'Exactly how I saved over $160K and bought a home in under 3 years.'

Not long ago, Anastasia felt confused by her finances. Things were not going well. 

"Honestly, I got to a point where I was thinking… there's no way we can keep going. We had nothing to show for years of hard work."

Anastasia couldn't understand why things weren't working, financially. Her husband worked, [and] she was self-employed, so they were both earning. But there just never seemed to be much left. 

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

It wasn't like she hadn't tried. Anastasia had always been actively involved with the finances. Over the years, she tried different options that she thought would help them get ahead.

"I did some seminars many years ago. Some of them were quite simplistic and didn't go into much detail. I also read a lot of books but there was no one to ask questions, so while the content was interesting, the application side of things was always lacking. We also tried working with a financial adviser but felt burned after we were talked into some investments that we didn't really understand and ultimately lost us money."

Fast approaching her 50s and with a son to provide for, Anastasia hit a point where she felt like something had to change. 


Anastasia enrolled in an online financial education course Mastering Money. This proved to be a turning point for Anastasia. 

Within a few months, Anastasia and her husband were no longer living at break-even point and had saved thousands. Just 16 months on, Anastasia and her husband had saved an additional $160K. Another year on, just three years after completing the course, Anastasia and her husband became the proud owners of a family home, ending their 17 long years of renting.

Here's how Anastasia achieved her goals and her best tips for hitting your money goals in 2024:

1. Streamline your accounts and track your spending.

One of the first learnings Anastasia implemented was streamlining her bank accounts. A common mistake many people make is having either only one account for transactions and no savings account, or having too many accounts that are hard to keep track of. 

"Before it was hard to track where my money was going. I had up to 20 little accounts. We had accounts everywhere. We weren’t even earning the interest that we could have been," Anastasia explained.

"Now, we still have a few accounts but they’re purposefully selected. This has made it easier to track expenses, which I’m doing a lot more consistently now. So with the accounts streamlined and the regular tracking now I know where the money is going," she continued. 

Actionable takeaway: Make sure you have a minimum of two bank accounts – one for your everyday expenses, and one specifically for saving. Every time you get paid, deposit a small sum into your savings account before it has a chance to be spent. 


2. Overcome fear with a spot of courage and lots of small steps.

Anastasia admits that the seeming complexity of her finances had previously elicited fear and procrastination. She says that it took some courage to overcome the initial hesitation, but found that having concepts broken down into small steps helped build confidence over time. 

"The biggest takeaway for me was realising that it’s not really that hard. I had a lot of fear of it before. I had this preconceived idea that it’s going to be hard, I’m not going to understand it. Once I had the courage to step up and look at it, it was a lot simpler than I had thought. I saw that I could understand the first step and that it wasn't too hard, so then I thought ‘well, maybe I can do the next bit as well’. So, it was a combination of breaking it down into small steps, having a little courage, and approaching it with curiosity."

Actionable takeaway: Identify three tasks you could do today that will improve your financial life and break these down into small steps that could be completed in half an hour. For example “learn how to invest” is daunting, but “read one article about investing” is manageable. 

Listen to Things You Didn't Learn In School where Paridhi Jain helps us understand our money habits, risk profiles and the biggest mistakes she sees investors make. Post continues after audio.

3. Design your finances with purpose and intentionality.

Looking back, Anastasia says there wasn’t a lot of thought given to designing her financial life intentionally. Their accounts were scattered, spending was ad hoc and not intentionally geared towards their goals and values, and there was no plan in place for their financial future. 

As a result, the finances felt overwhelming, chaotic and out of control. 


This started changing as Anastasia applied a more values-based approach to her finances. 

"Before, there wasn’t much alignment with our values and goals. But we didn’t know any better so we didn’t even notice that lack of alignment. It’s only now that I can see what a difference it’s made to have clarity on what we’re doing with our finances and why," Anastasia reflects.

"It’s changed a lot more than our finances. It’s brought our family closer together, we’re more of a team, we discuss our finances more openly. And it’s a lot more fun and less lonely because we’re doing it together. Now we have a clear direction that we’re unified on."

Actionable takeaway: Identify your top 5 values and goals and then review your spending over the last month to discover how aligned your spending is with your stated priorities. Ask yourself: how can you spend money in a way that is more aligned with your values and goals?

Now, looking back at how far she’s come and knowing how daunting the first steps were for her, Anastasia hopes to inspire others to take the leap of faith to confront their financial lives. 

"I want women to know it’s easier than it seems, because once you conquer that initial fear it opens up so many possibilities that you couldn’t have imagined before."

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, a financial education platform helping adults learn to save, manage and invest their money.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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