Thought it would be worth jotting down a typical day at the moment. Partly for me so I can remember, for posterity, what it was like.
Got up at 8.15. Read the papers (the site/me were on front page of Telegraph and in the Indie, so wanted to see what was said)
By 9am was on the computer checking and replying to e-mails, the Forum and the site in general
9.45 The GM-TV car picked me up to take me to the studio
9.50 Had a phone chat with Tax Tony about the MSE charity and other outstanding issues
10.05 Got a call from a couple of newspapers for quick comments
10.30 Arrived at LK today studio, went through a briefing with Camilla the producer about what I’d say about water bills and checked my props, said hello to Lorraine and Dr. Hilary
10.45 Had my make-up put on by David the make-up chap, who asked me about the cheapest wireless broadband which I explained as we did it (everyone at TV studios always does, they ask all the experts, it’s a perk of the job, I don’t mind it – it means my make-up is always done well)
11.05 On screen doing the interview with Lorraine
11.15 Waiting for the car to take me to the office, chatting with the LK Today models about money and such things
11.20 Car arrives. I call MSE Towers to see what’s going on and if I’m needed. It’s the day we finalise the weekly email so we’re always massively busy on Tuesdays. They tell me a journalist from the Mirror wants to interview me for a feature
11.25 Do the interview about bank charge reclaiming during the half hour trip back to MSE towers. After that I had ten minutes left, the driver had been listening, and wanted to talk about bank charges. He’d seen me on Channel 4 news debating with John Snow which he said was “two tigers ripping into each other”, and I must admit, I liked that! Judging by his accent, I think he’s probably originally from Nigeria and boy did he know his stuff, and I have to say his questions about bank charges were more incisive and technical than many of the journalists who’ve questioned me.
11.55 Arrive back. Check e-mails again – had 104 since I first checked this morning, try and go through them as talking with the team about the e-mail.
12.15 Sit down with MSE Dan to go through the email contents. It’s generally built up over the week, each time I think of or spot something, I email it to a special email address, and then whoever on the team is on ‘tip duty’ compiles it as one e-mail – as part of that they also lay it out, check links, accuracy check, add the chat tips. However, Tuesday is my first main review of the put together e-mail; so I go through it, alter what I’ve written, ask for info to be found, change the order, cross out things I’ve changed my mind on. The e-mail is all about shades of light and dark; I try to mix hardcore money stuff, with fun bargains, try to mix detailed articles with quick chat tips – the aim being that in the top five things, everyone will find something new and useful.
At the moment, I’m training MSE Dan so he can take the process further along without me needing to see it on busy days. It’s interesting for me to do this, as until now I’ve always done it instinctively, yet by needing to explain it, I’m starting to codify my editorial decisions. For example, he asks me “why are you putting the note about Lloyds TSB adding a £35 charge to the ‘ones not to miss section’ normally the ‘negative stories’ are kept for the less important ‘more moneysaving’ section.
It’s a very good question, and one that helps me explain how I order the tip. My answer is “the key to lloyds is essentially we’re saying ‘ditch and switch’ in order to avoid the £35 fee, therefore it actually saves people money so it needs to go higher up, if it was just ‘avoid Lloyds card’ then we’re not actually saving money, but so many people have the card – it’s a positive money saving piece.”
12.45 Back to the office to answer a few emails
13.15 Go grab a quick lunch from the MSE Tower’s office complex restaurant/bar, am starving and so get a quick pasta lunch which I eat while on my lap-top replying.
13.45 There’s a ‘chair massage’ in one side of the restaurant, Emma who does it, is a MoneySaver and she’s been nagging me for four months to come and have one. Today I actually can grab 15 minutes so I go and do so. Boy was it a good idea, my back was in knots and she sorted it – 15 mins well spent.
14.00 A chap from US public radio comes to interview me about bank charges
14.15 I have a phone call booked with the producer of the Wright Stuff, to discuss the expert slot I’m doing on Thursday.
14.30 I move back to the bar area so I can concentrate, write this blog then carry on with writing my column for this week’s Sunday Times
That’s where I’m up to… remaining on the agenda today, is an interview for the Big Issue, two more chats with newspaper journalists, a phone meeting with my agent, filming the podcast, three site articles to get done to where I want them to be, and anything else that pops up. I will probably leave MSE Towers around 8, go home, have dinner with the MSG, watch telly for an hour. Then back on the computer to wrap up the days emails and anything else that needs doing before tomorrow for another 90 minutes before bed.