We recently interviewed 22 year old personal finance enthusiast Kate Campbell, Editor and Host of How To Money from Melbourne. She shared with us her best advice and experiences from her own personal finance journey educating herself and others along the way.

Tell us a little about yourself and how did you first become interested in personal finance

I actually had no interest in finance leaving year 12 and honestly thought it was a boring topic of conversation (yes, I find it a tad ironic now). As long as I had enough in my bank account to pay for the essentials, I wasn’t thinking about money in much more depth than that. It actually wasn’t until I looked at my first tax return, that I started to ask myself why the money was entering and leaving my bank account like a sieve. 

I’d describe my induction to the world of personal finance as a very gradual process. I learned about it bit by bit through extensive Googling, books, videos and discussions with other people. Once I worked out what investing was, how it works, and started playing around with the MoneySmart Compound Interest Calculator, I slowly began to realise just how important it was to put my money to work.

How has understanding money better helped you reach your financial goals?

I think my interest in money and getting better acquainted with it, led me to start creating my financial goals for the first time. At first, they were very small tasks like saving up $1,000 and learning what super is. But they’ve slowly grown with me over the last few years alongside my financial knowledge and understanding. 

I don’t believe you ever stop learning on your personal finance journey. You start to work out what goals are essential to your peace of mind (like having an emergency fund), and when you’ve done enough. I’ve also learnt that progress for the sake of progress isn’t a constructive approach. It’s beneficial to fully understand the motivations behind your goal and what the end result will look like to more effectively achieve it.

Being more knowledgeable with regard to personal finance, has this improved your lifestyle?

I’d like to think so! I feel a lot more confident now with how I manage my day to day financial affairs. Having a solid emergency fund adds an extra level of security to my life, especially in a year like this! Longer term, I now feel as though I have a solid plan to work towards my financial goals and have conversations with other people about money (which is really important).

What’s your best personal finance tip?

Automate, automate, automate! The best thing I’ve done is automate my finances. So I’m not manually making the transfers into my accounts each month. Apart from compound interest, I think automation is your secret weapon when it comes to managing your finances. If you can’t automate something, then schedule a monthly recurring calendar event to remind you of the action required.

What is a recent purchase or decision you made that saved you money and how did you do it? 

Hmm…well, the big purchase and savings goal that I’ve had for the last few years was my 2020 European adventure. Evidently that didn’t happen so I saved a bit there! I also splurged on getting an actual accountant this year (rather than my DIY attempts). Which, by my rudimentary calculations, saved me from having a considerable tax bill due to completing the return incorrectly!

What are some resources and/or strategies you use to help you better yourself financially?  

I’ve actually compiled a list of some of my favourite resources to help you get started! I’d encourage you to just dive in, and remember that even the experts don’t know everything.

Do you have any advice for someone just beginning their saving money journey?

I’d say just get started, even if it’s just with $5. As it’s all about building good financial habits which will stay the course over your lifetime. Many people talk about cutting out your smaller expenses (like buying coffee). Which definitely can add up, but I’d focus more on considering how much you can save by reducing your major expenses. 

Is there a way you can lower your accommodation costs and bills, reduce entertainment costs and cook more at home? If you’ve cut costs already, are there ways you can increase your income. By taking on extra shifts, starting a side hustle or offering your services (e.g. pet-sitting, tutoring, copywriting, web design)? Those little bits of money you can tuck away each week, really add up over time!

What content do you like to share on Instagram and your blog most and why?

For me I enjoy sharing my podcast interviews. As I think it’s such a fantastic way for anyone to learn directly from these industry experts, and the only cost involved is 30 minutes of your time!

Closing remarks

I’d encourage anyone just getting started to just give it a go. You don’t need a lot of money and skill to dip your toe in. It may surprise you to know that even the “so called experts” use Google and other online sources to learn about different financial topics. Just approach everything with a thirst for knowledge, and remember to read a variety of sources and opinions. 

Also ask yourself, who got paid to write/film/record this material and what do they have to gain. That doesn’t mean it’s not good information. It’s important to recognize everyone’s bias to a particular service/product/company/industry/investing style…you get the point!

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Check out another interview we did !