Meet our first “Little Star”: Jen Gale, My Make Do and Mend Life

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 12th May 2016

Jen Gale is the author of the fab guide to living the Good Life blog – My Make Do And Mend Life, an inspiring speaker (see her TEDx talk here) and campaigner (365 ways to change the world over 2016).

She is also the very first of our Good With Money “Little Stars”: a new series of interviews for the site with people who are already trying (and succeeding!) to make their money better reflect their values.

Get the low down on Jen’s own personal finance conundrums and commitments below. And if you think you should feature as a Good With Money Little Star, just drop us a line telling us why.

How would you rate your own personal finances for goodness, on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?

Possibly a 5.  It feels really hard to be able to easily have ‘good’ personal finances, and I keep meaning to tackle it, but getting distracted by other possibly more fun things!

There are so few financial institutions that have a focus on doing good with money, that with our current account we eventually plumped for the best of a bad bunch. I haven’t even started trying to figure out what to do with savings and investments yet though.

What bit of your finances would you most like to change for the better?

I really want to ensure that our savings and investments aren’t being used to fund things like the fossil fuel industry. I feel like I spend so much of my life agonising over ridiculous things like like whether it’s better to buy organic apples from abroad, or ‘normal’ British apples, that it pains me to think that my money might be being used to support and aid companies that are part of some of the really big issues, like Big Oil.

Which provider are you most impressed by? Why?

As I said, with regards to current accounts, we ended up going for the best of a bad bunch, and really struggled to find a provider who had a focus on sustainability. For my business affairs, I opened an account with Triodos, and have been really impressed not only with their ethical stance, but also their levels of customer service.

Which provider would you like to see hoisted by their own petard? Why?

Oh crikey, I’m not sure I’m well informed enough to comment..!

Do you think you have lost out financially by making sustainable choices?

I don’t think so at the moment, but that is certainly one of our concerns when we start looking at more sustainable options for our savings and investments. The perception is that ethical investments don’t perform as well as ‘normal’ ones, but thinking that my money might be invested in fossil fuels and other huge corporations that have no regard for people or planet is hugely uncomfortable, and I think now I am ready to make that trade-off, if indeed there is one.

What personal finance headline would you most like to read in the next year, and why?

I’d love to see all the major financial institutions divest from fossil fuels. It would send such a strong message to the industry that the world wants something different. That the world has recognised and accepted that we need to leave the oil in the ground, and that we are not prepared to keep investing in companies that are hastening and exacerbating climate change.

For more real life good money management conundrums and tips, don’t forget to sign up to our weekly newsletter here – recently voted by leading property peer-to-peer marketplace LendInvest as one of the top five must-read personal finance newsletters.