We’ve rounded up our top budgeting influencers on Instagram to help you on your saving journey, whether it’s for a house deposit, a holiday, or just an outrageous pair of shoes.
Instagram is generally deemed a haven for materialism and getting us to part with our hard-earned cash. How many times have you been scrolling and started creating a mental shopping list in your head?
Interiors, fashion, new restaurants, make-up all pop up on our feeds and make us feel the need to spend. So what about when you’re trying not to?
For some, it can mean unfollowing lots of the accounts that make you feel spendy, for others they enforce an Instagram ban for a few weeks to remove the temptation. Personally, Instagram is my favourite app to use and I think it’s more about curating a feed that is a little more budget-friendly.
Recently, I’ve begun to follow more accounts that help me with my savings journey. Some talk about budgeting and this inspires me to keep going with my savings plan. Others talk openly about debt and how they are focused on clearing it.
It’s something so rarely talked about in person, and even less so on social media, but why? Put simply, it’s just not a very sexy topic. On Instagram people are looking for a form of escapism, we want to see pictures of people on holidays, wearing fabulous outfits, out for fancy dinners. The word ‘budgeting’ is not in our escapist vocabulary.
But looking at this all the time is damaging, It can create a feeling of ‘well everyone else is spending why can’t I?’. This attitude will not help you reach your savings goals, and now I love to see people opening up and talking about money online.
Instead of cutting yourself off from the app altogether, take a look at some of these more money-conscious accounts that will add a dash of realism into your daily scroll.
Alex Stedman (@thefrugality)
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You know when you write a word so often it doesn’t even look like a word anymore?! ? Yep, well that’s where I am. It’s only taken me 7 months to write this and get it out there to the big wide world but better late than never. I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to pull out of this about 50 times, Imposter Syndrome kicked in telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about and no one would read it and who really cares. But – if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know. And I’m already so overwhelmed with how many have downloaded this before I’ve even made the link public ?. So, here it is. My downloadable e book on Money. It won’t make you rich, but it might make you feel differently about it and hopefully make a few of us feel less alone in the conversation. It’s a mix of personal stories, how we afford things and where we prioritise, to how my reality is very different to my Insta/Fashion-life, with tips on the best places to sell your stuff, how to carboot like a professional and how to meal plan your week without feeling like you’re scrimping. I hope those of you who download it (thank you, by the way!) enjoy it xxx Link in bio ??
Alex Stedman is a stylist/editor/writer with a website and Instagram account where she talks honestly and openly about money. As her content is primarily focused on fashion and interiors, it is interesting to see how she weaves this frugal attitude into these topics, especially as they rarely go hand-in-hand online.
In terms of fashion, she is up-front when she has bought or been gifted something, with many of her outfits heavily featuring clothes she already owns. It’s refreshing to scroll down looking for outfit details to see ‘Jeans: 3 years old’ rather than a swipe up link to buy them. This shows that when it comes to fashion, so much is cyclical and we can really re-wear so much of what we already own.
In the last few years, followers have seen her and her family move into their first home and renovate it. Rather than the dramatic before-and-afters we’re used to seeing on Instagram (which all seem to take place mere weeks after the house has been bought) Alex shows the slow progress it really takes to transform a home. Sharing honestly what they have been saving up for, and how they prioritise what they need is far more realistic.
More recently, she has released an e-book all about how she manages her money, which is an enlightening read. In it, she actually shares exactly what she earns a year, which is so refreshing and unusual in the world of influencers. We would highly recommend reading it if you are looking for tips on how to cut back and save yourself. You can purchase it here.
My Frugal Year (@myfrugalyear)
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The CC total as it stands, down from £25,438.11 at the beginning. Slow and steady wins the race, as I say. Every time I write down the number, it feels less scary and more manageable, and I’m looking forward to seeing my feed peppered with these steadily reducing totals each month… but I don’t want to forget to live life in between paydays either. There are only 12 in a year, after all. What keeps you motivated on your debt-free journey?
My Frugal Year, which is anonymous, shares the journey of a twenty-something woman deep in credit card debt and her steps towards clearing it. She dives into the psychological reasons why she got into so much debt (impulse buying as a result of Instagram was definitely a factor) and tips on how she plans to eradicate it.
Debt is something so many people are ashamed to discuss, despite the mental health issues it can cause. Behind some people’s glossy Instagram life can be mountains of debt and a fear of never being able to get out of it.
My Frugal Year has shared the amount of credit card debt she is in, £25k plus a £2k overdraft, and how much she is chipping away every month. If you’ve been following for a while it is clear to see how slow the progress is with debt like this, and how it can really overwhelm people as it can feel you are getting nowhere. This is exactly why accounts like this are so helpful, as they show consistency is key and that it’s also OK to have setbacks sometimes.
It’s clear that, despite the anonymity, she is really resonating with people. Personally, I love to hear her posts as they are honest and self-reflective, making me think about my own spending in a new way.
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£1000 savings… . I exaggerated this figure but can you believe I honestly thought I could save £800 one month, despite never saving before? I have to laugh. . This right here is the ‘I can’t save’ cycle I have been trapped in for years. There was never the right time, there was never enough money, there was always something more important. . I honestly believe this was because I set my goal too high. I believed it was only worth saving if it was hundreds of pounds a month and therefore I found myself either overstretching myself and then spending my savings or putting it off. . However, in April I did save, in my most vunerable time where I needed money more than ever to buy a car and getting married. I saved, starting with something small just to create a savings habit. . Often I am filled with DMs from ladies, thanking me for helping them get in control of their finances but in fact I thank you. Because when I speak to people in the community, they inspire me. One lady was on a very low wage but yet she managed to save a couple of hundred a month whilst I couldn’t save. I knew something was wrong and after a week of tracking my spending, I realised where exactly my money was going ahem….Starbucks. . Afew tips to break out of the ‘I can’t save’ cycle’ 1. Decide a minimum amount, something you won’t miss. Maybe a fiver 2. Open a savings account 3. As soon as you get paid, move it straight into that savings account. Better still, set up a direct debit. Done!! . I know it can be hard when it’s one thing after another but did anyone see that post which went sort of viral, where we say we can’t afford to go the the gym but yet we spend money on a Gucci belt. (It was something like that) This is the same thing, we can save no matter how small if we prioritise it just like we pay our bills. #startsmall
A really popular account that offers practical and realistic solutions to saving. With a real emphasis on ‘it’s never too late’, Cheryl focuses on not getting caught up in what you could have saved by now, and instead looking at where to start.
Her posts are often confronting, and extremely relatable. She talks about being the person whose card declined in the shop, who didn’t save, who couldn’t stop spending and who drew money out and hoped it didn’t say ‘insufficient funds’. Almost everyone can relate to this at some point in their lives, and this honesty is what helps people to talk about it and start to change.
One of the most interesting topics is how unrealistic people are when they begin to save and budget. We’ve all been there – deciding we really need to get a grip on our finances and then making drastic changes overnight, it never works. Then when we fail, we give ourselves all the excuses in the world;
“There was never the right time, there was never enough money, there was always something more important.
I honestly believe this was because I set my goal too high. I believed it was only worth saving if it was hundreds of pounds a month and therefore I found myself either over-stretching myself and then spending my savings or putting it off.”
Her Instagram posts are often long and detailed and dip into her own journey towards budgeting and managing her finances; “Managing money didn’t come naturally to me. It took a very long time to get to this place and I’m still not there yet.”
Laura Whately (@laurawhately)
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This!? #Repost @abigailbergstrom with @get_repost M O N E Y D O L L A R C A S H … What are you doing with yours? Do you know how to improve your credit history? Do you know how pension tax relief works? Are you saving and borrowing in the right way? What does “Anchoring” mean? How should you approach discussing money with your loved ones? The truth is, the contents of this book makes me feel a little sick, and that’s EXACTLY why I need to read it. I’m not bad with money but I definitely like to bury my head in the sand when I don’t understand financial terminology. “I’ll do it tomorrow” is my go-to when it comes to financial organisation. It makes my brother-in-law @jamesleeke break out in a sweat that I don’t have one single financial spreadsheet. But money is important and it’s also personal; it can be a cause of anxiety or a source of great empowerment, and one of my resolutions this year was to get more organised with it. I’ve done well so far, but there’s still more work to do and this book is going to fast track me to being a proud owner of an Excel spreadsheet and a comfortable conversationalists in tax breaks ???Thank you and congrats on the great book @laurawhateley #bergstrombooks #moneymoneymoney #bookstagram #dollarbills #currentlyreading #financialadvice
When I first started to really step back and take a good hard look at my finances this year I felt a little lost. Where to start?
Planning for the future meant looking at ‘grown-up’ things like savings schemes, house deposits, mortgages and pensions. I didn’t have a clue.
Laura Whately is a journalist who has spent years writing about money, and last year released her book, Money: A User’s Guide. The book goes through all of the topics that are often a minefield and can be incredibly daunting when you are starting out.
For me, credit score was a big one to tackle and understand, which she goes into in great depth; how to check it, how to improve it and how not to damage it going forward.
The book also offers practical advice on pensions, mortgages and paying off debt, as well as delving into money in a relationship and the effect on your mental health. A must-follow for anyone getting serious about money.
Featured photography by @thefrugality.
This article was originally published in March 2021.