budgeting pros to follow for personal finance tips and tricks

(Evening Standard)

As the cost of living reaches another 30-year high, many of us will be looking at ways we can reign in our spending and reasses our finances.

After some nifty budgeting tips? From the FinTok sensation to the money trauma specialist, whether you’re trying to save for a house, get to grips with an ISA or are simply hoping to reach the end of the month with a few spare quid, these are the money gurus who will help you back in the black.

Bola Sol

 (Bola Sol)

(Bola Sol)

USP: The budgeting pro

Bola Sol is a maths and finance graduate turned money coach who published her first book How To Save It last year. It’s a guide to budgeting, paying off debt and taking your first steps to investing. “I want people to have less anxiety around their financial situation,” she says. “Whether you’re paying off a lot of debt or saving for something substantial, it’s important you feel calm in the process.”

Her top tip for achieving financial wellness in 2022? “Check your balance and transactions every day. It is a truly humbling experience because the change in numbers tells a story about how you’re spending. The changes you see will help you reassess your spending habits regularly.” When it comes to budgeting, “going cold turkey on anything is hard,” she concedes, but it could be as simple as deciding to cut down on takeaways — ever totted up exactly how much that Deliveroo habit is costing you each month? “Try and get into the joy of cooking. I was once a takeaway fiend but I’ve learned to enjoy making a meal. It can be quite a calming experience. It’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t have the time to cook but we make time to catch up with people, scroll on social media and watch our favorite shows so we can make time to make our own meals too. Plus, when you cook regularly, that takeaway feels that much more deserved.”


Catherine Morgan

 (Catherine Morgan)

(Catherine Morgan)

USP: The money trauma specialist

Catherine Morgan is a financial abuse specialist and trauma-informed financial coach, which means she focuses on the emotional side of money. She also hosts the In Her Financial Shoes podcast which aims to help women take control of their finances and become more financially confident. What does financial wellness mean to her?” “Learning to live without shame, blame or guilt around money. It can really unlock opportunities for growth and greater personal wellbeing,” she says. “In order to thrive with our money, we need to separate our sense of self away from money. This can help with things like charging what we deserve, not burying our heads in the sand or taking responsibility with money.”

Her top personal finance tips for 2022? “Safeguard against any sudden losses of income by creating a financial freedom fund.” “Start small and use apps that round up your spending to get you started.” Next, identify any money leaks you have by printing out a list of your direct debits and standing orders. Ask yourself how important these are and if canceling, reallocate that money immediately to a new savings pot so that you give it a new purpose. Identify one area of ​​overspend and focus on reducing it — food is one of the most common areas of overspend.” So you might decide that this month you’re going to save £20 per week from your food spend. Then decide where you are going to redirect that money. If you don’t redirect it, you’re not actually saving any money.”


Poku Banks

 (Poku Banks)

(Poku Banks)

USP: The ‘FinTok’ sensation

Forget fintech, Gen Zers are all about #fintok — there are more than 770 million views of the hashtag on TikTok. Poku Banks is a finance and accounting student who started making personal finance videos on the platform before going to university. “I realised I was about to step into the real world without knowing how to get a mortgage, manage debt, invest to beat inflation rates or start a business. I started reading books and listening to podcasts then condensing the information into digestible, 30-second videos that are straight to the point.” Now he has more than 340,000 followers, with content spanning everything from “What are NFTs?”, to why you should delete Apple Pay and fun role plays, using analogies that break down complicated topics. “My biggest tip for anyone trying to improve their finances is to be self-seeking — go out of your way to find information. Unfortunately school won’t teach you the right concepts that apply to adult life like credit, mortgages, investing and money management so it’s up to you to take control.”


Ellie Austin-Williams

 (Ellie Austin-Williams)

(Ellie Austin-Williams)

USP: The money fighting

Ellie Austin-Williams is a financial educator and founder of This Girl Talks Money blog. Her goal is to get people talking about money more openly, so there can be more transparency.”I’m a big believer that talking about money — which we often dodge because it’s awkward or uncomfortable — can have a huge impact on our financial wellbeing ,” she says. “Set aside time each month dedicated to money, both to handle the practical and the mental aspects of it. Having a dedicated time to reflect on your finances and with a friend, partner or family member, talking about how you feel with regards to money, can be hugely beneficial for your own mental wellbeing and the health of your relationship.” And try to avoid using phrases like “I’m terrible with money,” she adds. “Our mindset and attitudes towards money directly impact our financial wellbeing, as our thoughts often become our actions. Make the most of the technology that exists to make money management stress-free. There are lots of ways to automate your savings and investing, so explore the options and set up your savings so that you’re putting away money each month automatically.” Monzo and Starling are my go-to digital banks, and tools like Chip and Plum can help with auto saving. Your future self will thank you.”


Melanie Eusebe

Melanie Eusebe (Zoe Timmers)

Melanie Eusebe (Zoe Timmers)

USP: The money potential coach

Melanie Eusebe is a director at consulting firm Accenture and founder of the Money Moves community. Her new book Financial Wellness and How to Find it draws on her own journey achieving a healthy relationship with money. After a 15-year career in banking she left to start her own business and says she suddenly realised her own financial wellbeing was poor. In the book she shares tips for resetting that relationship. ​​

“Financial wellness is about being empowered to have meaningful, impactful conversations with yourself and others about your money. I really encourage having authentic conversations with your partner, children, boss, your bank, accountant, friends and of course, yourself,” she says.”This time of year I always say link your money to your goals — quantify in money and time what your goals cost. Ask yourself what you want to do with your time and life, and how does your financial situation support this now? If you want to retire at 40, what are you doing today with your money to contribute to that goal? Once you have done that, share your results with a ‘money partner’ — a partner or a friend with whom you have a safe space to share your money goals and concerns.”


Money talks: four other resources

 (Financial Wellness and How to Find it by Melanie Eusebe)

(Financial Wellness and How to Find it by Melanie Eusebe)

Financial Wellness and How To Find It by Melanie Eusebe (out now)

Melanie Eusebe has a guide to understanding your emotions around money and reading your relationship with it, drawing on her own personal experience as a banker who realised she lacked her own “financial freedom.”

Financielle app

The “couch to 5k” app for money management. Financielle is a financial wellness app designed by women for women, with tools to help you set goals and track your progress, as well as a 30-step Money MOT.

Five Steps to Financial Wellbeing by Clare Seal (out in March)

When Clare Seal found herself in £27,000 debt, she decided to share her journey out of the red via her Instagram @myfrugalyear (at first anonymously) and wrote a book about it. In her latest title she breaks down five simple and achievable steps to taking charge of your finances.

Plum app

Plum is an automatic saving app that links to your bank account and sets aside money for you automatically using an algorithm, while offering features like a real-time view of your daily spend and simple ways of investing with as little as £1