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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

I haven’t really earned a lot of money in my life or been given a handout like my parents buying me my first car or gifting me a home deposit.

I started working at 15 for $7 AUD/hour. I loved the independence that making my own money gave me and have been saving ever since. I chose to work full-time at 19, instead of being a full-time uni student (I did part-time night classes!).

Although it was a professional, corporate job that needed a skilled worker – I was only paid minimum wage. However, this did allow me to start earning a salary early on. This allowed me to buy my first stock at 19 and those returns have compounded every since.

Here are the strategies I used.

Budgeting

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

  • 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.

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.

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:

Can Investing Make You Rich?

Short answer, yes – it can!

“Can investing make you rich?”

This was one of the first questions I had when I started my financial journey. When I first started getting into investing, it was so confusing. There seemed to be people becoming millionaires from the stock market and making a full-time income out of trading stocks. I often wondered, was this do-able for the average person?

I felt that a lot of time these “investors” made more money from selling courses on how to invest rather than the investing itself. Looking around, I also saw that a lot of “boss babes” and “entrepreneurs” who claimed they quit their 9-5 to pursue business were just a part of a multi-level marketing scheme.

So, is investing a legitimate way to create wealth?

Here’s the good news. Investing is a legitimate way to become a millionaire. I started investing five years ago and not only will I become a millionaire in my 30s (while earning an average income), but currently my passive income stream pays for many of my bills including:

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

I know “passive income stream” has become a bit of a buzz word, but what does this actually mean? When you go and work a job, you are creating “active” income. This is income where you need to perform labour. If you don’t perform this labour, you don’t get paid. However, passive income is about creating an income without having to actively earn it. It’s all about making money while you sleep.

This might sound too good to be true, but it really isn’t. Have you ever heard the saying “money makes money”? It really is true. By investing, no matter if it is real estate or the stock market you are putting your money to “work” for you. Therefore, your passive income or portfolio growth isn’t money magically appearing out of thin air. It’s income that your money makes for you.

You may be thinking that this sounds amazing. However, while it is simple – it’s not easy. Here are some things to keep in mind that a lot of these “millionaire investors” won’t tell you.  

Making money through investing takes time

Unless you’re a stock-picking genius, making a lot of money through investing takes time. It takes literal years before you start seeing decent returns. It took me over five years of budgeting, saving and investing to build the passive income stream I have today. Don’t let this dishearten you, especially if you are in your 20s and 30s. Starting now will ensure that you will be able to build substantial wealth in the future. Having time to invest is a luxury that can make you millions.

However, this does mean you need to start ASAP. Even if it’s $5 or $10 into a micro-investing app, just starting will mean you can take advantage of one of the biggest secrets to making money – time.

I’ve met a lot of young people who put off investing, saying it’s something they’ll worry about when they are older. But, by doing this they are missing out on decades of gains. Even if you make more money in the future and are able to invest more, your portfolio will struggle to catch up with an investor that invests a lot less, but started over 20 years ago.

And here’s the thing, you don’t need to wait until you’re a literal grandma to start enjoying the work you have put in. Even though I am only in my mid-20s, I have built a passive income stream that already pays for many of my bills. Even if I never contributed to my portfolio again and blew every pay check, it will still automatically grow to a million dollar portfolio before I turn 50. Building this financial foundation was not easy but now it allows me to relax and put my time and energy towards other things than money. For those of you who have been broke know how insanely stressful it is to always be worrying about money and bills – not having this burden is a wonderful feeling!

You need money to start investing

Here’s a bit of bad news.

You do actually need money to start investing. And, if you want to build a large passive income stream or see a large return – you need to invest a lot. However, this doesn’t need to be $10,000 or $20,000. As previously mentioned, you can start with a smaller amount. Instead, it is important to invest consistently and be disciplined enough to grow your portfolio every month.

Even investing $50 a week, will amount to over $326,000 in 30 years. This means this investor made over $248,000 of passive income. What needs to be noted is that this portfolio was contributed to consistently e.g. every week $50 was invested and it was given time, over 30 years.  

Investment Portfolio Worth investing $50 weekly the money marketer blog themoneymarketerblog australia finance blog

Now, what if this investor had a higher disposable income and could contribute $500 a week? The results get kind of crazy. The investor would make just under $2.5 million in passive income.

Investment Portfolio Worth investing $500 weekly the money marketer blog themoneymarketerblog australia finance blog

Therefore, the first step to investing is saving in some format. Before you start investing, I think it’s a good idea to have an emergency fund that will cover your expenses for 3 – 6 months just in case something happens.

Here are some of my previous articles that will help you with saving:

You can play around with the investment calculator I have used here:

What Do I Actually Invest In?

You may be wondering, why won’t she tell me what to invest it?!

I get it.

When I started investing, I was reading all these articles but I couldn’t figure out what to invest in. Here’s the thing, since I’m not a financial planner I unfortunately can’t tell you!

What you invest in depends on many factors and to get started I would start by thinking about:

  • Risk tolerance – how much risk would you be willing to take?
  • Investment horizon – how long are you planning to invest your money for?
  • Interest – Are you interested in real estate, stocks or maybe even precious metals?

Two of my favourite companies that offer investment products in Australia are Vanguard and Betashares, you can check them below:

I also post publicly about what I invest in, so make sure to check out my Instagram if you’re interested by clicking here.

Can investing make you rich?

To wrap it all up – can investing make you rich? Yes!

Starting early, investing often and being disciplined financially will put you on the path to build wealth. I hope this article has helped you navigate the intimidating world of investing a little bit better and as always if you have any questions, you can shoot me a message by clicking here.

I Tried Fixing My Time-Poor Situation – Here’s What I Found Out

Anyone else always feel like they never have enough time?

From consistently having to turn family and friends down for hangouts to not touching projects for months, I knew I had a time problem.

While I’m all about saving money and building wealth, I never really focused on my time. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I haven’t had enough hours in the day to do what I actually want.

This didn’t make sense to me because I’m very productive. I have a standard 40 hour job, no kids and some pretty low commitment side projects.

So, why did I feel so time poor?

Figuring out where my time actually goes

To start this off, I noted down for a week where my time was going. Even if I hung out on the couch for 20 minutes, I added that to the relaxation category. I included everything – from commuting, housework etc. To be honest, I was expecting to see that I was wasting a lot of time – watching TikToks, browsing social media, online shopping etc. However, I was shocked to learn that this was not the case at all.

In fact, I spent most of my time on a category that I never expected.

The breakdown

It’s no surprise that the largest “time” category was sleeping at 35% followed by work at 30%. I included my full-time job, side business and blog in this category as it was all “productive”. These main categories I couldn’t really cut down so the remaining third was the most important.

The third-largest category was the real surprise. I spend 12% of my time on what I call “life admin” or chores. This category includes cooking, cleaning, laundry, buying groceries, visiting the post office etc. I spend 20 hours a week doing this.

Before plotting it out like this, I really had no idea it was that much time. No wonder I feel so time poor, that’s just under 3 hours a day. A big part of this is cooking – I cook nearly all my meals from scratch, daily. I’ve tried meal prepping but it isn’t for me – I enjoy fresh food. I thought this was great considering I save so much money but I didn’t even think of the time. I understand that cooking all your own meals as a family makes sense, but as a solo girl it’s pretty different.

Even if it is a quick recipe, I spend at least an hour on prepping ingredients, cooking the meal and of course the clean up.

Making a change

With this information in mind, I knew that something had to change.

I made the realisation that my time was too valuable to spend on cooking and cleaning. I decided that it’s okay to not cook everyday. As a young professional who is focused on building marketable skills, developing a career and consistently saving and investing – I had other activities to do that would be a better use of my time.

A few days ago, instead of cooking dinner, I bought a meal for $8 and spent that time exercising followed by a business call for one of my side projects. I effectively “spent” $8 to get an hour back and I used that in a more productive way.

Cutting down further

The other method I tried to cut down the life admin/chores section was grocery shopping. I found that I was having to do more grocery shops than normal simply because of weight. Embarrassing to admit, but I would buy 1 – 2 potatoes at a time simply because I struggled carrying heavy items (I have ZERO muscles, just an FYI).

To cut this down, I decided to do a big delivery grocery shop. I’m talking bags of rice, canned tomatoes, potatoes, onions, entire box of soft drink cans. It hurt to pay the $15 delivery but wow, was it worth it! It took the grown delivery man four trips back to van to bring all my groceries to my door, I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken me! As it was a large order, it saved me so much time – driving to the shops, picking everything out, driving back and then hauling it up to my house. Instead, I spent 10 or so minutes making the order online.

Hold on – dryers are a thing?!

I am now officially a dryer person.

I never used a dryer for my clothes as it’s free to dry them outside. Growing up in an immigrant household, our clothes dryer just sat in the garage gathering dust. Having to pay $2 extra to use one, not including the $2 – $5 in energy consumption didn’t make much sense. However, air-drying is such a pain in Melbourne winter. With the sun always disappearing and spontaneous rain it was a real chore to figure out the optimal time to do laundry.

There were many occasions where I took the time to hang up all my clothes, only to rush back to take them down before they were soaked. It also took forever for them to dry when it was a colder day. One week, it was going to rain daily so I decided to give the dryer a go. And wow, what a time-saver!

Being able to do laundry whenever I wanted regardless of the weather was such a luxury, plus I saved so much time from not having to hang the clothes up. From the washing machine, to the dryer, to my wardrobe. So fast and easy – I’m never looking back.

Doing these actions have helped cut down this life admin/chores category by 6 hours per week.

Being time-stingy

Before this audit, I gave my time away very freely.

If someone came 45 minutes late, I’d let it slide. I’d spend two hours working on a friend’s resume for free. I’d go to a random party for four hours just because I was invited. If a friend wanted to stay over two hours past my bedtime, I’d let it happen.

However, I have realised that I need to be stingy with my time. I can’t freely give it away anymore.

After this experience, I now see my time as a resource. I only go to events that I truly see value in and I avoid wasting even 10 or 15 minutes. I’ve seen this a lot with my full-time job. If I left at 5pm or 5.20pm it wasn’t a big deal to me – however, now it is! Even doing this three days a week meant I was giving work an extra hour of my time. Also, I don’t tolerate lateness anymore.

Being mindful & final thoughts

This has truly been an eye-opening exercise.

One of my biggest key takeaways is that I am simply more mindful of my time. I only put my time towards activities that I really value and if something doesn’t serve me, I won’t do it.

I have also learned that it is okay to spend money to buy time. When I was a broke uni student, it made sense to try to save every cent and disregard the time it took to save said cent. However, as a working professional on a full-time salary, I don’t need to spend time just to save money. Ordering delivery food is okay. Using a clothes dryer is okay. Getting groceries delivered to my door is okay.

This experience has fundamentally shifted how I see time and I recommend trying this out for yourself if you haven’t already.

5 Money Tips From A Frugal Shopaholic

Do you love shopping but always find yourself spending a little too much? I totally relate.

Beauty products, home décor, bags, shoes – you name it, I love shopping! Not only do I enjoy the process but I love bringing home a beautiful piece. It’s a hobby that brings me a lot of joy.

Here’s the thing, you don’t have to sacrifice your shopaholic status in order to reach your financial goals. Being frugal is not about stopping everything you enjoy just to save money. Rather, the answer is to spend more mindfully.

Here are my tips to enjoy shopping while still remaining within your budget.

1. Have a general budget

Whenever I go shopping, I keep in mind what my maximum spend is. $50? $100? $200? Even if it is an estimate, I have a figure. It’s impressive how much you’ll try to stick to the number just by having it in your mind. I personally will step aside and tally the cost of all my items on my phone calculator – I especially do this at second hand shops where I tend to get carried away because the items are so inexpensive.

Also, if you get to the checkout and you’re over the budget – don’t be afraid to put things back. I used to feel a bit awkward to tell the cashier I didn’t want something anymore after they had already scanned it.

Storytime: My mum loves custard apples. They’re not widely available here in Australia so she often doesn’t buy them for herself. One day, I came across them so I grabbed one for her, without looking at the price. The cashier scanned it as $12. Yes. $12 for one piece of fruit. At that point, I had to overcome my embarrassment and just let the cashier know that I didn’t want it anymore. Sorry, mum.

2. No Money? No Shopping.

The Money Marketer, The Money Marketer Blog
Instead of shopping, why not go for a solo picnic?

This is a simple tip that is very powerful in practice.

If you’re tight on money this month, then simply avoid going shopping. I’ve tried so many times to just “go to look but not buy anything” but seriously, it never works for me. I always end up leaving with something that although might be very pretty, I could easily live without. It also sucks to have to put something you love back. Instead, if someone asks to go shopping when I’m over my budget, I’ll ask if it’s alright with them if we go in a few weeks or so when I have my new monthly budget ready to go.

And, if you’re someone who shops as a treat to themselves, try a different “treat” method. I have a blog post on this if you’re stuck for ideas.

3. Wait 24 hours

Don’t instantly buy something just because you want it, especially if it is something you don’t need. Why? Instant gratification.

Other than spending money you don’t need, over-reliance on instant gratification causes more issues than you think and distracts you from what you actually want to achieve. In short, it affects your long-term happiness and success. It’s not only about saving money but rather not developing poor behaviours.

You can learn more about instant gratification by clicking here.

You can avoid this by simply waiting, especially with online shopping. If you see something you like, give it some time before you make that purchase – at least sleep on it but a week is even better. If you still want it, then go ahead and buy it. I find a lot of the times that after waiting, I am a lot less likely to buy the item.

One such example is one of those snack subscription boxes. I kept getting targeted ads for one which had artisanal Japanese snacks that I just couldn’t resist. I added it to my cart and just before I was going to pay, I exited the browser. After a few days, I realised I didn’t really want it that much and could just go buy snacks at my local Japanese grocery store anyway!

4. Don’t buy it just because it’s a great deal

My humble 2020 Boxing Day haul – I spent less than $50 which is nothing short of a miracle.

When you no longer buy things just because they are heavily discounted, you are officially winning in life.

I can resist normal sales. I cannot resist big sales – Black Friday, Boxing Day, anything that is over 70% off. And while, it is great to purchase items at a fraction of their RRP, if you didn’t need it – you are still wasting money.

At the time, it can feel like you’re making a big mistake if you let a deal pass by you. However, there will always be another sale. I have never felt regret from missing out on a sale but I have felt regret from buying something I did not need.

5. Re-vamp what you have

One reason we like shopping is because we are bored of what we have and are looking for something new. However, there are ways to add that excitement back in without purchasing something new.

Recently, I was getting bored of my coats and was thinking about buying new ones. Rather than doing this though, I instead changed the buttons. This may seem like a small change but it completely transformed the garments – I was excited to wear them out again. You can check out my article on this below.

If you’re getting bored of your handbag, why not change the strap?

If it is currently a leather strap, you can change it to a gold or silver chain or even one with pearls to give it a new look. Instead of buying a whole new handbag, you can do this for under $15.

Similarly, if you’re bored of your current lipstick colours, why not do some mixing? Applying two different colours on top of each other can create a whole new shade.

By doing this, you also do your part for mother nature by not creating extra waste.

With these five tips in mind, you will get closer to becoming a more mindful shopper who buys all the cute things while still maintaining an investment portfolio. It can also help us feel less guilty when we splurge.

In Practice

A great example of this in practice is one of my most recent purchases – an expensive pair of designer sunglasses. Here’s how I followed these tips:

  • Figured out that I needed a new pair as my current ones are three years old, bent out of shape and missing the nose pads
  • Realising the cost-per-wear would be low as I wear sunglasses daily
  • Making sure that this will be my only pair of sunglasses
  • Came up with a dollar amount that I would not go over
  • Not making any other significant purchases this month on my “shopping” budget
  • Didn’t buy them instantly – gave myself two days to have a think if I really wanted them
  • Purchased them from an outlet site where they were 50% off RRP
  • Googled to find promo codes, found one for an extra 15% off
  • Used a Cashback plugin to get 4% cashback on the purchase

Now, is a pair of designer sunglasses necessary? No. But, going through this process helped me become more mindful about the purchase. Shopping in this way means you only buy what you really love rather than spending money on something that is just okay.

I hope you found this article helpful, go out there and be a frugal shopper! If you have any other tips that I haven’t covered, I’d love to hear them. You can send me an email on themoneymarketerblog@gmail.com or send me a message on insta @themoneymarketerblog

7 Financial Mistakes To Avoid In Your 20s in 2021

Your 20s are an interesting time.

It is when most of us are able to start earning a decent pay check for the first time in our lives and take on major financial responsibilities such as debt. While it is really exciting (Especially the whole full-time salary part!), it can also be scary and overwhelming.

As a member of the 20s community, here are some mistakes to avoid. I’ve made a lot of these mistakes myself but also seen it affect my friends and peers.

1. Living Beyond Your Means

It is really tempting to go into debt in your 20s.

It’s often the first time you are really allowed to take on a line of credit. You want to travel and make memories while you’re young, keep up with the latest trends, look your best and have a nice vehicle. All, which cost money. Just remember that while it is important to go out and have fun, a balance is really important. If you are perfectly happy with your current old car or living in a share house – don’t increase your expenses just because you earn more money.

If you keep inflating your lifestyle, you will struggle to save, invest and achieve other financial goals.

2. Not investing until later in life

Are you someone who has thought they would “invest eventually” when they’re older?

If you have the means and it aligns with your goals – do it now! Don’t put off saving and investing as a “future me” problem. The reason for this is that time in the market is one of the most financial moves that you can make.

Okay, but what does this mean?

Basically, just buying stocks early and letting them sit in your portfolio for years can help you build significant wealth. For example, If you started investing at 40 versus your 20s, you’d have to invest eight times as much to have a similar portfolio value. You can check out my article with all the graphs and sources here.

3. Buying an expensive vehicle

Expensive cars can honestly kill your financial situation.

Especially when you’re in your 20s with a lower income. Just because you can afford your dream car doesn’t mean you should get it. While this includes things like a car loan, it also include maintenance and other associated costs. I discussed a real life case study about one of my friends who bought a $20,000 car at 19 – you can read all about it here (hint: wasn’t a good idea!).

4. Not learning how to cook

Look, I know not everyone enjoys cooking.

But, eating out everyday can really kill your wallet long-term. Forbes found that it is five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant  than it is to cook at home. And if you’re using a meal kit service, it’s a bit more affordable, but still almost three times as expensive as cooking from scratch. You can check out the full article here.

Here are some of my tips as someone who cooks nearly everyday:

  1. Freeze several different ingredients so you have them ready to go. I have beef, chicken, seafood, veggies all sorts of things frozen. It’s hard to justify ordering a meal when you already have the ingredients at home. You also have reduced food waste.
  2. Figure out your top 3 favourite dishes and learn to make them really well – you’ll start craving your own home-cooked meals!
  3. Open your food delivery app, decide what you want to eat…and then cook it! This is something I’ve been doing a lot lately. I’ll choose what I want to eat on UberEats and then google the best recipe and make it. Weird tip, but works for me!

5. Not setting financial goals

If you don’t have any financial goals – please get a pen and paper out to write them down. Even something simple like “Millionaire at 35” or “Save $50,000 for a house deposit”.

The reason for this is, simply writing your goals out will make you more successful. According to a Harvard Business Study:

  • 83% of the population does not have goals
  • 14% have a plan in mind, but are unwritten goals
  • 3% have goals written down
  • The 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without!

6. Telling yourself that “you’ll work it out in the future”

“That’s a future me problem.”

I’ve seen this mentality a lot when young people take out debt. It can be easy to tell yourself that it’s okay to overspend or make poor financial decisions because you can “just make more money in the future”.

However, decisions that are seemingly small now can compound and affect you significantly in the future. This could be debt that has spiralled out of control, poor money habits that are difficult to break or a very inflated lifestyle.

7. Not taking career risks

Your 20s are a time where you can be selfish and spend time figuring out your career path. Don’t be afraid to go to that networking meeting, take that job offer or even learn a new skill.

And at the end of the day, it is all about maintaining a balance. Yes, you could live with your parents until the age of 35 to save on rent. However, the independence you gain from moving out is significantly more valuable than the money you save.

Similarly, spending money on your physical and mental health, as well as self-development is always worth more than the money itself. It is up to you to decide what your personal goals and priorities are.

3 Online Shopping Hacks To Save You Money in 2021

Australian eCommerce grew more than 80% in the 8 weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO*. Whoa. We’re online shopping more than ever before so here are my 3 secrets to help you save some cash. We all know to search for coupon codes and sort from lowest to highest cost so here are some different ideas.

1. Use Honey to find all possible coupon code available publicly

It’s 2020, there’s no need to Google store coupons to get a deal. Instead, simply install the Honey Google Chrome extension (which is completely free!). This handy tool will automatically scan the internet for public coupon codes and try them for you at the checkout. It will then apply the one which saves you the most money.

This tool is great because it saves you time from having to do manual searches and testing them yourself if they have expired or not. It is also great if you are forgetful, as it reminds you to scan for coupons when you are checking out in an online store.

That’s not all. It also acts as a cashback service for lots of popular stores such as Kmart, iHerb, Pretty Little Thing, Clearly Contacts. This means by using the service to save money, you get a small % of your money back. I’ve received a $23 free amazon gift card this way.

Sign up for free here and get 500 gold: https://bit.ly/31tq0cs (it’s my referral link so I will also get 500 gold)

And, if you’re thinking “How do they make money? Are they selling my data?!” – click here to find out.


2. Use Cashback services

If you online shop regularly, you need to use as cashback services!

Similar to Honey, cashback services, give you a small % of cash back for your orders. I would highly suggest Googling different services available for your country. In Australia, my favourite one is Shopback, which is free. It has the largest range of online shops and includes stores such as Woolworths, Myer, Ebay, Dan Murphys, ASOS, Sephora.

Shopback has a handy extension for Chrome so I can activate the cash back with one click, it also reminds you of its existence as soon as you shop on a participating store. I’ve earned $29 in rewards for just clicking a button before I checkout, not bad!

If you want to sign up to Shopback, use my referral link and earn $5 instantly –  https://bit.ly/39cA8ZG


3. Research the best value stores & stick to them!

Some online stores offer the basics – they never have coupon codes, products are priced slightly higher, never have free shipping. Others always have offers, gift with purchases and sales – stick to the latter! You may have to invest time to actually research which stores offer the best value. However, doing this will help you save money in the long run.

An example of this is Adore Beauty. This online beauty store offers free shipping on most orders, has products priced fairly, gives free samples and regularly offers free products with purchases. Often these free products are usually very useful and high-quality. So, instead of buying a product from another online store where I get no perks, I would rather buy it from Adore Beauty because I know I can get a free shipping, samples and a nice free gift – all while paying the exact same price.


I hope these tips and tricks will help you save money, earn cash back rewards and overall become a more savvy online shopper!

*Data from Australia Post report, “Inside Australian Online Shopping 2020 eCommerce Industry Report”, https://bit.ly/2FLYOyJ

Why Saving Money Won’t Make You Rich

When I was a kid, I thought that in order to become wealthy, you had to save a lot of money.

If you kept saving and saving, soon you would have a lot of money, right? It seems to be the safest and most reliable method to generate wealth, does it not? Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case. Well, it certainly isn’t true for people on a regular salary like myself.

Why you can’t save your money forever

The short answer to why only saving won’t make you rich is inflation. Do you remember how everything used to be so much cheaper back in the day? Like, your grandparents bought an entire home with the cost of your annual salary? This is a normal process known as inflation. Or, it could be the insane Melbourne property market but bear with me.

To keep things simple, inflation means that money loses its value over time. $1 in 1970 is not the same in $1 in 2021. In fact, $1 in 1970 had the same purchasing power as $11.88 – over ten times the value! The RBA has a great inflation calculator that you can play around with it, check it out here:

Keeping this in mind, if you saved $100,000 in 1970, it would have the same purchasing power as $1,187,723. Therefore in order to preserve your wealth from 1970, your savings would have had to increase with inflation or you would be “losing” over a million dollars.

The same can be said about your wealth today, sitting in a savings account. If you have an interest rate less than the inflation rate, then you are losing money and purchasing power every single day. As of May 2021, most banks in Australia do not offer interest rates on savings accounts that even match inflation, forget about even beating it.

How to actually preserve wealth

After reading all that, you may be thinking – how do I actually keep my money and not let time erode it away? It’s pretty straightforward – you need to make sure your money is beating inflation.

What does that mean? Well, in simple terms your money should be increasing with the inflation rate. If inflation is at 2%, then your cash should be increasing by 2% every year. This doesn’t mean that you add 2%, rather it does this on it’s own. One of the easiest ways to do this is by moving your funds to a savings account that offers a 2% or higher rate.

However, with current low interest rates it can be hard to find such an account. Not to worry, you can also beat inflation by investing your money. This could include buying real estate, stocks or even precious metals. It’s all about doing what works for you. For myself, I prefer investing in stocks. With an average return of 8 – 10% per year, my wealth grows at a much faster rate than inflation. This means that not only will I be able to preserve my wealth over decades, but also grow it. Savings rates at bank accounts are so low that I prefer only having my emergency fund in cash with the rest of it going straight into investments.

Want to get started with investing but unsure how? Check out some of my articles around this topic:

The other side on the coin

Now, if you’re a saver and prefer that – it’s not all bad! In fact, saving can be the better option in many cases! Here are some situations in which saving might be the “correct” choice.

Emergency funds. Do not invest your emergency fund! I’ve spoken a lot of emergency funds, and chances are that you will have 3 – 6 months of your expenses stashed away. If you don’t, be sure to read my article on it. No matter how large your emergency fund is, you need it in cash as it should be easily accessible – don’t worry about inflation!

Timing. Similar to an emergency fund, a key situation is if you need your savings within a short period of time, let’s say in two years. Perhaps for a house deposit or international travel. Two years of inflation is not going to be substantial enough and will be well worth the liquidity that is needed. Furthermore, if you will be using your savings for something like buying a first home, you are already protecting that wealth from eroding over time.

Risk tolerance. If you can’t watch the dollar amounts that you have saved decrease without having a heart attack, then investing simply isn’t for you. A big advantage of keeping your money in savings is that the dollar amount will not decrease, while you risk that with investing. However, I would advocate for better financial education and research if you feel this way.

Greater control. If you save $100 a month, you know for certain you will have $1,200 a month at the end of the year. It doesn’t quite work like that with investing. If you invested $100 a month, on average you’ll have around $1,353 at the end of the year but this is not a guarantee – at all. You could be left with $900 or even $1,600, it all depends on what the market at the time and what you invested in. It can be harder to reach financial goals when you aren’t 100% sure how much money you will have after a certain period of time.

That’s it! I hope this has given you a great understanding into inflation as well as ways to overcome it and situations when it is okay to take the hit. Saving money is a great first step to achieve your financial goals so if you have enough money laying around where you actually have to think about inflation, congratulations! It means you’ve done well. Thinking about inflation and investing can be intimidating especially if you’re new to personal finance. However, some research and education can give you an excellent foundational understanding that will support you throughout your life. If you have any questions feel free to contact me here.

Why I Don’t Reinvest My Dividends

We all love receiving dividends and the common advice in regards to dividends is to reinvest them.

Why? Reinvesting these dividends allows an investor to super-charge future returns, using the power of compound interest. It’s a pretty great strategy. It is cheap, easy, flexible and increase stock market returns substantially.

That being said, I actually don’t reinvest my dividends and take the cash! I believe that there are pros and cons to each investment strategy, and it is all about choosing what works best for your financial goals. As my opinion on not reinvesting dividends is a more unpopular one, I wanted to share my rationale behind the decision.

Control

Control of my money is important to me which is also a reason why I don’t contribute extra to my super retirement fund – I like having access to my money, when I need it.

I used to previously reinvest all of my dividends but as my dividends start to get larger in value, I started to prefer controlling how each payment is spent, saved or invested. By taking the cash, I can always reinvest them manually myself if I choose to and just have to pay for brokerage which is worth the liquidity to me.

This is why it’s important to make decisions that suit your personal goals rather than following others. Many investors don’t need the extra cash-flow and are happy to be illiquid in return for the many benefits that dividend reinvest brings. As always, do what works for you.

Saved by a dividend

Not my car (I drive a 15 year old Mazda)

In January, I experienced some major car issues and was left with a pretty large bill. It was completely unexpected and not budgeted for. I also was not going to get my salary for a while so I was struggling cash-flow wise. Luckily, I got my dividend that day which helped cover the entire expense.

Getting a dividend in cash meant I could use the money for car expenses versus dipping into my emergency fund and having to build that back up. My emergency fund will always be a priority over investing so it was great to allocate that money to what was important to me rather than it being automatically reinvested.

Planning

I’m a big planner, especially with my finances.

I like to have a strategy behind putting X amount of $ into a certain investment rather than it just being reinvested with no thought.

  • What is the purpose of me buying this investment?
  • How long would I want to hold it for?
  • What % of my total portfolio should this investment be?

These are all questions I like to ask myself before making an investment decision. Having the dividends in cash allows you to carefully use the funds based on your financial plan rather than it getting mindlessly reinvested. Don’t get me wrong. Mindlessly investing is a great strategy that works for many people, however I prefer being more hands-on with my finances.

I’m big on diversification and if I reinvested all my dividends, one particular fund would be too overweight in my portfolio which wouldn’t suit my financial goals long-term.

Developing a passive income stream

One of my key long-term financial goals is to develop a passive income stream. My objective is to build this as soon as possible, and have my expenses covered by investment revenue, rather than a salary at work. By taking my dividends in cash, I am slowly working to build this and can retire early without potentially touching my capital. Too ambitious? Maybe.

My current passive income stream is small, but it currently covers all of my following bills:

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

The wonderful part about this is that I don’t need to wait to live off passive income one day, I am already doing it now!

I see many investors who work on being frugal while they are younger, reinvesting all their dividends and then being financially independent in their 40s and beyond. However, I have a different outlook. I believe that life is simply too short – I am happy to start enjoying some of my passive income, now.

So, what do I usually do with my dividends?

It depends on the situation, I do something different every time!

Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes they help out with large expenses that come up such as car issues, insurance or dental costs. Sometimes, I will put them back into my investment portfolio – not always back into the fund that distributed them but also to buy different stocks that I had my eye on. It can also be completely random, like diamond earrings. Yup, I spent one of my dividends to buy diamond earrings at a police auction. Hey, we can’t all be financially perfect!

Dividends are not my focus

Another point that I would like to bring up is that at this stage, I do not focus on dividends.

This means that I don’t look at the dividend return when buying a stock and it’s not the most important factor to me, either. Rather, I see it as an awesome bonus. As I am still in my 20s, I focus more on capital gains. I focus on purchasing assets that will grow over time so I can make money through capital gains versus dividend yields as I believe this will be more profitable in the long-term. As I get older and closer to financial independence, I will certainly focus more and more on cash-creating investments.

That’s all from me! I’d love to know from you, do you prefer to reinvest or take the cash? What is your reason for doing so? Leave a comment below or send me an email on themoneymarketerblog@gmail.com!

7 Easy and Cheap Meal Ideas From a Lazy Girl

Who knew that such a big part of being an adult would be trying to decide what to eat for dinner each night?!

It can be so tough working all day, coming home exhausted only to have to make a meal from scratch. It can make those delivery services seem oh, so tempting. I usually find that after ordering delivery, the lukewarm, overpriced food often leaves me feeling disappointed. They’re usually not the best for you, either.

Here are go-to weekday meals that I, a self-professed lazy girl loves making. There are no exact measurements because truthfully, I eyeball everything. It somehow always works out.

1. Fried rice

This is one of my favourite meals to throw together in literally five minutes. I stir-fry whatever veggies are in my fridge which could be anything from mushrooms to carrots. I then will add leftover rice and prepare the seasoning. I usually will mix soy sauce with fresh garlic, brown sugar and vinegar as a “sauce”. Throw in an egg for extra protein and you have an awesome meal ready in no time.

2. Omelettes

Who says omelettes are a breakfast-only food? I regularly make them for dinner as they are so damn easy. You can add pretty much anything from cheese, meat, veggies, and it turns into a wholesome meal. I love throwing in feta and tomatoes…or whatever is in my fridge. Spring onion is always great. You can eat them with toast or salad to turn it into a more substantial meal.

3. Soup

My homemade pumpkin soup

Soup can seem like an intimidating meal to make if you’re a beginner cook but it is so easy!

I like to use stock cubes and throw in tofu, zucchini, and some noodles for a quick noodle soup. Throwing in some frozen dumplings and you have what I call “struggle wonton soup” which is decent (surprisingly).

Another great one is pumpkin soup. I simply boil some pumpkin in chicken stock, add butter, cumin, black pepper and blend it together with a hand mixer. Another bonus of soup is that it lasts forever in the fridge. I love toasting some crusty bread in butter to have with it.

I present to you…my struggle wonton soup…


If you enjoy miso soup, I recommend grabbing a pack from your local Asian grocery. It takes a minute to prepare and is a great addition to many meals. I love having miso soup with a stir fry or with some rice, it adds a lot to the meal while being cheap and easy.

4. Roast chicken

If you spend an extra minute or so marinating, you can create a great roast chicken meal. I like to throw a chicken breast in some olive oil, paprika, garlic and oregano and let it marinate (for only around ten minutes as I am usually unprepared). I then throw it into the oven and add some cheese on top for the last few minutes of cooking. Eat it with a side salad and you have a quick and easy meal. I’ve been experimenting with this a lot lately and have learned in order to make this a delicious meal rather than a dry mess is to not overcook it. At all.

5. Vegetable muffins

This is my go-to recipe when I have not been grocery shopping in a while. To make vegetable muffins, I usually change the recipe based on what I have at the time. The basic ingredients are flour and milk – I then add any veggies on hand such as frozen peas, corn or red capsicum, carrot and make it into a dough. Cheddar is also a great addition to this. I’ll then throw in oregano, red chilli flakes and separate the dough into a muffin tray. I make this “recipe” differently every time and it always comes together at the end.

6. Upgraded instant noodles

Doesn’t that look like an actual meal?

We all love instant noodles – migoreng, anyone? So delicious, cheap and fast. The problem is that they often aren’t great for you and aren’t quite enough for a main meal. This is where “upgrading” comes in by adding extra ingredients.

My favourite method is to throw a fried egg on top but I also like adding bok choy, sliced beef or onions. It adds much more substance to the meal as well as extra nutrition. This is also a great way to use instant noodles that you don’t like. Just throw out the seasoning and add your own ingredients and flavourings.

I recently bought these noodles that were far too spicy – no delicious flavour, just numbing chilli. I used the noodles themselves to make stir-fried noodles, noodle soups it and turned out great!

7. Salad

I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. Salad is the best lazy meal. I like getting a bag of greens such as spinach and rocket and adding in some olives, cucumber, tomatoes and smoked salmon (when I’m feeling fancy). Tofu or canned tuna are also great suggestions for a “I need protein but am too lazy to cook” option. You don’t have to cook anything, only a couple of dishes get dirty and can be ready in five minutes. I love adding some balsamic vinegar or squeezing some lemon on top.

Plus, you can also binge on dessert later because you were healthy and had a salad…

Pantry staples

Not only are these meal ideas easy and perfect for the lazy cook but a lot of them are also affordable. If you always have pantry staples on hand, you can often make multiple meals and won’t order delivery just because you didn’t grocery shop. Some pantry staples to always have on hand are:

  • Rice
  • Onions
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Noodles
  • Stock cubes (chicken/beef/vegetable)

I would also recommend having lots of seasonings, here are my recommendations:

  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Red chilli flakes
  • Soy sauce

These staples last a long time and can be used to make meals in their own right – I personally prefer adding vegetables or meat as I like to enjoy my life.

No idea what to make?

If you have a handful of ingredients but no ideas to make them into an actual meal, check out Supercook. It is a free tool that I have been using regularly for years when I am stuck for ideas. You input the ingredients you have and it spits out recipes after scouring the internet. This is also a great way to try new recipes. With the help of Supercook, I made potato croquettes the other day – something I would never think of making and it turned out delicious.

That’s all from me! What are some lazy meal ideas that you like cooking? Let me know as I am always looking for new ideas!

Frugal Hack: Buy New Buttons – Not Clothes!

As the mornings get colder, we are well and truly headed towards winter.

I’ve had the same few wool and cashmere coats which I have worn for years and was feeling a bit bored of them. Instead of buying new ones, I instead bought new buttons and transformed them into completely different garments.

My pretty vintage buttons!

One problem with op/thrift shop coats is that they can look really dated – this frugal hack lets you update your wardrobe without buying extra clothes. I started by researching coats from luxury brands and noticed a lot of them had these big gold buttons that looked really trendy. I then scoured my local op shop, Etsy and eBay and bought some for $12.87. They were on the pricey side but they were high-quality, vintage ones which were perfect. It can definitely be done for significantly cheaper!

After a bit of hand sewing, my old coats were completely transformed! They look so high-end and has made me excited to wear them again. Instead of spending $100+ on a new coat, I spent just under $6.50 each. Furthermore, I reduced landfill waste and also got to have a more customised garment.

Here are the results!