Finspiration: The Yolt team chats with money guru, Emma Drew

Finspiration: n. That buzz of inspiration you get when someone smashes their money goals. Our Finspiration interview series explores that very feeling, tapping into real money stories from the Yolt community and beyond.

In this edition of Finspiration, we're chatting with award-winning money blogger, Emma Drew!

Thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to share with the Yolt community?

Emma: I’m Emma Drew and I run a blog called EmmaDrew.Info, all about ways to make money, save money and live the life you want. I live in a tiny village in Cambridgeshire with my husband and our two cats, Tabs & Alaska.

How did you get started in the world of money management/money blogging?

Emma: I found myself in financial difficulty when I graduated into the recession and couldn’t find a job, and I turned to online money making to see me through. I started blogging about my journey mostly to hold myself accountable, and it soon turned into a resource for others. I was going out and doing all the money-making methods I discovered, and then writing about them for my readers. Now I am lucky enough to spend my days blogging and helping others with their finances, whether it is helping them to earn more, spend less or a combination of both.

What do you recommend for anyone trying to launch their own business?

Emma: I love the saying ‘progress not perfection’. I help other people to build their blogs and turn them into profitable businesses, but often you can be so daunted by how much work there is to do that you end up doing nothing at all. Whilst I don’t recommend jumping in without doing any research, you get to a stage where you just need to take action and see what works for you. I’ve tried a lot of things in my business, and now I know what to focus on to get great results. I have also accepted that my to do list will never be complete – that’s something that a lot of us can benefit from knowing.

How do you balance your budget from a personal vs. professional perspective?

Emma: Within my personal budget I am very strict with myself and try to cut back as much as I can, but in my business I am more than happy to spend money on things that will expand the business. Whether it is new computing, new tools or hiring freelancers, I am keen to try everything. We have recently taken out office space, which some people view as a waste of money, but I love having that work/life separation.

How would you describe your relationship with money? How has that changed over the years?

Emma: When I was 13, my family was homeless for 6 months. It was really tough, especially as a teenager, but that has given me drive every single morning, and shaped the way that I handle my money. I also spent a year after graduating out of work, so living a frugal life was a necessity. Now that life is good, I still love living a thrifty lifestyle, from making meals using the yellow sticker shelf to learning how to drive more economically to use less fuel.

Have you got a big money goal – a finspiration, so to speak?

Emma: My husband and I are saving to buy our first home together, since I already have an investment property. Due to the nature of running our own business, we have a few more hoops to jump through and we are working to get ourselves in the best financial position to get a mortgage next year.

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Have you got a plan for reaching that goal – or any tips for other people saving for something similar?

Emma: There are two main aspects of reaching our goal – saving more money and earning more money. We recently went through our outgoings to really examine where our money was going every month and see if we were really using that gym membership enough. As for earning more money, growing the business is our main priority here, but we have also been having a massive decluttering and selling on eBay spree.

What’s the top thing you’ve achieved since you started using Yolt?

Emma: Using Yolt has really opened my eyes to where extra money was going every month. For example, we were visiting supermarkets often to look for things to resell on eBay, but we’d always end up putting some groceries into the trolley too. Using Yolt allowed us to come face to face with areas we were overspending in, and make some positive changes. For example, we’ve started taking a packed lunch with us when we go on our long days out looking for eBay stock, instead of eating out.

When it comes to money, our mission is to take away the hard work so you can focus on enjoying life. What does enjoying life mean for you?

Emma: Enjoying life means getting to choose, every day, what I want to do. Running my business means there are so many exciting things I can pick up, that if I don’t fancy being stuck at a computer I can usually find something else to do – like filming a YouTube video. I also love my holidays to America.

Have you ever had a wake-up moment when it comes to your money? What’s your number one tip for someone looking to get on top of their finances?

Emma: After graduating into the recession and being unable to find a job, I learned to face up to my finances very quickly. I would recommend finding out your starting point. I was jobless, had a mortgage and £15,000 in credit card debt. I faced up to it by coming up with a list of my outgoings to see what the absolute minimum I had to earn every month was, and I did everything in my power to earn that amount. Knowing exactly how much you have coming in and going out is a great starting point, and if your income doesn’t cover your outgoings then you can make cut backs and look to see how you can make some extra money.

Have you got a favourite Yolt feature?

Emma: I love being able to tag my spending into categories that aren’t on Yolt already. Sometimes I’m buying something from a supermarket that is for our business, so I really appreciate the flexibility there.

Who would you recommend Yolt to?

Emma: Everyone! Yolt is so easy to use, that it works for anyone who is looking to gain (or regain) control of their finances.

And one last question just for fun - If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Emma: I have this mapped out, despite the fact that I hardly play the lottery! Last year we took my Dad to Orlando and he fell in love with it. It was amazing to show him somewhere that is so important to me – my husband proposed in Orlando, we honeymooned there and have had plenty of holidays there. Winning the lottery would give us the financial freedom to move to Orlando and pay for healthcare, which is really important now that my Dad is in his 70s.

This interview has been edited for concision and clarity.

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