Emma Bonnici, 24, rents a flat with a friend in London. She runs her own events company and also teaches yoga in the UK and India. Her goal is to save money for her long-term future and in the mid-term to save to buy her own home and a yoga studio. “I would like to have more money to make a nest egg but I’m fighting the fact that I spend money as soon as I step out of the front door of my London apartment,” Emma says.
“I leave the flat at 8am and often don’t get back until after 10pm, so my biggest expenses are travel between meetings, classes and events, and food. I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the move, which cost about £5 each, then there’s another £5 on fares. It all adds up very quickly.”
Emma’s Smarter Living challenge is to reduce her daily spending. That means spending less in cafés unless it also has free wi-fi that she can use to do some work while on the move. Emma also needs to spend more time sharpening her mental street map, so she can walk to meetings and classes rather than hopping on the Tube.
By taking charge of her spending, Emma will be able to increase the amount she saves each month. She went online to use the savings tool to find out exactly where she was spending the most money and to work out areas where she could save.
While studying Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan University, Emma took a trip to India and discovered yoga. “It was doing Sun Salutations on the roof of a building in India that I realised how amazing yoga is,” she says.
Emma continued doing yoga while studying; then came the revelation that she could combine her career choice with her passion. She trained as a yoga teacher in India, Vietnam and the UK, and launched her own programme of classes last year.
Today, Emma divides her time between teaching adult yoga classes in London, organising children’s parties, managing corporate events, and running yoga retreats in India.
When she’s not working, she also tries to travel as much as possible, and to enjoy London life with her friends when she is at home. “Friends ask how I can afford to visit places like Thailand,” she says. “But I visit places for work, then tag on a holiday at the end of my contract. That way I don’t have to fund my airfare,” she says.
Socialising in London is expensive, Emma admits, as the cost of drinks and entry to a club soon add up on a night out. Part of her Smarter Living challenge is finding ways that she can enjoy city life – fashion, food and fun – and still put money aside.
“I want to explore the idea of trading services or sponsorship to help fund my yoga events,” she says. “And I’m going to talk to my friends about meeting up more often at someone’s house, so we don’t wake up with a financial hangover after a night out.”