Real life: 20-something money choices

MoneyPlus Features Team

Our new monthly column tackles some of the choices facing the under 30s. This month, budgets, bathrooms and finding easy ways to save.

Name and age: Calum Helm, 23

Job: I work in marketing. Before that I worked in customer services, studied for a bit, and briefly played professional football.

What does money mean to you?

Money is really important to me. I want to be able to live comfortably and afford the things I enjoy doing.

What’s your biggest money focus right now?

I’ve just bought a flat and will be moving out (of my parents’ home) for the first time. Budgeting and prioritising my spending are my biggest focuses.

And your next money goal is …

As boring as it is, I really want a new bathroom fitted in the flat before the end of the year.

How are you going to pay for it?

I’ll probably have to cut back on going out for dinner for a while.

What’s the last thing you spent money on – and did you really need it?

An iPhone charger for my desk at work. I really did need it, there was only so long I was going to keep getting away with borrowing everyone else’s.

Best money thing you’ve learned so far?

I find that I save more when I don’t have to make too much effort to do it.

I opted in to my workplace employee partnership matching share plan*, where I buy shares and I get free matching shares. That will build into a quite a few thousand pounds in a few years.

Like my pension* contributions, that money is taken from my salary before it even hits my bank account. I almost forget it exists and that really works for me.

Your biggest money mistake

My biggest mistake so far was not buying swim shorts with zip pockets. I went to Budapest last summer and lost around 100 pounds in a swimming pool on the first day I arrived. My friends were all really sympathetic…

Who or what inspires or helps you when it comes to money?

My grandpa passed away about five years ago now. He worked really hard and did well for himself, and our family. He always put a small amount of money aside each month to pass on to my sister and me when he died. I’d like to be able to do the same for my grandchildren one day.

How confident do you feel about your finances?

I’m never overly confident because everything feels like it keeps getting more and more expensive. I think, all things considered, I’m doing okay.

Where do you get guidance when it comes to your money and savings?

I like to make my own choices and trust my instinct. But when all else fails I can usually rely on my mum and dad to give me some advice. I do get told I’m too laid back about everything. They’re usually right.

Any money-related apps on your phone that help?

I just started using Monzo for my day-to-day banking and find it really useful. I’ve got a back-up bank account for my bills which I check on every so often as well.

I don’t really download that many apps. I’d be more likely to read something money-related when it’s posted on Facebook or Instagram.

Finally, if someone gave you £100 to spend before the end of the day, what would you do with it?

I’d love to say something really clever and responsible here, but I think return flights for a couple of days in Ibiza were sitting at about £60 the other day, so I think it’s a bit of a no-brainer. Or maybe I should put it towards that new bathroom after all.

Next month, we talk ISAs and other smart ways to save for that first property deposit.

*Matching share plans and pensions are investments, their value can go down as well as up and they could be worth less than was paid in.

Any views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and not Standard Life Assurance Limited.