How I Saved My First $50,000 at 20

There’s a lot of financial advice floating around on how to save money.

Most of it includes things like cutting out your daily coffee, packing lunch to work or only buying items on sale.

While these tips may help you temporarily save an extra $50 or $100, they are not going to help you save $50,000 or even $100,000.

Plus, I find these tips don’t apply to everyone – especially if you’ve always been frugal. Who really buys a coffee every single day?

The tips I am going to share with you will fundamentally shift your money habits to help you save significant amounts of money and can be applied specifically to your situation.

There’s a lot to get through so grab some snacks or a drink and settle in!

$50,000 at 20 – A bit about my background

At 20, I hadn’t earned a lot of money in my life or been given any kind of financial handout – I’ve always been a regular girl from a hard-working migrant family.

However, what set me apart is starting early.

I started making money early which allowed me to get ahead financially. My first part-time job was at 15 and my first full-time salaried job was at 19.

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I started working at 15 for $7 AUD/hour and never stopped working since. Even with that measly income, I still saved a large percentage of my pay to buy big ticket items like my first smartphone.

At 19, instead of studying full-time like my peers, I had a full-time corporate job where I made a “proper” salary. Okay, fine the proper salary was essentially minimum wage but it was a lot of money at 19. I still studied full-time at university, taking advantage of night classes.

While it was stressful to study and work full-time, it allowed me to start earning a salary early on without neglecting my education. This led to me to buy my first stock at 19 and those returns have compounded every since.

No one had ever told me this was even an option. I was under the impression that I’d be working part-time in retail/hospitality at university and would only make an actual salary when I graduated in my early 20s.

However, I am here telling you it is possible and an excellent strategy if you want to get ahead financially.
Just make sure it works with your field of study, some degrees with high contact hours would make it impossible to do this.

Working and studying full-time was just one of the many strategies I used to save $50,000 at 20 – here’s what else I did.


Budgeting is one of the most powerful personal finance tools. It is essentially an analysis of how you spend and earn money.

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Budgeting helps you set goals, targets and also identifies problems in your spending habits.

The realisations you will make could be anywhere from that you need to increase your income or perhaps need to cut down on delivery food.

You need to budget to find out where you are and what steps need to be taken.

See if you are spending a large amount on one category but don’t feel like you’re getting it’s “worth”, or if there is anywhere that you could cut down. You are essentially deciding where you should spend your money, what you value and what is important to you.

How Do I Budget?

There are many ways to budget such as using software like YNAB or Pocketbook. I personally prefer an excel spreadsheet, you might find that good old pen and paper works even better.

You can read more about budgeting by clicking here.

Plugging the leaks

Once you have identified what changes should be made, it’s time to manage the issues that are causing you to waste money, a.k.a “plugging the leaks”.

It’s hard for me to predict exactly what your leak is, but I’ve created a list below to help you get some ideas:

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  • Spending too much on eating out, delivery – Cook at home and meal prep
  • Spending too much on rent – Get a roommate or move to a less premium area
  • Spending too much on gyms and trainers – Cancel them and work out at home
  • Spending too much on drinks/going out – Invite friends over instead of visiting a restaurant, have pre-drinks at home before visiting a bar
  • Spending too much on fashion, shoes and bags – Buy second hand, unsubscribe from email newsletters, don’t visit shopping centres or online shopping
  • Income not enough to get by – Up-skill to work towards either a higher-paid promotion or a career change, get a side hustle or second job

Self control & discipline

Once you’ve figured out where you can cut down or what changes need to be made, it’s time to implement it.

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This is one of the hardest parts and it requires a lot of self control and discipline. You need to think twice about the financial decisions you make and stop chasing instant gratification. It can be really hard to stick to your budget and you may mess up sometimes, but that’s okay! Just keep trying your best. Some strategies I personally use to stop over-spending and stick to my budget are:

  • Before you buy anything that isn’t necessary – give it some time and don’t buy it right away. Even if it’s just one day, get out of the habit of buying things without a second thought
  • Start using “fun” purchases to reward yourself for reaching goals and not something you buy on a whim. Delivery food, clothes, drinks – start using them as a treat that you need to earn
  • Regularly remind yourself of your financial goals. You’ll realise your goals are more important than that instant gratification purchase!
  • Distract yourself when you feel like spending. I love shopping and can get in a “mood” to go out and spend money. In this scenario, I try to distract myself. I’ll either bake something or maybe start on a painting. It works!

Changing your mindset

If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve”

Debbie Millman

If you want to save $50,000 – you need to believe that you can do it.

You’re probably thinking “that sounds too simple” or “this doesn’t really sound like financial advice” – but, here’s the thing. If you truly believe you can achieve, your brain will actually act differently. There is real science behind this – it’s know as the growth mindset. Click here to read more about the research.

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No matter how many coffees you cut out or how much you cook at home – nothing will change until you change the way you think. Believe that you can save $50,000 – visualise it in your bank account or investment portfolio.

Once you trust that this is something that you can accomplish, you will work even harder to achieve it and be more motivated.

And, that’s it! These are the strategies I used to save $50,000. If you apply all of these steps to your life, you will surprise yourself at how quickly you can achieve your financial goals. Are you ready to save? Here are some of my previous blog articles:

The Secret To Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need

Any shopaholics in the house?

I feel you.

I love shopping. I love clothes, shoes, beauty products, home décor – it makes me happy! However, shopping often can mean you buy things you never end up using.

Here’s how I don’t buy things I never use.

Yes, I spend a lot of money on fashion, beauty and other “discretionary” categories but here’s the thing – I use everything I buy. My Dyson Airwrap? I use it religiously twice a week. The cute leather loafers? I wear them religiously. It isn’t because I am just lucky, but there is an actual secret to it.

Let me share my secret with you.

It is…making a list.

I know what you’re thinking. Really? Making a list is so simple. How will this help me save money? Oh, but it does.

It is an incredibly powerful tool that will shift the way you shop.

Now, I am definitely a slave to capitalism. I love cute things and I want them all. Minimalism makes no sense to my brain, pretty things make me happy. However, I keep this controlled and make sure I never spend over my budget.

Whenever I see something I want to purchase, I add it to a list on my phone.

Somehow, doing this almost gives me some satisfaction. I know it sounds really weird, but try it out for yourself.

I guess in a way, rather than telling myself “no”, I tell myself “later”.

This strategy makes me feel like I’m not depriving myself, while spending no money!

Once I have that item added to my phone list, I’ll add a cost next to it. E.g. Soda stream / $80.

Next, I’ll let that item sit in my list for a while depending on how much it costs. For example, I wanted a $30 French press and that only needed to hang out in my list for 2 weeks before I got one. However, a sewing machine has been sitting in my list for the last 6 months as it is something that costs a lot more.

What I find interesting is, I have removed items that I wanted so badly when I first saw them.

This helps to eliminate items that seem amazing in the moment but would collect dust if I bought them. In the same way, if an item has been on my list for months and I still want it – it means it is an item that I am likely to use regularly and it will be money well-spent.

While this isn’t a fool-proof method, I rarely buy things I don’t use by using this strategy.

Along with a sewing machine, another big ticket item in my list has been a Kindle.

As you can imagine, as a writer I also love to read. However, hard copy books are expensive and take up a lot of room. That’s why I added a Kindle to my wish list. Since, they aren’t the cheapest thing, it was on my list for months before I pulled the trigger. By doing this, it let me really understand that this was something that I would use – and I did! I bought it during the Black Friday sales for 30% off and use it daily.

The second part of this strategy is avoid buying things that aren’t on the list or not worth the list.

If you see something you like that is nice and at a good price, but isn’t on the list – don’t buy it. Yes, even if it as a good price.

A frequent second-hand shopper, I find bargains all the time. When I find something that’s a fraction of the retail price, it is so tempting to purchase. However, I don’t anymore, unless it was something I was looking for.

Don’t buy an item just because it is on sale, buy an item you will actually use.

When I first started visiting op and thrift shops, I would sometimes buy items that weren’t quite right. Shoes that were a bit loose, clothes that didn’t flatter my body. Why? Well, they were a great price! But, I ended up not using these “great value” items. Which did make them a waste of my money.

Nowadays, when I come across something beautiful at a good price – I don’t jump to buy it. Here’s what I do:

  • Firstly, I look through my list. Is it on the list? Is it worth adding to my list?
  • Next, I think about if I actually really like the item

Doing this has helped me only buy the items that I really love.

And, there you have it! My super simple yet effective strategy to stop buying things you don’t need.

Frugal Living Diaries: Turning Trash To Treasure

Frugal living will have you excited about literal trash.

I wanted to share a frugal activity I did over the weekend – turning rubbish into something useful. With being frugal, I love shopping second-hand. Op and thrift shops are where I get a lot of my clothes, bags, furniture, decor and more.

However, sometimes I become extra-frugal and look to things people have thrown out. We have found great pieces of furniture on the side of the road!

I love living frugally as it allows me to save money while also saving the planet.

On a lazy Sunday, my partner brought me a gift. While he was taking our bins out, he came across an item discarded near the bins by one of our neighbours.

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Found in the trash!

Now, a normal woman might recoil in disgust “Babe, you brought me a gift from the trash?!”

But, not me! I was super excited!

He brough me a spice organisation tray with twelve little jars. A way to organise my spices was something I was looking to invest in, so getting it for free was amazing! Best of all, it was rather clean in great condition.

My previous spice situation was okay, but not great. Of course, being the frugal person I am, I’ve been storing my spices in old glass jars from pastas and sauces.

While this method was frugal, functional and reduced waste – it was pretty ugly. All my jars were different sizes and colours so it didn’t look aesthetic. So, you can imagine how excited I was to see 12 identical storage jars.

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Time to get to work…

The process of turning trash to treasure

While the organiser was in pretty good shape, it needed a bit of work.

Here’s how I turned it from trash to treasure.

I started with giving the wooden tray a wipe and removing all the sticky labels from each jar, as I wanted to customise it for my spices. For this, I just used a butter knife to slowly peel off each label. Although they were pretty clean, I still ran them through the dishwasher to make sure they were sparkling.

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While they were in the dishwasher, I looked through my spices to decide who would live in each of the little jars. I then made a note of the 12 spices.

Next, I created my own custom jar labels just using some coloured paper, pen and tape. I kept one of the original labels, using that to trace out the shape on some paper. I then cut the pieces out, and wrote down the name of each spice. Also added little hearts for a cute touch. Sure, I could have bought labels or stickers but I wanted to use what I had to keep things extra frugal. Why spend money when you don’t have to, right?

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Once my jars were sparkling, I attached my homemade labels using small pieces of tape. Finally, I filled the jars with the spices.

The final result looked great!

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Frugal living is fun!

Throughout this entire process, I had a lot of fun.

It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon activity to set up my new spices and I enjoyed customising it.

Often times, people think that being frugal means you have to live a boring and sad life just to save some money. However, I find that is not the case!

I love the thrill of coming across an amazing second-hand find – it is so satisfying, almost like a real-life treasure hunt. Frugal DIY projects are fun and help spark creativity. Here is my coffee table which I transformed earlier this year for $11:

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We nearly bought a new table, but frugal living saved the day!

If you want to start being more frugal, I highly recommend it! You can learn more about living a frugal life by checking out some of my blog posts below:

I Got Rid Of My Car And Saved $5,334 In One Year, My Review On A Car-Free Life

I’ve lived a car-free life for the last 12 months and here’s how it went.

I’ll share the impact it had on my life and real numbers on how much money I saved.

Why I sold my car

At the start of 2022, I moved from Melbourne to Sydney to take up a dream job offer. This move meant that I went from more of a suburban area to inner-city living.

Initially, I wasn’t sure if I should bring my car down or not. It was funny, I had recommendations from both ends of the spectrum. I had people telling me that I couldn’t possibly survive without a car in Sydney, and those telling me I could easily get by.

In the end, I decided to get rid of my car.

The main reason I used my car was for commuting to work.

My old girl & I.

At my previous job, I drove around 40 minutes each way to get to the office so a car was essential. However, after moving to Sydney I could walk to work. I figured if I didn’t need a car everyday, it wold make sense to not have one.

So, I parted from my dear old 2006 Mazda 3 (“Mazzy”) after a blissful 4 years and jumped into a car-free life.

How much it cost me to own a car in 2021

Before I talk about today, let’s rewind to how much Mazzy cost me.

I bought her in cash for $6,000 second-hand so I never had to worry about a car repayment. Actually, I am a firm advocate for buying cars second-hand, you can read my article by clicking below:

Even with buying a car upfront, it still came with many costs.

As a meticulous budget-er, I calculate every cent I spend. This includes all car-related costs as well. Here’s how much I spent in 2021 on my car.

In 2021, I spent a total of $6,411 on my car.

Here are the costs.

Petrol: $4,294 per year / Driving to and from work for 40 minutes each way, petrol costs added up quickly. I also enjoyed taking weekend road trips here and there.

Registration (Victoria): $850 per year / This fixed registration cost is what all car owners have to pay in Victoria. It was always painful when it was time to pay up.

Car servicing & maintenance: $737 / Other than the standard twice a year service, Mazzy being an old girl always needed a couple of things repaired. In 2018, I needed a $1,800 repair (from a hit and run) so this was a good year.

Car insurance (Third-party only): $530 / For an old, inexpensive car I never felt the need to purchase comprehensive car insurance. I always stuck to basic third-party.

That’s right, I spent an average of $534 a month on my car. Not including the cost of the car or car repayments.

On top of this, I still spent additional money on transport. I still caught trains to the city and Ubers after late-night events. So, my total monthly cost on transport was even higher!

In 2022, I will spend around $1,077 on transport.

Okay, 2022 isn’t over yet, but in the last 10 months on average I have spent just under $90 on transport.

As I walk to work, the coffee shop, to buy groceries etc I can go days without taking any kind of transportation. When I do need to, I often opt for public transport and occasionally take Ubers if it is late. This helps me keep my transport costs low.

This means by not owning a car, I saved $5,334 in one year. That is $444 a month which is crazy!

Of course, I also didn’t include additional Uber and public transport costs on top of a car so I bet I saved even more than that figure!

Saving an extra $444 a month is hard. It means making a lot of sacrifices in the budget. However, by making this drastic lifestyle change I was able to bring my fixed living costs down!

Just by not owning a car for four years, I could save over $21,000.

What a car-free life is actually like

You may be wondering, is it really hard to live without a car? Has my lifestyle suffered?

As someone who drove nearly everyday for 4 years, here are my thoughts.

I enjoy a car-free life and don’t miss owning a car.

As I live in a well-connected area, I rarely miss having a car and enjoy my lifestyle.

As mentioned earlier, I walk a lot. Being able to walk to work has significantly boosted the quality of my life. It’s also a great way to keep fit without trying. I’m also close to trains and buses which I use often. I also used to hate taking buses, however they have really grown on me!

I seldom use Ubers and Taxis – only when I really need them. Actually, this isn’t a frugal thing but more so because they cancel so much! Especially in my area. I’ve experienced four or five drivers cancel on me multiple times, so I prefer the reliability of public transport.

I also enjoy not having to do the “adult stuff” you have to when you own a car. I used to dislike having to fill up petrol, fill air in my tyres and get my car serviced, which I don’t have to anymore!

Overall, I think it has been a great decision to live a car-free life.

The one time I wish I had a car

That being said, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

In the last 12 months, there was only one time where I really missed my car – when my parents stayed with me in Sydney for a week.

Unlike myself, my parents didn’t enjoy catching the public transport to places, which they had to – since I didn’t own a car. They quickly got tired of having to keep catching the train and eventually switched to Ubers at the end of their trip.

I felt guilty I couldn’t drive them around and wished I had a car for that week. However, other than this instance I never felt like I needed a car in the past year. Next time they visit, I am renting a car!

Will I always be car-free?

While I love living the car-free life, I see myself eventually purchasing a car after a couple of years.

I don’t think I’ll always be lucky enough to live in a well-connected area that is walking distance to work. If I get a job that is a 20 minute drive from home, I am buying a car.

Let’s see what the future holds.

I hope this article gave you some insight into what it is like to live a car-free life. Funnily enough, if you told me 18 months ago that I would be car-free, I would have never believed you! I was so reliant on my car that I always believed it was essential.

Are you thinking about giving up your car? Or are you living a car-free life? I’d love to hear more, you can contact me by clicking here.

Laser Hair Removal Can Be Cheap, Here’s How I Did It For A Fraction Of The Cost

Here’s how I did laser hair removal for cheap, saving me over $5,000.

My hair loves to grow.

I’m the kind of person where if I shaved off my entire eyebrow, it would grow back within a few weeks. I have a lot of hair and it gets everywhere. As you can imagine, maintaining my hair used to take a lot of time and effort.

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My natural hair!

Many of my friends had raved about laser hair removal. A magical solution that would save me so much time, I had to check it out.

After learning that laser hair removal was relatively pain-free, my next question was price.

It didn’t take me long to discover that laser hair removal is very expensive. Like, thousands of dollars type of expensive.

How much does professional laser hair removal cost?

The cost of professional laser hair removal varies.

In Australia, clinics usually charge $300 – 400 for a full body session. And, you need around 6-12 sessions to get a full result. This means you could be spending $1,800 – $4,800 to get laser hair removal, for your entire body. Of course, this is just an average.

As previously mentioned, my hair is strong, stubborn and grows extremely fast. It’s like all the calories I eat go straight to my hair unlike something useful, like my brain. I had a feeling that it would cost me personally a bit more than that, and I was right.

I spoke to several women with the same hair type and amount as myself. They all paid between $5,000 – $10,000 to get rid of everything. Plus, they had to get maintenance sessions on top of this cost to keep it up!

The cost was far too high for me. It seemed ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars on hair removal when I could invest that instead.

So, being the frugal queen I am, I looked into cheaper alternatives for permanent hair removal.

DIY permanent hair removal

The idea of DIY permanent hair removal really scared me at first.

After all, I had no experience doing something like this and was scared I would burn myself or such. So, I started with doing a LOT of research. I discovered that there were many safe and easy options for at-home permanent hair removal.

After much research, I decided to buy an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal device.

At-home Laser and IPL hair removal devices range greatly in price. They start at the $100 mark and some of them are upwards of $1,000 – I decided to go somewhere in the middle.

I purchased the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 for around $500 as it was highly-rated with great reviews.

The IPL device I bought

My initial concern was if it would actually work. Would it just reduce the hair or actually get rid of everything?

I crossed my fingers and got to work.

The process. Was it easy? Did it hurt?

The process of actually doing the hair removal was pretty simple.

You just need to shave, then zap your skin by clicking the button. There are different modes for how strong you want the laser to be and two different caps to target different areas. The device itself was comfortable to hold, had a long wire and also came in a cute bag for easy storage.

It also doesn’t hurt. Which is fantastic as I still have trauma from waxing.

Sometimes, I felt a bit of a zap especially if I missed shaving a hair but the “pain” was pretty minimal.

I did mess up once and gave myself a tattoo

One time, I did make a mistake with the IPL tool.

On my leg, I missed a few areas so I used some eyeliner to mark them.

So, when I was doing the session I’d know which areas needed extra attention. In the process, the eyeliner I drew with also got zapped by the machine.

And…it just stayed there for months. It sucked as there was a long line across my leg. This was 100% my fault and not to do with the machine – they do recommend using it on clean skin. Luckily, it disappeared after a few months.

Results, did it work? Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 Review

The results were fantastic.

In 12 months of usage, most of my body hair is gone.

However, there were a few bumps along the road.

Braun says this device should give you visible hair reduction in 4 weeks. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for me. Look, I wasn’t surprised knowing how stubborn my hair is. It was still growing as fast as ever at 4 weeks.

At the 12 week mark, Braun suggested to reduce the session frequency to once a month. But, it took me 12 weeks of weekly usage before I actually started noticing changes. So, I kept doing weekly sessions. 12 months later, I still do bi-weekly sessions on more stubborn areas and monthly sessions on areas with finer hair.

I am so pleased with the results.

Yes, it did take a full year to achieve “permanent” hair removal however I still think it is well worth it. The $500 I spent on the device is money well-spent.

Doing DIY permanent hair removal has saved me so much time and money. I have saved thousands of dollars compared to if I had it done in a salon.

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Smooth as a baby!

Would I recommend DIY laser or IPL hair removal?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it.

Especially if you are someone who can be disciplined with giving yourself weekly sessions. Not only is it 90% cheaper than professional sessions, but there are many other benefits.

It saves time as you don’t have to visit a salon and you can do your sessions when it is easiest for you – even if it’s on a Sunday or 3am. You also don’t need to pay extra for any maintenance sessions as you can keep doing the up-keep with the device you already own.

That’s how I was able to get permanent hair removal for a fraction of the cost. Are you looking into DIY hair removal? Or, if you have had laser hair removal done in a salon, how much did it cost you?

I’d love to hear from you, contact me by clicking here.

3 Tips To Invest Money As a Beginner

As a new investor, there is so much information out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. To make things easy, here are 3 tips to know before you get started and invest money.

1. Time is a more important factor to invest money, rather than how much!

Logically, you would think that the more money you invest – the bigger your net worth. However amount of money isn’t necessarily the most important factor when investing – it’s time! Time can outperform someone who invests more money than you or someone who times the market. The reason for this? The magic of compounding.

Keeping this in mind, this is the reason why it is so important to invest early – even if it’s a small amount!

2. Investing in different types of things reduces risk

You’ll hear the term diversification thrown around a lot when you get started with investing.

It basically means “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” or don’t invest all your money in one type of investment. So, if you put all your money in one single stock you wouldn’t be well-diversified at all. Compared to if you own a home, have a stock portfolio, some bonds and some silver bars – you would be well-diversified.

The reason it is important to diversify is because it helps you reduce market risk. This basically means it helps your portfolio become a lot less risky and you’re more likely to make a profit.

3. Don’t sell just because you made a profit

As a new investor, it is so exciting when you make a profit for the first time.

With this excitement also comes temptation. Temptation to sell and cash out your investment. However, unless you have a good reason – do not sell just because you have made a profit! The reason for this is because you can miss out on significant gains in the future and it can be more difficult to re-enter the market at a higher price.

There are so many tips that I could give you as a new investor, however these three are a great start!

Interested to learn more? Here are some of my other beginner investing articles to get you started:

$100k Net Worth at 22: Here’s How I Did It

I amassed a $100k net worth at 22, here are my top tips for success.

Having a large income doesn’t always translate to wealth.

If you make $100,000 a year and spend $110,000 – you will struggle to build wealth. While your income is an important component, what is even more vital are your money habits.

I’ve shared 3 key money habits that have helped me build a 100k net worth by the time I was 22. Keeping in mind, this was accomplished on my own, on an average full-time income. No trust funds, handouts or $100,000 per annum salaries contributed to this.

I’ve written an article on how I saved my first $50,000 at 20. This is where I discuss how I actually saved the money using budgeting and fixing spending issues. This article will delve more into lifetime habits that I’ve developed to keep creating wealth.

What does net worth mean?

Before I go into my tips, I’d like to define what net worth actually means. In short, net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. To calculate your own net worth, add your assets e.g. home, stocks and minus any debt. You are left with your net worth. Here’s a handy calculator if you’d like to figure out yours.

Everyone calculates their net worth differently. I personally include my super/retirement fund while many people don’t. However, many people include their cars in their net worth and I never have as I believe there is no point including depreciating assets. Do what works for you. Just make sure you are consistent in what you do/don’t include so you can track your progress accurately. Another note, I am Australian. Therefore, this is 6-figures ($100,000) in AUD, not USD.

Enough waffling! Here’s how I built a 6-figure net worth at 22.

1. Embracing frugal living

Frugal living is a big part of my life. Although I’m not 22 anymore (I wish!), I practice frugality, regularly. I go the extra mile to save a dollar and buy everything second-hand. When I made $7 an hour, I remember just how much money $5 or $10 was – and I remind myself this regularly, so I don’t forget it.

When you start working full-time with a salary, it is so easy to get desensitised to spending money. This is especially true when you’re surrounded by people with more expensive lifestyles.

I have to actively remind myself that I shouldn’t be spending money the way people around me do, but rather what works for me.

What is the difference between being frugal and cheap?

That being said, it is about balance. The line between frugal and cheap is very fine and can be hard to perfect. Being overly cheap can cost you your health, personal relationships or even more money in the long-run. So, spend when you need to.

I needed $11,000+ of dental work a while back. I just sucked it up and paid because my teeth are more valuable than my investment portfolio. However, I don’t need $60 eyelash extensions a month when I can just use $2.80 ones from Daiso.

2. Avoiding debt like the plague

It’s hard to avoid debt these days – I personally needed to take out a sizeable HECS student loan debt to cover my degree. However, I have tried really, really hard to avoid it

The idea of taking out debt for an asset that does not increase in value causes me pain.

For example, when buying my first car (which I needed urgently for work), my dad advised me to spend at least $10,000 to get a semi-decent car and not to bother with anything cheaper. However, this was more than my entire savings.

Instead of getting a loan, I ignored my Dad’s advice (sorry) and bought an 11-year-old car for $6,000 out of my savings with 170k kms on the clock. I had it checked out by a mechanic who advised me that the engine could run for another 10 years. My car ran faithfully by my side for years with no issues and no car loan. You can also have a read of my article of why I’ll never buy a new car.

3. Consistency

When I first started investing, I loved it. I was so into it,

I was creating net worth spreadsheets that were projecting the next 30 years of portfolio gains – you get the picture. However, I’ve been on this journey for years and it definitely isn’t as exciting after a while.

I have definitely had periods where I’ve been unmotivated; being made redundant as the peak of a global pandemic, anyone?

While these periods are normal, the most important aspect is that I always found my feet and continued to work towards my goals – for years. This consistency is what helped keep up my financial habits and helped my portfolio grow.

Never give up towards reaching your money goals!

And, that’s it! These are 3 key habits that I have implemented for years to build a 6-figure net worth in my 20s. I acknowledge this isn’t possible for everyone and did require my substantial privilege such as living in a first-world country, being mentally and physically healthy as well as having no dependants.

That being said, you don’t need to have inherited money, have a rich family/partner or make a large income to build a 100k net worth. I can attest to that coming from a hard-working migrant family. Australia really is the lucky country and there are so many opportunities to create wealth from very little.

My next milestone is to become a millionaire in my 30s. 7-figure net worth, I am coming for you! Look out for my update then.

How and Why I’m Buying an Investment Property in 2023

Although I’ve been investing for the last six years, I’ve never considered buying an investment property.

And now, I am trying to purchase a property:

I have chosen literally the most difficult way to buy a property. Yup. Maybe I am an idiot. Moving on…

Why I have never bought a house

I’ve had my own reasons for this but the three key reasons were:

Cost: Houses are expensive! From a 10-20% deposit to LMI to maintenance, owning a property was going to be a stretch in my budget.

I personally would prefer to own a house while having wiggle room in my budget. There is no point owning a house if you can’t even afford KFC the next day!

Liquidity: As a 20-something year old, I didn’t know how I felt about locking up my money in an investment. With stocks, I can always sell them and get my money within the week. However, selling a house is much more challenging. I’ve always enjoyed the freedom not owning a property gave me.

For example, I was made redundant in 2020 (thanks, COVID!) and I didn’t have a job for 4 months. As I didn’t have a large commitment like a mortgage, I was able to survive that time using my emergency fund and keeping my expenses low.

Owning a house without buying a house: With REITs, you can invest in property without buying an actual house. Kind of like stocks but for property. You can check out my article on it by clicking here.

Why I’m buying an investment property

Better financial position: After working in corporate for six years, my career has grown and so has my salary. At this stage, I am able to service a mortgage without having to eat lentils and rice everyday.

I know what I want: I’ve had time to think about what my money goals are, if I am comfortable being locked into a mortgage. I’ve decided that I am.

How I’m buying an investment property

Okay, so I’ve chosen the most difficult “pathway” to buying a home. But, here’s my plan.

Buying a property further out: I won’t be buying a house within 30 minutes of the city and that is okay. I’ll be looking at areas that have great infrastructure, amenities and growth potential. This will knock down the cost of the house.

Removing my emotions: I don’t care if the house doesn’t suit my personal taste. It doesn’t matter if I personally don’t like the layout or if the location isn’t to my taste.

All I care about is, is it a good investment, will it make me money?

This is another tactic that will help me find a better value home that I can actually afford. People with more money can buy the beautiful townhouses, not me!

Taking my time: This is a simple but a big one. I’m taking my time. I’m not rushing into a buying a property. It will take to save a deposit from scratch as I am not touching any current savings or assets. It might take a couple of years but that’s fine with me!

However, it is a balance as you’ll see in my next point:

Giving up the 20% deposit dream: I always wanted to have a 20% deposit down when buying a house. That was the dream. Why would you pay an extra LMI cost of tens of thousands of dollars when you could just be responsible and save enough? However, saving up 20% means double the years of saving. So instead of buying a home in 2 years, I would be looking at 4. I’ll give up 2 years of capital growth but over 4 years is substantial! I’ll buy with a 10% deposit, suck it up and pay LMI.

There you go, that is how and why I am buying an investment property. My focus for the next couple of years is to put my head down and save enough cash for a deposit and all the costs associated with buying a home.

I just hope I won’t be tempted to invest the cash on stocks, instead!

If you too are in the process of saving cash, here are some articles that may help:

If you have any other questions about emergency funds, feel free to send me a DM on insta @themoneymarketerblog or send me an email on themoneymarketerblog@gmail.com!

Why You Need an Emergency Fund

If you don’t have an emergency fund, you need to start working towards this right now!

You’ll never hear me say this about anything else. Invest when you feel ready, buy real estate when you have the funds. However, creating an emergency fund is the opposite.

You need an emergency fund now. Here’s why.

What is an emergency fund?

Life isn’t fair. Even with a meticulous budget, there will be unpredictable expenses.

An emergency fund is a pool of money set aside to cover any unexpected financial costs that you may encounter.

For example, I needed to cough up over $11,000 for dental work over the last 18 months. This is not an expense that I expected or budgeted for and…it was also urgent! It wasn’t a cost I could delay for future me to worry about. As I had an emergency fund ready to go, I could pay for my treatments upfront with no financial stress.

Why is an emergency fund so important?

Thankfully, because I had an emergency fund I could pay the above dental costs in full. I didn’t have to take out any loans or put it on my credit card. It also reduces the anxiety I have around very stressful situations as I know that at least I’ll be fine, financially. Sure, my teeth will hurt but my wallet won’t.

Building an emergency fund can help you deal with financial emergencies with less stress and prevents you from making poor financial decisions.

These financial decisions that we are trying to avoid are:

  • Taking out a high-interest loan to cover your emergency
  • Selling your investments at a loss because you need the funds
  • Having to put the funds on a high-interest credit card
  • Borrowing money from family and friends (I never recommend this!)

And, most importantly:

Neglecting the emergency because you don’t have the money – this may cause the problem to cost even more in the long run. Medical, dental and car issues are all areas in which not spending a small amount of money now can cause greater financial damage in the future.

Having an emergency funds not only saves you money but can also avoid a financial catastrophe.

Here are some of my other articles that will support your financial goals:

How big should my emergency fund be?

Most experts recommend that your emergency fund be be 3 – 6 months of your living expenses. So, if you spend $2,200 a month, you should have a minimum of $6,600 saved up.

That being said, this figure should be one that suits your lifestyle and needs. If you have dependants or a non-reliable income, it would make sense to save more. For myself personally, I have a 3 month emergency fund. This is as I don’t have children and make a stable and consistent salary.

Want to figure out how long it will take you to build your emergency fund? Use the savings calculator below!

Where should you store your emergency fund?

Short answer, in a high-interest bank account.

Your emergency fund should be immediately accessible, therefore should not be invested in a stock market or “stuck” anywhere such as a term deposit.

Yes, you will miss out on gains if it was invested elsewhere, but this money needs to be liquid. This will prevent you from having to sell your investments at a loss or have to withdraw them before maturity.

Find a bank account with the highest interest rate that you can find. This will ensure that your funds will not deteriorate and keep up with inflation.

Case Study

Person A: Has a $3,000 emergency to fix their rotting fence, uses their emergency fund to get it fixed and pay it off immediately.

Their $3,000 emergency cost them $3,000.

Person B: Their car engine has failed and will cost $3,000 to have it replaced. They unfortunately do not have any cash savings and are forced to put the funds on a credit card with an interest rate of 22%. If they only made the minimum repayments, it would cost them $9,314 over 21.5 years.

Their $3,000 emergency cost them $9,314.

Not only would Person B have to pay three times more for the same emergency, they would also be unable to get ahead with their savings and other financial goals as they are tied to debt for decades.

That’s all from me! Get an emergency fund.

If you have any other questions about emergency funds, feel free to send me a DM on insta @themoneymarketerblog or send me an email on themoneymarketerblog@gmail.com!

Passive Income 101: Here’s How I Pay My Bills With It

Passive income pays for my electricity, wifi, water and mobile bills without me working. How? With investing!

Okay, so I do work full-time because I still need to pay rent, buy $25 cocktails and contribute to my investment portfolio. However, as a lazy 20-something girl – I love passive income. Earning money while doing nothing is the best.

What is passive income?

Passive income refers to income that requires little work to maintain it.

In contrast, active income is one that requires a large time investment. Your full-time job for example, would be considered active income. The reason passive income is excellent is it allows you to earn more money, while investing less of your time. This means your ability to create an income is not based on the hours of your labour but rather the performance of your investments. Also, active income has a ceiling. There’s only so much money you can make based on your labour, alone – we are capped at a certain amount of hours per week. However, with investing we can scale the scope of our income substantially. Also, I’m lazy. I want to work less and rest more!

You can read more about passive income here.

How to make my passive income? Is this a scam or MLM?

People are always a bit suss when I mention passive income. And, I get it.

It’s a term that is being used by MLMs and weird scams which can put people off actual passive income. There are many legitimate ways to make a such an income. However, many of the common methods such as being a landlord and collecting rental income requires substantial capital upfront.

As I didn’t have this much money, investing a percentage of my income into the stock market every month made the most sense. For me personally, I made my money primarily off dividends and distributions from my stock market investment portfolio. I also make some bank interest which is where I store my emergency fund.

Here’s the thing, it’s no magic secret to getting rich. But, it’s a great way to boost your current income and over time, investing can be incredibly powerful.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Money Marketer. You’ve been investing for the last 6 years. Shouldn’t you have a bigger passive income stream?”

Yes, yes I should. As a long-term investor, I primarily focus on growth. This means I purchase investments that are likely to gain value in the future rather than ones that will pay me a larger dividend. I do this so I can make more money. Many of my individual stocks and commodities do not even pay a dividend. If I focused on high-dividend stocks, I could potentially double my passive income stream which is something I would like to do when I’m a bit older.

“Money Marketer. Is a couple of thousand extra a year really worth it?”

It’s easy to dismiss the power of such a small income. You can instantly earn an extra $10,000 a year with a promotion at work so does an extra $2,000 or $5,000 really matter? Yes, and I’m about to show you why!

I remember when I first started making passive income as a student, I would make $14/month in bank interest. Excited, I shared this with my friend who said “Does an extra $14 month matter? That’s not even $200 a year”. That is, until I mentioned that my bank interest was essentially buying me 3 bubble teas a month. It made my little baby passive income stream seem so much more powerful!

Rather than seeing dividends/interest as $X amount per year, assign them to a bill.

This means my passive income from this year will “pay” for my:

  • Electricity bill
  • Internet/wifi bill
  • Mobile phone bill
  • Spotify subscription
  • Water bill

I can cover all of these expenses without working, how awesome is that?! My lazy self would love for my passive income to pay for all my expenses with some spending money leftover. I wouldn’t have to work at all, haha! Hope my boss isn’t reading this.

Don’t dismiss the value of a small income stream as it can be incredibly powerful – if you just view it differently.

If you’re interested in investing in the stock market, you can check out some of my previous articles: