'I used to struggle to save. Here's how I saved $30k in one year.'

Despite years of working part-time and casual jobs throughout university, Shrishti was approaching graduation with just a couple of hundred dollars in her bank account.

The financial anxiety was overwhelming.

She was scared to look at her account. She didn't want to see how much she'd spent and how little she had left. She wanted to be doing better, but she didn't know how. 

No one had ever taught her. 

"Money wasn't something that was talked about openly at home. Also, in my family, it's common for women to be financially dependent on their husbands so a lot of the women don't necessarily have the skills or vocabulary to pass that education on themselves," Shrishti told Mamamia

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

Video via Mamamia.

By the time Shrishti was close to graduating her law degree, she knew she needed help.

"I was having trouble saving, and I'd hear people talking about things like investing or superannuation which I didn't know anything about. There was a big gap in my knowledge. I wanted to overcome my fears and build confidence, especially before getting a graduate job."


Shrishti enrolled in Mastering Money, an online financial education program run by SkilledSmart teaching adults practical financial skills to save, manage and invest their money. 

The course helped Shrishti overcome her financial anxiety by equipping her with the skills and knowledge she needed to manage her money with more confidence.

This helped Shrishti save over $30K within the first 12 months of getting her graduate job. Now in her early-20s, Shrishti feels more confident about her finances than she ever did before.

Here, Shrishti shares three money lessons she learned on her journey:

1. Saving money isn't about 'restriction' but more about spending intentionally.

One of the big changes for Shrishti was her relationship with spending and saving money. 

Like many, Shrishti previously thought of spending money as something to avoid or feel guilty about, and that the best way to save money was to simply avoid spending. 

"I thought saving money was about cutting things out and spending as little as possible. So, I would try to restrict my spending for a while but then after a few months I'd end up overspending and then I'd feel guilty so I'd restrict my spending again. It was like a cycle," she recalls. 

"One of the big things that changed for me was learning to think about spending from the perspective of whether the purchase aligns with my values. This helped me get clarity on whether my financial behaviours aligned with my core values," Shrishti explained. 

"So instead of giving something up out of restriction, it became more about being intentional about what I spend money on and noticing when something didn't actually align with my values."


2. Learning to increase your income streams will boost your ability to save.

Beyond having a job and buying a property, Shrishti wasn't previously aware of just how many options there were to increase your income and personal wealth.

"It was eye opening because I didn't know there were so many options to increase your personal wealth. Even beyond investing, just things like finding a better interest rate on your savings account, or selecting a different investment option within super. There are so many ways to improve your financial position, beyond spending less to save money," Shrishti explains.

"Now I've started to think about how I can create more sources of income, which isn't a mindset I had before. I can see what a big difference it makes to increase your income sources because you can try really hard to save but if your income is limited, you're still not going to save much."

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3. Don't wait to earn more before you start getting financially educated. 

While increasing your income is important, Shrishti also says it's important to know how to make the most of what you earn. For that reason, she's glad she decided to invest in her financial skills before she started working full time so she could establish healthy habits from the get-go.

"I wanted to feel financially ready before I started working full time. Now, I'm so glad I had some of those skills and tools before starting full-time work because I felt more confident in managing that income and the increased expenses that also came after graduating. If I'd put it off even for one year, I don't think I'd be where I am today," Shrishti shares.


"I think it's important to start the process of getting financially educated as early as you can. Once you get into certain spending habits or ways of dealing with money, it can be harder to unlearn all of that and then start building healthier habits," Shrishti continued. 

"The process of change takes time because it's not just about learning how to save and invest, it's also about changing your mindset, your relationship with money, even how you talk about money with the people in your life. So, it's not an overnight process."

Now, Shrishti hopes her story will inspire others to start taking a more active interest in their financial affairs. 

"I think you just have to take that first step, because you have nothing to lose. You'd really be surprised at how much you can learn just by taking small steps."

"I didn't have any financial background or exposure, so I think no matter what your background is, a little bit of knowledge can go a really long way in helping you move forward."

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, a financial education platform helping adults learn to save, manage and invest their money. For more money tips, you can grab a free e-book on "5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands" via their website, and learn more about their course, Mastering Money.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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