Read how Rackspace employee Stephen used the free HelloWallet subscription his company provided him with to finally take control of his finances.
Life Before HelloWallet
True confession – I’ve always been bloody horrible at budget management. Funny thing is, I actually manage a sizable budget at work, but with my own finances, it was another story.
Before HelloWallet, I used a few different budgeting spreadsheets, on which I would manually write in my income and spending, but it was almost impossible to stay on top of my day-to-day spending, let alone think about long-term financial plans.
That Aha Moment
When I moved to the States from the UK last year, it was very difficult to learn a new system – a different way of paying taxes, a new way of benefits (a much more expensive one at that!). I’ve worked for Rackspace for 7 years, but when I moved to the US office I learned that the company provided me with a HelloWallet membership.
As soon as I linked my accounts in HelloWallet, I saw a backlog of my spending over the previous months. I tallied up how much I spent on various budget line items (something that I had been ignoring for years), and began seeing what we ACTUALLY spent on different budget categories. An example was clothing. In our old budget, we had guessed that we only spent approximately $50 a month on clothes. After setting up HelloWallet, I was able to see that we had actually been spending over $250 a month. I did a search for one particular store we visit and saw that we had spent around $1000 there in the last 6 month alone. This was just one example of a category in which I suspected I was regularly over-spending, but never would have known about without HelloWallet. That was my ‘aha moment.’ It was time for a change.
HelloWallet has had a huge impact on the purchasing decisions that my wife and I make. Before HelloWallet, when we asked ourselves if we should spend or not, our default reaction was always to spend. Another issue was how much interest we were paying on credit cards (little did we know, we paid $1,000 on a single card last year). HelloWallet has helped us turn things around, and we’ve truly been able to cut back thanks to the real time budget that we can see 24/7 on the web and mobile applications.
I think the key to saving money is being realistic. I used to be unrealistic about my spending and let it go unchecked, but now with HelloWallet, I’m honest with myself about sticking to my budget, and I save real dollars as a result.