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Secret Squirrel

Penny from a Penny for Them

30-year-old Penny works in London as an office manager, and currently lives in Essex with her boyfriend. She runs a successful lifestyle blog, A Penny for Them, where she writes about everything from travel to home dècor.

She also posts tips on saving money and clearing debt - topics which are very close to her heart. After a relationship breakdown in 2009, Penny was left in a considerable amount of debt, but managed to pull herself out by making some drastic lifestyle changes

After experiencing such a high level of debt, Penny told us about her rigorous money-tracking habits, so she always feels on top of her finances. Despite this, Penny still fears she's not very good with money, and finds it hard to treat herself.

We asked celebrity psychologist Jo Hemmings for her appraisal of Penny's spending habits, to get an inside look at what might be behind her actions around money.

Jo has appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain and This Morning, and written for Cosmopolitan and Grazia magazines. She believes Penny has some room for improvement:

Image of Penny

Psychologist Jo Hemmings on Penny

"Having had considerable debt in the past and managed to resist being declared bankrupt, Penny has learnt the hard way to ensure she's never in that position again."

"She is most likely to fall into the category of a secret squirrel, where money means security. Having experienced a previous level of debt, it's important for her to have some financial back up for her own peace of mind."

A lean month

"Secret squirrels are highly aware of their incomings and outgoings and will always try and put away some savings each month, however lean it might be."

"She's fully aware of her regular outgoings and Direct Debits, using Excel spreadsheets and a phone app to ensure she knows exactly where she is financially at all times."

"She takes all the right steps to avoid temptation or overspending by purchasing food shopping online, even being clever enough to shop where she can get a modest cashback amount. The aptly named Penny is definitely accounting for all of them!"

Rainy day funds

"She's also aware that there are occasional 'extras' that can be unexpected and is careful enough to have some emergency funds set aside with her boyfriend for those eventualities. While she still has a small amount of debt to her parents, she is keen to pay this back as soon as possible."

"My opinion would be for Penny to open up a savings account, and to put a small amount away each month, so that she can watch it grow towards paying for her wedding and eventually for a deposit on a house."

"Penny is sensible, shrewd, focused on the future and in control of her finances."

"If I had one recommendation, in my opinion it would be to have the occasional treat - perhaps a meal out with her boyfriend or a girl's night out - just so she has a little pleasurable respite from her careful spending pattern."

Image of Jo Hemmings