finance

Sara went from broke to having $80K in just over two years. Here’s how she did it.

There was that familiar pang of dread. 

Sara was scared to look at her bank account, but she needed to know whether she’d be able to make it to her next pay cheque.

Just a few years ago, this was the norm for Sara. 

She was in her late 20s and had been working for years, but she had nothing to show for it. Money seemed to slip through her fingers, and she had no idea how to make it stop.

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Sara had dreams for her future. She wanted to marry her partner, go travelling, and someday start a family. But she could barely make it to her next pay, let alone think of achieving big goals.  

Then, just when she didn’t think it could get worse, it did. 

Sara needed an urgent but expensive medical operation. She didn’t have savings to pay for it. She even tried to get a loan and got rejected.

“That was my rock bottom. I couldn’t even get a loan. I asked my mum, who lives overseas, to help me get a loan. I knew something had to change. I knew I needed help,” Sara told Mamamia.

Sara went from barely having $1,000 to her name to building her net worth to over $80K. Image: Supplied. 

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Sara enrolled in Mastering Money, an online financial education program that teaches adults practical financial skills to save, invest and manage their money. With the help of the program, Sara turned her life around. Within six months, she not only managed to pay off her $5K debt but also started saving and contributing to her superannuation. 

Fast-forward two and a half years after the program, Sara was living a life she couldn’t recognise. She went from barely having $1,000 to her name to building her net worth to over $80K. She had become a confident saver and enthusiastic investor, who no longer feared money.

Her newfound financial confidence also helped her bring other dreams into reality: she travelled to Europe, got married, moved cities, and is now excited to be expecting her first child. 

Sara shares three money lessons that helped her turn her financial life around:

1. Your money mindset matters.

“The biggest thing I got from the program was realising that changing my financial situation wasn’t just about the practical strategies, it was about changing my mindset around money. I had to unlearn a lot of old attitudes and beliefs I had about topics like wealth, investing, saving,” Sara said. 

Reflecting on her upbringing and all the ‘money lessons’ she’d unknowingly picked up over the course of her life, Sara realised how her beliefs about money created the situation she had found herself in.

“I thought it was normal to spend most of your earnings. I thought people who had money must be lucky or have a really high income. I didn’t know that early retirement or ‘financial independence’ was a possibility, I just thought you work, earn, spend, and repeat that pretty much forever,” she shared.  

“You act and behave in accordance with your beliefs, so learning to change those core beliefs was a key part of how I was able to create sustainable change in my financial situation,” Sara reflected.

2. Consistent action compounds over time.

Sara didn’t start out with a big ambitious goal of trying to hit an $80K net worth. In the beginning, she focused on implementing her learnings and setting achievable goals. Hitting small goals provided the encouragement, confidence and motivation to keep moving forward. 

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“It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you put into practice. So, after doing the program my focus was implementing what I had learned. I learned how to set-up and structure my bank accounts, I learned how to track my spending, how to align my finances with my values, and how to budget,” Sara said. 

“It sounds small, but those small things add up over time. Soon they become habits, and then just a way of life. Now, saving isn’t something that feels like a chore, it’s more of a fun game,” she explained. 

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3. Investing isn’t just for ‘rich people’.

Sara admits she used to think investing was for ‘older, rich men’. Investing felt like a complex and intimidating world. She didn’t know where to start, or whether it was something someone like her could access. 

“One of the big things the program helped open me up to was the world of investing. It broke everything down very simply. I realised that investing is something that anyone can do. It’s not something only for the elite few, it’s actually a necessary part of the financial journey for everyone,” Sara shared. 

Initially, Sara’s focus was paying off her debt and building up her savings. Then she turned her mind to investing. She started by investing in shares and ETFs, and making contributions to her superannuation. 

“It’s opened my eyes to new possibilities I didn’t know were possible, like creating multiple income streams, creating wealth and financial freedom. Now, I invest regularly and manage my own portfolio. Now, investing feels easy and fun,” Sara shared. 

Today, Sara is living a life she couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. After seeing what a big impact it’s had on her life, she now wants to inspire other women to take control of their finances too.

“Taking control of my finances has been a life-changing experience. It’s opened up so many possibilities for my life. I think anyone can do it, it’s definitely achievable and not as complicated as I used to think.” 

SkilledSmart is a financial education platform helping adults learn to save, invest and manage their money. On their website, you can download a free e-book on “5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands”, and learn more about the  Mastering Money program.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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