From issue 33, Winter 2016
BEEN THERE, GOT THE WEBSITE
Buried in debt, ignoring calls and letters demanding cash, and with barely enough for food, Ricky Willis decided to share his story as he clambered back on top – and so, skintdad.co.uk was born.
As the name Skint Dad suggests, one great thing about Ricky Willis is he’s clearly just a regular bloke. He doesn’t preach, he just shares simple suggestions like ways to help kids learn to manage their money or amusing ideas on making a little dough such as selling your loo roll tubes on eBay – yes, people really do buy them!
His website doesn’t claim to have answers to everything unlike moneysavingexpert.com but then Ricky is no multi-millionaire unlike that site’s frontman, Martin Lewis. It sticks to being easy to read and mixes fun stuff with useful, jargon-free ideas to try.
Quids in! caught up with Ricky to see what it’s all about.
What’s the idea behind SkintDad.co.uk?
I think being financially better off is something we can all achieve and should strive for throughout our lives. Although personal finance should be taken seriously it doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. Not having had any financial education really put me in trouble with money but I have learnt how to manage our budget, spend less in the shops and earn a bit extra too. On SkintDad.co.uk we share what we do in our everyday lives to inspire people, and give them access to the means and motivation to
do something about their own money.
Why did you set it up?
Skint Dad was launched in September 2013. The site started as a way to document how much of a financial mess we were in. We were buried under mountains of debt, we stopped answering the phone or opening letters and we didn’t have enough money to buy food. We shared everything we were going through and told people what we were doing to become debt free and build a better future for our family.
Is it just for skint dads?
It’s for anyone who wants to improve their financial situation. Whether you’re looking to reduce your bills, find a cheap recipe, or up your income a little, we’ve got it covered.
We get messages regularly from a variety of people from different backgrounds thanking us for sharing ideas which helped them out of their own financial troubles.
What’s your favourite thing about the site?
One of my favourite things is being able to look back at what life used to be like for us and the journey we’ve been through. It’s a little like looking back through a diary, seeing how we’ve grown and how our attitude to money has changed. Because of Skint Dad, I have been given a column in my local newspaper, have started writing for the national press, regularly
write for companies and brands in the UK, travelled to a conference in the USA and
have won many awards.
What’s the best advice you would offer people struggling to keep their heads above water?
There is a good chance you qualify for certain benefits. Entitledto.co.uk is a great site that contains calculators to check you’re not missing out (there’s also a Benefits Calculator on the Quids in! website).
Food shopping is our biggest monthly cost after we’ve paid rent. The best thing to help manage the cost is to create a meal plan of things you want to eat over a week. Use this to write a shopping list and stick to it when you’re shopping. We saved hundreds of pounds a year by following a list and stopping impulse buying when at the supermarket.