May 4, 2024

Walthamstow - with Bhakti Gajjar, founder of Money Brunch

Bhakti Gajjar is the founder of Money Brunch, a community for women to learn what they don’t know about money - and take action to become more financially secure. She works in tech, is passionate about connecting people and loves being in bed by 10pm

Where do you rest your head? 

In Walthamstow - the Blackhorse Road end. 

What’s something amazing about your area that only the locals know about?

There’s a community kitchen at the Blackhorse Workshop Café, which makes delicious food accessible to everyone on a Wednesday and Thursday evening on a pay-what-you-can basis. They also do an incredible brunch at the weekends, that you have to get in early for, before the food runs out. French toast of dreams…

Where’s your favourite free place to visit in the city?  

The National Portrait Gallery on a Friday evening (I’m so pleased it’s open again!). They sometimes have drop-in drawing sessions where you can rock up, borrow some drawing materials and head off to a spot in the gallery of your choosing. I’m in no way an artist, but it’s just a lovely way to unwind at the end of the week. 

Where’s your favourite cheap spot to eat brunch in London? 

It was the home to the first few Money Brunches, so it has to be Paradise Green in Liverpool Street. I chose it because I wanted somewhere central with a great vibe and creative food, rather than paying over the odds for a plate of eggs. But for an actually cheap brunch, it would have to be any greasy spoon. 

What would your perfect no-spend London day involve?

In order for this to work, it needs to be a balmy summer’s day (finger’s crossed this isn’t too far away). I’d pack a blanket, picnic, snacks and a book, meander round the Walthamstow Wetlands, and then head down into Hackney Marshes for a long read. Then it would be back home to get creative in the kitchen, using whatever I’ve got in the house - Ready Steady Cook-style.

Where did the idea for Money Brunch come from and what are you trying to achieve with it?

It was only a few years ago that I had my financial epiphany; that you have to actually engage with your money to create the life you want to lead. Once that happened, I wanted to talk to everyone about money all the time. 

I found that women, in particular, would have questions, and then get stuck in a ‘research loop’ without taking any action. I thought that creating a space for them to ask questions, receive encouragement and to keep money top of mind might be helpful. So, after starting with a few friends, I listed it on Meetup, and it’s grown from there, which is amazing. 

If you could give just one tip to help people find financial freedom, what would it be? 

If you haven’t started investing already, don’t worry about making the perfect decision - and just start. 

A Stocks and Shares ISA, where you don’t have to pick your own products, is where I started. You tell the provider your risk level, how much you have to invest - and get going. Nutmeg, Moneybox or Monzo (among other providers) offer great entry-level products and, as you build your knowledge and confidence, you can then switch to something else. 

How can Cheapskate readers get involved in Money Brunch? 

Join the group on Meetup! Come along to an event, join our WhatsApp group and/or subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the information you need to build your financial confidence. 

If you were Mayor of London, what would you change about the city?

I’d invest in more free public spaces - especially indoor ones. I’m always looking for places to work in, or hang out in, and it seems that unless you spend a fortune on a coffee, these just aren’t available. 

In three words, what makes someone a Londoner?

Walking fast (if you can), and curiosity (I’d like to believe).

Find out more about Money Brunch here.

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