finance

"How we saved $30,000 in one year, by following five simple rules."

Just over twelve months ago, we set a goal to save $30,000 to build our new shed and study. I had an influx of people requesting for us to share how we did it, and as a self-proclaimed nerd and numbers girl I am pretty excited to share this with you!

Before I get started I wanted to clarify a few things – just so you know where this is coming at you from. We began our journey with no other debt other than our home loan. We don’t have credit cards, loans or any outstanding debt on things like cars or department stores.

We also don’t live in a capital city, we live regional. And while distance wise it has its drawbacks – it does afford us to have a smaller mortgage. So please keep this in mind as I know everyone’s circumstances are different.

Everything I am sharing is our own experiences and opinions, but should you want any financial advice please seek this from a qualified financial adviser or institution.

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For us, rather than loaning money to get something we wanted then and there, we saved and saved so we didn’t have to pay dead money to a bank and wait a little longer to get there. I think it also makes you appreciate it a little more when you know you’ve worked really hard for something and stuck at a goal – so you know it’s really what you want.

But without futhur ado, here are the five things I followed when trying to meet our little goal!

Spread yourself

That sounds filthier than it is – I’m talking spreadsheets!

One thing we did once we started this little mission was go through our bank statements for the last three months. We went through every expense we had and categorised everything. This included food, children, entertainment, utilities and household.

Along the way we found costs and expenses we didn’t need to be paying, like memberships and direct debits for things we didn’t need or use. So the first thing we did was cancel all of those.

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We also got an insight into what we were spending the most on and we had a bad habit of spending small amounts at the supermarket several times a week. And lunches – lunches were killing us! There were also a lot of WTF moments! Like WTF did I even buy?

Plan your meals/shop

So, I know this one freaks some people out and I absolutely do not mean making little meals for everyday to get buff at the gym.

This simply meant we sat down and planned out a week of meals before we did our shop. As we were spending a lot of money on food every week we decided to try and tackle this. We would pick five recipes for the week and shop accordingly.

It takes us about 20-30 minutes each week and we sit down on a Sunday and peruse the internet for what we want to eat, usually Taste.com and find what we want.

Annoyingly my partner is super fussy and hates having the same thing weekly, so this might be why it takes us a little longer.

We also shop 90% of the time online, which I find eliminates the possibility of impulse buying in the isle for things you don’t need.

Our food shop per week comes in at between $140-$160 for four people.

We also have one take away night a week and what we like to call a “whatever the f**k you can find” night which is an oven baked, microwavable, thrown together staples sort of jig!

I’ll also mention – we recently started ordering Hello Fresh as it came into our area. It’s also been great as everything is provided and portion controlled. We get four meals a week PLUS lunches the next day. It’s been really good $$$ wise!!

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Get ahead

One thing that really helped us reach our goal was working out a weekly/fortnightly payment for all the utilities and paid that via direct debit each week. This allowed us to keep our bills in credit and meant no bill shock and large amounts leaving our account at a time. We’ve done this with our electricity, gas, water and rates.

It also means we are not really dipping into out savings to cover large costs and feeling like we’ve been set-back.

Side hustle

Being from a working class family, I’ve always been taught that nothing is beneath us and you do what you have to do earn a crust (…within the law, haha). But when I haven’t been able to find work or I’ve been studying, I have found a way to earn money.

When I was in Uni I started my own little spray tanning business from home. This meant I just needed a tent and some product and away I went. Especially today with social media it is easy to get the word out about these types of businesses. I know heaps of my friends who are mums and do this. Anything in the beauty space like tans and lashes is a great idea if you have the space.

I also used to sell a lot of vintage clothing on eBay. There are also tones of other places these days to post items like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. If you know what you are doing there is good money to be made.

Don’t compare

I think that this is a really important point to make. Especially in the age of social media and the constant bombardment of everyone’s lives in your feed, it can be easy to get caught up and think you want/need something just because you see what someone else has.

A bigger house? A fancier car? A lavish holiday? Do you really need it?

I got you babe ????

A post shared by ✖️ OLIVIA WHITE ✖️ (@houseofwhite_) on

We bought our house about five years ago. It’s an older house and only has three bedrooms. People constantly ask us if we are going to build a bigger house, but to be honest, we all fit. We have a roof over our heads and we can comfortably pay our mortgage and go on holidays and enjoy ourselves rather than being stuck with a huge mortgage we can barely pay.

And for what? More space I have to clean and more rooms I have to furnish?

Work out what you really want, and don’t worry if it isn’t what everyone else has. Be happy with that you already have and realise you are extremely blessed to have what you do already without needing anything else.

Our goal is to pay off the house we currently live in before we even look at anything else.

I hope these tips have been a good starting point for you in setting a financial goal and meeting it. A lot of it has to do with sacrificing the urge to have something then and now and working hard for it.

What are your tips for meeting your financial goals?

This post originally appeared on House of White and has been republished here with full permission. You can follow Olivia White on Instagram and Facebook.

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