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How to improve your financial wellbeing

The cost-of-living crisis has caused many of us to feel quite concerned about our finances. It's left those of us who wouldn't consider themselves to be particularly financially savvy feeling more anxious than ever, especially when it comes to making our hard-earned cash go further.

I wanted to pick the brains of a financial expert who really knew what they were talking about; someone who has had real life experience of building better spending and saving habits. Thankfully, Tolu Frimpong very kindly agreed to be that expert.

Tolu is a Financial Coach and Content Creator who is on a mission to help women break free from the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial dreams. With a passion for intentional budgeting, saving, investing, and side hustling, she empowers women to take control of their finances.

Read on to find out what inspired Tolu to become a financial coach, her experience of struggling with her own finances and what advice she'd give to anyone wanting to improve their relationship with money...

First things first, what got you into sharing tips to help people improve their financial wellbeing?

I became passionate about sharing financial insights and tips through my personal journey and experiences with money. Having faced the daunting challenge of being over £36,000 in debt, I embarked on a determined path toward financial freedom. Along this transformative debt-free journey, I gleaned invaluable knowledge about effective budgeting, strategic saving, and astute investing. Recognising the lack of formal financial education in our schooling system, I felt compelled to empower others by sharing the practical wisdom I had acquired.

My motivation stems from the belief that everyone deserves the right tools and knowledge to navigate the intricate landscape of personal finance. It's unfortunate that many individuals are left to navigate their financial lives without proper guidance. By sharing my insights and lessons learned, I aspire to contribute to a more financially savvy society, enabling others to make informed decisions and take control of their financial destinies.

The cost of living crisis has really forced us to think about how we budget. What is your best advice for anyone who hasn't budgeted before?

First things first, embark on a financial audit. The term might sound a bit official, but it's essentially diving into your bank statements for the past few months. Get a grip on where your money has been taking off to in various categories – think food, housing, transportation, subscriptions, the works. Write down the numbers like you're unravelling a financial mystery.

Armed with these insights, you can craft a budget rooted in reality. So, you've been spending £600 a month on groceries? Let's be smart and make that budget £550. Sure, we're all about reining in unnecessary spending and snipping those budgetary loose ends, but keeping things real is crucial.

Remember, it's not about locking your purse in a safe and vowing never to have fun again. It's about aligning your spending with your goals and aspirations. So, while you're aiming for financial prowess, don't set yourself up for frustration by making your budget a never-ending uphill climb.

How do you develop the discipline to save money and what have you found to be some of the most effective ways to get started?

Developing the discipline to save, even during a cost-of-living crisis, is indeed a challenge. There are many things that you can do to help you start to exercise your savings muscle. One effective approach is automating savings by setting up automatic transfers from your paycheque to a dedicated savings account. Additionally, clear goal-setting provides motivation, as knowing the purpose behind your savings transforms it from a chore into a meaningful endeavour. Finally, starting small is also beneficial because it allows you to gradually increase contributions as you become more financially comfortable.

You've been really honest about how you were facing £36k of debt at one point. This must have put a strain on your mental health and wellbeing. How did you cope during this time?

During that period, I buried my head in the sand. Confronting my financial mess head-on? Not my strong suit back then. It's funny, things might have seemed all put together on the surface, but inside, I knew the truth – and it was challenging to deal with mentally.

But then, the debt-free journey kicked off, and things shifted. Suddenly, I felt this surge of mental strength because I could actually see the light at the end of that tunnel. Sure, it wasn't easy, especially when I had to skip out on hanging out with friends and family. The FOMO was real! Still, holding onto the bigger picture helped me power through. It was like reminding myself that short-term sacrifices were paving the way for something better down the line.

Are there any apps or websites you'd recommend to people to help them manage their finances?

I love a good spreadsheet and have been using my budget template, which I created years ago. You can buy a copy here on my website. Outside of that a great budgeting app is Emma.

You've got an e-book! How do you hope it will help those struggling to keep on top of their finances?

With my eBook titled 'How I Paid Off £36,000 Debt: My 10 Steps To Debt Freedom,' my intention is to provide hope and practical guidance for those wrestling with their financial struggles. Through this debut publication, I share the journey I took to achieve debt freedom.

I want readers to grasp that they too can embark on their own debt-free journey armed with actionable insights. Each of the 10 steps presented comes loaded with practical advice, providing a roadmap for success at every juncture of the debt payoff process.

I've written this eBook with a deliberate focus on accessibility, employing a non-judgmental and positive tone that's incredibly vital when delving into such a sensitive subject. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the weight of your financial obligations and are looking for a clear path toward debt freedom, this eBook is tailored precisely for you.

A picture of Tolu on the cover of her e-book which is seen featured on a phone, tablet and in book form.

Find out more about Tolu's work via her website, Instagram page or Youtube channel.

Enjoyed this blog? Please make a small donation to my Ko-fi account to help me cover the costs of running Like I Care.

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