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Australian consumers are working hard. They’re bringing good dollars through the door, yet many still struggle to put dinner on the table or pay bills on time. There are plenty of ways to cut down and one way is to reduce the running costs of your home. Maintenance can be costly too. Your humble house may be more of a culprit than you think.

Pexels / Pixabay


Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here.
Here’s my question:
What are you spending your money on exactly?
Let’s take a look today and see if we can keep some of those hard-earned dollars. Throwing money into the wind and ripping up cash is not something any of us like to do.

Here’s what not to do

Turn stuff on around the house

congerdesign / Pixabay


One of the most common ways to lose money is electricity, gas and water – yes, those utility bills. Whether the kids are taking long showers the kids take or the dishwasher is running 24/7, you’re going to see that reflected when you rip open your next bill. All these little lifestyle mistakes add up.
If your bill is high consider talking to an electrician. They are on top of the exact items in the home that might be doing the damage. For example, our electrician told us that our kettle was using more electricity than our fridge!
Yes, we were shocked too. It’s such a small and unassuming device.

Overcapitalise on the renovation

Grieslightnin / Pixabay


I can tell you from the source that renovation are an amazing way to vacuum up your money, if you don’t know what you’re doing. You may have read that we saved $50,000 on our renovation, which I’m very proud off. Here are my simple tips:

  1. Live at secondhand shops and online
  2. Never pay full price for anything
  3. Be patient and prepared to wait for bargains
  4. Don’t rip equity out of your home – you’ll surely spend it
  5. Consider paying through wages as you’ll be more frugal
  6. Don’t buy big ticket items like furniture unnecessarily
  7. Don’t overcapitalise and go overboard – less is more
  8. Don’t spend anymore than you can afford
  9. Watch your budget closely

Don’t get quotes or referrals

stux / Pixabay


It’s also easy to overspend on maintaining a home. Whether you’re giving your home a lick of paint, fixing cracked tiles on the roof, or are dealing with a damp – listen in.
It’s easy to to overspend on materials or labour – especially if you’re calling tradies in.
Do this always:

  • Get referrals from friends and family who have used the tradie
  • Get a quote or at least three for bigger jobs – like bathrooms
  • Don’t leave yourself short for daily living as many jobs can wait
  • Again – be patient and wait for the right price

 

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We could all do more. Eat better. Go for a run again soon. Call someone we love. Life is crazy and time is a luxury. We’re also guilty of making excuses too.
Here are 20 excuses people make daily (from Lifehack.Org). I’ve written alternatives in brackets to show the impact of negative thinking.
  1. I’m too old to start (It’s never too late)
  2. I’m not talented enough (I can learn anything)
  3. I wasn’t born in the right era (My era rocked)
  4. I come from a poor background (Heaps of millionaires come from poor backgrounds)
  5. I’m not smart enough (I’m smart as hell)
  6. I don’t have the support (I’m growing awesome networks)
  7. I don’t have enough time to discover what I like (I’m making time)
  8. People don’t think I’m capable (I don’t care what people think)
  9. I don’t know if I will succeed (I never give up)
  10. I’ve already dedicated myself to a different path (Change is easy)
  11. I’m not lucky enough (I’m lucky and winning)
  12. I didn’t have the right teachers (My teachers are everywhere)
  13. I’m not destined to succeed (I’m destined for awesomeness)
  14. I’m not motivated enough (I’m taking baby steps)
  15. I’m too distracted by other things (I’ve decided to make some sacrifices)
  16. I’m not educated enough (I’m educating myself on YouTUBE)
  17. I can’t handle failure (Failure breeds success}
  18. I will start tomorrow (I’m starting now)
  19. I’m not ready (I’m ready)
  20. I don’t believe I can do it (It’s possible)
Yes. It’s time to stop making excuses that keep you from reaching your dreams.

Are you making excuses when it comes to money?

Getting good with money is about securing your future. Saving money is an action many people also make excuses about.
 
‘Procrastination’ and ‘willpower’ are two words that come to mind.
 
Here are some practical examples:
  • I’m getting takeaway for the family
  • I’m moving $30 to our savings account and we’re having toasted sandwiches for tea
  • I’m buying a coffee everyday on the way to work
  • I’ll put the $20 in the piggy and bring to-go coffee from home
  • I’m heading out to a bar with friends
  • Putting $150 in our savings account and calling everyone over to my house for the night
  • I love those new sneakers – getting them
  • My old sneakers are fine – I’m putting the $120 in a savings account until my old sneakers get holes in them

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The savings from this single example add up to, drum roll….
 
$320 of savings this week! WOW!!!
 
It all sure adds up and I wasn’t even finished with that list!!!

4 Excuses We Make That Screw Our Money

I don’t have willpower – I’m a spend freak

Here’s an alternative thought:
I’m a savings freak. I never pay full price. 
Here’s the great news about saving money. If you get good at this, you will unlock a new opportunities.
 
If you want something you could get instant access to them with a credit card. But that would be silly and this isn’t rocket science.
 
Instant gratification and isn’t a healthy mindset. You’ll defer longterm financial stability.

stevepb / Pixabay

 
Here are some more examples:

Want new sneakers?

Do this instead:
  • Start spending less than you earn
  • Free up excess money
  • Put the extra money aside in a savings account
  • Wait for a while
  • Buy the sneakers on sale when your old one’s wear out

Want a beautiful new smile?

Rinse and repeat:
  • Start spending less than you earn
  • Free up excess money
  • Put the extra money aside in a savings account
  • Wait for a while
  • Head online to a site like www.platinumsmiledental.com.au and organise your new smile

Doing the above is good for:

  • Building savings
  • Developing good habits
  • Practising willpower
  • Getting what you want still

I can’t afford to save

Here’s an alternative thought:
Saving is a little habit I’m practising daily. 
Do this first:
 
If devote the extra money to paying off your debt. The interest on debt is higher than what savings accounts offer. If you don’t pay your debts off, you’ll throw more money into the wind.
 
Tip: Do put a little away each week even when paying off debt. Even if it’s $10 a week. Banks like to see money building in savings over time.

3112014 / Pixabay

I’m crap at budgeting

Here’s an alternative thought:
Budgeting is easy. I just have to learn how. 
Become a penny pincher, create a budget and stick to it. If you have a small budget, you may still get the sneakers. But, you are likely to buy less expensive copies instead.
 
Guess what? No-one will ever know!
 
The key message here is:
 
Shop smarter. Consider buying unbranded groceries. Lose cable subscriptions and watch YouTUBE instead. You’ll get that education I talked about above.
 
By spending less on clothes, food and general living expenses, you can save for what you actually want. Avoid short-term fixes and expenses.

Pexels / Pixabay

Budgeting is key

This is easy with mobile apps that send reports. Also look at your credit score and work at getting that perfect. Tracking spending data enables you to see any worrying spending trends.

Do this now:

Open an online savings account that’s not attached to your bank. I personally use UBank. Online banks are great because they usually don’t charge fees. They’re also not visible in your normal everyday bank account view. So if you set u a direct debit your savings will accumulate and you’ll set and forget.

FirmBee / Pixabay

 
Happy saving and stay positive!
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Imagine This

Imagine if you lost everything you knew, loved and took for granted.

Your friends. Your mum’s trifle. The best coffee in town. A market fresh tomato. Live music on a Sunday afternoon. Shopping for shoes. Fresh seafood.
The ocean…

Well…
This is what happened to me.


How We Buried A Life & Dug Up A Dream

Today I’m sharing my rags-to-riches story of how my husband and I buried a debt-filled life and dug up a mortgage-free dream.

I’ll also be talking about an option we didn’t know we had. Credit repair through credit scoring.  Which might have changed everything that happened.
I hope you enjoy the ride. Because this story sure is a keeper…

Read on to see what happened next.
Learn why we wish Credit Simple was an option we wish we knew we had…


We Were Having So Much Fun

So, there we were. Two kids – soulmates – pushing 30.

We were living it up in the city of Melbourne and having so much fun.
We spent our summers in courtyards, sizzling sausages, cracking open beers and swirling wine glasses in the air. We were sharing classic Aussie yarns.
I always enjoyed the banter. The city wit. The fast-talkers.

Winters were cosy intimate evenings in front of the fire. We’d huddle-in-close discussing everything – from the state of the world, to who won the footy, to ‘what’s this new thing‘ – Facebook?’ Has anyone ‘signed up yet?’
We’d dribble on for hours about all kinds of silly things.


But We Were Stressed

During the week, we stressed. We worked like dogs.

We’d be up at the crack of dawn fighting traffic. I’d cycle the Yarra to my job as a temp personal assistant. My boyfriend then (a signwriter) would jump in his tradie van. He’d be gone before the sun rose to hang signs before the parking wardens appeared.

We’d drag our bones back to bed each night – to do it all over again – next week.
Long weekends were camping trips with those infamous drop bears and big lizard things… Aussies always tried to scare me – the kiwi – with those tales.
But, I was onto them!


Living In The Moment

We were all ‘living in the moment.’ We didn’t want to think about getting old.

Getting old meant – marriage, kids, mortgages and feeling unfree. We put ‘old’ into the ‘too-hard basket,’ along with other things we didn’t want to take responsibility for…
Including…MONEY.


A Moment Of Sanity

Then one day I was struck by a moment of sanity.  

I’m not sure what came over me. I think I actually did turn 30 – and I thought I was old. I decided to look into things. I laid our life out on the dining room table and took a good hard look at what we were really doing.
Deep down, we did want to know what our future held.
We wanted the works:
To have an inspired, creative but certain future.

 


Financial Disaster

What unravelled that month was shocking.

I found we had accumulated a debt of $50,000. We couldn’t believe it either – how it all added up. We were like kangaroos in headlights.

What the?


The debt was a mash-up of the following:
Credit card debt: We had bought stuff we couldn’t afford. Those Saturday trips to Ikea and holidays to visit family in New Zealand all added up.
Personal loans and overdrafts: We’d bought big ticket items such as cars, couches, furniture and electrical goods to set up house together
Business debt: My hubby’s signwriting business was threatened by new digital printing technology. We had supplier bills building up due to  cashflow problems and we weren’t catching up
Tax department debts: We were inexperienced in business and were spending our tax. We also faced closing the business and there was a large cost in closing down operations & factory.
Plus: My husband – was ‘over it’ (and so was I).


Bills, Bills & More Bills

I remember the folder well. It was worn and fat with bills.

Before that day I called this: ‘Filing.’
After that day I called this: ‘Stupidity.’


Our Credit Score Then

Back then we didn’t know our credit score or how to check it.

Our way of finding out was applying for something. If we didn’t get it, we figured, we must have a bad credit rating. We also didn’t know that not getting the credit could make our rating worse.
We both had a few blemishes:
I hadn’t returned a video before leaving NZ for a four-year stint in Japan. Because I hadn’t updated my address with the video store, my credit rating was adversely affected.
The movie wasn’t even worth it!
In his younger years, my hubby had defaulted on a credit card. This blemish affected his rating for more than 10 years
We had both cleared the debts way earlier but our ratings stuck
– like mud.


Screwed

So. There we were on a treadmill and we didn’t know how to get off.
This was the opposite of ‘compound interest’ This was ‘compound debt.’ The interest on our debt was growing daily.
We realised – we were screwed.


Our Options

At the time we thought we only had three options.
But – you’ll see as this story unfolds  – we actually had four options.
And isn’t hindsight grand?

These were the options we thought we had:

Option 1: Keep Slogging

Continue to work like dogs with all the city distractions and try to pay off the $50,000 debt.

Bad option:
We’d be on that treadmill for years. City life was fun but expensive.  We weren’t earning enough. We realised we’d never get anywhere. We’d thought we’d never buy a house, especially – starting off – this far behind.

Option 2: Bankruptcy

We considered bankruptcy.

Bad option:
Deep down – we did want to grow old together and have a certain future. We couldn’t bare the thought of ruining our prospects of buying our future dream home.

Option 3: Bury Life As We Know It

Go on an adventure. Take a working holiday while paying off the debt.

  • Take the tools out of Richard’s tradie van
  • Build in a double bed
  • Hold a garage sale
  • Downsize our lives into the van
  • Drive across the Nullarbor in 48-degree heat with no air-conditioning
  • Get married on the way
  • Get jobs on the mines
  • And live in a small outback town – 600km from civilisation!


Good option!
Bury life as we know it. Get off the treadmill and go live in the outback with the Emus.
Well…
It seemed like a good idea at the time after a few glass of red!


Credit Repair: The Option We Didn’t Know We Had

What we didn’t know then, which would have changed everything that happened, is what a company called Credit Simple just launched in Australia.
They offer a FREE way to get access to your ‘credit score’ and credit record, which would have given us the option of repairing our credit and getting back on track.
Tip: ‘FREE’ is the optimum word here. There are already credit rating companies in Australia but none of them offer this service as FREE. Credit reporting costs approximately $120 AUD for an annual subscription.
Knowing our credit score and getting our report would have:

  1. Helped us deal with the specific issues – those pesky blemishes
  2. Given us the ability to own our data and find a better way – such as consolidating debt through a peer-to-peer lender
  3. Helped us understand where we sat in the credit data pool and figure out the bigger picture
  4. Motivated us to seek professional help including budgeting assistance, tax & business advice while we tracked our progress

Get your FULL CREDIT INFORMATION at Credit Simple
Receive your credit score and and FULL credit information (reports). Discover how your credit score compares by age, gender and community. You’ll also be able to access insights on what it all means, plus get deals based on your credit score – such as credit cards and loans.


We may not have done what we did next…

As a city girl, moving to the outback felt like a death.

I literally felt naked without my comfy city distractions. I was terrified out in those conditions. The heat was harsh, tho