I’m yet another French person living in London, although I’m often told I almost sound perfectly British. Did you know that London is effectively France’s sixth city based on the number of French people living here? That FunFact™️ will be great to share at tea time!
I’ve been living here for the past six years and call it my home now (hopefully mum won’t read this). It’s a vibrant city, super well-connected and rich in diversity; and in the end, my family is only a short flight or train journey away — who said you can’t have it all?
I’m a software engineer by trade, currently working at an international startup, bringing restaurant-quality food into people’s homes. I like a good challenge, but also cycling, running or swimming, reading books, exploring the great outdoors and cooking for friends, among tons of other things.
I discovered PocketSmith a couple of years ago and we’ve been best friends since pretty much day one. It has helped me fix the rather unhealthy relationship I was having with my wallet. We’re on much better terms now, which makes me happy. I use PocketSmith primarily to track and keep on top of my everyday expenses across my different bank accounts, but also to have a record of my freelance revenue and expenses. This makes it super easy for me to gather all the necessary information I need when the time comes to file my tax return.
Where to start… I used to just spend money without worrying too much about my account balances, and then panic when I would have to dip into my overdraft. When I started using credit cards it became even trickier to manage and although I would always pay the balance in full, I was spending a little more money than what was coming in every month. I was starting to notice that I was paying the previous month’s balance with the current month’s salary, thus being one month behind and completely reliant on my credit cards.
Ideally, you don’t want to be in that situation; I certainly didn’t want to! PocketSmith helped me identify this problem and manage my money better, allowing me to have full visibility across my different accounts in one place. I gradually managed to bridge that gap over time and now have healthy finances without having to be so strict with myself. Just a tiny amount of monitoring and mindfulness: a piece of cake!
I spend most of my PocketSmith time on the Transactions page, where I categorise and search through my transactions. I also quite often check the Cashflows page on which I have set the time range to show the current year in full. It gives me a solid overview of how I’ve been spending my money and helps me figure out where I might need to make adjustments. I particularly like that clicking on a monthly total for a given category shows the transaction details for that category: that’s super helpful when you can’t exactly remember why you spent an unusual amount in a specific category.
Sometimes I look at the bigger picture on the net worth page to review how my assets or liabilities are shared across my accounts.
I sync my bank feeds and categorise my recent transactions on PocketSmith pretty much every day. It’s often the first thing I do when I open my laptop in the morning actually, and doing it regularly definitely helps as I only have a few transactions to review at a time, as opposed to many more if I get to it once in a couple of weeks or more.
Sync and categorise your transactions regularly. This will save you time as the sooner you categorise them after they’ve occurred, the better you’ll remember what they are, with the added bonus that you’ll always have clear visibility over the current month’s expenses and how you’re doing. Chances are you’re already doing this anyway. PocketSmith is so pleasant to use that it justifies your new addiction to staying on top of your finances (and believe me, there are worse things in life!).
Well, this year I finished repaying my student loans and caught up with my credit card debts. Wow! Yes, I know, I wasn’t lying when I said PocketSmith and I have a pretty special relationship; we’ve been busy over the last couple of years.
Being able to better manage my money helped me spend less and save some as well. To celebrate what I have achieved, I treated myself to a holiday in the picturesque Patagonia earlier this year.
It was probably my best holiday to date and I had such a great time that I recently booked another one to go explore California next summer. I can’t wait!
This interview is part of New Zealand Money Week (NZMW) 2017. NZMW is led by the Commission For Financial Capability, and it involves events all around the country to encourage New Zealanders to talk about money and develop greater financial capability. To further the conversation about money we got in touch with some of our favourite Kiwis to get their perspectives on their finances.