Sandy saved $100K and paid off over half her mortgage in 5 years. Here’s how she did it.

Sandy secretly felt a bit embarrassed. 

She was well-educated; she was great at her job, and she'd worked hard to save up and buy a property with her husband. Despite all of this, she still had no idea what she was doing with her finances. 

Finance seemed like a foreign language, one she'd never had any exposure to. 

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

"My parents didn't talk about money much when I was growing up. I also didn't study any finance subjects in school. So, I remember getting to my mid-twenties and feeling left behind — how did people know about things like superannuation, investing, and taxes? I didn't know where to start," she told Mamamia.

Unfortunately, Sandy is not alone in feeling this way. The recent HILDA Survey found that financial literacy amongst adults has gone backwards, especially amongst adults under 35.

Sandy decided she needed some guidance. She enrolled in 'Mastering Money', an online financial education program that teaches adults practical financial skills to save, invest and manage their money. 


The program gave Sandy the tools she needed to finally take control of her financial life. Within just a few months, Sandy found an extra $6,000 of savings, developed the confidence to invest her first $10,000 and even started making additional superannuation contributions. 

Fast-forward five years, at just 32, Sandy and her husband have a six-figure investment portfolio, saved an extra $100,000, paid off over half their mortgage, and tripled the balance of Sandy's super fund.

Sandy is glad they were able to achieve this without compromising on their lifestyle. Although neither of them were high-income earners, Sandy and her husband were still able to tick off many items on their bucket list, including buying a new car, going on holidays, and now preparing for a baby on the way.

Image: Supplied.


Sandy shared three money tips that helped her achieve big financial goals in just a few short years:

1. Be willing to change your money mindset.

"My eyes were opened to how money works and how to build wealth. It made me realise how little I knew and how many misconceptions I had about money. So, I had to be open-minded and willing to challenge my assumptions and beliefs about things like investing and saving money," Sandy said.

Looking back, Sandy considers the change in mindset critical to the success she's been able to achieve. 

"There were a lot of things like investing which I didn't understand and so I had a lot of assumptions about it. I thought it was too risky and complicated, so I never thought I could be an investor.

"But once I understood how money works and how it all fits together, it changed how I saw my whole life," Sandy explained. 


"I started to see what investing could do for my life and it was exciting. That motivated me to take action. But if I hadn't been willing to let go of my old mindset, I would never have been able to make the progress I did!"

2. Get clear on your goals and what you really want.

Before gaining financial literacy, Sandy didn't have a clear idea of why she was spending money and what her goals were

Without that clarity, saving money felt like a chore, and Sandy frequently felt caught between her desire to enjoy spending, and her desire to be responsible with her money.

"Saving money always used to feel like a chore. It felt restrictive. But now, I am clear on my goals and what I really want, and that changed my relationship with saving and spending. 

"Suddenly, I felt a lot more motivated to save money because I had things I was saving for that I was actually excited about. I no longer felt like I had to force myself to save money, or hold back on spending, because I naturally felt inspired to want to save for my goals," Sandy shared.

Listen to What The Finance. Story continues after audio.

3. Don't overlook the impact of small changes.

"It's cliche but the small things do add up over time. I started to become more mindful of where I was spending money even on smaller items like lunch or takeout, and I started to pay more attention to things I previously would have ignored like changing the investment option of my superannuation, or putting a little extra in super every month which also reduced how much I was paying in taxes," she said.


Sandy admits that in the beginning, small changes might feel insignificant, so it's important to have a long-term mindset and trust that the efforts you’re making today will pay off in time. 

"I wasn't desperate to see massive changes overnight. I knew it would take time to see results, so I was in it for the long haul. That helped me stay on track, and also made the whole process more sustainable because it didn't feel like a big thing, it just felt like small incremental changes over time."

Today, Sandy has a level of financial confidence she never previously thought was possible. 

And now she wants to inspire others to take control of their finances too.

"Getting financially educated has been a life-changing experience. Growing up, I never had any interest in topics like finance or maths. So, I never thought I would be able to understand things like investing. Now I know it's simpler than I thought, so with a little effort in the right direction, you can make big changes."

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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