Deep Dive

Incredible interviews: HowIFundThis

Emma Nunes-Vaz
January 16, 2024

In an Incredible first today, we’ll be interviewing Jessie; although you probably know her better as HowIFundThis. Jessie has grown her instagram account to over 33K followers, and with content that encourages open discussions around finances and how to build your financial health - we can see why! 🤩So, without further ado, let’s sit down with Jessie, and discover how and why she ended up creating such inspiring content that reaches people across the globe.

Let’s start easy - tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m Jessie, I’m 31, and I’m behind the How I Fund This Instagram account. I currently live in a beautiful part of Suffolk and I’m a SINK (single income, no kids) household.  After years of making money mistakes and feeling inspired by personal finance content I read on the likes of Refinery29 and The Financial Diet, I decided to start How I Fund This so I could share my money story. 

Describe your relationship with money in 3 words.

Work in progress. 

You are best known for your Instagram HowIFundThis - when and why did you start it?

I started my Instagram account during the summer of 2020; we’d just come out of lockdown and there were a lot of conversations and commentary in the media about finances, in particular, the money people had saved during lockdown, reporting on interest rates and the general impact of the pandemic on both business and personal finance. I’ve always been interested in consuming personal finance articles so it was a great time to document my own journey with money. 

You’ve grown an incredible following through it - what do you think has driven this success? 

Thank you, that’s kind! I’d like to think I’m pretty relatable and transparent about my own finances, while breaking down meatier topics in a way that’s easy to understand. There’s so much jargon when it comes to finances it can feel overwhelming. I also don’t believe in making people feel bad about how they’ve spent their money or their decisions - that’s not what I’m about - and hopefully that shows. 

What’s the most common question you’re asked?

Sinking funds changed the game for me when it comes to my personal finances, so naturally I talk about them a lot but I think the name is a little confusing - it certainly stumped me! - which is why I always get asked “what is a sinking fund?” It’s a pot of money set aside for a predetermined, irregular expense such as Christmas or an annual bill. These are not expenses we’ll have to pay money on every month but by putting a bit of money aside into a dedicated sinking fund each month for them, it helps us feel more organised and less stressed about these expenses when they do crop up.

Why do you think personal finance has become more prominent in people’s lives over recent years?

I think the global pandemic made us collectively look at our finances in greater detail; whether it’s recognising the importance of an emergency fund or reevaluating our spending habits. Then when you add the cost of living crisis into the equation, it’s made us realise how important it is to get our personal finances in a better shape. 

Your posts breaking down finance using popular culture are extremely popular. What inspired you to create these posts - and why do you think people engage with them so well?

Certain areas of personal finance can be heavy on the jargon and quite complex, which I think can deter people from using them or wanting to learn about them, so being able to demystify topics is important to me. Using popular culture or everyday items and applying them to personal finance can get people thinking about it in a way that resonates with them, and that can only be a good thing. 

What are 3 things you wish you were taught about money at school?

How to negotiate your salary, more guidance on pursuing a nontraditional career, and a greater understanding of our taxes and where that money goes. 

If you were able to give one financial tip to all of your followers, what would it be?

That’s a tough one! This isn’t so much a tip but something I think people should keep in mind because a lot of my followers are too hard on themselves, thinking that they’re not doing enough when really they’re doing so much better than they think. Personal finance is a constant work in progress; we won’t get it 100% right 100% of the time and so much of it is tied into which stage of our lives we’re at, external factors outside our control and how our priorities evolve over time. Improvement doesn’t always have to mean saving more than last year, or getting paid more than you did 5 years ago. 

The news surrounding personal finance has been pretty depressing for a while so let’s end this on a positive note - what’s some Incredible financial news that keeps you going?

I love reading about how people are changing their money mindsets or financial situations in a way that works better for them. They’re some of the best messages that I receive! I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and controlled by financial decisions so to get to the point where the relationship with money is more positive is significant. It no longer feels restrictive but as a means to get to where we want to go. 

A huge thank you to Jessie for taking the time to sit down with us and share her Incredible financial wisdom. Make sure you’re following both her and Incredible in order to live your best financial lives ✨