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28/07/2021

Offaly woman's popular blog showcases how to handle debt

Offaly woman's popular blog showcases how to handle debt

Emer and her partner Damian. Emer decided to follow some of Damian's advice and handle her money more astutely.

An Offaly woman's blog, which advises people on how to handle their debt problems, is being followed by thousands of people.

Software Engineer Emer Farrell from Birr describes herself as “the money saving, waste reducing gal behind the blog One Foot in the Save.”

She says that together with her partner Damien, they are on a journey to become Financially Independent (FI).

“I’m also delighted to share that I’ve recently become Debt Free which is obviously a huge part of my Financial Independence plan, but also a really important personal journey.

“I work as a software engineer with a background in financial services, and have been with a large multinational for 13 years.”

She says she's always maintained a moderate salary, but found herself living paycheck to paycheck – “there always seemed to be too much month left at the end of my money. Essentially, I had a bad relationship with money – I was spending mindlessly, buying all the latest trends and not giving much consideration to ‘Future Emer’!”

“Damien has always been quite smart with money and saving for the future. I must have eventually started to listen to him, because something clicked with me one day! I decided enough was enough and I was working too hard to not be building a better future. I also decided to pair this realisation with my love for writing and came up with the idea to document my journey – One Foot in the Save was born! It has been a series of conscious changes over the past 18 months to develop a new and healthy money mindset.”

Emer started to learn more about Financial Independence through various debt free communities online and she and her partner both started to come across books such as The Barefoot Investor and Your Money or Your Life. They both always knew they wanted to have more choices and more freedom as they got older, and decided to make Financial Independence their goal.

“We are both Engineers (construction and software),” continues Emer, “and work on a lot of complex projects where the ol’ KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) acronym is often the best path. So we reflect that in our FI strategy too. Quite simply we make wise decisions with the money we earn – in how to spend less of it and in how to grow it. We also try to keep a healthy work life balance – so though we definitely do some side hustling, we always ensure to have adequate down time. We have both been in situations in the past where our careers have caused us to make some large sacrifices to personal time. So though we work hard to keep debt free we are also keen to enjoy the journey and make the most of the present too.

“With regards to spending less, we make sure that we are getting the absolute best price for everything – from grocery shopping to electricity bills…and everything in between. We use comparison sites, online research and a few clever hacks to ensure we get the best deals for absolutely everything we buy. I’ve also changed some lifelong habits and, however simple it may sound, have started to use up what I have before buying new. I maintain a Monthly Budget, track all spending and have fully funded saving pots (sinking funds) for all Annual Expenses.

“On top of our salaries, we have a few side hustles that bring in some additional income. I do online surveys, market research, matched betting, mystery shopping and online reselling to bring in some extra cash. I have also designed a full suite of Financial Planning Downloads and a Meal Planning Bundle, all of which I sell from my Etsy store. Damien uses both his professional skills and some hobbies to earn additional income too. Like I say, we do love a side hustle, but make sure we have plenty of downtime too! Gotta get that balance!

“In terms of investments, we have our eggs in lots of baskets and will continue to diversify our savings and investments while we are both still earning. We have an investment property which brings in regular rental income. We both max out our (employee matched) pensions and have additional AVCs. We use both physical and online trading for both individual stocks and index funds, have some managed funds and have some money in P2P lending.

“ I genuinely believe that this journey doesn’t need to be complicated – you don’t need to monitor the stock market like a hawk, read every single FI book going or be so frugal that you forget how to enjoy life. A lot of people I speak to through One Foot in the Save are put off the idea of Financial Independence by the over-use of trading jargon in certain circles and the misconception that you must have a property empire and a stock portfolio to rival Warren Buffet. Keep it simple.”

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