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My money… Arielle Free

The presenter says designer shoes are an investment, and will splurge on headphones and treats for her dog

Arielle Free, 31, works as a DJ, has a show on Hoxton Radio, and presents children’s programme Scrambled. She appeared in the film Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.

What was your first job?

It was when I was 14, working in a sports shop for £2.78 an hour. I saved up some money which came in handy when I bunked off school one day and accidentally broke my mum’s banister. The whole £140 I’d saved went on materials to fix it. There were some builders working nearby and they fixed it the same day. She didn’t find out for 13 years until she overheard me telling someone.

What’s been your best investment?

My flat in Hoxton which I bought on a shared-ownership scheme. Hopefully, the value won’t go down. The mortgage is the same as my rent used to be. I didn’t think I’d get it as they prioritise families. I’m trying to buy the next percentage but you have to buy it at current market value and I’ve heard stories about people being priced out. Ideally, I’d want to own 100 per cent of it.

What would be your ‘money no object’ purchase?

Headphones. I’d like to be able to buy top-of-the-range ones whenever I need them. I DJ, and as I get older I’m more aware of protecting my hearing.

What luxury wouldn’t you give up?

I treat myself to a coffee every day. When I was at university I was buying five! I’ve never been the sort of person who’s been able to make their own lunch so I used to buy Pret or Marks & Spencer lunches every day. Those expenses mount up. I’ve got better. I bring my own mug in but now but I still buy that coffee. I tend to buy luxury food for my dog too, but he brings me so much joy.

Was your degree a good investment?

I did a performance and dance degree in London but I was lucky enough get a scholarship. I wasn’t in a position to pay for it otherwise as I’m from a single-parent family and my brother started university the same year as I did. I got quite a hefty student loan in my first year, but didn’t get the same amount in my second year, so started working as much as I could. I was a perfume girl at Harrods, waitressed in a club, worked in a call centre and worked as a dancer. I deferred for a year as I got a part in the Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire film (2005) as a Beauxbaton — it was a dream come true as I was a big fan. I worked on that for eight months.

What’s been your biggest financial regret?

I invested £250 in Bitcoin last year. I thought I was being really clever but I lost all of it immediately. You learn from these things.

Are you savvy with personal finances?

No. I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about why this isn’t taught at school. Why don’t they teach people about mortgages, interest rates, how to fill in your tax return and things like that? You have to find it out all yourself. It can be such a minefield. It’s so easy to get yourself in debt or make mistakes. I don’t think I’m savvy but I’ve become more aware as the years have gone by.

What was your last impulse purchase?

Three pairs of shoes at a designer sample sale. I went in to buy one pair. I see them as an investment as I’ll be wearing them for years. One pair cost £160 but should have cost £1,200 — so that’s a bargain, right?

Cash or card?

Card, so I can keep track of things on my bank statements which is very helpful for doing my tax return.

Listen to Arielle on Hoxton Radio 4pm-6pm on Thursdays