5 Frugal Habits That Transformed My Life

Building wealth requires a focus on frugal living, frugal habits and prioritising what is really important to you. This is not the same as being cheap or stingy! Being frugal means spending money on what you place value on. 

We all know to bring lunch from home, make coffee at work and have pre-drinks before a night out. But, what habits will truly make a big impact?

Here are some of my frugal habits that have completely transformed the way I live in life.

Top 5 frugal habits

  1. Switching to free or low cost hobbies. I used to enjoy Melbourne’s wonderful dining scene at least three times a week. My wallet did not. Now on my weekends, I enjoy doing yoga in the mountains, knitting while chatting to a friend, painting and even recently went back to the local library to start reading again. Yes, your library card stops working if you haven’t used it in six years.  “Free” hobbies can be just as if not more enjoyable than more costly ones, so why not try something new this weekend? 
  1. Stopping buying things new. Save the planet, save your wallet. If I need something, I will never go out and purchase it brand new from a store. I will see if I can make it, borrow it or purchase it second hand. This includes my car, furniture, kitchenware, jewellery and yes, all my clothes. Did you know that Fast fashion is second only to oil as the world’s largest polluter? Yikes, I think I’ll stick to my local op shops. 
  1. Develop skills. I taught myself skills that interested me, which also could save me money. I cut my own hair, grow my own herbs, thread my own eyebrows and can do a thing or two with a sewing machine. Still learning everyday, I am constantly trying to develop new skills. That being said, do go to a professional when you need to. I tried to service my own car, and let’s just say – I’ll leave that to my mechanic. 
  1. Look before you spend. Before embracing the frugal lifestyle, I would choose restaurants and events oh a whim. Now, if I am about to have a meal in the area, want my annual massage – I’ll hop onto Groupon and see if there are any deals I can take advantage of. It is always worth it to take an extra minute to search for deals online before making a purchase. 

Sign up to Groupon: https://bit.ly/2Ow3xpL 

  1. Using cash back and promo code services. My online shoppers, this one’s for you. Did you know that there are services that give you a small percentage back on all your online purchases? I personally use Honey and Shopback as they both cover different websites. While the percentage amounts are small, it is an easy way to get cash for items that you were going to buy anyway, such as groceries or contacts.

Honey is an awesome service, that is a two in one. It allows for a plugin to be installed to your browser and searches the web for coupons. I used to manually hunt for coupon codes on Google but not anymore, thanks to Honey. I spend $300 on contacts annually and use Honey to find promo codes while also getting a small percentage of cashback. It is automatic so you don’t have to remember to use it, either.

And, here’s my secret for ultimate frugality. Shopback gives cash back on Groupon. Which means getting even more cash back on products and services that are heavily discounted. Can’t beat that.

What are some frugal habits that have changed your life?

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.

3 Online Shopping Hacks To Save You Money

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 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.


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!

Frugal Tip: Buy New Buttons – Not Clothes!

Here’s a clothing frugal tip for you.

I’ve had the same few wool and cashmere coats which I have worn for years and was feeling a bit bored of them. I bought them second-hand from the op shop and while they keep me warm and look stylish, I felt I needed a bit of a change.

Of course, I figured I should go back to the thrift shop and buy new ones. However, the coats I had already fit me well, in the colours and styles I wanted – I figured I could give them a facelift.

Frugal tip: Instead of buying new coats, I bought new buttons and transformed them into completely different garments.

Okay, but why did I never think of this before! Different buttons can make an piece look completely different.

I personally don’t care if an item is new, as long as it is new to me!

Another pro of changing buttons is that you can make grandma coats look trendy.

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 chic and stylish.

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. I can’t stand cheap buttons, I don’t know what it is about them.

Rather than buying buttons, you could also harvest them from another piece of clothing – perhaps from something you don’t wear anymore.

The Money Marketer Blog, Frugal tip
My pretty vintage buttons!

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!

The Money Marketer Blog, Frugal tip
The Money Marketer Blog, Frugal tip

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy frugal living! You can read all about it by clicking here.

How To Buy Property Without Actually Buying Property

Recently, I was chatting to a girlfriend who mentioned that she wanted to invest in property but didn’t have the cash to do so.

She wanted the returns of the Australian property market without committing herself to purchasing an entire house. However, you really don’t have to – it is still possible to get real estate exposure in your portfolio.

How? The short answer is REITs.

What is an REIT?

“REIT” stands for real estate investment trust and is an investment product that gives investors exposure to property assets. Australian REITs are known as A-REITs and are publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

This means you can simply buy into these funds like you would a stock or ETF and can put in as little as $500. There are different kinds that provide exposure to retail, industrial, residential and even office buildings.

Furthermore, you can also invest in funds that hold a number of different REITs. One example is the Vanguard Australian Property Securities Index Fund (VAP) which uses S&P/ASX 300 A-REIT Index as a benchmark.

Would I invest in a REIT?

No, I wouldn’t. The reason for this is lack of diversification. I would like to purchase a home in the future that would be a large percentage of my net worth and if I started investing in REITs, I would be too overweight in one asset class.

You can read up more about diversification by clicking here.

However, I think it is a great option for those who won’t be purchasing a home within the next decade or so, or simply want diversified real estate exposure.

Why I’m Not Buying A Home (Even Though I Can Afford One)

If I told my younger self that I still didn’t own a property, she’d probably freak out.

For the longest time, buying property was my number one goal. I educated myself on the nitty gritty and knew exactly what I wanted, with the means to do it. However, after a failed attempt I reassessed and realised that buying property was not a good financial decision for me, right now.

I live in Melbourne.

I think we can end the article here.

Just kidding! But, this is very much the case. Property prices in Melbourne are insane. A property that I could afford comfortably would be either a small apartment or a house at least 45 minutes away from the CBD. By “comfortably” I mean being able to afford a deposit which is at least 20% of the house price and monthly payments that are not more than 30% of my pay (after tax). This is very important to me.

For most of us, a house is the most expensive thing we will ever buy. It also is a commitment that spans decades. For such a large purchase, I don’t want to compromise and make a purchase that I am not 100% happy with just to have a property now.

I don’t want to be tied down…yet!

As a 20-something, I am kinda scared of responsibility.

A commitment that I need to honour for the next 30 years is a pretty big deal! It’s especially hard making that decision when I don’t know where I’ll be in the next 5, 10 years. What if I get a great job in a different country? What if I want to take time off work and travel the world? Can’t quite do that with mortgage repayments.

Investing in the stock market on the other hand provides me similar returns, but completely responsibility-free. Another major plus is I can sell my stocks at anytime and get my money in cash in a few days. It’s certainly a bit more of a process when selling a house.

I’m waiting to get 50% off

Okay, hear me out. I love the idea of being a strong, independent woman who bought real estate on her own in her 20s.

However, it makes much more financial sense to purchase a home with a partner. Not only do you instantly get 50% off your purchase but there is a backup income stream to pay the mortgage if you lose your job. You can purchase a better property in a nicer area and have less anxiety about shouldering all the responsibility of owning a home.

For these reasons I have decided to wait to purchase my first property, even though I have the financial means to do it now. This way I’ll be able to buy a property in an area that I love, won’t be burdened with paying a mortgage solo and will overall know what I want in life.

Financial Advice From My Immigrant Parents

Here’s where I get my good looks from.

I’ve had a few different guests to share their advice on this blog and I have a special one for you today – my parents.

Migrating twice to completely new countries with zero help, they have a unique financial outlook and perspective which I would like to share with you today.

First up, my dad.

A high-risk, high-reward entrepreneur, he has a very different financial outlook to myself. Preferring real estate to the stock market, he is also very pro-debt such as taking out mortgages to buy real estate or business loans. 

Here’s what he said!

“Monitor your spending. Determine what you want vs. what you need.”

I remember when I was a teen with my first salary and if I wanted something he would ask me “Do you need it or do you want it?”. That might be a good question to ask yourself to help stick to your budget.

“Earn commission not allowances”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by this one so I clarified. He means try to get a commission-based role that can give you unlimited earning potential (e.g. sales) if you put in extra work vs. relying on the income you get.

“Remember that it is natural for money to a burn a hole in your pocket so make sure you save and have a spending budget”

“Communication in your family plays an important role in managing money well. Have honest money conversations with your partner – it can help avoid conflict about money. Involve your children in planning and budgeting, it can make it easier to achieve savings together.”

Next up, my mum.

My mother has always been more conservative with money and prefers less risk. I asked her what advice would be to a young couple just starting their money journey.

“I think savings for the future should be compulsory and buy what you need only. Don’t spend more than what is in your budget. Think twice before spending.”

And, there you have it! Be frugal, only buy what you need and stick to a budget!

How I Lost Weight 10kg/22 lbs Without Spending Any Money

It’s no secret that the diet industry is massive. The weight loss market size was valued at 192.2 billion in 2019, and is projected reach $295.3 billion by 2027. Does this mean that your only option to lose weight is to invest a lot of money? No, not really. Here’s how I lost weight for free and here’s how you can too.

Note: I discuss weight loss and calorie counting so if these topics can be triggering to you, please avoid this article! Everything mentioned is also based on my personal experience and not a substitute for proper nutrition/fitness advice!

Okay, I did cheat and bought a $13 food scale to help me measure my portions – other than that, all free! Here’s how I lost weight.

Some numbers and a bit about me

Why no before/after weight loss picture in a bikini you ask?
Well… I’ve already disappointed my Indian parents enough by getting a degree in marketing – I can’t do anymore

I was 5.6kg (12 lbs) overweight at the start of my journey. Of course, I got a gym membership right away, costing me $80/month. After 8 months of hard work at the gym and eating healthier options – I weighed exactly the same. I was really frustrated as on top of my gym membership, I paid for personal training sessions and was buying expensive health foods.

I knew I had to try a different strategy.

And, it worked! I managed to lose 10kg in 5 months without spending any money. If you’re wondering what 10kg is in lbs, it’s around 22 pounds.

1. Get a free calorie tracking app

One of the biggest mistakes I made previously was not counting my calories – it is one of the most powerful tools that can help you drop weight. The best part is that counting calories is free. While a phone app is really helpful, you can also use pen and paper. The internet is an incredible resource that can help you get started.

I love, LOVE food. Therefore, rather than eating the least calories possible, I always focus on eating the most possible calories that you can which will still allow you to lose weight. I am really careful about reducing my calories and won’t eat less unless I absolutely have to. For example, if I can lose weight eating 1,600 calories then I will refuse to eat 1,200 just to lose weight faster. My food is very important to me!

2. Exercise daily (even if it’s a small walk)

The incredible thing about exercise that is that while it provides you many benefits, it is also free.

I hate strenuous activity, I don’t get endorphins I just get uncomfortable and frustrated. Instead, my goal is to exercise for at least 30 mins daily which is usually low-intensity such as post-dinner walks around my area. I also use free YouTube videos for yoga and pilates to do at home.

While a gym membership or a fitness class can be a great investment in your health, you don’t have to if you’re on a budget. Plus, it’s easier to stay motivated to exercise when you know your $55 per session PT isn’t going to pressure you to lift heavy weights. It’s also a lot cheaper. Ugh, the PTSD.

3. Stop eating snacks!

This tip is a great one because not only is it free, it also helps you save money!

Confession time, I used to be a serial snacker.

I’d sit at my desk at work and eat snacks non-stop. I didn’t think this was so bad at the time because I’d be eating healthy options such as an apple, tub of yogurt or a handful of nuts. However, I was simply eating too much. Some days, my calories in snacks would be more than entire meals!

Just by cutting out snacks, I reduced my calorie intake significantly but also saves money grocery shopping! It’s also nice to not be thinking about food constantly. Now, I eat two meals a day and don’t think about food until my next meal. That’s how I lost weight.

You’ve got this!

Now that you’ve got that extra money, why not invest it? Here are some of my articles around investing money: