The beginners step by step guide to setting up and using eBay to sell your clutter and make money

eBay is one of the worlds largest online market places. Once you get the hang on it, eBay is easy to use, safe and a great little side hustle. In this blog I breakdown all the steps from opening an eBay account to mailing out your first sale.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

In 2017 I moved out of home to a small country town and got my first full time job. My aim was to save a house deposit as quickly as possible (you can read about that here). I looked around my house and saw it was FULL of money. This wasn’t money hidden in the backyard or under couch cushions. It was the money held in the value of all the stuff I owned, but never used. I wanted this money out of my house and back in my bank account ASAP!

I opened an eBay account, posted some items for sale and made my first sale! A new Mimco Passport Wallet. I made $36 profit and I was ecstatic! Since then I have learned lots about side hustles and eBay, including everything I learned in The Business of Pre Loved Second Hand Side Hustle Course.

Just an FYI, I know that the detail in this blog post might seem overwhelming / complicated. However, once you get started the process is easy and the app is user friendly! I suggest reading this blog with the app opened and following it step by step. You can check out my Ebay store here. It is a mixture of clothes from my wardrobe and items I have picked up to resell.

So what is eBay?

eBay is a website (and App!) that is like a huge online store. Everyone from huge companies, small businesses and private citizens (like us) can sell and buy just about anything on there.

In 2019 eBay recorded 180million active users. That’s a lot more buyers than in your local Buy, Swap and Sell group!

What can I sell on eBay?

Just about anything! You can read eBay’s prohibited and restricted guidelines here.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that, in most occasions, you need to be able to post whatever you’ve sold so breakable / large / heavy items could be more trouble than they’re worth. Also, either you or the buyer has to pay for postage so you have to consider if the value of the item compared to the cost of shipping is ‘worth it’. For example, to ship a shirt it will cost about $9. So if the shirt is only worth $5 a buyer will end up paying $14 for it… for many buyers it’s not worth shelling out the extra money if it’s something that they could just grab at Kmart.

eBay vs Facebook Market Place?

It’s up to you what you sell on eBay compared to Facebook market place. My general thoughts are

Facebook Market Place / Buy, Sell & Swap groupsEbay
Low value items ($2 photo frame, $5 Target dress etc)
Heavy items
Bulky items like lamps, appliances, pots etc
Books sold in bulk
High quality branded items
Vintage clothes
Individual sort after books
Small items with higher value
Items new with tags
Unique items

How to open an eBay account

Open an eBay account here or download the app and create through there (I recommend the app).

All of the instructions in this blog will be for the eBay app as I think it is more user friendly for someone just getting started.

Ps- eBay has paid seller accounts but if you’re just getting started or just wanting to sell a few things from around the house I recommend a free account. You get a free account automatically but can upgrade it later.

Get yourself set up.

  1. Address: In the app look at the tabs along the bottom of the screen. Click on ‘My eBay’ and then ‘Settings’. In settings update your delivery address (which will be added as your return to sender address as well).
  2. Payment: In the app click on the ‘My eBay’ tab. Click on payments and add your preferred payment method to buy with and be paid into. I use my Paypal account as an extra security measure but when I first started my eBay account I used bank transfer.

List your first item.

In the app, click the ‘selling’ tab. Read through the tips eBay provided as they’re quite good, as well as the FAQs

Important info to keep in mind:

You can list 40 items per month for free on Ebay.

eBay takes 10.9% of the total amount paid (postage + amount it sold for).

  1. Click search tab. In search describe what you are selling using key words (name, age, size, if it has tags, brand)
  2. Look at the items that pop up. This is everything that is currently / recently listed and the prices people have advertised them for.
  3. Click ‘filter’ and show more. Scroll down until you see ‘sold items’ and click on that. Now eBay will show you how much similar items have actually sold for. Use this information to help work out how much to price your item.
  4. If you see an item very similar to yours click on it and then click on “sell one like this” and then skip to step 6. If you cant see one like yours read step 5.
  5. Click the ‘selling’ tab and then click list an item. In the search box write down key words to describe your item. NOTE: If your item is a book you can click on the barcode. Scan the books barcode and eBay may input all the info for you. Then click on the suggested category your item belongs in. You then have the option to choose a similar listed item or create a new listing.
  6. Go through the listing summary details one box at a time. The more details and key words the better!
The advertised price of “Cue Size 12 Red Dress” (above) VS The sold price of Cue Size 12 Red Dress (below)

Listing details

  • Photos: Try and take on a plain background. Make sure you use all the photos, photograph from all angles / sides, include photos of all tags and photograph any flaws. Use natural light and If you have an iPhone use vivid mode to make the colours stand out better. I have a hook on the wall. I hang the clothes on a white coat hanger, stick it on the hook and photograph there.
  • Title: Use all the space available. Include what it is but use all the different words that describe one item (e.g. top, blouse, shirt), colour (e.g. pastel sky light blue), size (e.g. 12, Medium, M) and key words to describe the item (e.g. summer, pool party, bell sleeves, sailor themed, lace trim). You can also you BNWT (brand, new with tags) if applicable.
  • Item specifics: You don’t have to answer them all but answer as many as you know.
  • Description: Describe any and all details about the item. Describe flaws and features. You could include measurements, original price, era it’s from etc
  • Pricing: I personally don’t use auctions – but you can. Click on pricing and turn auction off. Then add in a ‘buy it now’ price (using the info from your early search). You can also add if you want to allow buyers to make their own offer. I personally always have this turned on.
  • Delivery: Fist turn the ‘local pick up’ (allowing people to pick up items from your house rather then you mailing them) on or off. I don’t click on international postage because I keep it as simple as possible.
  • Below in the table, is how I approach postage because I find it easiest and it does not require a printer. This is my personal opinion but there are many other great approaches which you can read about here. Providing your own packaging and printing postage labels from Ebay is a popular option.
  • In preferences update your handling time (I set mine at 3 days) and choose if you will accept returns. I personally accept returns but have it set to ‘buyer pays return postage’.
  • Click list it and patiently await a buyer
Prepaid Australian Post Standard Parcel + Registered
1. On the app, click on delivery and then package details. Click on the “I don’t know the package details” and then click done.
2. Click on “select a service” > “use own packaging > “Australian post standard parcel + Registered” and then click done.
At Australia post, behind the counter or online, you can buy prepaid postage sachets (that have tracking numbers). They come in different sizes. I generally sell clothes so I buy the small size. As long as the item is under 5kgs and fits in this small bag they will send it. “If it fits it ships” is the motto. Read about prepaid postage bags and their sizes here.

3. In Postage cost enter the amount the prepaid satchel cost you. For example the small satchel is $9.20 so enter that and then press done.
Below the listing details on the item most recently sold on my Ebay

Selling your first item.

Now that your item is listed a few things may happen

  1. Someone buys your item- yay!
  2. Someone sends you an offer on your item. You can accept, decline or counter offer.
  3. The app give you the option to ‘make an offer to watchers’. Here you can send an offer direct to people who have saved your item on their wishlist.
  4. Your item does not sell. After a period of time your item will renew and eBay will relist it. If you item is not selling consider changing key words, taking clearer photos, dropping the price etc

Once an item sells eBay will show you the buyers details. Write these details onto the front of a prepaid parcel and add your return details on the back. On the eBay app click ‘add tracing details’ and copy down the numbers from the postage satchel. I keep the tracking stickers in a little note book (see the picture below).

Then mail off your item. I leave a nice review on the buyer as I feel this encourages them to leave a nice review about you!

I wrap my sold items in brown paper and keep a copy of the tracking number from the parcel.

How do I get paid?

After you have mailed the item eBay will release the funds to your bank account. This can take a few days as they wait for evidence from Australia post that your item has actually been sent.

Commonly asked questions?

Q. Does it matter what time or the day / night you post?

In my opinion, it does not matter.

Q. How to get more views on your listings?

Use key words that people are likely to search, fill in as many details as possible and keep the Ebay algorithm happy! Do this by posting items for sale regularly, using all the characters in the title and using all the photos. You can also share listings to your social media.

Q. How do returns and refunds work?

If you have an option to accept returns I would suggest also having the buyer pays for return postage activated. If an item is requested to be returned Ebay will send you a email. You then follow the prompts. They will handle the transfer of return funds.

If a buyer receives an item that they deem to be faulty / not matching the description you have given they can request a refund. You can accept or deny this. If you deny it they can open up a case against you which Ebay will moderate.

Q. What clothes brands sell well for you?

Please see the screenshots of my post recent sales. I am no expert! I suggest following the experts below on Instagram and keeping an eye on the items they are picking up / selling. I honestly think you can sell anything with good photos and key words! Don’t let brands stop you!

You can also follow the hashtags #aussieresellingcommunity #ebayreseller

Follow: @thriftypixie1 @minimalist_mumthrifts @thebusinessofpreloved @backfromburnout @mygirlrache

Remember that eBay will send you emails updating you on what to do at each stage of the selling process! They also have a live chat to help you if you need it.

I hope you found this information helpful! If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below and I will get them answered for you.


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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about building a house answered by a 26 year old first home buyer

Building your first house is equal parts exciting and overwhelming! I’ve asked a recent first home builder all your burning questions about everything building a house related

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

My boyfriend is currently in the process of building his first home! The slab is down and now he’s waiting on the bricks to arrive. Exciting times! Even though I helped during the planning process this house is 100% his and purchased with his own money.

In 2019 I saved a 20% deposit and purchased my own property, and in the process learned lots from the experience (read about that here). So I thought myself quite familiar with the house buying process. Turns out, this was not entirely true! I was still confused and stressed watching the process he went through! Purchasing land and then designing a house to go on the block is a whole other level of complicated! I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it must be for someone doing this for the first time on their own.

On my Instagram, Smartgirls-FinishRich, I asked my followers to send me any questions they have about building a home that they would like my boyfriend to answer. My hope is that in reading this list you’ll learn a few new things, have some questions answered and enjoy reading some of my boyfriend’s excellent opinions (I may be a little biased here ;).

All these answers are his own but I have paraphrased them and reworded for clarity. The bolded parts are my personal suggestions.

Why did you decide to build?

I had been saving for a while but I wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do with the money. I was set on buying shares but then all the grants were released. They were offering so much money for people to build and because I could afford it and had my deposit ready, it was too good an offer to turn down.

All about the money and the mortage

Top deposit saving tips?

  • Reduce your food costs. Eat at home more often (cook once eat twice) and cook from scratch. Buy groceries from cheap shops and pack your lunch for work.
  • Get a second job or increase your income. I do FIFO and on my week off I worked casually at a petrol station. I also worked for promotions to increase my salary.
  • High Interest Savings Account. I opened a high interest savings account, I changed banks to chase high interest savings accounts and the bonus money banks sometimes give you for opening bank accounts with them. A high interest savings account like ING’s Saving Maximiser, which as an interest rate of 1.35%, is a good place to store your savings. If you sign up for an account here and add my referral code (GEX485) we will both receive $50.
  • Buy fuel on cheap days (Monday / Tuesday). Even if your tank is almost full still buy fuel so you don’t get caught short and end up buying fuel on an expensive day. Read more about saving money on fuel here.
  • Take advantage of what your work offers for free. Make hot drinks at work using the provided tea / coffee. Do free training they offer. Take home left over food, etc.
  • Sell your old stuff that you don’t use. I sold music equipment, furniture, plants, games, board games and had a garage sale.

You can read my more tips for saving a deposit here: $90,000 In 2.5 Years For A Deposit At 23. My 10 Best Tips To Save Your Deposit Quickly

What building grants are you getting?

First Home Buyers Deposit Scheme (FHLDS). More info here

  • Didn’t need a 20% deposit and didn’t have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

First Home Owner Grant (FHOG). More info here

  • $10,000 grant and didn’t pay stamp duty

Australian Government Home Builders Grant. More info here

  • $25,000 cash

Western Australian Building Bonus Grant. More info here

  • $20,000 cash

Did you go with a big bank for your mortgage? Why/why not?

No, I did not go with a big bank. I could have gone with a different, larger bank and got a slightly better interest rate but they all had higher fees. My mortgage is with Police & Nurses. They offered me an offset account and a low interest rate. Most importantly, they still had First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) spots left. Banks are given a set number of FHLDS loans to give out by the government. Big banks have more applicants so tend to use all of theirs up first. Smaller banks tend to have them available for longer. Using FHLDS meant that I didn’t pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance even though I didn’t have a 20% deposit. This saved me thousands.

How big is your mortgage going to be?

I already have the land mortgage and have started to pay it off. The building mortgage increases as parts of the house get built.

In total my mortgage would be just under 400k. However, I will get the $45,000 cash from the grants in the next month or two so that will immediately lower it. I also put all the money I had in my bank accounts into my offset so that has reduced it already by around 35k.

What extra costs came up? What do you need to put money aside for that is unexpected?

A broker will go through these costs and account for them. You don’t have to used a broker but it made the process easier for me! I was glad I used an independent broker, not the one provided by the company you’re building with. A few friends had issues with the ones they were provided.

  • You need to put money aside for everything not included in your build. Generally that’s internal painting, a letter box, clothes line and backyard landscaping. Friends have also needed to pay for fencing but that was included for me.
  • You need to have money left over in your bank after your deposit is taken. The bank won’t lend to you if have $0 in your bank account at settlement.
  • You may need to pay a bushfire levy if your land is near bushland. Ask if you’re in this zone when looking at land.
  • Upgrades like extra tiles, better window treatments, aircon, built in laundry cabinets, full render etc cost money. You need to have savings put aside for these upgrades or be eligible to borrow more money.
  • Stamp Duty. That’s a tax you pay when your purchase a property (including land).
  • Conveyancer fees.
  • Down payment. You have to pay a land deposit / building deposit in cash.

Do you plan on paying it off early?

I will put money into my offset when I have it but I’m not planning on paying it off early. I plan on negatively gearing it. I’m a high income earner who has no plans on retiring early. So I want the tax benefit of it being negatively geared.

Did you put money into shares or super while saving a deposit?

No I did not. I’m planning on starting to salary sacrifice now that my deposit is saved and the house is underway.

All about the building company

How did you choose what company to build with?

I Googled house and land packages in areas I was interested in building in. I made a list of all the companies that showed up and then went to look at some display villages and got a feel for each company.

Then I called each company that I was interested in and asked what was and wasn’t included in their packages. I had five or so on my short list. Some never got back to me, others were quite unhelpful or rude so I crossed them off the list. The most responsive and helpful company was WA Building Company. I went and met a building consultant (Dan) and told him areas I was interested in building in and spoke about my general budget. Later he took me to look at land and I created my floor plan with him. It worked out perfectly with WA Building Company. They had a special on when I signed up so I got aircon, upgraded kitchen appliances and more included for free.

Did you go with a building company?

Yes I did- it was always my intention to. I went with WA Building Company because they got back to me first and offered everything I wanted at a reasonable price. My intention was to build a regular house at a good price that would appeal to lots of renters. WA Building Company build lots of houses so that means they buy building supplies in bulk, which keeps building prices down. As a first home buyer, going with a large company suited me.

All about building a house

How many beds and bathrooms does your house have?

It’s a four bedroom single story house with two bathrooms.

How did you choose what to save and splurge on?

Spend heavily on what you think makes a house nice. For example, I love cooking so I spent lots on having a huge kitchen, with extra storage and large appliances. I don’t really care about bathrooms so I didn’t pay any extra to upgrade these.

I also went with building a smaller but nicely finished house. Quality over quantity.

Tips for people building for the first time?

  1. Pay the extra cost to have lots and lots of power points. Think carefully about where they will go.
  2. Show lots of people your floor plan and ask for opinions. Fresh sets of eyes are so useful!
  3. Measure out everything. For example the size of rooms compared to rooms in your house. The size of showers and the length of benches. This will give you a better idea of spacing.
  4. Drive around new growth suburbs and the area you’re building in. Take note about the houses you see. What do you like in terms of colours, bricks, styles etc. What do you hate?
  5. Take time to make all the choices before pre start. Give yourself lots of time because it takes ages! Ask for samples to take home and look in them in different light. Ask suppliers for their opinions.
  6. Go to lots of home opens and display homes to get an idea for what you like and really don’t like. Below are some pictures I took at display homes.

I hope you found this information helpful! If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below and I will get them answered for you.


| This blog post was all about building as a first home buyer with WA Building company |

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The best cheap and simple Bruschetta that’s perfect for entertaining

Looking for a simple crowd pleasing appetiser to prepare for guests? This simple bruschetta is easy to make and delicious. It is also vegetarian and budget friendly.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Makes: 20 pieces Required time: 20 minutes

Recently I went to a sunset beach picnic with friends. We took bruschetta and everyone loved it – including my chef friend!

This recipe is perfect for appetisers, picnics and for breakfast. It’s cheap and easy to prepare.


This is for one baguette worth of bruschetta. You can alter the amounts depending on your personal taste preferences.

  • Baguette
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato x6
  • Red onion (small) x1
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Fetta 50grams
  • Balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 100°c.
  2. Cut baguette in 3cm slices.
  3. Place bread onto baking tray. Drizzle oil onto one side of the bread. Season bread with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Cook bread in oven for 5 minutes until crispy. Then flip and repeat step 3.
  5. While bread is cooking, cut tomato into quarters and remove flesh so you are just left with the skin. Finally dice the skin and put into a mixing bowl.
  6. Dice one red onion and six basil leaves and add to mixing bowl.
  7. Lightly drizzle olive oil into the bowl. Add salt, pepper and mix to combine.
  8. One bread is toasted, top with tomato mixture and drizzle with balsamic. Then crumble desired amount of fetta and any remaining basil on top.


  • The reason you use the skins is so that the mixture is not too wet / to avoid the bread becoming soggy. You could use the tomato flesh but be aware of this possible outcome.
  • This recipe can be made for breakfast. Simply sub the breadstick for white sliced bread.
  • If taking it in the car it is best to assemble when serving. This keeps the toasted bread crunchy and stops the toppings from getting messy.

I hope you love the meal! If you create it at home please tag me in the pictures on Instagram @smartgirlsfinishrich #SmartgirlsfinishrichEATS

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25 free (or cheap) ways to have fun outside of the house and save money

Sometimes, to hit your savings goals, you need to spend less money. That’s a fact of life. However, this does not mean you need to have any less fun. Here are 20 free (or very cheap) activities to do outside of your house.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Staying home is truly one of my favourite things to do. Staying home when it feels like everyone else is out having fun is the absolute worst. When you’re trying to save more and spend less the first thing people do is stop going out so they stop spending money. That’s not a bad idea in the short term… but it’s not sustainable in the long run. You’ll end up feeling house bound, uninspired and frustrated. This is a perfect recipe for having a blow out and spending $100s in one day!

Trust me- been there done that. RIP that money.

Instead of doing that it’s better to find new fun ways to enjoy yourself. These are also great things to suggest when friends want to hang out. I’m sure they will be happy to save the money too.

Here are 20 free (or very cheap) fun ideas that get you out of the house. I’ve ordered them alphabetically.

1. Beach day

The beach is freeee especially if you choose a beach with no parking fees. Remember to bring sunscreen, plenty of water, a bag full of snacks and your headphones. That way you won’t have any need to spend any money.

2. Chips on the beach (I swear this is different then #1)

When I was hardcore saving for my trip to Europe one of my favourite frugal late afternoon / sunset activities was to have chips on the beach. We would pack bread, salt, sauce, drinks etc. Then we would go to a cheap fish and chip shop and order $5 worth of chips to share (only cost me $2.50). Then we would sit on the beach and enjoy a cheap meal, a few drinks and a sunset – perfect!

3. Coffee in a café

Sometimes you need to get out of the house, see a friend etc but it’s not the best weather to be wandering around outside. In this instance I would go to a café and order a coffee / tea. I was really strict with myself and promised myself not to order a snack or meal. Bonus points if you bring coins to pay and leave your bank card at home – remove the ability to give into temptation.

4. Community calendar

I discovered this way too late in life! If you Google “x city community calendar” or “x suburb community calendar” you will see ALL the events being held in your area. Many of which are free. Then you can pick and choose the ones that appeal to you and plan outings around them. I recently attended Sculptures by the Sea which was so fun. I went with a group of friends and we all took picnic items and beach gear. It was such a nice afternoon and I spent $0.

5. Display Homes and home opens

Display homes are 100% free and 100% motivating! I love wandering around the beautiful houses, dreaming up my own home and seeing some of the terrible interior design choices. This is actually how I spent my day yesterday!

On weekends you can also check out home opens. If you’re saving a deposit it’s an incredibly motivating way to spend your time.

6. Dogs

I love dogs and cats… and birds… and really all animals! When I was little my mum used to take us to pet shops to look at all the animals. I thought it was THE BEST way to spend time. Now I realise it was also a really cheap day out for her.

Now I’m an adult I still love pet shops for birds / fish … #adoptdontshop for cats / dogs. I also love visiting the dog beach and free dog competitions. This is where they get their hair all done up, walk fancy around an oval and jump over stuff – cute and free entertainment!

7. Exercise

Look I’m not the biggest fan of exercise but it is a good way to save money and get out of the house. You could go jogging, swimming or go play on a public basketball or tennis court. If you google “Free exercise classes in my area” I guarantee you will find something to try out. Bike riding is another fun option.

If you like running (or want to like running) Parkrun is also a great free option. Check that out here.

8. Fishing

If you already have gear, fishing is a great free(ish) hobby.

9. Friend’s houses

Need to get out of your house? Time to head to someone else’s house! Bonus points if they have a pool, fancy coffee machine or cute dog.

…Dogs are featuring really heavily in this post and I’m not mad about it…

10. Gift cards

This is a two part suggestion

  1. If you have old gift cards a fun day out is to go spend them. Leave your bank card at home to reduce the temptation to buy other stuff. #stopbuyingshityoudontneed
  2. When peeople ask what to get you for Christmas, Birthdays etc ask for a gift card for an experience you’ve been wanting to try out. Then you can get out of the house for free! I recently went on the ferry to Rottnest Island for free thanks to tickets I got for Christmas.
Rottnest Island home of the Quokka

11. Go for a drive (and see how the other half live)

This is a guilty pleasure of mine. I LOVE driving / walking around the most affluent suburbs of my city and gawking at the crazy big mansions. These places are normally along the most scenic areas of the city so it’s nice to experience that too.

Plus it’s motivating! One day I’ll be rich 😂

12. Guided walking tours (free)

So museums, the government and community groups fund walking tours that are free. I have done heaps of these overseas (Jack the Ripper in York, ‘Ghosts’ in Liverpool, The Troubles in Belfast, Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg etc). One day it occurred to me that these probably run in my city!

Quick google and read through of the tourism sites and I saw that they do exist. I did one on convicts and bushrangers in my local area and it was so interesting!

Note: These are free but they generally ask for a small donation at the end. Like a tip!

13. Library

As a kid I spent a lot of time at the library because it’s freee (I see what you did there Mum). Libraries are a great place to;

  • Take free (or cheap) classes.
  • Borrow books / DVDs / Toys.
  • Read magazines (saves you buying them). I read National Geographic / Cosmo at the library.
  • Do/borrow puzzles
  • See what’s going on in your community.

14. Maccas $1 menu

My friend who has kids told me about this hack of hers. She shows her kids the Maccas $1 Menu at home and asks them to pick an item. She makes sure they know they can’t have anything else. Then they go to Maccas. She spends $2 on her kids and gets a coffee for herself. Then her kids play on the playground for an hour – genius!

15. Markets

Another one to Google. I love walking around the markets in my area. Especially the farmers markets.

16. Museums

Lots of museums are free or ask you to put a coin donation in a box at the door. Some museums do cost money but have one day a month where they’re fee. It’s so nice to wander around in the quiet and learn something new.

17. Op shop challenge

My friends and I love this! We set a $ limit (usually $5 – $15) and get it out in cash. We leave our bank cards at home and go Op shopping for the day. It’s so much fun seeing what the Op Shops have and it feels great to find yourself a bargain. Plus we normally have a good laugh at some of the ridiculous stuff you find.

18. Parks

Parks are freee. Parks are fun. Dogs hang out at parks. Need I say more? Plus you can bring a home made cup of coffee to enjoy while you wander around in the sunshine and gossip with a friend.

19. Picnic

I LOVE picnics. I have a basket and everything because I take my picnicking seriously. If you spend $100 on items for a Pinterest perfect picnic you’re missing the point. Pack what you have at home. Grab some friends and a blanket. Enjoy a frugal picnic.

20. Parliament house

You’ll need to Google this one because it varies state to state, but it’s free to sit in the gallery and watch the politicians battle it out. Not everyone’s cup of tea but it might be the perfect brew for you!

21. Public Pool

Public pools are quite cheap. Its nice to go for a swim or do some laps. I recommend finding a public pool with adult friendly slides or a whirlpool because they’re the best. Your inner child (or actual child) will love it.

22. Star gaze

BYO blanket and an app that tells you all about the constellations.

24. Sober drive

I am a big fan of sober driving! Organise a night out with friends but offer to sober drive. You’ll be the hero of the night, get to have fun and save yourself serious money on drinks!

25. Walk

A casual stroll, a hike or a visit to the scenic place near you that you’ve never quite got to. Walking is free and good for you!

The best reward for a hike is a view (ps- That’s me)

Saving money shouldn’t be a death sentence for your social life or spontaneity. It’s actually quite liberating to experience fun that does not involve your bank card or overpriced avo on toast.

What activity will you be trying out? Let me know in the comments below.

The best things in life are free” – Luther Vandross

| This blog post was all about free activities you can do for fun to save money.

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The Best Tips On How To Host A Frugal Party Without Your Guests Knowing It Was Budget Friendly

Entertaining at home, hosting your own events and self catering your parties is a great way to save money. Here are some tips to help you throw frugal parties on a budget.

When I got serious about saving a $90,000 house deposit (you can read about that here) one of the first things I changed was how I entertained. For the most part, I stopped going out for coffee, drinks, dinners and parties and started hosting events instead. At first, I found this really scary, but practice makes perfect. Now I love throwing events. From casual coffee catch-ups, to dinner with the girls to NYE parties with lots of guests. I love it all. It’s fun, its cheaper and it means that I’m always in charge of who attends – no more small talk with frenemies from high school. Plus you’re always invited and you’re never the one stuck waiting on an expensive Uber home.

Below are some general tips for hosting events, with tips for saving money below them.

  • Create a FB event / send a group message and make sure to include the start time and parking situation. Once you hit adulthood people need AT LEAST a months notice but appreciate two.
  • A slightly less awkward way to set an end time is to say “I’ve promised the neighbours music will be off by x time”. Then at x time turn the music off. People should take the hint.
  • I always put a courtesy letter in my neighbours mail box telling them I’ll be having people over for drinks. Especially now that I live in an apartment. I let them know what time they can expect the music to be off by. Then I set an alarm in my phone to remind myself.

Money saving party tips

1. Your friends want to help – let them!

When I host events people always ask if they can bring something. I used to say no, but now I realise that people generally only ask if they mean it. Many people feel more comfortable showing up with something in hand. Often I ask guests to bring low cost items like:

  • Ice
  • Chocolates
  • A small item for the grazing board (more on this later)
  • An item I would like to borrow for the party (portable speakers, cake stand, extra chairs, drink dispensers, plates etc)
  • A cool decoration item they had at one of their events (fairy lights, chalk board etc)

This really adds up! Every dollar counts when you’re saving.

2. Location

I am ALL for a free location. I hosted the party at my apartment which was free (obviously). Some other free options are:

  • Local parks.
  • Local beaches.
  • At a friend or family members house.
  • Some function rooms have free venue hire. They usually require you to spend a set amount on catering or drinks at the bar though so research wisely. These can be worth it though, if you have enough guests to easily cover the minimum spend.

3. Food

Food can be a HUGE cost if you don’t plan it well. Some people find cooking really stressful so I totally understand the appeal of paying for catering. No judgement if you want to do this! I would also suggest asking everyone to bring an item and sharing it all family style.

However, sometimes that catering responsibility falls 100% on you. I think an epic grazing board is a crowd pleaser, it’s budget friendly and a less stressful way to cater for a large group of people. They also allow you to cater for dietary requirements and tastes without too much effort, which is a big advantage. There is always something for everyone!

You can also pick your items to suit your cooking skills and budget. Plus, a good grazing board removed the need for a separate dessert, saving you even more money and time. Just put some sweet items on the board and you’re good to go.

Once the party is over grazing boards are so easy to clean up! Just put any left over items in the fridge, put a few items in the dishwasher, wipe the bench and you’re done!

To help with a party budget I suggest using napkins with a grazing board and small plates you already own. If you do decide to buy plates either get plastic ones and wash them for the next party, helping your wallet and the environment. If there is no way you’ll be washing plastic plates (understandable but unrelatable for me personally) get the $1 Kmart paper plates (or similar) that are compost friendly and cheap!

Here is how I plan a grazing board.

  1. Consider dietary requirements. For my latest party it was allergies to sesame seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and almonds. Plus two vegetarians were attending.
  2. Take stock of what you already have to save money. Grazing boards are a great way to use up what you have in the house. At my recent event I used items that were hiding at the back of the fridge / pantry like crackers, a jar of olives, frozen pastry, wrapped sweets left over from Christmas, eggs, pickles, popcorn kernels, tomatoes, red onions and more. NOTE: These items were not included in the total party cost at the end of this post.
  3. Plan your main food features. To ensure everyone goes home full and satisfied I believe that grazing boards need around 2-3 “main features” that are filling and delicious. Keep it simple and stick with foods you feel confident in cooking, that can be prepared in advance and that are cheap to buy. To save money try to base these foods around what you already have in the house. It’s best to choose foods that taste good hot or cold and don’t require cutlery. On our latest grazing board we had
    • Vegetarian spring rolls (Coles brand = cheap).
    • Vegetarian / chicken rice paper rolls.
    • Vegetarian / bacon quiche.
    • Three types of cheese.
  4. Fill the space with filler foods. The secret to budget friendly grazing boards is budget friendly filler foods. If you look at the ones on Pinterest you’ll see they they are mostly filled with cheap foods with one or two stand outs. Pick your stand outs – we went with nice salami and some (budget friendly) cheese. Then fill with cheap yummy filler foods that people will graze on all night. Pick your filler foods based on what is in season and what you can find on sale; Our grazing boards cheap filler foods;
    • Vegetables (carrots, capsicum, cucumber, celery etc)
    • Fruit (grapes, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi etc)
    • Olives
    • Popcorn
    • Chocolates (wrapped because of the nut allergies)
    • A variety of crackers
    • Pickles
    • Breadsticks
    • Cut up bread with olive oil / balsamic
    • Potato chips
    • Guacamole
    • Dips. I just get whatever is on sale / the cheapest. Or I make my own.
    • Lollies
  5. Presentation. The presentation of grazing boards is so easy because you can get so much inspiration online. If you don’t own serving plates, don’t go out and buy them. Instead, I would suggest putting down a layer of baking paper and placing all items on top of it. Its hygienic and easier to clean up later. Place your main feature foods first (or at least the platter they will be served on), then the larger items. Now fill the gaps with filler foods – done! I stick to a few general aesthetic rules
  • Your serving platters / bowls don’t all need to match! Don’t go out and buy brand new serving wear- use what you have and save $$$
  • Bread sticks in an old glass jar / pretty glass
  • Dips out of the plastic containers
  • Roll up sliced meats into little tubes
  • Place filler items in lines (see photos)
  • Pile foods close together, The less gaps the better.
  • Ensure there is room around the cheese to cut it / place a cheese knife.
  • Spread out each item all around the grazing board. Don’t put each food type in it’s own section.
  • Don’t put wet items near crackers.

When I hold events with a grazing board I often ask people to bring one “platter item” that they love. These can be placed on the board as guests arrive. People generally bring some cheese, a dip they like, some fruit, chocolate etc. It’s great because it helps increase the variety on your grazing board and saves you money.

3. Drinks

I am a HUGE believer in BYO. This is an instant way to save your self so much money.

It is nice to provide cold water / glasses / glass wear for guests. I always use my glass wear at events and if I’m short I ask a friend to bring some. You can also buy it super cheap from an op-shop. I do have some plastic disposable cups. After parties I wash these and store them for the next event. It’s better for the environment and your wallet.

I like to provide crowd pleasing, cheap and non-alcoholic drinks for everyone to share. A friend, who was not drinking on the night, actually provided mocktails for this particular event which helped my budget.

I have also hosted events where everyone is asked to bring the ingredients for one cocktail and then makes it for all the guests. This is fun because you try multiple new drinks and don’t stay sober for long. I wouldn’t say it’s very frugal though because everyone has to buy multiple spirits. Still great fun though!

4. Decorations

I LOVE decorations but it’s an easy way to turn a budget party into a pricey event. First things first, take stock of what decorations you already have at home or can borrow off friends.

Set a theme for decorations. I personally always have a silver / brown paper theme for my parties. That way I can reuse the decorations I have- saving me money. Then I supplement this with specific things if needed. Pink balloons at a friends baby shower, fairy lights on NYE etc, red ice cubes on Galantines. I try to limit this to what I can borrow or buy second hand.

I think the best decorations at parties are photos! These can be printed at Kmart for 10c a photo. Not only do they look good but they’re fun and a great ice breaker at parties. Plus they’re cheap! You can present them by sticking them to walls, creating a photo board or using them as bunting (like I did). Get this bunting at Kmart and reuse it.

Another way to decorate on a budget is to make your presents part of the decorations. For example if you buy flowers as a gift put them in a vase at the party. If you wrap a present use wrapping that matches your other decorations and set it up on a cute gifts and cake table.

Finally a great ‘decoration’ is a grazing board and a drink station! I put glasses on a cute tray, put the mocktails into plastic see through jugs, slice lemons into a bowl and fill a large jug with water that had fruit in it. It looks super cute, is functional and costs (almost) nothing

5. Cake

Professional made cakes, cupcakes etc look AMAZING! If that’s what you want to do I’m all for it.

But I personally always make my own cakes as it’s a great way to save money. If you already have lots of baking ingredients at home it’s probably cheaper to make a cake from scratch. If your pantry isn’t stocked It’s likely cheaper to buy a box cake mix.

Keep it simple. Make lots of icing. Then pick some nice toppers and decorate it- less is more. Even if your cake isn’t Pinterest perfect, people will appreciate the effort. I really think there is something special about a homemade cake.

Buy some neutral candles for the cake and reuse them to save! Just give them a rinse, store them away and they will be all ready for your next event.

Total catered party cost for 17 guests: $71

Location$0At my apartment
Food $47
(So much left over)
A friend provided the sushi pictured so its cost is not included here.
Grazing board
Paper plates
Drinks $0I drank drinks I already had and a friend provided mocktails for everyone to share
Decorations $10Kmart: Photo bunting $8
Reject Shop: ‘Happy Birthday’ banner $2
Cake$14Coles: Two mud cake box mixes (50% off)
Kmart: Cake topper and serving board

How do you save money when you host events? Let me know in the comments below and good luck with hosting your own frugal event!

| This post was all about how to host a party on a budget. |

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Want to be better with money? 11 underrated daily changes so you spend less and save more

I truly believe that every dollar counts when you’re trying to improve your finances. Your daily spending habits make a huge difference in your savings rate and overall financial situation.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Everyday your financial situation changes. Doing the 11 items in this list can make your financial situation 1% better or 1% worse each day. In one week you may not notice a huge difference but over a year (or a lifetime) the saving could be huge!

People ask me, how do you save so much? What are you doing differently than me? How did you save $90,000 so fast? To answer that, I put together 10 daily changes I have made which I think are underrated ways to spend less money so you can save more quickly.

1. Say goodbye to bank fees

Side parts, skinny jeans and bank fees are three things that have gone out of fashion. The jeans I’m not happy about. Bank fees on the other hand… good riddance!

If you’re paying bank fees to use an everyday transaction account, to get cash out at an ATM or if you are being charged a monthly bank fee, I want you to know that there is another, cheaper, way!

I don’t pay ANY fees to my bank, including international transaction fees or mortgage account fees.

I bank with ING and I am a very happy customer. You can check them out here. If you open an account with this referral code we will both have $50 deposited in our account. My code: GEX485

I’ve also recently opened a bank account with Up Bank. I wanted to see what all the zero fee fuss was about. Plus, I wanted the free $10 sign up bonus – I can’t say no to free money. So far I’m loving it. You can check them out here.

You can check them out here. If you sign up to Up banking here we will both receive $5 instantly. If you make 5 purchases within the first month we will both receive an extra $5 each – winning!

2. Stop buying water!

Why spend money on water when you can turn on a tap while out and about and get it for free?? I bring my water bottle with me literally everywhere. Work, cafes, friend’s houses, the shops, walking etc. It’s better for the environment and my health.

Whenever I leave a place I make sure it’s full. If a café has table water I use it to fill up my bottle just before I leave. Leaving a friends? Get yourself that free tap water! In a doctors waiting room? I’m filling up my water bottle at the cooler with no shame.

If you already have a water bottle, save your money and use it!

If you do need one, I’ve tried so many over the years and these are my picks. Below are the two water bottles I use. The first ‘Healthy Wish’ one is so cute. It helps you ensure you’re drinking enough water each day by providing timestamps to mark your drinking. It’s 1L and plastic so it’s light to carry around. I bring it on daily outings to the shops, friends etc

The second one is ‘Avanti’ and it is AMAZING at keeping water icy cold. I leave it in the hot car / on the hot sand at the beach and the water inside always stays cool- it’s actually mind blowing how well it works. I realise you can get cheaper imitations at Kmart etc (my BF has one of these) but honestly, there is no comparison! I’ve had mine for 4 years. The seal is still perfect, the bright colour (pink) has lasted and my water is still icy cold. His Kmart one is trashed and he’s only had it for a year. It’s an excellent investment and it comes in lots of colours. I use it on hot days, outdoor adventures and when I’ll be in the car for extended periods.

3. Sober driving: Embrace the lifestyle

Everyone knows that drinking out costs $$$. Ubers to and from places also add up FAST! Especially if you always seem to be the one ordering it and then chasing up the money…

When I’m looking to save money I generally offer to be the sober driver. It means I still get to be involved in a fun night without the cost of drinking and Uber charges. I really enjoy doing this on nights when I would have just had two or three drinks anyway. It saves me money without feeling like I’m missing out on all that much, except a hangover!

4. Make a coffee / tea before you leave

I would never tell someone that they can’t buy coffee- I’m not brave enough! Plus what’s the point in having money if you can’t use it to buy things that make you happy?

However, I think it’s good to limit yourself in what you spend. For example buy one coffee a day and then make the rest before you leave. This could be before you leave home, before you drive home from work or before you leave for a trip to the park with your (fur)babies.

Other things I do;

  • Carry tea bags with me and make tea on the go.
  • Keep nice tea / coffee pods in my work draw to make homemade more appealing and convenient than leaving to buy one.
  • Have a good travel cup that you like the look of, that never leaks and that keeps your drink hot. Nothing beats the original KeepCup. I’ve had mine for four years and it’s still in perfect leak free / stain free condition.

5. Share your streaming services

Everyone is paying for streaming services- nothing wrong with that. A great way to save money is to share your streaming services. For example, my boyfriend pays for Netflix and his sister pays for Stan. I got Apple TV free with my phone. We all share the passwords and now we all have access to three streaming services for the price of one!

My family was all paying for Spotify separately- 5 subscriptions! Then my frugal Mother realised its cheaper to pay for one family Spotify then to pay for hers and my Dads separately. So now we just have one family Spotify subscription (we still have separate accounts) and it’s a saving for everyone- thanks Mum!.

Who could you share a streaming service with?

6. Cheap fuel days

I’ve always been a sceptic of there being a magical day when fuel is cheap but since moving back to Perth I have changed my tune. Unlike in the regions, fuel prices in metro areas can change a lot based upon the day of the week. Fuel is usually cheapest on Monday, though in 2021 it may be on Tuesday according to the WA Government. Either way, it’s best to keep an eye on fuel prices so you can get the best deal!

Each Monday morning I stalk the app Petrol Spy Australia for the cheapest fuel in my area and then I fill up. The FuelWatch site also tells you what the prices will be both today and tomorrow. Remember to take into account any fuel discount dockets, deals, membership etc you may have because the app won’t.

Petrol Spy Australia app

7. Always pack snacks

I love a ‘snackety snack’ BUT I equally love having money in my savings account. The best snacks to spend money on are the ones when you sit down somewhere nice, enjoy your snack and have a memorable food experience. The worst snacks to spend money on are when you’re hangry AF, your blood sugar is low and you’re searching for the nearest calorie bomb- that you then devour without enjoying. Relatable?

To avoid this type of snack I bring food from home with me everywhere. Just simple things like muesli bars, nuts, biscuits and fruit. I find this means I avoid the hangry stage and impulse buys. It also means I appreciate the times I go for an intentional snack in a cute café or bakery.

I use this Snacker from Seed & Sprout to carry my snacks in. It’s slim, so it easily fits in my handbag. It’s also dishwasher friendly, rust proof and comes in plastic free packaging. Importantly, it’s cute so I never feel awkward pulling it out in front of people.

Seed & Sprout Snacker: The two compartment snacking solution.

8. Return purchases

In our capitalist society it has become second nature to buy things without considering if you really need it, or even if you like it. Even when you’re trying to be intentional and thoughtful, slips ups, impulse buys and regrettable purchases will happen.

I save money by returning these items. I’ve even been known to return a $2 candle that I just didn’t need. I make sure I ask for a receipt for every item so that I can return anything I regret buying. Even if I don’t return, I still always take my receipts, because I make money from scanning receipts on ReceiptJar. You can read about that side hustle app here.

Returning items means you spend less because you only end up paying for what you truly need and want. When the money is reimbursed I transfer it straight to my account #The1000dollarproject. It helps me grow my savings and teaches me a lesson about impulse buying. My logic is if I was happy to have the money leave my account for spending I need to be happy with it leaving for saving. You can read my post about the $1000 Dollar Project method of saving here.

9 Stop paying for parking

Paying for parking is one of my pet peeves and I avoid it at any cost. Sometimes it is unavoidable though. Instead of immediately paying for parking plan ahead and try

  • Parking a little further away in a free area and walking.
  • Getting public transport / an Uber or Didi (do the math here though).
  • Asking a friend to drop you off.
  • Riding a bike instead of traveling by car.
  • Car pooling with a friend and splitting the parking.
  • Planning to shop/ eat / live / work / book appointments in areas that have free parking.
  • Pre booking a parking spot to lower the cost.
  • Negotiate a free parking spot as part of your salary package. Remember this next time your going for a raise as it would be a perfect time to try!
  • If you have friends who live nearby, arrange to see if you can park at their place and then walk or get public transport from there

10. Never pay full price

I rarely buy anything full price because I know that everything goes on sale! If I see something I like I take a photo /screen shot of it, put it in my online basket and wait for the email notification “an item you’re interested in is on sale”.

I always google discount codes when online shopping and have Honey installed on my laptop which finds discounts for you. I use CashRewards to get money back on my shopping (read about that here or sign up now with my referral code (and get a $10 credit on your account) here.

I pay close attention to the loyalty programs I am part of, RAC for example. Using these, I can avoid paying full price on movie tickets, car services, pharmacy items and more.

If we’re going for dinner we often go on ‘Cheap Tuesdays’ or for a pub specials night.

There are so many ways to save money on your purchases. My motto is, “if you paid full price you paid too much”.

11. Stop buying shit you don’t need.

Iv’e saved the best for last as this is the most important one – STOP BUYING SHIT YOU DON’T NEED!

Do you have more then one candle at home? Well then, I guess you don’t need any more candles.

Do you have more then one pen or notebook? If you said yes, then you don’t need those stationary items you’ve been eyeing off – even if they do look cute!

Do you already own a mug? Guess what? You actually don’t need another one from KMart.

We need to normalise using up what we have before buying more. I have been focussing on using what I have before I buy more, and it means I’m spending way less money on shit that I just don’t need.

Toiletries are a huge one! Most people have draws full of makeup, moisturisers, hair products, lip balms etc taking up space. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any more beauty products until I used up everything I had in that category. #projectpan. Not buying random beauty products on a whim or because they might work better then what I already have, has saved me SO much money. It’s also creating lots more space in my bathroom and helping me to appreciate what I already have.

If you make one of these changes for one day you’ll briefly feel accomplished but long term it won’t have any impact. Instead you need to make an effort to implement the changes consistently and improve your habits. In this way, over the long term, it will have a huge positive impact on your finances.

Every dollar you don’t spent counts as a dollar that you can save / invest.

What underrated habits have I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently”.  Marie Forleo

| This blog post was all about how to make small daily changes so you spend less and can save more money. |

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The Step By Step Guide On How To Calculate Your Net Worth And Why You Need To Be Tracking It

Net Worth is a term we associate with the rich and famous of this world. In reality everyone has a Net Worth that they should calculate and track to monitor financial health.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Britney Spears’ Net Worth is reportedly $60 million. Taylor Swift’s Net Worth is estimated to be $356 million. The Beatles’ Paul McCartney has a Net Worth believed to be in excess of 1.2 billion. Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon, has a Net Worth of $184 billion, making him the richest person on the planet. He’s got competition though, because Elon Musk, the Tesla guys, Net Worth is thought to be $177 billion and growing fast!

As of right now, in February 2021, my Net Worth is sitting at $233,000. At 26, I’m hella proud of this number! Even if it is small change to these pre mentioned celebrities…

Tracking my Net Worth is one of the best financial steps I have made. I just wish I started earlier! Tracking your Net Worth is all about striving for progress, not perfection. In saying that, I can’t wait until my personal Net Worth hits a million dollars! In this blog I’ve provided a free printable to track your Net Worth and laid out my exact Net Worth (showing my liabilities vs assets). Before you scroll down there let’s talk about YOUR Net Worth.

Can you answer the question “What is your Net Worth?” or even “What does Net Worth mean?”.

Kinda? Maybe? No at all? Well then, let me help you by telling you everything you need to know about ‘Net Worth’ so you can get these answers worked out ASAP. You’ll be tracking your financial worth in no time!

What does Net Worth mean?

Net Worth describes your financial position. It is how much you are financially ‘worth’ and should not be confused with your worth as a person!

Your Net Worth takes into account how much money you have in your accounts and what you own (assets). This includes property, Superannuation / retirement accounts, shares, money in your bank accounts, gold etc

Net Worth also takes into account what you owe (liabilities). You may owe money to banks the government , companies and other individuals like family or friends.

Why should I calculate and track my Net Worth?

Tracking my Net Worth monthly is so empowering and has really helped me see the ‘bigger picture’. When you have an expensive week, get rostered on for a few less shifts or pay a huge bill it’s easy to feel like your finances are going backwards or standing still. Tracking my Net Worth helps me recognise my constant progress and stops me sweating the small stuff.

I calculate my Net Worth on the 1st of each month. This calculation requires me to log into all my various financial accounts and check my balances. This monthly check means I’m always on top of my financial position and also ensures I keep my log in details up to date.

Tracking my Net Worth keeps me motivated. It’s motivating to see how quickly your Net Worth can grow. It also inspires me to find extra ways to save / make money so I can decrease my debt and increase my assets ASAP!

How do I calculate my Net Worth?

Sometimes math is hard but don’t stress because this calculation is really easy!

Total value of your assets – Total of your liabilities = Your Net Worth.

Commonly included assets
– Property
– Savings
– Superannuation accounts / other retirement accounts
– Shares
– Gold
– Cash you may have outside of a bank (buried in your backyard? Under the mattress? Safe? Money tin? etc)

Less commonly included assets. It’s up to you if you choose to include these.
– Everyday accounts
– Cars
– Collectables
– Other material items (furniture, designer clothes, artwork)
– Mortgage
– Credit card balance
– Student loan debt (HECS, HELP etc)
– Loans (cars, furniture, electronics etc)
– Personal Loan
– Tax Debt
– Buy Now Pay Later balance (After Pay, Zippay etc)
– Debt to friends and family

I have created some resources to help you easily calculate and track your Net Worth. Scroll down for the step by step instructions.

  • You can download my Smart Girl Net Worth tracker printable for free by clicking on the images below. This printable is what I use on the 1st of each month to calculate my Net Worth. Print 12 copies and you will be set for the next year!

Step by step manual instructions

Total value of your assets – Total of your liabilities = Your Net Worth.

1. Calculate the value of each asset (more details on where to find this info later).

2. Add each of the values together and write it down.

3. Find how much you owe on each liability (more details on how to find this info later).

4. Add these values together and write it down.

5. Subtract the total of the liabilities from the total value of your assets.

6. This number is your Net Worth.

7. Net Worth for this month – your Net Worth last month = Your Net Worth change.

Where do I find the value of my assets / liabilities?

There are multiple answers to this question but here are where I find mine


  • Savings: Log into your bank accounts.
  • Property value: I personally track this on in their property value function which you can access here. I use the lower estimate on the estimated value range they provide. Remember this is only an estimate. You could also base if off purchase price or ask a real-estate agent for an estimate.
  • Superannuation: Log into your Super account(s). If you don’t know you log in details this is a perfect time to sort it out!
  • Shares: Log into your brokerage account.
  • Car Value: You can get an estimate of this on Red Book.
My estimated property value.


  • Mortgage / bank loans / credit card: Track this in your banking app / online banking.
  • HECs / HELP Debt: View this on MyGov. You will need to have the ATO linked. Click into the ATO portal. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and your student loan debt will show there. NOTE: This is only updated at the end of financial year. So it will probably not be 100% accurate.
  • Other loans: This can be tricky. You may have access via a companies website. Otherwise, you need to contact your loan provider (a car company/ furniture retailer / electronics business etc) and gain access to an online loan account and / or ask for your total debt balance.
  • Tax Debt: Access My Gov and then the ATO area. Then look in your Accounts Summary.
My Student loan at the start of the 2020-2021 Financial Year. Screenshot from the ATO portal in MyGov

HELP! I calculated my Net Worth and it’s a negative number?

Eek! That never feels good- I’ve been there! When I graduated University I had a piece of paper saying I could be a teacher (yay!) and a $25,000 HECs Debt (boo!). I calculated my Net Worth, found it to be negative and vowed to never calculate it again. I stayed true to my promise for three years until I eventually felt brave enough to recalculate it.

If your Net Worth is negative it’s okay. Your Net Worth and self worth are in no way related. A fact of life is that many people have a negative Net Worth and a second fact is that you can change it. Start by reducing your debt and then work on increasing your assets.

Tracking it monthly will be motivating because you can see it improve. You’ll be so excited when you get back to a $0 Net Worth. Then you’ll be even more excited when it starts to grow!

My personal Net Worth

My Net Worth is creeping towards the point where I can say “I am a quarter millionaire with a Net Worth of $250,000!’. I track my Networth on the 1st of each month.

Here is my personal Net Worth as of February 2021 = $233,713

Apartment: $420,000Mortgage: – $249,577
Cash Savings: $19,231Credit Card Balance: $0
Superannuation: $52,040HELP Debt: $7981
= + $491,271= – $257, 558

Total value of your assets – Total of your liabilities = Your Net Worth.

491,271 – 257,558 = $233,713

Remember to download the free printable to help you with your own calculation.

So now it’s your turn to answer the question… “What’s your Net Worth?”

What gets measured gets managed” – Peter Drucker

| This blog post was all about how to calculate your Net Worth and why you should track it. |

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I purchased my first investment property at 23. Five mistakes I made and how to avoid them

Buying my first property is my proudest financial achievement to date. I have no regrets (or buyers remorse) about my property. However, I have learnt some lessons along the way. Here are the 6 things I will do differently next time.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

When you start looking to buy a property it is exciting but it’s also overwhelming and confusing. It’s easy to feel like everyone else is an expert and you’re just pretending to be an adult while constantly googling the answers to the million questions you have.

Here are five lessons I learned throughout the process of buying my apartment. You can read about my journey to save a $90,000 first property deposit here. I hope these tips can help you avoid making the same mistakes as me and save you (some) panic Googling.

1. Have an Emergency Fund saved before buying a property

This was a moment where I really should have taken my own advice. On my Instagram, Smartgirls_Finishrich I always talk about the importance of having a fully funded emergency fund. Yet I committed a personal finance ‘sin’ and purchased my property without one – oops!

I was highly focused on saving a 20% house deposit (read about that here) so I sent every spare dollar I had to my house saving account. By being so single minded and focussed on my ‘save a house deposit goal” it meant that I never put any money aside for an emergency fund. I figured that after I finished saving my entire deposit I would start looking for a property. I believed that this would take months and months – giving me time to save the emergency fund.

Fastforward to my first weekend of looking, my third home open and me miracoursly finding the PERFECT apartment. I spent the settlement period and first few months of home ownerships madly saving a $10,000 emergency fund. Not only was this stressful, but it actually cost me money.

I paid maximum interest in my first few months of home ownership. My lack of emergency fund meant I didn’t have an instant bulk payment to to add into my redraw so I couldn’t immediately lower the interest charges. I could also only afford the minimum repayments because I was sending most of my income to my emergency fund.

Luckily for me, I didn’t encounter any major emergencies and managed to save my $10,000 emergency fund.

Life Lesson: Save a Emergency Fund before you save a house deposit.

2. Budget for locksmiths, new keys and buzzers

A truly horrifying adulthood realisation that I had on day one of home ownership was that locksmiths are expensive to hire and that’s before you even pay for pricey locks / keys. This new found knowledge was gained when I quickly realised that I hadn’t been given a full set of keys at settlement. I didn’t have storeroom keys or window keys. I also wanted a new front door lock for extra security. I didn’t like the idea that the past owners / renters could just use an old key to let themselves in… It ended up being around a $400 unexpected expense all up!

Cost of a Locksmith 2020

There are various factors which contribute to the total quote provided to you by your local locksmith, including the callout fee and labour, and the cost of products. On average, locksmiths cost around $60 per hour, but this may differ depending on the time of the day. If you need your locksmith to come to you during business hours, a call out fee of around $110 will be incurred. For after-hours services, this price will increase depending on how late it is…

How Much does it cost to hire a locksmith | | Georgia budden

Not to mention, I also needed two new gate buzzers ($160) because the ones handed over at settlement were broken.

Next time I will ensure that handing over keys, garage door remotes and gate buzzers is part of the settlement contract.

Life Lesson: Put money aside for set new property set up costs + include keys / remotes in settlement contract.

3. Visit your property and different times of the day AND night.

In my defence, I actually did this, but I didn’t visit late at night. I visited the property and the area at various times

  • – Lots of traffic
  • + Beautiful morning sunshine in the living room and darker bedrooms


  • – Everyone in the whole city (or at least it feels like) goes to the multibillion dollar fast-food chain nearby for lunch so the drive through line sometimes blocks the gate to the apartment
  • + Easy to get street parking while everyone is at work

I didn’t visit at night. If I had I would have noticed the extremely bright lights outside of the bedroom window. This isn’t a deal breaker it just would have been nice to know I needed to put money aside for black out curtains / booked installation in advance. On a positive note a night visit also would have told me that its a very quiet and secure area after dark.

Life Lesson: Visit a property / area that you’re interested in morning, mid day, evening and night.

4. Seek an estimate of your expected rental income

Writing this actually makes me cringe because it is SO obvious now but at the time… not so much. I knew roughly what rents were in my properties’ area simply because I had friends who lived near it. In the past they had shared what their weekly rent was and I made a rough guess based off this.

I never actively investigated how much the expected rent would be. I could have easily done this by comparing like properties on or by asking local real-estate agents.

Luckily for me, the rent ended up being higher then expected. In 2020 my property was renting for $400 a week!

Life Lesson: Investigate expected rental return on a property / area well before you actually buy.

5. Assemble your team before you start looking at properties

I believe their are three key people you should consider hiring for ‘team buy a house’.

  1. Mortgage Broker. You can read about them here
  2. Settlement Agent / Conveyancer. You can read about them here
  3. Licensed Building Inspector. You can read about them here

When I purchased my house I organised these people at the point of need (AKA the last minute) and that was an added stress I just didn’t need. It also meant I didn’t have much time to research the best fit or price. Luckily it all worked out, but next time I would research these team members early, contact them for pricing and ask them what they could organise in advance.

It may also be worthwhile to contact a Mortgage Broker before you start looking as they can help you know how much you need to save and organise preapproval so you know your budget before you start looking.

Saving for my own property is my proudest achievement to date. I don’t regret buying my property in the slightest and I’m glad I learned these lessons along the way. I hope my life lessons help you successfully navigate buying your own place.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself” – Eleanor Roosevelt

| This post was all about the things I wish I knew before purchasing my own property. |

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How to make more money? I earned $10,000 from side hustles here is an exact breakdown of the 17 income sources

So you want to make extra money or start a side hustle? Love that for you!

I saved $10,000 in 2020 to buy a ‘new to me’ car in cash. Below I will show where every single side hustle dollar came from #The1000dollarproject

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

I really hate cars. They’re expensive to maintain, their value depreciates (worth less over time) and paying for my rego hurts deep in my soul every single year.

However, I really love my 2002 Hyuandi Getz AKA Gertie Getz. I purchased her when I was 15 for $2000 – an absolute steal! She has been my old faithful for over 11 years!

The Getz was a reliable, cheap to run beast. 275,710 km, so far, of the Getz getting you there . Not in style or luxury. But getting you there all the same and never missing a beat. Until she did… first it was the windscreen spray pump failing to pump, then the weird rattle when you went over 100km/h. Both fine. Turn the music up and you won’t even notice the problem! Next came the issues with the lack of high beams and then the brake lights failing to turn off. Not to mention the squeaky breaks. One day the metal that holds the exhaust onto the car literally rusted away and now the pipe has to be held on with wire. Someone snapped a windscreen wiper in half. The tyre got damaged and needed replacing… the aircon stopped working. I ran into a pole and dented the car so badly that a panel fell off the door. The battery went flat and the gear stick started to fall apart.

Did I want to spend money to fix any of these issues when my car was barely worth $500? No! Suddenly, I was ducking down side streets when I saw police because I was scared of getting a yellow sticker! It was official; I needed a new car. I needed new car savings.

I had already set my 2020 financial goals and saving a car was not one of them. I had recently read The $1000 project by Sugar Mumma TV. In this book she describes an approach to saving that really aligned with my motto “every dollar counts”. The basic premise is open a savings account and aim to save $1000 bundles of cash.

You then use the cash to help you achieve a financial goal. This could be investing, paying off debt, extra mortgage repayments or saving for something important… like a car! This money can come from

  • Unexpected financial windfalls: Tax returns, birthday money, winning cash etc.
  • Savings: Finding extra money in your budget, getting a better deal on a purchase, skipping your daily café coffee? Transfer these savings to your $1000 project
  • Extra income: Overtime, side hustles Income, second job etc

A high interest savings account like Up Bank is a good place to store your savings. If you sign up to Up banking here we will both receive $5 instantly. If you make 5 purchases within the first month we will both receive an extra $5 each – winning!

I highly recommend reading the actual book as it explains the concept in more detail, is so motivational and it provides so many ideas of how to save and earn extra money!

Click on the Image to Buy it on Amazon

As I’m already quite frugal, I decided to focus most of my attention on extra income. I decided I would set a goal to save $10,000 in 2020 using #The1000dollarproject. The catch was that this money could not come form my base salary of my job as a teacher. It had to be extra income! Spoiler alert: I saved $10,000! Below is a breakdown of the sources of this income and an explanation of what they are. I hope this gives you some ideas to start your own #The1000dollarproject.

My 2020 Side Hustle Income Sources

My 2020 Side Hustle Income Sources

1. Second Job: $6082

I got a second job as a cleaner at a police station. I heard this was being advertised by a friend and applied at the last minute. My attitude was “I’ll give it a go and if it’s too much I can always quit”. It was $26 an hour and I had to clean for 9 hours a week- but I could choose my hours which was amazing. I generally worked from 5.30- 7am each day and then went to my main teaching job, Check Seek and JobsWA (or your states equivalent) for second jobs.

2. Ebay: $541

I opened an Ebay account (free) and started selling clothes and items from around my home. Once I ran out of things to sell I started thrifting high quality items from Opshops and garage sales. I would then sell them on Ebay for a profit.

I personally learnt a lot from the Business of Preloved. Jess has lots of free info on her Instagram about selling on Ebay. She also has a Podcast, blog and runs Ebay reselling courses. I completed Second Hand Side Hustle and it was great! You can check out her courses here.

3. Cash Rewards: $340

Cash Rewards can be accessed on their app or website. When you shop online (and in some stores) you receive a percentage of the money you spend back as ‘cashback’. I actually complete most of my shopping online these days just so I get the cashback! Any cashback I get I transfer to my $1000 Project savings,

  • Download the app here. If you sign up here it will active my referral code so you will get $10 cash into your Cashrewards account.
  • In the app search an online retailer.
  • Buy through the retailer on their website like normal (but still inside the Cashrewards app)
  • Cashrewards will give you a % of the money you spent back.
  • You can then transfer the money into your house deposit savings account.
CashRewards % of cashback

4. Garage Sale: $224

I hosted two garage sales in 2020. One at the start of the year and one in December. My half of the profits was $244. I sold clothes, books, old furniture, DVDs, CDs, plants, board games, kitchen items, car cleaning supplies, accessories, home wares, lamps etc. You could even ask friends or family for donations for your garage sale and split the profit on these items.

Most of the items at my garage sale were low value and sold for $10 or less but all of those small sales add up fast! If you had larger high value items to sell you could make thousands!

5. Containers for Change (AKA Return & Earn): $15

Return your used cans and bottles and receive 10c back per item- it’s honestly the closest you will get to free money! It helps the environment and the money can really add up. Plus if you entertain at home more (which saves you $$) you’re bound to end up with more containers to donate. At least that’s what happened to me!

6. Facebook Sales: $110

Selling on Facebook can be VERY frustrating but the money you earn is pure profit (unlike Ebay where they take a percentage of the profits). Post on Facebook Market Place as well as your suburbs Buy, Sell, Swap page. You can also look into private groups where people buy specific brands. For example I sold a wallet on “Perth Mimco Buy and Sell” and a Cue dress on “Australia Cue Preloved”

7. Mobile Monster: $40

Mobile Monster is a company that buys unwanted electronics off you. Phones, tablets, smartwatches, and some laptops. The best thing is they don’t just buy shiny new technology. They even buy phones that don’t work! I sold a iPhone 7 with a cracked screen and an old Samsung that didn’t even turn on. It’s worth checking out just how much the old electronics taking up room in your draw could be worth.

8. Surveys: $107

Online surveys are never going to make you a millionaire but they will make you money! I actually wasn’t very committed to this side hustle. If I was I could have made much more. I personally use Pureprofile and if you sign up here you’ll receive a cash sign up bonus via my referral code. Streetbees is another option. They have surveys less regularly but pay more when they do. Feel free to use my referral code 4115BQ when signing up for Streetbees.

9. Referral links: $600

This income was thanks to my Instagram account Smartgirls_Finishrich as well as my friends and family. These days so many companys offer a paid referral program. If you have any type of online following (inlcuding your personal social media) or helpful loved ones you can make money using these.

10.Receipt Jar: $40

Receipt Jar is an App that pays you for photos of your shopping receipts. These can be from online or instore shopping. Each receipt scanned gives you points. When you accumulate enough points you can cash out. Receipt jar used to let you cash out to your bank account but they have recently changed it to be gift cards. I generally cash out for Coles / Woolies gift cards. I use these for groceries and transfer the value of the gift card from my expenses account to my savings. Receipt Jar has said they’re working on setting up PayPal payments so fingers crossed on that. Download the app here and sign up using my referral code MACKENK1 for a sign up points bonus.

11. Bank Interest: $311

Get yourself a high interest savings account and let your money earn you money! You can read about that here. At the start of each month I transfer any interest that my accounts have made to my $1000 Project. I love this passive income!

12. Cash Gifts: $150

Everyone loves a cash gift. When I received cash gits for presents I avoided the temptation to spend it. Instead I deposited it into my $1000 project.

13. Overtime: $157

Teachers don’t get paid overtime (boo!) but we can do Internal Relief. That’s when you cover someone else’s class in your prep time (DOTT) and the school pays you for it.

If you can do overtime at work or pick up extra shifts DO IT! Then transfer this extra income to your $1000 dollar project.

14. Tax Return: $97

Tax time! I only got $97 back in tax back for a variety of reasons. You’ll probably get more and this can be used to quickly grow you savings! Even if you get less then me it’s still worthwhile to transfer this ‘windfall income’ to your savings!

15. Bonus: $30

Every now and then sends me emails saying “Book now and receive a $10 bonus”. If I get this email and I know I have accommodation to book I always jump on it. I also make sure to access through the Cash Rewards app for an added money bonus!

16. Roundups: $56

I bank with ING and they have a feature called ‘Roundups” that you can choose to turn on. For example, If I spend $2.50 and have $5 round ups on ING will “round up’ my purchase. So a $2.50 round up would be sent to my savings account. I have $1 round ups turned on. Check if your bank does similar. You don’t even notice these small amounts leaving your spending account but they add up.

17. Travel Reimbursement $400

When I travel for work I have to pay the travel expenses upfront. Then after course completion my work reimburses me. I sent this reimbursement straight to my savings. I figured if I could afford it upfront I can afford to save this extra money. Especially as I usually receive it a month or so later.

As I said earlier, I highly recommend reading The $1000 Dollar Project by Australian Financial Planner Canna Campbell. It is motivational, educational and written in such an engaging way. She gives so many more ideas in this book about earning and saving money.

Click on the Image to buy it on Amazon.

That’s where my $10,000 of savings came from! There are so many ways to make extra money. After reading The $1000 Project, this blog and doing your own brainstorming I’m sure you’ll have plenty of ideas! Remember, send every extra dollar you make to your #The1ooodollarproject !

Every Dollar Counts  

| This post was all about how to use side hustles to increase your income and save more money. |

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$90,000 In 2.5 Years For A Deposit At 23. My 10 Best Tips To Save Your Deposit Quickly

So you’ve decided to buy a house? Congratulations! Saving a deposit can feel overwhelming but these 10 tips will help you get started and get into your new place in no time.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Are you sick of rent inspections? Do you crave your own light filled, plant friendly space where you’re allowed to put hooks in the walls? Does your (future) dog deserve a big backyard?

If you answered yes to any of these statements, then you are probably in the same position I was in late 2016. After a year of traveling Europe, China and South Africa I was desperate for a place to call my own that I actually OWNED.    

I did some googling, some reading and then asked recent homeowners for tips. Over the next 2.5 years I saved $91,000 solo on a teacher’s wage, while living out of home. Plus, I went on a six week trip to Europe!

This is my new place- I love it!

Here are my 10 tips to save your own deposit ASAP!

1. Open a high interest savings account separate from your everyday bank

When you put money into a savings account the bank holding your money pays you interest, generally at the end of the month. The higher the interest rate the more money the bank gives you. This interest means your savings are making you money without you doing any work – it’s called passive income! This passive income helps you to grow your deposit. Currently, bank accounts with an interest rate of roughly 1% or more are considered ‘high interest’ savings accounts.

When saving my house deposit I opened a high interest savings account with a different bank than the one I used for my everyday spending. I named the new account “House Deposit” to ensure I was clear on my goal and this accounts purpose.

Having my savings in a separate bank meant that it took around 3 days for money to get from my everyday account to my savings. This helped stop me transferring my deposit savings back into my spending account. No longer could I stand in a clothes shop or at a bar (especially after one too many vodkas) and think to myself “I’ll just quickly transfer a few dollars over to buy this and repay it when I get paid”. The money was locked away and not immediately accessible.

Furthermore, when I eventually applied for a home loan, this separate bank account provided clear evidence of my consistent savings history. This is beneficial because banks see a good saving history as a sign that you can manage regular mortgage repayments.

Here are two examples of High Interest Saving accounts. Please ensure you read the terms & conditions.

All ages | Up Bank Savers 1.10%

If you sign up to Up banking here we will both receive $5 instantly. If you make 5 purchases within the first month we will both receive an extra $5 each – winning!

18 – 29 | Westpac Life Account 3%

2. Set a savings goal

The goal is “save a deposit”… so now what?

I was always aiming for a 20% deposit because I personally didn’t want to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) and I wanted access to the best mortgage rates. I also didn’t want to over extend myself with a mortgage that I couldn’t afford.

I originally had the goal of saving roughly $50,000 because it seemed like a large but achievable number. As time went on, I realised I needed a more specific figure. To get this I jumped on and searched for properties in areas I liked and looked at what they were worth. I then aimed to roughly save 25% of the average amount. The extra 5% was to account for stamp duty, costs associated with buying a house and to give myself a buffer. You don’t need to save 20% but you do need a figure to work towards.

3. Focus on $1000

Let’s be real, savings tens of thousands of dollars is overwhelming AF. Saving $1000 is less scary and much more attainable. The constant progress of aiming for $1000 and reaching it makes you feel so good, and these regular wins keep you motivated!

  • I set a goal to save $1000 from each of my fortnightly pays. I changed my whole lifestyle to make this possible and created a budget. You may not be able save this exact figure when you start saving, and that’s ok, but I believe it’s a nice round figure to work towards.
  •  I focused on saving $1000 at a time. Every time I made or saved extra money, I sent it straight to my high interest ‘House Deposit’ savings account. These little amounts quickly added up to $1000. You can read more on my blog about how I saved $10,000 in 2020 from side hustle income here. Check out book The Thousand Dollar Project Canna Campbell for more information about this approach!

Check it out on Amazon here

4. Increase your income

When I did the math and realised just how long it was going to take to save a house deposit on my base salary I was sad. Then I was mad (not for the first or last time) that teachers don’t earn squillions! I knew that if I wanted to save a deposit quickly I needed to earn more!

I did an ever so slightly extreme thing and moved solo 550km from my hometown to a semi remote area to teach as part of the WA Department of Education’s Country Teaching Program. I did this for the subsidised housing, increased job opportunities, increased salary (+ $8000) and so I would be surrounded by less shops / less temptation to spend. I’m not saying you need to do that. I’m just saying thinking outside of the box and take opportunities that will help you to increase your income.

I tried many other things to increase my income. I found that the key is to transfer every extra dollar earned straight to your ‘House Deposit’ high interest savings account. If you leave it in your everyday account it will quickly be spent on everyday things which will slow your progress. You can Google other ways to earn extra income and see what might work for you. Below are the ways I personally made extra money.

  • Overtime hours and striving for promotions
  • Got cashback on all my online shopping through Cashrewards
  • Casual jobs like baby sitting and waitressing for a catering company
  • Working the state and federal election
  • Online survey sites like Pureprofile and Streetbees
    • (Feel free to use my referral code 4115BQ when signing up for Streetbees $$)
  • Using an app called Receipt Jar to earn cash by scanning my receipts.
    • (Feel free to use my referral code MACKENK1 when signing up $$).
  • Garage Sales
  • Reselling on Ebay
  • Selling clutter from my home on Facebook marketplace, Ebay, Gumtree, My local Buy/Sell/Swap page and at market stalls
  • Worked a second job as a cleaner at a police station
  • I also looked into AirBnBing a room out / Uber but never committed… maybe one day!

5. Decrease your expenses

There are so many ways to decrease your expenses so I couldn’t possibly list them all here. The key is to find ways to decrease your expenses and then SAVE the difference between what you used to pay and what you paid now.

For example, I changed from an Optus phone plan ($50 a month) to Boost Mobile prepaid ($30 a month). This saved me $20 a month or $240 a year! I transferred $240 straight to my ‘House Deposit Savings’ account. The other option is each month when you pay your phone bill send the $20 extra you’re saving to your ‘House Deposit Savings’.

Some other ways I decreased my expenses.

  • I got a roommate. I organised it so that they transferred their rent / half of all bills straight to my house deposit savings account. This reduced the temptation to spend the extra money I was earning.  
  • I got better deals on my car insurance and home internet. I sent the money I saved over the year straight to my house deposit account.
  • Moved to a place with cheaper rent.
  • Cancelled my unnecessary subscriptions and sent this money to savings instead.
  • Ate out less often and meal prepped my work lunches.    
  • In 2019 I had a total ban on buying clothes! I didn’t buy any clothes for the whole year. This left me more money to spend on experiences, eating out etc
  • I stopped buying shit I didn’t need. I committed to using up what I had instead of buying more. This included candles, pot plants, beauty products, stationary etc
  • I started having people over for drinks, meals, coffee catch-ups and games nights. This saved SO much.

Try googling “How to save money on groceries, x beauty treatment, electricity etc” and you will get so many ideas! They key is to always transfer the savings you make to your house deposit!

6. Keep Learning

I highly recommend these three books for anyone saving a house deposit or looking to improve their finances in general.

  • Smashed Avocado
  • Mindful Money
  • Barefoot Investor

Check it out on Amazon here

Check it out on Amazon here

Check it out on Amazon here

7. Track and celebrate your progress – #treatyoself

Saving a deposit is a marathon, not a sprint. So you need to track your progress so you can focus on how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go. You can find lots of saving trackers online and they’re great! I personally made me own using grid paper. Each square was $100 saved and each line $1000. As you can see, after 2.5 years of saving the tracker was looking a little worn!

Every $10,000 I did something fun to celebrate. This included a picnic in the park, a massage, a new pair of shoes, a comedy show and a really big KFC feast.

8. Find yourself a cheer squad

Everything is easier with a support system. I told my immediate family and close friends that I was working towards saving a house deposit. I also told a financially focussed work friend. It was great to share my progress with these people. It also kept me accountable because they would ask how it was all going .

I found that when I said “I’ll just get a main from the special menu and no entrée” or “should we do a free activity on the weekend” people understood more easily why I was ‘being like this’, they knew and accepted it as part of your financial goal. My friends were happy to support me reach my goal and were really understanding of my increasingly frugal ways!

I also started my money Instagram Smartgirls_finishrich which opened me up to the support and motivation that the Debt Free Community (#DFC) provides. I highly recommended following some accounts that are saving for a house deposit or starting your own account!

9. Do the math.

Use the MoneySmart website calculators to work out what mortgage you can afford. It’s also quite motivating and trust me, their will be times when you need a quick fix of motivation!

Also do the math on if any government incentives (First Home Owners Grant, First Home Super Saver Scheme etc) could benefit you.

10. Use a mortgage broker

A Mortgage Broker is a professional whose job is to help people secure a mortgage. They are free! They are paid a commission from the bank that you end up getting a mortgage with. Google “mortgage brokers in x area” or ask family and friends for recommendations.  

They can;

  • Go through your finances with you and work out how much you can afford to borrow.
  • Recommend steps you can take to seem more of an appealing customer to the banks.
  • Suggest government grants you may be eligible for.
  • Guide you through the process of buying a home.
  • Show you lots of mortgage products and help find one that’s right for you.
  • Answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Saving my deposit is still one of my proudest achievements. Even though it often felt long, slow and never ending all the sacrifice was worth it!

Next time I buy a property, I would do a few things differently. You can read about my mistakes here and avoid making them yourself.

They biggest lesson I learnt along the way was to send every dollar you save or earn straight to your house deposit account. Regardless if it’s a $1 you find on the ground or a $5000 tax return- every single dollar counts!

Next time I buy a property, I would do a few things differently. You can read about my mistakes here and avoid making them yourself.

Short Term Saving Pain = Long Term Financial Gain  

This blog post was all about how to save a house deposit.

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