Working as a data analyst, Daniel is used to working with numbers, visualising and making sense of patterns and pinpointing any irregularities. However, when it came to his own finances, Daniel found the numbers just did not add up and he was finding himself in danger of the debt trap.
After relying on payday loans, Daniel’s borrowing began to spiral and he realised he’d need to take action. However, after working hard to climb out of it, Daniel and his wife Heather were still not in a comfortable position – despite having a stable combined income.
Daniel had tried budgeting in the past but found that the tools he used were not reacting fast enough to the realities of day-to-day or unforeseen spending. For example, when Daniel’s car tyre burst, he needed to pay upfront and work out where to cut his budget after. He found Money Dashboard updated his statements much faster than alternatives – and he could instantly decide which areas of spending to reduce to accommodate the replacement tyre.
After originally downloading Money Dashboard to get a sense of where exactly his finances were going and just why he was living payday to payday, Daniel’s first thoughts quickly turned to waste. He wasted a lot of money on food and eating out, with a large chunk of combined income going towards hefty restaurant bills. This, coupled with inconsistent spending patterns and billing dates made it more difficult than was necessary to know just how much money was left to spend, which led to overspending.
For Daniel, the planner function in Money Dashboard was revelatory as it enabled him to enter all of his standard monthly bills and could instantly see when his account was likely to fall into the red, showing just how unsustainable his spending was.
After being shocked by the direction his finances were headed, Daniel decided to set monthly budgeting goals, using Money Dashboard to micromanage his finances and save to put down a deposit on a house. After downloading Money Dashboard in January, by September of the same year, the Daniel and Heather had cleared all their debts and had saved £2,000 towards a deposit.
As their goal became more obtainable, Daniel and Heather decided explore the housing market, and it became clear that the Help to Buy scheme would maximise their money and minimise interest. Although the £2,000 saved was not yet enough for a deposit, Daniel and Heather secured a deal with a house developer to initially pay part of the deposit and complete the payment when construction was completed the following year.
Again, Money Dashboard was useful to Daniel as he was able to input the final deposit payment date into the planner, and could forecast monthly savings in order to meet the amount. He also added in the estimated costs for legal fees and the extras for a newly built house, such as furnishings.
Over the following six months, Daniel and Heather cut everything they could live without and reduced their food budget to £25 a week. After discovering this still wasn’t enough, they switched energy and internet suppliers, sold items on eBay and standardised their bill dates – with everything leaving their accounts on the first of each month.
The pair were able to keep a tab on spending using itemised budgets on Money Dashboard, setting monthly allowances and establishing an emergency fund to cover the unexpected.
Not only did Daniel and Heather meet their budget and pay the full deposit on time, they were able to purchase every extra for the house that they could have wanted, bought a new car on the day they moved in and added a conservatory to the house. They are now on track to clear their mortgage in 15 years rather than 25, using the budgeting lessons learned during their six-month period of extreme saving.
Today, Daniel admits that checking his Money Dashboard account has become second nature, and it will continue to help him meet new goals at varying stages of his life.