Working with IVA clients raises awareness of the need to budget

Daniella Calderbank has worked in the insolvency industry for 5 years and currently manages the IVA annual reports team at Harrington Brooks. Here she takes a break from her day job to offer some insights into how working in the insolvency sector has changed her views on finances.

Daniella says….

Having two young children, aged 1 and 3, and working full time has proven to be financially difficult at times. But having worked daily with clients’ income and expenditures and establishing what they are able to offer to creditors on a monthly basis and still having enough money for them to live off comfortably; it has made me look and my finances in a different light.

Before working in this sector I would receive my wage on a monthly basis, not having budgeted for anything at the start of the month, I would spend my money as and when I needed it soon realising that about 2 weeks into the month I had spent my entire wage.  I then took out an overdraft with my bank, utilising this as if it were my income – which in turn cause me to have less money at the end of each month having to pay interest on the overdraft.

I was stuck in a rut and had no money left from my wage, again within two weeks of receiving it, and decided to take out a small credit card to substitute my income.

I was then introduced to the Insolvency Industry in 2007, starting off on in the post room – sending and receiving daily mail. I then worked my way up the ladder, and was part of the annual reviews team in 2009. My job was to assess clients’ monthly earning and expenses and determine how much they were able to afford for their IVA payments.

This made me realise that I should do the same with my finances and decided to write down my income and all my expenses, budgeting and giving myself allowances for certain things each month and stop living beyond my means. This meant that I was more aware of what I was spending on a day to day basis and not just spending my wage as and when I needed it. By doing this I was able to set aside some funds each month which I used towards clearing my credit card and overdraft.

Working in the finance sector has made me more aware of debt and has taught me how to manage my money better. I am now debt free and would not like to think of the amount of debt I would have if I had not taken control of my finances.

Money Saving Tips.

Below are some tips and advice on how you can save money the easy way:

Buy clothes on sale

Especially with having two growing children and having to buy clothes for myself for work as well as leisure, buying clothes can become quite expensive. Firstly, don’t focus on branded clothing, you are only going to be paying for the name – you will probably save yourself a lot of money with this step alone.

Secondly, have a look in your wardrobe to see which clothes you wear less often or don’t wear at all and avoid buying similar items like this in future. Try buying items that are versatile and that can been worn with different things so you can create different outfits with it. Last but not least, plan ahead – don’t buy clothes you are going to need for the current season – in winter buy summer clothes and in summer buy winter clothes. You can almost guarantee that these items will be on sale in the opposite months. Alternatively, if you are focused on fashion and current styles try shopping online and at fashion outlet stores.

Buy items in Bulk

Many items are cheaper when purchased in bulk. Certain items you won’t be able to buy in bulk as they will go bad – like milk and fresh goods. You want to think of items that you use on a daily basis that won’t go bad and that you will actually use. Things you may want to consider buying in bulk are: nappies, toilet roll, tined goods, shampoos, household cleaning agents, laundry detergents – these are all items that are easy to store and you know will last and you will use them.

Sign up for multiple Customer Reward Cards

Even if you don’t shop at each shop very often you should still sign up for a rewards cards as your points will eventually add up which you can then redeem. You will also be sent discount coupons on a regular basis and will be notified of current offers they have. I suggest that you create a separate email account to any existing ones that you may have and use this solely for your rewards account as they may send you additional offers and coupons in this way.

Invite friends round instead of going out

If you are a mum, like me, you will know that trying to get yourself ready for a night out with your friends and trying to get someone to babysit for you can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. So instead of going out, avoid the stress of it, save yourself some money and invite your friends round to your house instead for a meal and a few drinks (once you have put the children to be of course). Everyone will have fun, the cost will be low, and the others will likely reciprocate not long afterwards.

Prepare your food for work for the week

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to think about is preparing your dinner for work the next day. It’s easier to walk to the next sandwich shop of you might have sandwich lady that comes round to the office – but how much is this costing you? On average you will spend £3 per day in this way, that’s £15 per week – £60 per month! Ok so you don’t have time to prepare yourself something day-by-day, so why not make yourself a couple of meals over the weekend which you can pop in the fridge/freezer – this will save you time, and money.