An Om Moment

The start of the year is generally one of reflection for most people so let’s lasso this energy and take a look at what’s important to you. With the never-ending stampede that is Covid we have had to take a long hard look at how we are living out our one and precious life. Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are you at work more than you are at home? Anxiety becoming a daily thing? Feeling like a slug most days all spongy and slow? Do you get to stop to smell the roses or are they a blur of colour as you rapidly pass by?

When it comes to reflection and goal setting, we must consider our values and what makes us excited to make changes in our lives otherwise our goals are like gluten to the gluten intolerant, it just won’t sit right.

There are multiple areas to contemplate:

Body

Mind

Soul

Relationships

Wealth

Career

Each goal you set, must add value to your life and you don’t have to set a goal for each one of these areas. Take it at your own pace, there is no timeline but your own. If you want to take on one goal at a time – more power to ya! If you want to take on the world all at the same time – do it! If you want to don sparkly stiletto heels and a feather boa and dance about the dining room singing and dancing to the Spice Girls – invite us over cos same!

Having a goal can be that ‘something’ you look forward to in the future since life has become so much smaller for a lot of people the usual things to look forward to, like travel, have been taken off the table. For Goals to be successful visualise success from the outset. Pace them out in little chunks. Approaching what you want to achieve in small steps make things less scary, easy to stay accountable and as you complete each step that sense of accomplishment can help propel you forward towards your main goal. Another tip to helping you stay on track, which is based in science, but seems counterintuitive, is visualise failure and its consequences. This is typically what we are not encouraged to do so I can imagine there are many screwed up faces with you all thinking ‘What the hey?!’ but research has shown that foreshadowing failure of what could happen if you take Action A instead of Action B can almost double the probability of you reaching and achieving your goals. If your Goal is Money related, what will happen if the Emergency Fund you have been working hard on increasing you decide on a whim to suddenly spend. You will look back at that point and realise you could have had so much more in that account by this time if you had not spent it, the realization you now are going to have to push your goal timeframe out further to achieve the amount you wanted, and you can’t free up that amount of money you are putting towards creating a healthy Emergency fund until much later on. If you goal is Fitness focused, what will happen if you don’t go to your cardio class, cancel your personal trainer appointment, or blow of your Walking Date with your friend? There will be negative health outcomes, the ‘look good and feeling great’ component of this type of goal won’t come to fruition and there’s the inevitable disappointment in yourself. If you have at the front of your mind how bad its going to feel if you fail and the not so great consequences, the more motivated you become in the pursuit of your goals.

We wish you luck with your reflections and grab our free downloadable for Goal Setting if you think it would help channel your thoughts and keep you accountable.

How to get back on track after the silly season: 

Did you overspend and overindulge this silly season? Don’t worry we did too! Now we have hit 2021 its time to take back our spending and start to control what we are doing with it again. The average New Zealander spends roughly $645 per Christmas period whether that be gifts, food travel etc. 32% of people use credit cards to pay for this period compared to 58% who will be using a debit card or savings. Unless you are budgeting for this expenditure (which I would recommend) this can be a huge cost to any person come Christmas time. We have put together a few tips and tricks on how we overcome the overspend period to get back on track.  

Firstly, its good to know where you are. Take a look at your bank statements, credit card statements and so on, have a look at how much you have in there and how much you are owing. Consider your upcoming bills and expenditure and prepare yourself for those to be coming out shortly. Once you have an idea of where you are sitting (take a break or sit down if its anything like mine!) now we can move on to how to redeem ourselves.  

Create a plan to redeem yourself. Now we know where we are sitting let’s take a moment to create a plan. Do not be hard on yourself, the silly season can be costly and now is the time to get back on track! Write down your “budget” or expenses for the upcoming month. Add into this budget any amounts you are owing from this silly season. Note you always need to pay back the monthly minimum amounts with a credit card or hire purchase but if you have the capacity up those amounts in this budget. Make a plan to pay off those pesky debts you have clocked up even faster! (download our budgeting freebie to help you with this)

Try to stop spending in January/February. Once you have your so-called budget in place for the next month, take control by limiting any extra expenditure these next few months. This will allow you to get back on track. Rather than dining out one night, use that money wisely and put it towards paying down that credit card or afterpay amounts.  

Start saving for next year now! If you total up how much you spent this year on the silly season, start aiming for that amount in savings now! Total over the next 11 or so months how much you need to put aside each pay. Take this into consideration as you would a normal expense. You will thank yourself come next year having this money handy! It will also help you avoid any debt and clocking up any interest on credit cards, hire purchases etc. 

Now you have a plan in place for knowing what expenses are coming out, using that extra spending money to pay down those debts you have clocked up and preparing for the next year. All of these tasks will help you to get back on track with your finances and also avoid the same mistake next year! 

The Online Scam

If you were tuning into your More FM radio station on the way to work this morning, you would have heard Lana one of the announcers discuss her unwilling participation in an online bank account scam. A call out to listeners in the community to make contact with the radio station to see if this was a common experience, had More FM receive a huge influx of calls saying this very thing has happened to them!

One women caller, who at that very particular moment was going through the experience of this scam, had her husband on the phone to the bank, while she was on the phone to the radio station telling her extremely fresh experience of how she had spotted small amounts being withdrawn from her bank accounts over a period of several months resulting in hundreds being taken. Another caller had discovered these mystery withdrawals a week ago, and was in the midst of communications with her bank to see if she can get her money back – a total of around $2,000 had been taken from her accounts without her knowledge.

During Covid, online scams have increased dramatically and have become quite sophisticated. This one in particular has a pattern of small withdrawals of around $50 to $150 being made where the money is going is over to the forensics but its seems that it was for purchases to pay for things via online retail sites or could it possibly be funneled into scammers accounts? The withdrawals are so sporadic that the victims mentioned that they went easily unnoticed in the daily account activity. Over a period of months if not longer if a person does not monitor their account conduct thousands could be taken.

This is a timely to reminder to all of us that times have most definitely changed and the once easy to spot scams, are now more sophisticated and harder to detect. This is where new habits need to come into play.

If something seems amiss – check into it – is it your husband using the wrong card to purchase his lunch or is ‘Sushi King’ a fake name for an account hacker? Were you in that store that weekend or was that $90.00 purchase not your own? Even if you are one of the lucky ones and have never had someone tapping into your hard-earned cash, it is a good practice to get into as with closer monitoring it is easier to see where perhaps you have spent a bit much on takeaways recently or hitting the shops a bit hard. Be it at the end of the day or at the end of the week, run your eye over your accounts and get into a new habit that can only be beneficial to your bank balance, as well as fighting the invisible fight against online scammers.

The moral of this tale is, have some accountability of your account activity!

Silly Spending over the Silly Season – How to prepare and not overspend

With only seven Mondays left until Christmas, yes seven, the silly season is on everyone’s mind! This time of year, can make people anxious to be able to find the funds to pay for all the gifts, food, travel etc. With the silly season comes planning and in regards to your finances it should be a well thought out plan, so you are not leaving yourself short for the new year! Read below our tips on how we prepare for the silly season!

Tip one:

Plan for Christmas in your monthly budgets. This is a good tip to include in your New Year’s Resolutions perhaps and factor in gift giving into the monthly budget and start to put that money aside throughout the year. This then saves you stressing when it gets to Christmas to find that money.

Tip two:

If you cannot afford to put the money aside every week, start a list of everyone you must buy for and how much you need to spend. If you start now, this will save you stressing come December when you must buy gifts for everyone. Start with the smaller gifts maybe mum is $50, put aside $25 this week and next, and then you can buy her present already.

Tip three:

Look for the sales now! Resubscribe to certain websites at this time of year to make sure you are getting notifications when they have a sale. There are long weekends, Black Friday and ‘just because’ sales happening all before Christmas. You don’t need to wait until December to start buying products on sale.

Tip four:

Use your vouchers you haven’t used yet! We know some people like to use their vouchers as soon as they receive them however if you are one of those people who pops them in your wallet only to forget their existence, go and use them on your family and friends at Christmas. This way you are saving yourself money and not letting that voucher go to waste!

Tip five:

Get your family to set a limit for gifts that is suitable for everyone. We used to spend $150 on family alone at Christmas and this year we decided it was just too much! Christmas is about spending time with your family and friends not always about how big the limit is. Try and make the limit reasonable to what everyone can afford.

Tip six:

Avoid afterpay and laybuy. We know this is how some people fund Christmas however if you put that money aside now you wouldn’t have to fall into the trap of these schemes. If you are only doing one gift at a time and the payments are reasonable, and you can pay one off before setting up another, then go for it if it works for you. Just be aware that loading up all the presents onto these schemes can sometimes mean you are paying a rather large sum per week.

Tip seven:

Make your own gifts. If you have a special talent maybe you can knit or do woodworking, look to make your gifts rather than buying them. A thoughtfully made gift can go a long way as people tend to appreciate the time and effort that went into them.

Tip eight:

Buy second hand. Trade Me and Marketplace are your friend, and don’t forget the Opp Shops! If you know you can get something second hand at half the price, why wouldn’t you? We can promise you your family wouldn’t even know if you didn’t tell them. People are selling brand new items all the time. Have a look at these sites first before you buy brand new.

Tip nine:

Withdraw the cash. If you like to spend money, withdraw the money for each gift on your Christmas List and put it into an envelope. This can be a good way to make sure you have all the funds for when that sale comes up and it can also be good to limit yourself to the amount you have withdrawn. If the limit is $50 another $20 won’t make a difference, right? It does make a difference! You haven’t budgeted for it! So, by having the cash, in that hot little envelope, tucked under your mattress, in the spare room, this limits you to only that amount to spend.

Tip ten:

Start now! Starting early may led to some people laughing at you but the joke is on them when you have finished your Christmas shopping by the end of November and don’t have to stress about the money or the crowds of people. Perhaps buying a gift a week from October would work for you? On the note of buying early, start a stockpile of the ingredients that are not fresh for that Christmas day banquet you have been roped into.

Tip eleven:

Skip Christmas gift giving and head out early for the Boxing Day sales. Yes, this may be the craziest tip of all the tips we have suggested so far but boy you can get bang for buck and extend on that Christmas feeling of celebration a little longer. You’ll just have to tough out the crowds!

Christmas is a great time of year to be enjoyed, not to be stressed over. If you have a plan in place and start sooner rather than later, this can avoid the use of schemes which can get you into a hole which can be tricky to climb out of. Wouldn’t you rather pay for the funds this year rather than being in financial stress next year?

If you find you are stressing over Christmas, our money coaching could be for you. Send us an email to schedule your free consultation.

Mindfulness & Money

What is mindfulness:

It is the basic and innate human ability to be self-aware at the physical, emotional and mental levels; and remain detached from what we experience at these levels.

What are the benefits of mindfulness:

  • Self-awareness
  • Enhanced wellbeing
  • We become more effective
  • Assists with behaviour and attitude changes
  • Reduced stress
  • Improves focus
  • Improves the ability to be non-reactive

Being mindful has so many benefits and these include being kinder to ourselves, which ultimately leads to better self-talk, improved positivity and gives us more sense of choice rather than defaulting to our habitual patterns. When we replace habits that no longer serve us with positive habits, we have the power to change our patterns, behaviours, attitude and ultimately our life.

Mindfulness can be applied to absolutely any area of your life so why would we not use its benefits to improve our financial position. We have the ability to view our finances more positively and this in turn provides the opportunity to improve our relationship to money and improve our management of it. Having a great relationship with money is something to aspire to, as just like your relationship to yourself, it will be long lasting. It’s a relationship that will last your lifetime so if you can reduce the stress associated with money and put you in a space of confidence so that you feel supported by your money it will without a doubt, improve your overall feeling of wellbeing.

Applying mindfulness principles to money management

The first step to creating a great relationship with your money is to develop some awareness of how you currently feel, act and respond to managing your money. I would encourage you to know your money, be intimate with your money, be grateful and appreciate of your money.

Becoming mindful of your behaviours and patterns around money will lead you to understand how and why you feel the way you do about money. There are going to be some ways in which you interact with your money that make you feel good and others that make you feel less so.  Embrace the positive stuff and feel good about it. Acknowledge your strengths and give yourself credit for all that you do well with your money.

Being kind to yourself whilst also acknowledging the things that make you feel a bit funky in relation to money is important. Where you can identify ways in which you would like to change some of your behaviours and patterns, just notice and acknowledge it. There is absolutely no point in criticising, shaming, or guilting yourself for these patterns. A key point to being mindful around money is being gentle with your approach and simply looking for opportunities to develop new strategies, habits and patterns that are going to make you feel good about your relationship to money.

Directed thinking is a key skill derived from mindfulness which gives you the ability to be aware of a thought that doesn’t serve you positively and to redirect that thought. For example, if you catch yourself thinking “I’m terrible with money” you could change this to something more empowering such as “I’m learning and developing new skills, that make it easier to manage my money”. The ability to catch yourself as you think a negative thought, observe it (don’t judge yourself) and redirect your thought to something more supportive, this is what mindfulness is all about. The result of this is the ability to respond rather than react. Many of us, operate on autopilot and we react to certain stimulus based on our previous history, so our reaction may be extreme or exaggerated. Whereas, if we are choosing our thoughts and are consciously responding, rather than reacting, we are making a choice rather than letting our mental patterns dictate our responses.

Mindfulness tools for everyday use

There is undoubtedly a connection between mind and body. If your finances have you in a state of worry and doubt this is going to translate to stress and anxiety in your body. Mindfulness as a practice offers an array of tools to add to the kit. All are valuable but you might find that you have some personal favourites. Here are a few ideas:

Gratitude journal – show appreciation for all that your money currently buys you. Review your bank statements and write down all the wonderful things that your money has afforded you. It could have been a meal out with your loved ones, or simply paying the power bill which provided a home and cozy home for you.

Breathwork – if you are feeling a little wound up about your finances (or any other situation) don’t forget to breathe. Taking long, slow breaths through the nose and out of the mouth is known to have a positive physiological impact on you, your mind and body.

Movement – taking a walk in nature or even just around the block to clear the mind and lift the mood is always worthwhile. Focusing on the positives in life is a gift of mindfulness.

Meditation – developing a meditation practice is known to improve the ability to quieten the mind not only whilst on the mat but also in everyday life which will only assist in responding, rather than reacting.

Money Mantras (affirmations) – why not make some bold and positive statements that lift your spirits during the day. Saying “I am supported by money” feels a lot more positive than many of the other thoughts that sometimes run through our heads.

Having the ability to manage your mindset around money is a skill to work on but given the lifelong relationship you have with your money, it’s worth investing the time and energy in developing these skills so that you can live a life of gratitude, enjoyment, wellness, and positivity when it comes to money matters.

How To Get Out Of Short Term Debt

Listen to our Short Term Debt podcast episode here.

Debt, as we all know, is so easy to get into but extremely difficult to get out of. Having multiple different short term debts can make it confusing to manage and, when only paying the minimum repayments it is hard to get them paid off.

Everyone is different when it comes to paying off debt. You tend to either use the emotional, snowball or avalanche method, depending on your motivation. Your motivation and mindset is key in what drives you in achieving your money goals. Whichever method incentivizes you and gives you the motivation to keep going, is the winner.

In this article, we break down the 3 debt repayment methods and what to do once you know your chosen method. We also explain other options that may be available to help pay your short-term debt off faster.

SHORT TERM DEBT REPAYMENT METHODS

Emotional Method

Motivation: Psychological
Removing the debts with the most emotional baggage

This debt is also known as the tsunami method. This method has you paying off the debt in order of emotional impact, focusing on the ones that cause you the most pain points.

Whether it’s because of a high interest rate, it’s a loan from a friend or family, or simply one you’ve had for a long time and you just want to smash it out. This approach you are basing your decision on your emotions, getting rid of the debts that carried the most emotional baggage.

Its mentally rewarding when you pay off a debt that you have had for a long time or that’s been causing stress.

Debt Snowball Method

Motivation: Psychological
Seeing the rewards, small victories early on and throughout, helping drive you.


The Debt Snowball method involves paying off your debt in order of smallest to largest, focusing on the smallest debts first. When the smallest debt is paid in full, you roll that minimum repayment you were paying to the next smallest debt.

This method can be psychologically rewarding as you eliminate entire debt balances rather quicky and see immediate progress. By the time you get to the last debt, you’re able to pay large amounts towards it because you have no other debt to pay off!

Debt Avalanche Method

Motivation: Financial
Paying it off as fast as possible with the least amount of interest, for those with high interest debt.

This method is where you pay off the debt in order of interest rate, focusing on the highest interest earning first. You make the minimum repayments on all debt, then use any extra funds to pay off the highest interest rate debt first.

By focusing on the highest interest rate debt first, like credit cards, you’re going to save in interest costs over the long term. You’ll also reduce the time it will take to you to pay the loan balance in full.

ANALYSE YOUR SHORT TERM DEBT AND FINANCES

Once you’ve determined the way you want to pay your debt off, you need to sit down and analyse your debt and finances.

Step One: Itemise your debt
Write down all of your debt, what they are and their outstanding balances and structure them in order of priority. For debt snowball method, this would be in order of smallest to largest. If you are using the debt avalanche method, the order would highest to lowest interest rate. And for the emotional method, you’d order it by your emotional priority.

Step Two: Analyse your expenses.
If you are really determined to smash out your short-term debt, it’s important to review and analyse your expenses / finances. You may find there are opportunities to minimise some expenses (extra money to go toward debt!) and it will help to avoid having to use short-term debt again in the future.

OTHER WAYS TO PAY OFF YOUR SHORT-TERM DEBT FASTER

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is where you take out a single loan to pay off multiple debts (credit/store cards, finance loans etc.). Often when you have multiple debts, there are different payment terms, interest rates, payment frequencies and it can become a bit of a mind bubble. A debt consolidation loan is a good opportunity to pull all of the debts together with one set rate and one lot of repayments coming out.

The key point is to be financially better off by doing this. The whole point is to end up with extra money in your pocket, or to reduce the repayments / interest rates, so over time you’re not paying as much.

Balance Transfers

A balance transfer is where you move debt from one credit card to another. You can’t do a balance transfer with the same bank as your current credit card, so you would be taking a credit card with a different bank. You will find that most banks will offer a 0% interest rate for the first 6 months (note there is a small transfer fee of around 1-2%), so this is a great opportunity to knuckle down and pay off as much as you can while there is no interest being charged. It’s even better if you can transfer to a bank with lower interest rates than your current provider, as this way you will still be saving on interest after the interest free period!

What Is Short Term Debt

You’ve probably heard a lot about short and long term debt, but do you understand the difference between the two?

There are long term debts which (as the name suggests) are over a long period of time and 99% of the time is an investment and therefore you are likely to gain from it – think mortgages where your home is the asset and is likely to grow in value, or student loans which provide a means to gaining a better education and therefore a higher paying (or more satisfying) job.

Then there are short term debts which, again, are just like the name suggests and should be for a short time period. They often have very high interest rates and for purchases that you aren’t necessarily going to gain from.

Below we have outlined the different types of short term debts and how they can each have an affect on your lifestyle. While some types of debt have a place, if you are learning to take control of your finances it would really pay to avoid them wherever possible.

Credit Cards

Data from the Reserve Bank shows credit card debt is becoming increasingly unpopular with total credit card billing dropping 1.9% in February. However, it is certainly still there – with these stats relating to New Zealanders and credit cards:

  • we owe approx. $6 billion in credit card debt
  • 17% of us couldn’t manage their budget or finances without one
  • 1 in 5 of generation Gen X relying on a credit card to get by.

As credit cards are unsecured debt, they have high interest rates attached to them (usually around 25%), and the minimum repayment amounts are set extremely low, often unreasonably low. This can lead to a credit card balance that you can’t seem to make a dent in and becomes longer term that you had originally planned.

An example of this is;

You have a $1,000 credit card balance, making only the minimum repayment amounts, you could be paying this debt off for 9 years, with a total interest cost of $1,024 – higher than the initial debt amount!

So be very careful! A simple way of looking at it is – if you don’t have the money for this, and it’s not an emergency, should you be using a credit card to pay for it?

Store Cards / Gem Visas / Q Cards

If you have ever gone to buy a new phone or furniture from the likes of Harvey Norman, it’s likely you were asked if you would like to pay for it using finance through a store card such as a Gem Visa or Q Card.

These store cards are much like credit cards however they can only be used at store ‘partners’ (each one has different store partners). There are usually some incentives such as interest free terms or no-repayment terms on offer as well to sweeten the deal. If you are disciplined with your finances, the interest free periods can make these cards an easy way to purchase something when you don’t have the funds to pay for it (or, in some cases, they can be used as a smart alternative to using funds you may already have, but we’ll save getting into that for another blog!).

However, because these cards also have very high interest rates, you could find yourself in a situation where you’ve come to the end of the interest free / no repayment period, you haven’t really paid much off and now all of a sudden you’ve got a debt that you’re struggling to pay off.

There are also some confusing processes that are followed when applying your payments to the outstanding balances that can mean what you think you are paying off isn’t always the case (this applies when you have multiple purchases on the one card / statement). More info around these processes can be found on the Money Hub website, a super helpful resource for all things money!

Personal Loans and Car Loans

Personal and car loans are usually managed through a bank, credit union, other money lenders or directly through a car dealer (and unfortunately finance options through car dealers are often not the best deal so ensure you do your research).

Interest rates across these lenders vary wildly but sometimes things like your credit score and credit history can have an impact on the interest rate and other factors you’re offered.

The most common reasons people get personal loans include debt consolidation, big one-time expenses such as weddings as well as urgent or unexpected costs like a car or medical bill. If you find yourself needing to apply for a personal loan, shop around for the best offer and borrow as little as you need so you can repay it as quickly as possible and limit the interest you will pay.

Both car and personal loans can be secured or unsecured – unsecured is a higher risk for the lender therefore you’ll usually have a higher interest rate. If it’s secured, and you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take the security to gain some of the loan back (such as the car).

In the case of personal and car loans, you really need to determine what the true cost of the purchase will be, by the time you pay the loan back adding on the interest you will pay.

An example of the true cost of a car, after paying interest for the term of the loan.

An example of this (shown) is a car loan. In this example , by the end of the 3 year term, you would have paid 1.021 times the original purchase price (also remember the minute you drive a car away after purchase the car has lost value so it definitely wouldn’t be worth $14,554 after 3 years!)

Laybuys, Afterpays etc.

Yes, these are classed as debt (especially in the banks eyes), and although they are more short term than credit cards (4-6 weeks), if you don’t keep in control of these and end up with multiple at one time, they can become very hard to manage and you may find yourself in financial trouble.

When you have multiple AfterPays/LayBuys you’ll often end up with different payment dates and amounts. This is an easy way to lose track of what the total amount actually is, and end up with more than you can afford.

The bonus to these payments types is they are very short term and there is no interest being charged, so you never pay more than the original purchase price. Your success with Afterpays or Laybuys depends on you and how you manage them. If you can limit your spending and manage one at a time it’s a great alternative to a credit card.

So, as you can see, there are a number of different short term debt types, all with differing purposes and ways of working. As mentioned a lot throughout this blog, if you are good with your finances and money management you may be able to avoid falling into the trap of having too much short term debt and struggling to pay it back.

However, some good rules to follow before ticking that next item up is:

  • Always think twice and ensure you can afford the repayments.
  • Ask yourself – do you really need to borrow the money / have short term debt for this?
  • Could you wait and save some money instead?
  • Give yourself a 24 hour stand down period – you’ll often find the consumer itch will disappear.

Living Pay to Pay – How to Avoid It

Living pay to pay can be a stressful and worrying way to live, and, unfortunately, 63% of New Zealanders are living this way. Counting down the days until pay day because you have $1 in your account can mean you are constantly scrambling to make ends meet, struggle to pay bills and it makes it nearly impossible to get ahead financially.  

It’s also likely that you don’t have any funds set aside for unexpected costs that may come up, which of course (if the unexpected does happen), everything is going to get a whole lot harder as you then try and pay for that as well. 

If this is a trap you find yourself falling into, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to try and break this habit and start making moves towards being in control of your finances. 

1 – Recognise you are living pay to pay 

This might sound a bit cliché, but recognising there is a problem is 100% the first step you need to take to fix the problem. If you don’t think there’s an issue, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t be disciplined when it comes to budgeting and spending. Once you recognise the problem, try and determine where it’s stemmed from. Majority of time it’s simply that you are spending more than you earn. And, often, addressing your spending can be an easier task than addressing your income. 

2 – Track your spending habits and match these with your income

Once you’ve determined there is a problem that needs to be addressed, the next step is to track or have a really good look at your spending. And by this we mean EVERYTHING. Every little cent. Sure a $5 coffee here and there is all good, but if its multiple times a week this starts to add up and can very quickly end up as a total of $50 or more per month.

Start by listing your expenses that are set – such as power, insurances, petrol, vehicle costs etc. These are costs that must be paid and aren’t really something you can control (although, you should regularly check in on these as well, in case there are better deals that you can get). Then look at all the other expenses and determine where you may be able to cut back. 

Some examples are: 

  • Do you splurge on your groceries? Are there some items that you could go without, or simply swap for a cheaper brand? 
  • Are you a habitual coffee drinker? Don’t worry, so are we, so we aren’t saying you cannot buy your Caramel Latte’s anymore. But, if you are living pay to pay check and purchasing more than a couple of coffees a week, then maybe this is something you should be cutting back on or finding cheaper alternatives to. 
  • Do you or your better half (or friends) have a habit of dining out a lot? Check out our Cheap Date Night Ideas blog for some ideas to still have lots of fun, without the massive hit to your account. 

3 – Create a budget 

Not everyone enjoys budgets, and we get it. They can be confusing at the least and confining at best. But this can be very important if you’re trying to get in control of your finances. It doesn’t need to be a big fancy (or even strict!) budget, but simply knowing your upcoming expenses and what you plan to spend in a week, fortnight or month is one way to help feel more in control of your finances. It can be too easy to think you have enough money for that new dress or pair of jeans when you actually don’t have an idea of what might be coming out of your account or due to be paid in the coming week/s. 

4– Create and grow an emergency fund 

An emergency fund, if you haven’t heard of them already, is different to savings. This money is set aside for those unexpected, often expensive costs that inevitably come up in life. Think emergency trip to the vet, unexpected mechanical bills, or like in Amy’s recent case; having to fork out for a new hot water cylinder for your home! Not ideal. 

You have savings accounts to achieve your goals such as a holiday, new car or buying a home, whereas emergency funds are there to get you out of sticky situations, without putting you into debt or stressing about how you will find the money to pay for it. 

5– Stop using credit to pay for things and get out of debt 

Having to pay regular amounts on any short term debt will no doubt have an effect on what you have left at the end of your pay week. And of course, the less of these debts you have to pay, the easier it will get to set money aside, save and ultimately make progress in achieving your money goals!  

6– Pay your bills, pronto 

If you aren’t good at managing money, make sure that you pay all your bills as soon as the money becomes available. If the bill isn’t due yet, put the money aside in another bank account, and organise for the cost of the bill to be direct debited. This way, within a day or two after you’ve been paid, you’ll know exactly how much money you have available until the next pay period. By using this method you should be able to better manage your money, and not be hit with unexpected bills. 

7– Set goals and create a plan to achieve them 

By having clear goals in front of you, you will automatically feel more determined and passionate about achieving these goals. And often you will find any way possible to get you closer to your goal – whether it be putting aside a small amount of your income each week towards it, or encouraging you to think outside the box on how you could earn extra income to pay for the goal. Having the goal post in front of you will motivate you. 

In short, if you can get out of living pay to pay, you will have less stress and worry about money, you’ll feel more in control of your finances and ultimately start living a more enjoyable life! Hopefully these tips help you and if you have your own money savings tips and tricks, feel free to share them with us on social media, we love hearing others experience and journeys. 

Cheap Date Night Ideas

We all love having a night out with our friends or partner but often it’s hard to do this when you are on a budget – going out for dinners or to the bar for “some” drinks every time can become quite costly!

We’ve put together a list of fun but cost-effective date night or activity ideas for you to work your way through. This way, you can still spend quality time together with your partner / husband / mates / family, without a hit to the bank account.

Picnic date night/lunch

Where we live, we are fortunate to have a number of amazing beaches so close, so having a picnic dinner is totally doable, especially in Summer! Any park or field will be just as nice with a beautiful sunset. What to pack? You are still wanting it to be cheaper than a night out – think an easy dinner, maybe a platter with cheese and crackers, some nice pre-made wraps, and of course – a glass of wine (or gin – we love gin!).

Going out for a coffee and a walk

Dinner can be expensive, but a coffee is a great low cost alternative. Go out on a Sunday morning and grab yourselves a coffee, take a seat and relax or go for a walk around your local.

Camping!

You can take this any way you like. Whether you go to a camping spot with a tent, do some camping in the backyard or even in the living room, these could all be fun options! Have a change of scenery and try to rough it for a night together.

Netflix and Chill

Sometimes rather than paying to go to the movies it’s better to create the movies at home. The bonus is you can even pause the movie for a bathroom break! Set the lounge up with some comfy cushions, blankets, candles, make the room feel cozy. You’ll also avoid that crazy priced popcorn!

Games night

Have some games in the cupboard you forgot about? Get them out and have a game night together. Invite some friends over and have a game of Cranium. After a few glasses of wine (or again, gin) it’s an activity that provides a lot of laughs (trust us!)

Learn something new together

There are so many options when it comes to learning something new, you could do it from the comfort of your home – like downloading a language app, learning a topic on YouTube or listening to a TedTalk. Or you could get out of the house and find a local experience – a new sport or dance lessons. Get out of your comfort zone together!

Make something together

Whether it be painting (cheap starter packs at Kmart), a DIY project or creating gifts for someone’s upcoming birthday – have a little fun with art.

Explore your local walks

Where we live there are some great trails to explore for free! Jump on google, look for some awesome walks in your area and get out there and discover nature. It’s amazing what we have on our own doorstep that we often forget about!

Cook off

Rather than going to a fancy restaurant have a cook off together. One of you on entrees and mains and the other on dessert! Go to the supermarket and try and do it on the cheap or even better, set yourself a challenge and try to create everything with the ingredients you have at home!

Reframe Your Money Mindset

Do you find yourself living pay-to-pay, spending all your money the minute it enters your account, or wondering where your money has gone / why you don’t have the money there to pay for bills you knew were coming? You may find that you have a ‘limited’ money mindset – but don’t worry! We are here to explain what money mindset is (and what we mean by limited vs growth) and how you can change your mindset – helping you to take control and feel on top of your finances.

What is money mindset?

Money mindset is central to how you handle money in your life. It is your unique set of beliefs and your attitude about money. It is the driving factor in decisions you make regarding all thing’s money – saving, debt, spending, how you handle your money – everything!
Your unique money mindset (your core beliefs about money) is formed early on in life by observing and internalizing the money messages we learned from our parents (especially), friends, community and other caregivers.

Growth vs Limited money mindset

Quite simply, what you think about and focus on is what you get. You’ve probably heard that before, but it really is true and can be applied to your money mindset. If you focus on a lack of money, struggling to pay bills and so on, then this is 99% likely to be your reality and is what we refer to as a limited money mindset.
So, in contrast, if you focus on making and having more than enough money, that will become your reality, and we refer to this as a growth money mindset.

A prime example of a growth money mindset was shown in a study by Ramsey Solutions (yes, Ramsey as in Dave Ramsey – the money guru in the US!). They conducted a study of over 10,000 millionaires, and 97% believed they could become millionaires, they believed that it was within their control and they believed that they held the key to their success. It was their growth money mindset that caused them to succeed, not wealthy parents, a fancy education or it being handed to them.

How to change from a limited to growth money mindset

Understand your money mindset / money story.

The first step to changing your money mindset is to understand your beliefs and attitudes to money – how did they come about? What were you taught about money when growing up? What was your parents’ attitudes towards money? Answering these questions may shed some light on any negative beliefs and is the first step to being able to change any of them.

Reframe negative (limited) thoughts.

Remember, as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not – you are right”. Whatever you tell yourself and focus on is what you will get. And by getting away from the limited mindset you will allow yourself room for hope, problem solving and a more financially healthy life.

Stop telling yourself things like “I’ll never be able to afford that” or “I can’t get out of this debt” and change these thoughts to a positive (growth) – “I can afford the things I want” and “I have this debt, and with a focus and a plan I will be able to pay it off”.

Dream about (and plan for!) your future.

Think about what you want your future – short and long term – to look like and use this as your motivation to plan and work towards!
It doesn’t matter if you’re in debt, or don’t yet have an emergency fund – having goals for the future will ultimately help push you in that direction.

Make it happen!

No matter where you come from, your background, your level of income or your current money situation, if you believe that success is possible then you have the power to make it a reality.

Going from a limited to growth money mindset will change your life – it really will! Focus on positive thoughts and the things that you can control, and its likely you will start to see changes immediately.