This post details how we managed to get a free PPSR check on the used car we just purchased in Australia. Saving ourselves money $$$$.
Recently we sold our dual-cab four-wheel drive and downsized it for a smaller and more economical vehicle. This financial move helped us free up cash for our current kitchen renovations, and also reduces our car expenses.
To maximise the money we were freeing up from the sale we decided to purchase our car secondhand privately and skipped the used car dealers. The issue with choosing to buying secondhand privately is that we needed to do the security and title checks ourselves before we went forward with the car purchase. If I purchase from a used car dealer I ask them to provide this at no charge to me. In Australia we call a security and title check a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check/report.
What is a PPSR check?
A PPSR is an Australian Government register that provides vehicle details and history to consumers. The register provides information on:
Financing still owing on the vehicle
Vehicles reported as stolen
Cars that have been written off
and even if the vehicle is affected by the Takata airbag recall.
The register is a great resource aimed at protecting consumers; however, it’s not freely accessible to the public. To access this register previously I’ve paid for a PPRS check to be completed.
What is the cost of a PPRS?
If you do a google search of ‘car title and security check Australia’ you will find the top hit is RevCheck which charges $9.90 per check. This cost increases to up to $35 depending on the company and what type of search/s is conducted.
The cheapest PPRS check is through the Australian Government website which isn’t even on the first page of results that I found. The link to this check is available here for $2, and this is the same check that is completed for free if you keep reading this post.
So how do I get a PPRS check for free?
Well, that’s really simple. The insurance company Budget Direct offer them for free here saving you up to $35 (dependent on the company you use to do the PPRS check).
What’s the catch?
Well, the catch with this free PPRS check is that you have to agree to allow Budget Direct to contact you occasionally about their products and services.
What details do I need to provide to get the PPRS check?
To get your PPRS check, you just need to provide the car’s VIN number, your name, email address and mobile phone number (as per screenshot below).
Do I need to sign up with Budget Direct Insurance?
No, you don’t have to sign up for insurance or be a Budget Direct customer. That said you’d be silly not to at least get a quote and shop around for the best deal.
We’ve now been Airbnb hosts for almost 6 months. In that time we’ve learnt a lot, and so I thought I would start sharing what we’ve learnt in a series of posts. If you want to see all posts relating to Airbnb click here.
One of the early things we invested time in setting up was our scheduled messages and quick replies. I discovered the scheduled messages function from having a play with the features on the Airbnb platform. It’s proved to be a really handy function for us and reduces the amount of host administration required.
How to find the scheduled messages function?
I like to set up scheduled messages via the desktop Airbnb platform. The UI is much nicer and it’s easier to type, edit and review your messages.
To access the scheduled messages menu follow the steps below:
Adding a new scheduled message
Adding a scheduled message is simple. Once you’ve followed the steps above and navigated to the scheduled messages section of the Airbnb platform simply select the New Message button.
The screen below will now show and allow you to create your first scheduled message.
When creating scheduled messages don’t forget to make use of shortcodes. They are variables that allow you to insert information that you enter in other sections of the Airbnb platform into your messages.
The main benefit of shortcodes is that you can reduce the amount of text you have to include in your scheduled message, and if you update certain details in your listing it will automatically update in your scheduled message (without you editing it). For example: if you update your wifi password in the listing details section, and have this shortcode in one of your scheduled messages it will automatically update when the message is automatically sent to the next guest.
What scheduled messages do we send?
Getting the right balance between good host communication and spamming your guests is tricky.
We have opted to create 3 scheduled messages before check-in, and feedback from guests has been positive. One of the messages will not send to the guest if they book with us less than a week out.
Below I’ve provided a copy of our scheduled messages which you are more than welcome to use and edit. The italic text within the brackets indicates that we use a [shortcode] to provide this information to the guest. If you do use shortcodes just make sure that you complete the section of the listing details where this information is kept (otherwise it will be sent to the guest with no details).
Scheduled Message 1: Immediately after Guest booking is confirmed
Hi [guest first name],
Thank you for booking [Listing Name]. We are looking forward to hosting you.
Please let us know if you have any special requests or needs during your stay.
I’m sure you’re keen to enjoy the nearby sights whilst you are staying with us. So we have created a guidebook with all our favourite and recommended local favourites here [guidebook].
Prior to your check-in, you will receive a message with instructions to assist you in finding the location, and code for the key safe.
Thank you so much for your booking
[primary Host first name]
Scheduled Message 2: One week before Check-In (if the guest books less than a week out then they won’t receive this scheduled message)
Hi [guest first name],
We are excited to host you in a week’s time.
Please make sure you have read through the listing, amenities and all details in full before your stay to confirm it meets your needs and expectations.
If you haven’t already seen our personalised guidebook I recommend you have a look so you can plan out any activities, and make any restaurant bookings early – link to guidebook here [guidebook].
Just a reminder that check-in time is anytime [check-in time]. I will forward all check-in instructions and directions on the day of your stay.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
[primary Host first name]
Scheduled Message 3: Day of Check-In
Good Morning [guest first name],
Your getaway to [city] is here!!!!!
Check-in is anytime after [check-in time].
The address is [address].
A comprehensive Guest Manual is provided on the dining table as you walk in. An online version is also available here [house manual]. This manual details how to use certain areas of the space, check out instructions, and will help you get the most out of your stay with us.
Free WiFi is provided during your stay with the following details:
If there is anything else you need during your stay, including recommendations, directions, or anything else, just let us know. We are only too happy to help.
[primary Host first name]
If you’re interested in seeing more blog posts like this feel free to subscribe below.
Another way to support the blog is to use our Airbnb host referral code below if you are thinking of setting up your own place/space as an Airbnb (and we will both get a referral bonus after you complete your first reservation).
First I must start off by saying this interview was a few months ago at the start of 2022. In the interview, I talk about my husband’s and I’s goal of reaching Flamingo FI at the end of 2022.
First off if you’re not following Money Flamingo and the amazing Mrs Flamingo who first coined the term Flamingo FI I encourage you to head on over to their socials and blog and subscribe to their content.
As you know I love following and talking to people in the financial independence community who are treading an alternative FIRE path. Mrs Flamingo uses the Money Flamingo blog platform to focus on the less extreme strategies to achieve financial independence. This includes content on Coast FI, Barista FI and my favourite type of financial independence Flamingo FI.
This brings me to my own opportunity to be interviewed by Mrs Flamingo from Money Flamingo about my plans to reach Flamingo FI by the end of 2022 and semi-retire. This involves our FIRE portfolio hitting 500k (a very ambitious goal indeed).
In the interview we answer the following questions:
Why we have chosen to reach Flamingo FI as our goal in 2022?
What are our plans after we hit our goal?
How does owning a house form part of our longer-term plan?
Do we have any regrets about the sacrifices involved in the early stages of our FIRE journey?
What advice would we give someone in the situation you were in when you started your FIRE journey 2.5 years ago (in your 30s and with kids and responsibilities)?
This February on Instagram I created and completed a 28 day frugal challenge. This came about after we had a very spendy start to the year with Christmas and birthdays. So the timing was perfect to do a challenge that helped us get back to our frugal roots, and in the process find some extra cash. The challenge went really well, not only did we save some money but we also rediscovered our love of frugality and slow living. So I’m sharing the challenge via the blog today for those who may want to do a quick frugal boot camp to get themselves back on track.
Please note that this challenge can be completed at any time, and in any month (not just February).
Day 1: Set your goal for the month and use a visual tracker to track your progress.
The first day of the challenge is all about setting your intentions and goals for the month. Feel free to use my free monthly personal finance printable link here. It’s super easy to use, and I place mine on our fridge so that the whole family can work towards it.
Day 2: List at least one item you no longer use on Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay or other selling platform. Transfer any cash you make to savings.
The aim of this challenge is to kickstart your savings and get a quick win to help motivate you. Take a walk around your home and find at least one item that you can sell. I know I always seem to have a list of items I want to sell in my head, but haven’t gotten around to listing. So this day is all about listing just one of these items (if you list more then well done).
Day 3: Do a food audit and find anything close to expiry. Find a recipe to use it up and incorporate into your meal plan.
Doing a food audit every month of your pantry (or weekly for your fridge) is such a great way to reduce food waste. Once you identify the items close to spoiling pop them in a basket so you know you need to use them up (I have a basket in the fridge and in the pantry). Then it’s time to get creative and plan your meals this month around these items.
Day 4: Check that you are getting the best deal for your car insurance.
It’s important to review your car insurance regularly to ensure you are getting the best deals (you can save $$$’s). There are a few websites that can assist you in this task such as Canstar, Compare the Market, Finder and iSelect.
Day 5: Check your tyre pressure and make sure they are at the recommended pressure.
Did you know that having your tyre pressure below the recommended pressure can lead to you using an extra 5% fuel? It can also decrease your tyre tread life. If you don’t know where your tyre pressure recommendation is you will usually find it in the inside of your car door when you open it (or in your car manual). I’m not great at remembering this tip so I have a reoccurring reminder on my phone.
Day 6: Cook an extra meal to be put in the freezer for a future night off.
Prepare an extra meal in advance to put into the freezer. The idea around this is that at some point in the likely near future you will not feel like cooking, and instead of grabbing a takeaway you can reheat this extra meal instead (saving you money). It may also be worth getting in the habit of preparing double portions one night of the week and freezing the excess.
Day 7: Grab your latest energy bill and take 5 minutes to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.
For Australians this process is super simple just head on over to the government website Energy Made Easy and upload your bill. Then wait for your results and check how much you can save by switching providers. We saved over $1000 a year switching to Reamped Energy. These guys are great and if they are the best deal for you feel free to use the link to recieve $50 when you sign up (and the best thing is they do all the hard work for you in terms of breaking up with your old company).
Day 8: If you’re on a variable mortgage interest rate call your provider for a rate review.
Do you want to save over $1000 in one hour? Yes, well perhaps it’s time to give your lender a call. I request an interest rate review every 3-6 months depending on my lender’s policy on rate reviews. I do a little preparation work for it including a little research on other providers (eg. interest rate offered, new customer rates, providers name, LVR, etc). I then call my lender and once I finally get to a real person I request to speak to the rate review department. I then make my pitch remembering to be super polite and removing any emotion. I’m not always successful but over the years this has saved us thousands of dollars.
Day 9: Deep clean your washing machine and dryer filters.
Not only is this a necessary and often overlooked part of maintaining your appliances (and their lifespan), but you never know what you’ll find in there.
Day 10: Make your own multi purpose spray cleaner.
Day 11: No one’s perfect. If you need a night off choose a takeaway instead of a takeaway.
We all need a night off, and even if you’ve got a pre-cooked meal in the freezer sometimes you have a craving for a takeaway. But before you reach for your phone why don’t you think about a fakeaway instead. Fakeaway is just what you think it might be. Fake takeaway that requires minimal effort and can be purchased from your supermarket, bakery, Asian grocery or specialty shop. My favorites are:
Heat and eat curries (Aldi does a great one in the fridge section)
Heat and eat pies/pastry’s (again I recommend Aldi)
Home made gourmet hotdogs with your own toppings (I’m a sucker for the Aldi brioche hotdog rolls).
Dumplings, Bao Buns, or really any frozen item from your local Asian grocery.
Heat and eat pastas like lasagna.
Air fryer fish and chips
Day 12: Pull out all your clothes and go through each of them. Rediscover some oldies you forgot and donate/sell anything you no longer wear.
Try on your clothes, and get rid of anything that no longer fits/ is broken or just doesn’t bring you joy wearing. Don’t forget to take any unwanted items that are not donation quality to H&M where you will receive a 15% off voucher.
Day 13: Hand make a card for someone special using things around the house.
Cards can be expensive especially when you leave it to the last minute. So this challenge is all about being creative using what you have around the house to make a card. I keep mine pretty generic so I can use them for an unexpected goodbye, thank you or birthday. If you need some inspiration then follow my lead and go to Pinterest for some ideas.
Day 14: Schedule a zero or low cost money date (for singles or couples).
Every month we schedule a money date, and more often than not these dates are quite cheap. Eg a nice walk to our favorite local waterfall, a mini picnic or just a drink at our local pub during happy hour. During our money date we reflect on our money and life wins/losses since our last date, and get back in sync. For those who aren’t coupled up do something for you: reset yourself, reflect on your wins and celebrate you.
Day 15: Check that your Home Insurance is still meeting your needs and you’re still getting the best deal.
A lot changes every year including the cost of rebuilding your house as well as insurance legislation. So it’s important to at least once a year make sure that you’ve still got the best insurance for your situation. For most of us our house is our biggest asset so it’s important that it’s insured appropriately. It’s also important to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Some great places to start are Canstar, Choice, Compare the Market, Finder and iSelect.
Day 16: Check out your local library or library app like Libby/Borrowbox.
I love my library and I challenge you to go and see what services your library provides. Often libraries provide more than just books. Our library provides free coding classes for our son, genealogy, workshops, classes, cheap room hire, and access to a 3D printer. If you’re not close to your local library then check out library apps like Libby and Borrowbox. If your library has a newsletter then I recommend subscribing to keep up to date with new services.
Day 17: Check out your local vocational training providers / or TAFE providers to see what student provided services are available to the public.
I previously worked at a TAFE provider and whilst there I discovered so many great goods and services available to the public at lower prices than usual. These goods and services included:
Day 18: Bring the cinema to your home for a low cost night in.
This challenge is all about finding activities that fill your need for fun without breaking the bank. One of our favourite activities is to stay home and watch a great classic movie as a family. We make it extra special by going to Aldi, grabbing some popcorn, lollies, and fancy icecream for under $10.
Day 19: Try swapping your regular meal delivery services like Hellofresh with a free or low cost meal planning app like mealime or paprika.
We all have to eat, but how you plan and decide what goes on the table can save you a tonne of money. Recently we had gotten a little too reliant on HelloFresh, but we ditched it for the app Mealime, and after a month of using it we love it!!!
The Mealime app has a free version and a paid version ($2.99 a month). You simply download the app to your phone, select your recipes, it then generates your shopping list, and you then cook the meals. You can even upload your own recipes.
I’ve also been told that Paprika Recipe Manager is also great. This is a paid app (once off cost $7.99). I haven’t tried this one myself, but I like that this app allows you to plan your meals weekly, fortnightly or monthly. It also had additional functions such as being able to keep a pantry list in addition to generating a grocery list.
Day 20: Look into bulk buying items that you use frequently.
Bulk buying your groceries can save you a tonne of money, and I do this for several high use items in our house (eg. Flour, Eggs, Rice, Herbs, Toilet Paper etc). When I bulk buy I have a few rules I follow:
Know your unit pricing. Bigger sometimes isn’t cheaper.
Only buy what you would use in a year or alternatively whatever the used by date on it.
If bulk buying meat use a scale to divide up and bag your meat.
Know how long something can be frozen. Whilst a whole chicken can be kept in the freezer for a year, a cut up chicken can only be frozen for 9 months.
Label your frozen goods well. Otherwise you might get a surprise after defrosting it (hands up if you’ve done this before).
Day 21: Download a petrol app and get the best price in your area.
Petrol apps have been around for a few years. They can save you quite a bit of money depending on the petrol price fluctuations in your area. There are quite a few Australian fuel apps including Fuel Map, Petrol Spy, Fuel Lock 7/11, RACQ Fuel, Gas Buddy, RAA Petrol App, and Motormouth.
Day 22: If you love high end clothing then consider joining a buy, sell, swap group or trying a pre-loved designer store.
I’m not a big fashion shopper, but I do love a few brands that are quite $$$. Instead of buying new I have joined a few buy, sell, swap groups on Facebook in order to save myself money. I’ve also had a bit of luck at a local pre-loved designer store (the ones that rent a rack to people to sell their items).
Day 23: Use cashback sites/apps like Shopback, Cash Rewards and Honey.
If you need to buy something online then cashback sites/apps can be a great way to make a little money. We use our cashback dollars at the end of the year to help with Christmas expenses. To use cashback sites/apps simply sign up to the cashback site, shop through their online platform/or use their brower extension, and then get a % of your online purchase amount paid into your cashback account. Feel free to use my affiliate links here to get an additional bonus for signing up.
Day 24: Swap to generic supermarket brands.
We are big fans of buying generic supermarket brands and almost exclusively shop at Aldi. Often we find that even when branded items are on half price sale at the major supermarkets that the generic brand is often cheaper. In recent years the taste and quality of generic brands has improved significantly, and we often prefer the aldi brands over the branded version.
Day 25: Change your mortgage payments to fortnightly or weekly to pay down your mortgage faster.
If you’re not already paying your mortgage weekly or fortnightly I challenge you to try switching your payment schedule. It’s such a simple way to pay your mortgage off quicker as you end up paying additional payments without realising it over the year.
Day 26: Grow your own herbs from store bought cuttings.
I’ve got a huge green thumb, but it wasn’t always like this. It’s taken years of learning and a tonne of trial and error (and dead plants). An easy first step to improving your green thumb without significant outlay is to propagate from herbs you’re already buying from the supermarket. It may come as a surprise to you but you can grow the following herbs from cuttings:
You simply select the green stem, and to take a cutting you:
Snip just below the leaf node (where the leaves come out of the stem). This should be about 10cm.
Then remove the bottom leaves.
Pop the cutting in a glass of water.
Then place the cutting on a sunny windowsill.
Then change the water at least weekly (every couple of days is best)
In a few weeks you will start to see roots grow and you can plant your cutting into a small pot.
Day 27: Adopt a more frugal beauty regime.
Beauty budgets are extremely personal and individual, but I do think there are a lot of easy ways to shave money off your budget without compromising too much. So this challenge is all about making a small change to your beauty regime to save yourself money.
I’m not going to tell you to stop Botox, Laser, etc…. but maybe there is somewhere in your beauty budget that could benefit from a review. Here are a few ideas:
Make the most of working from home and give your face a couple of days off each week without make up.
Try extending the time between salon visits.
Embrace a more budget friendly hair colour/style.
Buy laser hair removal when they have deals.
Shop around for Botox or other treatments. There can be a significant price difference between practitioners.
Use TAFE or beauty school services.
Invest in a DIY manicure/pedicure set up at home.
If you’ve got a partner consider doing a short WEA course on couple massage.
Use sunscreen everyday.
Drink tonnes of water and feed your skin from the inside.
Use up your old products before buying new.
Learn to love your greys.
Do your own hair colour.
Learn to cut your partners/kids hair.
Know your skin type: Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring so you never end up with colours you don’t use.
Try the odd drug store brand. I’m a huge fan of Aldi’s range but I also mix it up with my favourite Mecca brands.
Join loyalty programs and use birthday vouchers.
Ask for free samples when you visit department stores (my mum taught me this one).
Day 28: Add up your savings, side hustles and other wins from completing the challenge and celebrate with your favourite low cost or free activity.
Well done for getting to the end!!!!! If you completed the challenge I would love to hear how it went so please let me know in the comments or tag me via instagram.
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In the second half of 2021 I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by Jessica from The Fioneers about my experience downshifting to a lower stress job.
If you’re not following The Fioneers I encourage you to head on over to their socials and blog and subscribe to their content. I love their content because they don’t cover the usual path to Financial Independence (e.g. reduce expenses to the bone, and invest at least 60% +++ of your income).
Instead, they are taking a different slower and more sustainable approach to Financial Independence coined Slow FI and write about their own journey via their blog. My favourite recent blog post is their experience in 2021 ‘Designing a life we don’t want to retire from‘.
The Fioneers also have a number of interviews with others who are taking a different approach to the conventional financial independence journey. My recently favourite interview was with Mr. 1500 who reached financial independence in 1500 days (no that’s not a misprint). But, this achievement wasn’t what The Fioneer’s interview focussed on at all. The interview with Mr. 1500 was around why he was telling people to slow down and enjoy the journey. The interview is aptly named ‘Avoid the “Death March” to Financial Independence‘, and I strongly encourage you to read it.
This brings me to my own opportunity to be interviewed by Jessica from The Fioneers around my experience ‘downshifting’ to a lower stress job and still working towards financial independence. For those who aren’t familiar with ‘downshifting’.
‘Downshifting’ your career involves taking a step down in the role you have now to a level with less stress or minimal management duties.
For a long time, I loved working having a high pressure / high stakes job role. But over time, the stress and expectations of it wore me down. I didn’t want to be on call every day. I didn’t want to deal with the politics. I just wanted to do a great job and come home.
A lot of people have asked me how my Airbnb is insured from guest-related damage and liability, and so I thought I would share how we found insurance that met our very unique needs. I also thought this information might help others that are looking into house hacking by using their own home as a short term rental.
When we first started toying with the idea of becoming part-time Airbnb hosts last year one of the first things we started looking for was suitable insurance. The first thing I found out during the search was that finding an insurance company for short term rentals was a lot harder than I thought. Especially for our scenario eg: part-time/short term rental of the downstairs section of our home that we also live in.
My initial search consisted of me just calling random insurance companies and getting told they don’t offer short term rental insurance. During one of these phone calls, I was referred to the following website by a really helpful call centre operator.
This website allows you to quickly find very specific insurance to meet your needs (not just short term rental insurance).
Once I entered my parameters I found that there were only 10 insurance companies in Australia (at the time of publishing) that provided short term holiday rental insurance (and were listed on with the Insurance Council of Australia).
I then spent hours slowly working my way down the list of companies getting quotes. After a number of phone conversations and expensive quotes, I quickly realised I needed an insurance product that was more flexible and unique to our situation.
Eventually, I came across ShareCover in the list of products and decided to look into it as an option for us.
ShareCover is a pay-by-night insurance policy for hosts that rent out their property on platforms like Airbnb. You pick and choose what dates you need covered based on your Airbnb bookings (covers 1 to 90 day stays). It provides building insurance for up to $2m and contents up to $500k with $10m of liability coverage included. ShareCover has partnered up with SGIC and is backed by the insurance underwriter IAG (which is one of the largest insurance groups in Australia).
While AirCover protects you while you’re hosting an Airbnb stay or Experience, it is not a substitute for personal insurance. Since everyone’s situation is different you should talk to your insurer to see how, or if, your policy overlaps with AirCover.
Given this statement, we knew that it was important for our situation that we had additional specific short term rental insurance above and beyond what AirCover was providing.
Does ShareCover replace the need to have Home and Contents Insurance?
No, ShareCover clearly states that it’s not a replacement for your Home and Contents Insurance. ShareCover is additional insurance that can be used in combination with your existing home and contents insurance.
How much does it cost?
Getting a quote for ShareCover is really simple and takes about 1 minute – you can do it here. Simply select the insured sum amount that you would like for your building and contents. Then select your excess which can be adjusted to suit. We personally found that our per night cost (when we have guests) is approximately $10.
Please ensure you check the current list of coverage and the insurance PDS available here before considering ShareCover insurance.
How do I keep track of my policies?
When you take out ShareCover you set up an account that has an online portal in which you can view all of your policies. This makes it simple for reconciling at tax time.
Would I recommend ShareCover?
I can’t recommend anything as I’m not an Insurance Broker or professional on the subject. This article is just to share my experience finding insurance coverage that met our unique requirements as a part-time Airbnb host. I personally found it difficult finding information on this type of insurance so I hope this article can act as a starting point for those in a similar situation as us.
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As I entered our expenses for December into my expense tracker all I could think of was ‘thank goodness 2021 is over so I can’t spend any more money!’. 2021 has definitely been a more expensive year than usual for usthanks to renovations, but even without the renovations I couldn’t help but notice that just living has cost us a whole lot more than previous years. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s experienced this thanks to record-high inflation and disruptions to supply impacting on food, petrol, consumer goods, housing, and utility costs.
To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.
Top 5 Expenses – December 2021
Notes: December was the first 5 week month since we refinanced, and this resulted in our mortgage being the biggest expense for the month. Our loan was recently refinanced and we have a variable rate of 1.99%.
Renovations = $2,451.06
Notes: The majority of this month’s renovation expenses are made up of one large bill for the electrician ($1000) and lots and lots of little trips to Bunnings, IKEA, and the paint shop. But the good news is we have finished our Airbnb renovations and have listed the space on Airbnb (read more about it here).
Food and Alcohol = $1,551.85
Notes: Our food bill increased substantially in December thanks to hosting Christmas for 20 people. My working hours also increased by a day and so we’ve had to rope in some additional help in the form of Hello Fresh to make it work. After a month of Hello Fresh we’ve decided to keep it until I go back down in hours, and I’ll be honest it’s been a godsend. If you would like to try it for yourself feel free to use my code here and get $100 off your next box. We continue to shop at Aldi for the basics and shop at other places depending on the specials available. We shop online at BWS to make use of cashback rewards (If you want to sign up use this affiliate link – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction).
Notes: A very average month here. Our utilities include our mobile phones (4 phones @ $104.95 per month), Internet (MyRepublic @ $59 per month), Water, Gas, and Electricity (We use Reamped – link here for $50 referral code).
Health and Medical Items = $962.03
Notes: Thanks to needing an annual scan and two specialists visits this month was more expensive than usual for our family.
Year to Date Comparison
We spent $10,726.80 in December and $11,869.05 the previous month which is a decrease of $1,142.25. We spent $346.02 per day in December which is down from last month’s $395.64 per day.
Other Expenses (% of total expenses)– December 2021
New Expenses (December)
We officially started an Airbnb expenses bucket which we will be interesting to track as we start earning income and seeing how profitable our little side income is.
Changes we’ve made this month (December)
Changes to expect next month(January)
A reduction in renovation expenses as the majority of our renovations are now paid for in full.
Year to Date Expense Overview ($)
Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $109,522.99 or an average of $9,126.92 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10).
Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 41% – no change (includes wages and side hustles. All dividends/distributions we receive are automatically reinvested via DRP)
Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, but we created this goal before I took a 30k (after-tax) pay cut in March. Given the pay cut and the renovations we are doing this year I’m happy with where we are at. More importantly, we are still tracking to our goal of hitting financial independence by January 2029.
We calculate our Net Worth and FIRE Net Worth and track them monthly. If you would like to see all net worth posts use this link here.
FIRE Net worth December 2021 – $389,452 (up $8,897)
Total Net worth December 2021 – $1,156,567 (up $12,006)
Total Assets December 2021 – $1,708,457 (up $10,338)
In December we invested a total of 3k (outside of super/retirement) via Pearler’s auto investment feature (as per our regular investment strategy).
In 2021 we invested 60k into ETFs. We also hit our super stretch goal of having 200k invested by December 2021 (excluding the shares/ETF’s we purchased using borrowed funds). This means we have built our share portfolio to 200k in just under 2.5 years (not including debt recycled funds). Our next milestone will be 400k in our portfolio (outside super) which we should hit in Jan/Feb 2022 depending on market conditions of course.
Our retirement funds continued to grow thanks to generous employment benefits (My husband receives 17.5% employer superannuation contributions).
Total Liabilities December 2021 – $551,890 (decreased $1,668)
Our liabilities decreased this month, and I’m looking forward to getting it below 550k (although this isn’t a huge priority for us at this stage). Our interest rate is 1.99% and we have a variable home loan.
Total Net Worth Increase in 2021 (to date) =$396,347 (almost 400k)
End of 2021 Goal1 million dollar net worth:Completed August 2021
How do I track our regular net worth? (keep scrolling to see how we calculate our FIRE net worth)
I’ve tracked our net worth since mid-2019 and enjoy seeing it grow over time. I strongly believe that tracking can assist you in staying the course, because let’s face it this getting wealthy business takes time (and it’s easy to feel like you’re not making progress and lose interest).
Being a bit of a spreadsheet nerd I track our net worth in a custom-made spreadsheet which is available here for $5.50.
I also track it on a day-to-day basis on a free IOS app called ‘My Net Worth’ so I can see how I’m going over the month, and then I enter the details from the app into my spreadsheet.
How do you calculate net worth?
If you don’t want to download the free IOS app or use a spreadsheet you can calculate this manually.
Writing down all of your assets and liabilities separately.
Then add up all of your assets together to get a figure (write this down).
Then add up all of your liabilities together to get a figure (write this down).
Then take the sum of your assets and deduct the sum of your liabilities.
This is your net worth.
Net Worth = (Sum of your Assets) – (Sum of your Liabilities)
How do I track my FIRE Net Worth?
Calculating your FIRE net worth is slightly different to calculating your regular net worth.
FIRE Net worth = FIRE Assets – FIRE Liabilities
FIRE assets for us are those that are invested, earning income, and accessible to you now. These assets and liabilities don’t include our home, car, furniture, collectibles, jewellery, and retirement accounts that we are unable to access until the traditional retirement age (e.g. Superannuation for us Australians isn’t accessible until 60 years old).
Note: You may wish to include Super/Retirement if you plan on retiring at an age where you can access these, or you may want to look at Aussie Firebugs calculator here which allows you to incorporate your super/retirement into your FIRE plan. We have opted not to do this as superannuation rules around access are controlled by the Australian Government, and therefore could change at any time (personal choice and not advice).
Happy Calculating !!!!! If you don’t want to do the calculations yourself the Net worth Tracker I use is available in my Etsy shop for $5.50 (click on the image below for the link). I’ve also just updated it recently to calculate your FIRE net worth as well. If you’ve already purchased this get in touch with me with proof of purchase and I will send you the updated version.
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Following our side hustle series detailing the side hustles we participate in we have decided to track and detail the income we generate each month. If you want to read all the previous linked posts you can find them all here.
Goodbye 2021 and Hello 2022!!!!!
This will be our last monthly side hustle post. I’ve decided to do our updates a little differently in 2022 so stay tuned.
Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison
December 2021 – Side Income Breakdown
Total Side Hustle Income – December 2021 = $1021.81
Total Side Income 2021 = $11,184.33
Please note that the numbers below and above don’t include tax/expenses so these are less spectacular when you take this into consideration (these are pre-tax figures).
Gardening December = $738.40 (approximately 20 hours work and extra Christmas bonuses from our lovely customers)
Gardening (2021 Total) = $7,489.35
Big news to report in our gardening side hustle this month. Hubby has decided to say goodbye to this side income in 2022. He has been given more subjects to teach at his work, which will increase his income to more than cover the loss of his gardening side hustle without a significant increase in his work hours. He plans to spend his spare time focussing on his other hobbies that involve his technical skills (he is mechanically minded and loves carpentry, metal work, 3D printing, etc). He is expecting to wind up the gardening business by February 2022. If you want to find out more on doing Gardening as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.
Etsy (December) = $83.41
Etsy (2021 Total) = $590.67
I had my best month on Etsy for a long time, and I’m really grateful so thank you. If you do use my items please feel free to tag me on Instagram (I love seeing people use them, and keen to reshare). I also have a tonne of free printables located here. I’m currently working on 3 new templates (including my AirBnB host guide), and almost one of them is ready to release in the new year. (so stay tuned). If you would like 10% off any of my Etsy items click here to view my store.
Affiliate Income (December) = $200.00
Affiliate Income (2021 Total) = $860.00
I like to be 100% honest and transparent so feel free to read more about this income stream here on why we are using affiliate marketing, what affiliate marketing is, and what we are using the income for.
Other Side Hustles
Although we didn’t earn any income in these side hustles this month you may be interested in reading more about them as we often participate in them from time to time including:
I’ve made a tonne of mistakes in my life, and this one ain’t one of them.
If you’re reading this hoping to hear a story of woe, well you’re not going to get one. This is a story of two consenting adults who made the terrible financial decision to drain one of their retirement accounts to purchase something absolutely unnecessary under terrible circumstances.
So how did this come to be. Well lets go back in time 7 years to 2015. My husband was unexpectantly diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the ripe old age of 28. Our children were just 7 and 3 years old, and the diagnosis was utterly lifechanging for so many reasons. At the time of diagnosis he was between FIFO contracts, and the diagnosis was devastating to his career. Following treatment he was unable to physically return to his career, was unemployed and without an education (my husband never completed high school).
Financially we were in a good position as we owned our small house outright. We had saved every cent of my husbands pay in the years prior and had paid off our house whilst we lived on my income. We also owned a piece of land interstate that had a mortgage on it. They say that you shouldn’t make big decisions in the year following a life changing diagnosis like cancer, but we ignored this sound advice. Instead we decided that it was the perfect time to do all the things on our bucket lists as quickly as possible.
Time to buy our Dream House
We had wanted to move house for a long time. Pre cancer our plan was to build our dream home on a gorgeous piece of land we purchased in 2012 (Located on a lake in regional Victoria). Post cancer we realised that we didn’t want to move interstate away from our families, and decided to purchase a house away from the suburbs in the Adelaide Hills and renovate it to become our dream house.
Unfortunately in 2015 the housing market wasn’t as good as it is now, and our house lingered on the market for 6 months before we finally sold it for less than the cost to build it. But we didn’t linger on the bad news for long at all because after 6 months of looking we had finally found our ‘dream’ house. We were keen to forget about our old house full of memories of cancer and treatment, and were keen to have a fresh start and learn how to live again.
Lets put a swimming pool in
We had planned to put a swimming pool into our dream home since we first came up the goal of buying a dream home when we met in 2005. So when we moved into our ‘dream’ home which was far less dream and more nightmare in 2015 we looked at ways we could make our swimming pool dream a reality.
As mentioned previously my husband was unable to bring in an income, and had decided to knock off another bucket list item ‘go to university’. I was happy to support him, and so he juggled renovating the house part time with being a stay at home dad and university commitments. Unfortunately without a second income things were extremely tight, and we had a modest mortgage on the new home (even with the funds from our old house sale, and an insurance pay out thanks to the cancer diagnosis). I was working for a not for profit organisation during this time, and although we were able to save a little each week to keep our renovations going we had no capacity to purchase a pool in cash. When we moved in we had a small amount of savings (10k) but this disappeared within the first fortnight thanks to a few early house disasters – the ducted reverse cycle air-conditioner and gas heater both died.
Despite the lack of funds we managed to scrape together enough money (2k) to pay for the initial pool drawings and the council approval application with the pool builder. My thought process around going ahead with this was that in the 3 months it would take for it to get approved I would somehow work out how to pay for the pool (cost was 50k). We were also hoping that our land which was still on the market would’ve sold in time to assist us.
As time passed it became clear that the land wasn’t going to sell anytime soon, and financing the pool short term wasn’t possible because of my income. Then we got given the news that my husband could access his superannuation early due to his cancer diagnosis (what we call our retirement account in Australia). So we thought about it and decided to make a really terrible financial decision, and instead make a decision based on what our hearts wanted.
In the years since we put the pool in we haven’t had any regrets about the decision.
Yes, it would’ve been better to have waited and saved up in cash for the pool.
Yes, my husband’s superannuation would’ve been over a 100k higher than it is now.
But the memories we’ve made as a family in that pool have been worth every cent of it in our eyes. Our children are only young once, and my husband and I know better than most that either of our lives could end at anytime.
Now I’m not advocating that people should do what we did, because it’s honestly a terrible financial decision that we made. I’m only highlighting the fact that sometimes you need to make decisions that don’t make financial sense, and for us buying a pool with my husbands superannuation was one of these.
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