When I graduated from university my first job was quite well paid so I got into bad financial habits very quickly and became quite blasé about it – so when I changed job and I was being paid less, that was a turning point. I needed to change my habits to match what was coming into my account.
I wasn’t living within my means – I was constantly just a little bit more into my overdraft and a little bit more. I like to think I’m a responsible spender but I just wasn’t keeping track of anything.
I made the mistake of creating a legacy overdraft from when I was a student and it never really reduced – that becomes your ‘zero’ and I was never getting very far out of it. I went to my bank for help but they really didn’t care.
“I was spending more on food going out for dinner with friends than I was buying food for the house – so it wasn’t the occasional treat I thought it was!”
I’ve been with Money Dashboard for nearly a year now. I knew there were some budgeting apps where you have to put everything in yourself, but they’re very manual and I was hoping there would be one that could connect straight to your bank accounts.
I was thinking ‘I bet someone’s thought of this already. There has to be something out there!’
Money Dashboard stood out because it was free, had a good rating and description and could link straight to your bank account.
After signing up to Money Dashboard, the one thing I realised very quickly was that I was spending more on food going out for dinner with friends than I was buying food for the house – so it wasn’t the occasional treat I thought it was! I realised this within the first month – basically as soon as I could track back on what was going on.
I no longer spend as much as I used to on shopping as I realised £60 here and there is a lot. Especially when you only have a modest amount of spending money.
Screenshot of Amanda’s budget. She has managed to cut her overdraft fees in half in less than 6 months!
The great thing with Money Dashboard is that I can now use the Planner. When I deduct each planned expense I can see I’ll be up in the black in just a month or two, where previously I thought it would be April 2019 before I was out of my overdraft. That was based on managing to squeeze out savings of £25 a month.
The main reason I use it now is to stay aware of what I’m spending and I can even look back to see how my own budget has changed. I tell all my friends about it!
This article was adapted from an interview with Amanda. Want to tell us your story? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!