The best financial lessons ever learnt

This article takes about 7 minutes to read
Twitter social share iconFacebook social share iconLinkedIn social share icon

Across the UK, there are many sources of financial advice. Here we tap into some of the best financial lessons our members have ever received from friends, family, teachers and even bosses.

Overpaying my mortgage looks a winning strategy

John from Essex recounts his dad's advice to overpay his mortgage.

“He told me that by overpaying as much as the lender will allow each year without being penalised, I could save tens of thousands of pounds on my £150,000 mortgage. He did it and saved a packet and paid his mortgage off eight years earlier."

Spending doesn't solve negative life events

Rosie from Harrow told us about the advice her aunt gave her after a relationship she was in ended.

“I was talking to my aunt about how I was feeling unhappy and she said she went through the same thing but it was made much worse because she went on a month-long spending spree to try and make herself feel better. It didn't work and she ended up in debt which took years to clear. Luckily I listened to her advice and got over my problems quicker."

Hide your money away

Dean from Manchester got this advice from his economics tutor at college:

“I told her I was trying to save for a music festival but was finding it difficult because even if I managed to save for a few months, I'd always find some reason to dip into it."

"She said I should set up a direct debit and automatically put my savings into a separate account and give the account details, card and withdrawal book to my mum to hide so I couldn't get at it. It worked a treat!"

Switch and save on household bills

This might seem obvious but it turned on a light for David from Dorset who'd never switched utility suppliers. He said:

“I was moaning about the cost of gas and electricity to one of my mates at work and he asked me if I'd ever switched and I hadn't. He showed me how to compare deals. I couldn't believe that I could save almost £300 for getting the same power! I switched and then did the same with insurance providers, broadband and mobile phone deals when my contracts ended."

Pay off the most expensive debts first

Kelly from Croydon received advice from her older sister just after finishing university.

“I was sinking in debt and the interest-free period on my credit card had ended as well as my overdraft and I couldn't even begin to think about my student loans. I spoke to my sister as she graduated a few years before and I remember her moaning about being in debt but she'd just moved out and bought a new car so I figured she must have found a way out."

"She told me I need to be systematic and disciplined, to work out what each debt was costing and pay the most expensive one off first and then move onto the next. A year later I still have debts but I've paid off my credit card and overdraft and I can see light at the end of the tunnel."

Risk at the right time of life to access higher rewards

Benoit from South London was talking about investor trading sites with his Grandad, a retired investment banker.

“My grandad wasn't too interested in the online portals I showed him but he gave me some very useful advice."

"He said he used to advise younger clients to invest in riskier assets, like emerging markets and new technologies because as long as you don't access the money, when you're young you have time to ride the ebb and flow of the markets and over the longer term these assets have a better chance of stronger growth."

"He also said it's vital to move these into safer, lower return investments to protect your gains when you're close to the time you want to cash in your investment."

Inspired by my mum's example

Hilary from Newcastle recounts advice she received from her mum:

“My mum got divorced from my dad when she was in her late 30's and I was nine. When I got older and started looking after my own money she told me that after her divorce it was difficult because she had no credit rating because she hadn't had credit because my dad looked after everything."

"She said she got into debt soon after and it took years to repair her credit score so she could borrow and get a mortgage, which she eventually did at 45. This advice has always stayed with me because I thought my mum was very brave and I could see how difficult it had been at the time for her, so I always look after my credit rating."

Learn from a financial expert

Dan from Norwich mentions the advice he received from his Uncle, who worked in finance:

“My uncle always drummed into me the importance of paying into a company pension as soon as possible, especially if the company contributes to, which they all do now because of auto-enrolment."

"He kept mentioning compound interest. I'm still not sure what it means but I've followed his advice as he retired at 55 and spends most of his time on the golf course!"

Savvy grocery shopping

Kirsty from Southampton has passed on the shopping tips she swears by, which she picked up from her Nan:

“My nan started a family just after World War 2, when rationing still existed. Money was tight and food was tight even if you had money, so she knew how to make food and money last. She told me to always plan the main meals weekly, write a shopping list, stick to it and never go shopping on an empty stomach!"

Budget like your boss taught you to

Tina from Walsall explains the advice she received from her boss when working out her departmental spending budget:

“She told me to pretend it was my own money and asked me how I budgeted at home. I said it was a bit haphazard. She told me to use a spreadsheet to list all my bills month-by-month so I knew in advance what expenses were coming up and what I'd need to do.

"Being this organised makes me feel in control at home and our finances have improved. I'm also handling the responsibility of a work budget better too."

No brainer way to easy savings

Matt from Brighton told us about a conversation he had at work with a colleague that has had a positive impact on his finances:

“I'd always come in to work with a takeaway coffee and my mate would ask me if I wanted a drink while he was at the kettle. The same at lunch, we'd go for a stroll, him with his packed lunch and me popping into a supermarket to get a sandwich. At the end of the week he asked me if I wanted to go for a beer after work but I couldn't as I was skint. He laughed and I said, 'what's funny?'

"He said no wonder you're skint, have you worked out how much that morning coffee and sandwich at lunch costs you? I thought about it and he was right. £25 a week! I now make my lunch, have coffee at work and go out for a few beers on a Friday with him and I'm still £50 a month better off"

Don't let money ruin your relationship

Mark from London wanted to share his tips for managing money in a relationship:

“I was just about to move in with my girlfriend and had a conversation with my elder brother that I think will help my relationship with my partner. He told me that when he moved in with his partner they thought it would be best to have joint accounts for everything so each could see what was being spent.

"He said their relationship had difficulties caused by money because neither had any independence. They decided to both put in an equal sum for household bills into a joint account but also open individual accounts so they both had some financial independence and that this has helped strengthen their relationship. It's a tip I plan to follow."