. OKAYYYY?!

0% interest.

If you’re in need of anything in the next few months, see if you can buy it through finance at 0%. This was a lifesaver for me. I purchased all of my radiators in my house from Victorian Plumbing through Klarna at 0% interest, (see photos below) This was a huge help when I was renovating and looking to purchase those larger ticket items. I was able to pay a bit off each month instead of paying out a lump sum.

I also bought the large mirror in my hallway on with zero interest. Oh! My bedroom wardrobes and my hoover too. It’s over a year with, again, 0% interest. A manageable timeframe that I can budget for and pay back. BUT, make sure you always check and double check all the terms and conditions you are agreeing.

Affordable Healthy Meals.

I am constantly harping on about this. There are thousands of websites you can get recipes from if you google “Affordable family meals”. Just make a list of ones you like the look of and try them out. I love Jamie Oliver’s website and most supermarkets have a ‘cooking on a budget’ area on their websites for you to browse!

You’ll be surprised with some of the bigger dishes. We regularly have the same thing the night after because there was so much!

Sell Things!

Have a look through your bedroom (hells, any room!) and see if you are kind of…over…some things. Think about it. If everyone is being mindful of their money at the moment, there will be a much bigger demand online for second hand clothes.

Creating a Budget.

And lastly…I think it’s important to note that being mindful with your money means something different to everyone. For some, it’s cutting down on designer items, for others, it’s about counting every penny. That is something that has to be respected. Everybody has their own, personal situations right now.

The thing is, a lot of us have more time now to pay more attention to our finances and we can use this time to put a bit of a plan in action. I felt so much better when I wrote every single bit of my outgoings on a piece of paper. I  know this might sound mad to some, but I’d never done it before. It was a bit frightening to see the total amount of my outgoings when I compared it to what was coming in and thought about all the work that was cancelled. I pay for the full mortgage (which is on a high interest rate) food, bills, everything. I know I’ll be fine. And you will be too.

The Money Advice Service is a website run by the government to give financial advice. I had a good look through it and it really goes into detail about how you can get financial help.