Interviews

FIREside chat with Tolu: "It’s one thing getting out of debt, it's another staying out."

Quirk Team
December 2, 2020
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FIREside chat with Tolu: "It’s one thing getting out of debt, it's another staying out."

Hey Tolu! Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us about yourself?

I’m a Money Coach, Blogger and YouTuber passionate about financial education and financial well-being. I was once in over £36,000 worth of consumer debt and through financial education and a robust plan, I was able to become debt free within 2 years. Since becoming debt free I’ve made it my mission to help other women do the same.  

What personality type did you get? Did you find the results to be accurate?

The Artist – Creative Spirit. I was surprised at the level of accuracy with the results. It literally described my money personality to the t. Even stating things that I often say to my audience such as “it’s not about working for money but about making money work for you.”

What inspired you to start a social media presence about personal finance? For completely new readers, what is the “tl;dr” of your brand?

Money is such a taboo topic which often gets neglected. We all have to manage money, yet it’s one of the subjects left out in school and for many of us not taught at home. Because of this, many of us fall into readily available debt. When you know better, you can do better. After finding myself in such a financial hole, I was committed to digging myself out of it. Once I was able to do this successfully, I wanted to let other people in on the secret and help them avoid the mistakes I made. 

 

What is your relationship with personal finance? - If applicable, how has that defined your current pursuits? What changes have you made that have helped? How has it changed over time?  

It’s one thing getting out of debt, its another thing staying out of debt.

It’s a daily decision that we have to keep making to continue to live below our means, practice delayed gratification and avoid consumer debt. Once you think you’ve arrived financially, that’s when you find yourself slipping back into your old ways. You have to keep doing the things that got you out of debt. I’m less concerned with what others are doing and my bank balance thanks me for this daily.  

 

What’s the biggest financial mistake you have ever made? I bet even a money coach has one :) 

Yes, I’ve made many mistakes over the years which have led to my career as a Money Coach. Therefore, I’m thankful for every season I’ve been through. I don’t know if this is the biggest mistake I’ve made, but it definitely was a costly lesson. I upgraded my phone contract from a sim only £10 a month contract, to £40 a month contract to get the latest Samsung phone. The phone was stolen after a week and I didn’t have insurance so I ended paying an extra £30 a month for 2 years for a phone I no longer had. Gutted!  

You mentioned that one of your accomplishments is how you paid off your £36,000 debt in just 2 years, which is incredible! Can you tell us more about the biggest challenge you have faced during the journey and how you overcame it?

The biggest challenge was sticking to the plan. There were always external things vying for our money but we had to keep our eyes on the prize. Saying no to friends and family is tough, particularly when they are not used to hearing it. But the reward of debt freedom is far greater than any temporary discomfort. 

 

Is there a specific financial goal you are working towards right now? What steps are you taking to achieve that goal?

Yes our goals now are paying off our mortgage within the next 7 years and investing in Index Funds to start building wealth for our future. I’ve started multiple passive income streams which I’m building daily and my husband is doing the same. We also live on a tight budget so all extra money is put towards our financial goals. 

 

You mentioned that you specialized in frugal lifestyle. In a special time such as the pandemic right now, do you have any special money-saving tips to share?

Variable expenses are the easiest to make savings on. Start with your food budget and you’ll find that things like simplifying your meals, brand switching, store switching, meal prepping, batch cooking and having a list can really help you make great savings on your groceries. Also try things like a pantry challenge. Use up things that you already have in the freezer and cupboards. You’ll find that you have lots of things that you have forgotten about, challenge yourself to create meals with these things. I have so many tips over on my YouTube channel for you to check out, these are just a few to help you get started!

How often do you check your finances?

It should ideally be daily but I currently check it every other day.

 

For someone who is starting completely new to personal finance, how would they get started? What specific tips would you have for newbies?

First things first,  get your mind right. Reflect on how you got to where you currently are, identify your money scripts and understand your current money belief. You then need to make the decision to change the script from today. Look back over your finances to see where all your money went the previous month. If you’ve never done this exercise before it will be a shock to your system. Crete a budget and plan for your money BEFORE spending a penny.

Tell your money where to go, so that you’re not left at the end of the month wondering where on earth it all went. 

What’s your stack? (Accounts, credit cards, apps or other tools)

Between my husband and I we have over 16 bank accounts which we use for our various spending categories and sinking funds (individual savings pots). I currently manage our budget using Google Sheets, however in the new year I’ll be switching to my new 2021 Budget planner as it includes EVERYTHING that I need to manage my finances. 

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