Sophie Turton is a Brighton-based expert on all things thrifty. When she’s not busy inspiring people with her speeches, managing award-winning digital content at BozBoz, or writing for the Huffington Post, she runs the ever-popular money saving blog Bright on a Budget.
Sophie used to live and work as a journalist in China, but she has now lived in Brighton for four and a half years, which she says has flown by. She said: “I applied to do my MA at Sussex and the NCTJ at Brighton Journalist Works, and the city helped provide the narrative for the past four-something years.”
She has a special place in her heart for Brighton and described the city as the only place she wanted to live in the UK. Who better to ask for budget-based pearls of Brightonian wisdom? We caught up with Sophie to talk all things money and to natter about the seaside city we all love to call home.
Firstly, we asked Sophie what inspired her to set up Bright on a Budget. “My ex-boyfriend and I were romancing around Brighton at such a giddy rate that we burnt through most of our savings – fancy cocktails, seafood platters, an array of treats at every given opportunity,” she said. “This is not how creative types can live, especially in a city as expensive as this. To give myself, and my readers, motivation to live a better life, for less, I started Bright on a Budget. It prompted me to get creative and seek out the best deals and activities, all for under £20.”
Sophie blogs about all manner of experiences which you would never expect to cost less than £20, from breezy yoga on the beach and swimming in the Brighton sea to neon UV dinosaur golf. Her posts draw a lot of reader responses, but what is the most common money saving question people ask her? “People always want to know how you can have fun while saving money,” she said. In Sophie’s opinion, this question is especially pressing for those in their twenties. “We expect to have everything we want, when we want it,” she explains. “We’re not very good at saving because it’s easier to just put things on credit. Plus, this is an expensive city and few young people earn enough to afford the lifestyle that flirts with them wherever they go.”
So how do we get the most out of life on as small a budget as possible? Sophie shared her top tip for sticking to a new year’s resolution to save money with us: ditch paying by card by using cash and keeping a written budget. “I’m an incredibly frivolous spender and think nothing about whacking my latest fancy on plastic,” she said. “I therefore find it best to be mindful about my spending, keeping track of all the little things and adding it to my monthly budget – it keeps my inner loon in check. This is done much easier if you take out the cash you want to spend at the beginning of the week and stick to it – there’s something more grounding about handing over money rather than imagining numbers on a screen.”
To round things up, we asked Sophie what she loved most about Brighton. “You can be whoever you want here. Plus, the digital community has been kind to me and I credit much of my career success to the strong networks and support systems available here– you don’t get that in bigger cities,” she said. We second that!
You can keep up with Sophie by following her on Twitter.
What are your top money saving tips? Let us know in the comments!