Real Accounts: How Ashley’s Pragmatic Approach to Spending Helps Him Stay on Track

Name: Ashley
Location: Sydney
Occupation: Content Partnerships
Age: 29

When it comes to saving, spending and lending, everyone’s got a story to tell. In our new series Real Accounts, we talk to different millennials about their (very) personal finance experiences and some of the key lessons they’ve learned along the way.

This week we chat to Sydney-based content partnerships manager Ashley about why a realistic and pragmatic approach to spending will never let you down.

Renting my first apartment alone really taught me the value of money. It was an apartment in Kirribilli, and the first one I’d lived in by myself. I learned the value of budgeting and being smart with my personal finances. Whether it was eating out, groceries or shopping, I had to ask myself: do I really need this?

A two-month period out of work took my budgeting skills to the next level. I was in-between jobs and renting, so I had to be extra careful with my cash. It was definitely a low point for me. But what it did do was show me the value of money, and it gave me the experience to know what’s a necessity and what’s a luxury.

It was definitely stressful, but I made sure I had a plan. I already had a little saved, and I made sure I allocated myself a certain budget each week. I created a spreadsheet to organise myself. I stopped eating out, going out and shopping unnecessarily.

I think consideration is key to smart spending. I never splurge, and I would always buy in moderation. When it comes to big ticket expenses, I always make sure I have a pros and cons list. I also discuss these purchases with my partner and close friends. A little old fashioned advice never goes amiss.

It’s important to see money as a tool for your success. When I receive my paycheck, I feel empowered to be able to grow and excel. Basically, it always pays to have a plan.

Here are five things I've learned about money over the years:
  • Get a credit card, if you can afford it
  • If you’re nervous about spending a certain amount, probably best to not spend or discuss with your partner / close friends
  • Always have a plan, budget and forecast
  • Do research rather than take suggestions
  • Spend mentally not emotionally.