Airbnb Update – September 2021

Just a quick update on how our Airbnb renovations are going since our last post in August, how much progress we’ve made, and when we estimate we’ll be live on Airbnb for bookings. For all our Airbnb related posts click here.

Eventually, the aim is to turn these posts into more detailed monthly posts around the ups and downs of being an Airbnb host (if we ever get there).

So what’s happened since our last post in August?


Since our last post, all of the tiling in the bathroom and the toilet has been completed. We are waiting for grouting and silicone to be completed by our contractors in some of these areas, but it’s looking more and more like a bathroom. We have the vanity installed (from Timberline) and shower fittings installed in the bathroom. We are waiting for the shower screen to arrive, and be installed (ETA this week). Our toilet is installed, and it has a soft close lid which is amazing to have in a house full of boys who seem to have a habit of slamming everything they touch.

I’m expecting delivery of the LED mirror (a similar one here for inspiration) for the bathroom this week. Our bathroom contractors have told us that the bathroom and toilet areas should be completed by the end of this week (our fingers are crossed).

After the contractors leave we still have a few jobs to do like painting the ceiling, toilet walls, and installing towel rails and toilet roll holders.

If you would like to see the inspiration behind our Bathroom renovations check out our Pinterest board here.

Kitchenette (Mini Kitchen)

The mini kitchen under the stairs has become my favorite part of the space downstairs. The kitchen cupboards are from IKEA (purchased for under $650 including delivery) and we installed them ourselves. We weren’t happy with the benchtops from IKEA so we found a local carpenter to do the benchtop.

One of the drawers is only 20cm wide so we’ve had to be quite imaginative with the space to make it usable. We’ve made some custom changes to it ourselves and it now stores glasses and plates. My husband custom-made dividers to stop the plates from making noises when the drawer is opened.

Over the weekend we installed a LED light in the space which has really brightened it up. We also purchased all our mini kitchen appliances, and have given them a test run.

We still have a few minor things to finish off in the mini kitchen. This includes a shelf that hubby is working on to maximize the bench space. I also need to finish shopping for plates, and odds and ends.

If you would like to see the inspiration behind our Mini Kitchen renovations check out our Pinterest board here.

Other Renovation Activities

We are in the process of finishing off the install of the last door. This one took a little longer than expected as we needed to wait for the bathroom tiling to be completed.

Next month with the weather improving we intend to start working on the outdoor areas that need a little attention.

What Airbnb related renovations are still to be done?

This list seems to get bigger and bigger:

  • Finish laundry design and order from IKEA
  • Put laundry together
  • Get plumber to install laundry taps and sink
  • Carpenter to measure up the laundry benchtop and install
  • Put a shelf up in the kitchenette
  • Paint the bathroom/toilet ceilings
  • Paint the toilet walls
  • Put in 2 plantation shutters
  • Put in a new curtain
  • Repaint the outdoor pavers
  • Replace the outdoor cushions
  • Replace lawn
  • Oil pool deck
  • Oil outdoor furniture
  • Finish off outdoor veranda (painting, cornice and lights)
  • Buy a new outdoor umbrella

How much have we spent to date?

$16,588 (Spent up to the end of August 2021)

This amount includes everything from new flooring throughout, new bathroom/laundry/toilet, new doors, new furniture, curtains/plantation shutters, and any outdoor updates required.

If you would like to see a bit more detail around our monthly expenses use the link here. We have a category called renovations.

When are we aiming to start listing our Airbnb?

Originally our plan was to start listing for guests by Spring 2021 (September 2021). However, as you can tell we are not ready for guests. We are tentatively aiming to list on Airbnb in early December.

What does it look like now?

Here are a few current photos of the space.

If you would like to follow our renovations on Instagram feel free to follow via @TheBoathouseStirling

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How to pursue financial independence with a family

We stumbled onto the concept of FIRE otherwise known as Financial Independence Retire Early in mid 2019. Just over 2 years have passed since then, and in this time we have been actively working towards financial independence as a family of four. I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t been a smooth pathway, and we’ve done a whole heap of learning by making mistakes along the way.

When we first started our journey there wasn’t a lot of information specific to those who already had children at the time of starting their financial independence journey. I found a lot of people who had reached FIRE who now had kids, but most had already been on a FI journey before they had children. I couldn’t find anyone writing about how challenging investing that first 10k was when you had childcare, school, activities, and a severe lack of spare time (or sleep) to consider.

So we started our FIRE journey by following those whose lives were different to ours, and picked out the bits of FIRE we could apply to our own lives. In the early days this often led to my own personal frustration at not being able to ‘fast track’ our progress like others in the community had: for example we weren’t able to spend $50 or less a week on groceries, or get rid of our second car, or buy a duplex and house hack, and so on. We found having a family presented challenges that made some of the general FIRE advice difficult to follow.

These kids and dogs may look cute but they are expensive…….

So what are the major challenges to those pursuing FIRE with children?

Having connected with lots of great family FIRE accounts in the last few years I decided to put this question to the community. I wanted to ensure that the challenges we had experienced whilst working towards FI with a family were valid. Also being a family with older kids I wanted to ensure we included challenges that those with younger children were experiencing. I collated the responses and there was quite a lot of consistent challenges experienced by those in the community including:

  • Difficulty calculating a FIRE/FI number as there were unknown future costs that were difficult to calculate
  • Loss of income to be at pick ups/drop offs or staying home to care for children
  • Child Care Fees
  • School Fees
  • Extra curricular activities
  • Needing to own multiple cars
  • Less time to read and become financially literate
  • Small incidental costs that are often difficult to plan for
  • Unpaid sick leave due to caring for children during illness
  • Rising cost of living
  • Peer pressure
  • Working towards multiple financial goals at the same time (debt, retirement, investing, and travel)
  • The desire to give our children opportunities that we didn’t have growing up

I’m sure there are many more challenges that could be added to this list (feel free to add to the comments section below).

Review your challenges

If you are reading this post hoping for a way to magically overcome all of the challenges you are experiencing on your pursuit to financial independence you will be disappointed. Instead the message I want to convey is if you are pursuing financial independence then it’s important you understand your challenges, make a plan for those challenges that are within your control of changing, and learn to accept what isn’t within your control.

I recommend getting a pen, paper and spend 5 minutes writing down your own list of challenges. Then against each one determine if these are within your control to do anything about.

For example of a challenge you might be able to change: if you’re struggling with time to learn more about your finances reconsider the way you consume information. This may mean listening to an audiobook with headphones while doing the house cleaning instead of waiting until you have spare time to read a book. Or read 10 pages of a book each day instead of trying to find 30 minutes a day to read.

Then work out which challenges you can’t change.

For example we can’t go without our second car long term. It might reduce our expenses somewhat (under $50 a week), but the trade off is that we would be spending a tonne of extra hours each month in order to do make this work. I would also have to cancel some extra curricular events for the kids as public transport or walking isn’t an option for the location.

Understanding and accepting what we could and couldn’t change helped us deal with our own feelings of comparison early on in our journey. These feelings of comparison were from us comparing our situation with others without realising that our situation was unique to us, and therefore we were going to have to tread a slightly different path.

Find your Tribe

Eventually I connected with similar families on a FIRE/FI journey on Instagram who had similar challenges as us, and they were making progress without the traditional FIRE ‘fast tracking’ that just wasn’t going to work for our family.

Finding our tribe was absolutely fundamental in changing our mindset from focusing on ‘What we couldn’t do‘, and refocusing it on ‘What we could do to reach our goals‘. It helped us find inspiration from other families pursuing financial independence in areas that we could actually put to work in our own journey.

There is more than one way to FIRE

Once we found our tribe we quickly discovered that there was more than one way to pursue FIRE. When I first discovered FIRE I only knew about Traditional FIRE which was quite intimidating for us, however over time I discovered that there are so many other types of FIRE including:

  • Traditional or Regular FIRE – Generally those on a regular or traditional FIRE journey aim to invest over 60% of their incomes and retire when their portfolio equals 25 x their annual expenses.
  • Lean FIRE – Those aiming for an annual passive income to cover annual expenses of 40k or less. Those aiming for this type are typically frugal and have a minimalistic approach to their lifestyle.
  • Fat FIRE – The opposite of Lean FIRE with annual expenses of 100k or more.
  • Barista FIRE – For those who have quit their regular 9-5 job, and use part time work to cover expenses. Typically they have enough invested so they can withdraw 4% of their passive income to cover the difference in income (or even work part time).
  • Part Time FIRE – Similar to Barista FIRE those pursuing this type of FIRE aim to continue working until traditional retirement age but transition to part time working hours once their passive income is able to supplement the loss of income.
  • Flamingo FIRE – You work and invest really hard for a few years and then you semi-retire and work part time. Then you enjoy your new semi-retirement whilst your passive income continues to grow in the background until you are financially independent. To read more about this type of FIRE click here.
  • Slow FIRE – As per the name suggests this is a slower and more sustainable financial independence journey. Read more about it here.
  • Coast FIRE – Having enough invested so that even if you never invested another cent you would be able to retire at a traditional retirement age. Often Coast FIRE is a very important milestone for all who are aspiring to financial independence.

The types of FIRE above aren’t the only options out there. You may choose to initially aim for one, and then change your mind completely. Or you may choose your own pathway that suits your needs.

Get on the same page

If you are a family pursuing FIRE then it’s vital that you as a couple get on the same page. I advise you to read the Fioneers post named ‘How to pursue financial independence as a couple‘ as this really is the blueprint for designing your ideal FI life as a couple. It has some great tips for overcoming issues like resentfulness and policing, and handy hints for motivating your partner to pursue financial independence (if they aren’t as keen as you).

Continuously adapt your plan to reach your goals

Designing your financial independence plan whether for a family, couple or an individual isn’t something you do once. Your plan to financial independence will continuously be adapted and changed as you do. It’s just as important to review your financial independence plan as it is to review your expenses and budget. If your not hitting your targets then it’s time to take a look at your plan to ensure it sets you up for success. If your plan isn’t setting you up to reach your goals then it’s time to take a look around, see what you can change, or alternatively look at a slower and more sustainable goal.

Gratitude and happiness over comparison and self loathing

I’m sure you’ve heard the very famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt ‘Comparison is the thief of joy‘, but did you know that the reason we compare is evolutionary based. One of the best ways to overcome negative feelings from comparison is to practice gratitude daily (or more if you need it). I have a gratitude diary next to my bed that I complete each day with a minimum of 3 things. I also limit my time on things that may trigger me (e.g. Social Media). For me practicing gratitude has helped me be more content with the many blessings of my life and accept our slower financial independence journey in comparison to others.

I’m confident that we will get to our FI goal at exactly the right time we’re suppose to get there, and I’m sure you will too. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Expense Review – August 2021

August was our second most expensive month to date of 2021, and it felt like it. I felt like we were constantly paying for something, and even though it was mostly planned it still hurt.

Our renovations continue to be our biggest expense and to date we have spent over 16k this year on completely renovating the ground floor of our house. August renovation expenses came to just over 4k, and we have at least another 4k to go (maybe more). It’s important to note that the money for the renovations doesn’t come from our income earned during the month, and instead is coming from our savings.

August also happens to be our Wedding Anniversary month and each year we go to the same hotel, and enjoy a kid free night away. I see this expensive night away as an important investment in our marriage. This year we almost didn’t go because we just didn’t have the money for it thanks to some unexpected expenses. Thankfully I didn’t cancel it and instead decided to do a stocktake of the house. We managed to find a tonne of stuff we no longer needed so we listed it over a weekend and made over $500.

We also had a few unexpected and unbudgeted expenses including vet bills, two kids scout camps, and my annual skin check. We had to dip into our emergency fund for these, and will need to rebuild this in the coming months.

August has been fun, but I’m definitely hoping September is a little less expensive.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – August 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $4,077.39

Notes: This month a major payment for our bathroom tiling contractor was due (3k). We have been really happy with the quality of the workmanship, but less than impressed with the time it has taken to do the work. I would love to say that we are close to finishing, but alas that’s not the case. Due to the higher cost of the renovations than budgeted for we are having to do a lot more of the work ourselves to remain within our fixed budget. As a result of having to do more of it ourselves it’s slowing down the renovation significantly, but ultimately without the funds to outsource that’s the way it is. We are now hoping to be finished our renovations by the end of October (and might have it listed on Airbnb in November).

  1. Mortgage = $1,560.00

Notes: A normal month for us with our mortgage. Our refinance didn’t happen in August, and will go through in September. We are refinancing to a lower interest rate (1.99% from 2.67%), and restructuring our loan to enable us to start debt recycling.

  1. Food and Alcohol = $913.28

Notes: In August we spent money at our usual shopping locations (see table below). We also renewed our Costco membership ($60) in readiness to get a few bulk food bargains for Christmas. We shop pretty exclusively at Aldi and shop at other places depending on the specials available. We shop 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.).

Bakers Delight (Bakery)$34.40
Local Fruit and Veg Shop$19.49
August Total$1058.42
Breakdown of Food and Alcohol spending
  1. School, Extra Curricular and Pocket Money = $966.90

Notes: It was a super expensive month for extra curricular activities. My eldest son is off to a camp in September which set us back $650. My youngest had a camp in August as well which set us back $150. We also paid the last instalment payment for our eldest son’s school laptop. The rest of the year should be quiet for school expenses (fingers crossed).

  1. Health and Medical Items = $906.78

Notes: Our Health and Medical expenses were much higher than usual due to two specialist appointments (one for my husband’s chronic condition and one for my yearly skin check). This category is also made up of our Private Health Insurance (Silver Family Cover for Hospital and Extras), which costs $156.85 per fortnight. Health and medical costs are a non negotiable in this medically challenged family.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

We spent $11,612.73 in August and $10,008.95 in July which is an increase of $1603.78 on last month. We spent $374.60 per day in August which is up from last month’s $322.87 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – August 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

Eating out accounted for 2.15% of our total expenses in August which is in line with our spending in July.

In August we:

  • Went to a Carnival. We spent a tonne on going on all the rides, buying showbags, and eating show food (hot donuts and dagwood dogs). It was awesome.
  • I went out with my old work team and had dinner and drinks.
  • We enjoyed fast food twice (kids request).
  • I had a networking lunch with an ex colleague.
  • I had three diet cokes to get me through crappy days at work.

The total for the month of August on this category was $250.18 compared with $214.20 in July.

New Expenses (August)

No new expenses.

Changes we’ve made this month (August)

One of our car insurances was due for renewal in August so I took the opportunity to review it as it was increasing. I looked around and ended up switching which enabled us to keep the same rate as we paid last year. Always take the time to review your insurances yearly to make sure you are getting the best rate.

My wage reconsideration went through and I ended up being back paid just over $1000 (after tax). I’m now being paid an extra $150 a fortnight which is being automatically invested.

Changes to expect next month (September)

Next month we expect the following changes.

  • We are getting a refund on the flights we had to cancel in July. We are looking forward to getting this money back in our hands (no ETA was given from the airline carrier). It will be put to work on our renovations.

Year to Date Expense Overview ($)

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $69,755.71 or an average of $8719.46 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10).

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 45.8% (includes wages and side hustles)

Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, however we created this goal before I took a 30k (after tax) pay cut in March. Given the massive 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 current goal of hitting financial independence by January 2027.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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(We’re Millionaires) Net Worth Update – August 2021

We officially have a net worth of just over $1,000,000!!!!!!

Mid way through August we had our property officially revalued as part of our refinance. As a result our net worth was pushed into 7 figure territory. We’ve always been super conservative with the value of our property so it was nice to get a formal valuation. What was even better news is that the valuation was based on the property not having a laundry, and missing a bathroom and a toilet (we are in the middle of renovations so these rooms were completely gutted at the time of the visit). Once our Airbnb renovations are completed we will need to get another valuation done for taxation purposes, and we expect this value to increase with the renovations finished.

If you would like to see all net worth posts use this link here.

Net worth August 2021 – $1,020,562 (up $54,929)

Net Worth Calculator available here
Net Worth Calculator available here

Assets August 2021 – $1,386,988 (up $54,207)

Our asset increase in August was made up from the increase to our property value, our retirement funds (called superannuation here in Australia), and our ETF investments (with a tiny increase to Crypto too).

So what did we do right?

We upped our investing in August and invested 3k a fortnight via Pearler’s auto investment feature (we normally invest 2k a fortnight as per our investment strategy). We have temporarily upped our investing as we are so close to hitting our super stretch goal of 200k invested by the end of 2021.

Our retirement funds continued to grow thanks to our generous employment benefits (My husband receives 17.5% employer superannuation contributions, and I receive 10% but also have deferred tax benefits for any super contributions that are made to my account).

So what did we change?

As mentioned previously we increased our fortnightly investing amount to 3k to hit our super stretch goal of 200k in ETF’s by the end of 2021.

What assets do we include?

Often I see a lot of chatter around what should be counted towards your net worth. I don’t believe there are any hard or fast rules, and as you know I’m a huge believer in the saying ‘You do you and I will do me – it’s a no judgement zone here‘.

For us we like to keep things simple and don’t count our depreciating assets like cars and the boat (otherwise we’d be constantly changing the prices every month).

I also count our primary place of residence towards our net worth as we intend on selling it as part of our financial independence plan in 8 years time. Our property value is based on a formal bank valuation completed in August 2021.

Additionally we count our retirement accounts (called superannuation in Australia), taxable share/brokerage accounts, and our crypto (yep I know super controversial to add this one in but what the hell).

Liabilities August 2021 – $366,426 (decreased $722)

Our liabilities decreased this month which was great, but next month our liabilities will increase to around $550,000. At the time of writing this post we have been formally approved and are just waiting for our mortgage refinance to settle. These additional borrowed funds and new home loan structure will allow us to start debt recycling to purchase more ETF’s. As part of the refinance we managed to secure a much better interest rate (1.99%) than what we are currently on (2.67%) which is a bonus.

What liabilities do we include?

For liabilities we keep things simple and include anything and anyone we owe money to.

Total Net Worth Increase in 2021 (to date) = $260,342

Net Worth Calculator available here

End of 2021 Goal 1 million dollar net worth: $1,029,562 (Completed August 2021)

How do I track our 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 on staying the course, because lets 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.

  1. Writing down all of your assets and liabilities separately.
  2. Then add up all of your assets together to get a figure (write this down).
  3. Then add up all of your liabilities together to get a figure (write this down).
  4. Then take the sum of your assets and deduct the sum of your liabilities.
  5. This is your net worth.

Net Worth = (Sum of your Assets) – (Sum of your Liabilities)

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).

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Side Hustle Income – August 2021

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.

I’m not sure about you but as soon as August hits the rest of the year seems to just fly by. I feel like it was only yesterday that I was tallying up our side hustles for July, and now we are a few days into September. As we get closer to the end of the year we are inching closer and closer to 10k in side hustles for the year. We haven’t tracked our side hustles in previous years so I have no way of comparing our progress this year. That being said 10k a year in side hustles is definitely more than we ever expected to earn in our spare time.

Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

August 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Side Hustle Income – August 2021 = $1,143.15 (we set ourselves a goal in August of $500 in side hustle income)

Total Side Income 2021 (to date) = $7080.34

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 = $1,039.65 (approximately 30 hours work)

After a quiet July my husband really ramped up his gardening and also increased his hourly rate. My husband doesn’t like discussing money with his customers and so this experience was not enjoyable for him. Despite his concerns his customers happily paid the new price, and I’m happy to confirm we haven’t lost a customer. If you want to find out more on doing Gardening as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Airtasker = $0.00

I didn’t complete any tasks on Airtasker in August. If you want to find out more on doing Airtasker as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Etsy = $40.50

Some of these sales came from people who found me via the blog so thank you for supporting my small business. I’m still working on my AirBnB host guide, which I’m hoping to have ready for the store in September 2021 (so stay tuned). If you would like 10% off any of my Etsy items click here to view my store.

Other (including Market Research) = $63.00

I was paid $5 from a quick Askable task and $8 from Social Soup for testing a new protein bar (which was quite nice btw). The remaining $50 was from doing a University study where I had to participate in cognitive testing. I did this study during my lunch break which was really handy. I’ve only recently started looking at clinical/university studies in addition to my regular market research companies, but I 100% recommend them. You will find links to all of the Market Research companies I’m signed up for here.

Next Month

In order to reach 10k in side hustle income for 2021 we need to average $730 a month.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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What to do if you have an ATO tax debt?

This year it’s highly likely that my husband and I will have a reasonably large tax debt due to the growing dividend income from investments. I have had large tax bills in the past and so I thought I would share what we’ve learnt from our past experiences with Australian Tax Office (ATO) debts.

Don’t Panic (or at least try not to)

The first time I received a tax bill I was immediately sick, stressed and terrified at the unknown. The feelings I felt at the time were a completely natural response (especially for someone with anxiety), but I want to reassure you that getting a tax bill isn’t the end of the world (although it does feel like that at the time). Make yourself a cup of tea, take a few breaths, and phone a support person if you need to.

Note: If you are feeling so overwhelmed or anxious by a debt to a point where you are unable to cope then please seek mental health assistance to complement the steps below.

Don’t bury your head in the sand

The worst thing you can do with a tax debt is to ignore it. It won’t magically go away, and the longer you delay dealing with it the more difficult it can be. The most important thing to do is to read your ATO Tax Assessment letters or any other correspondence you’ve received regarding this debt (you will receive this information via mail or the online ATO portal). The ATO correspondence will provide you with dates as to when the tax bill is due, where to make a payment, and what your options are if you can’t pay the full bill by the due date (eg. payment plan).

Emergency Fund

If you have a fully funded emergency fund or the money in savings to pay for your tax bill outright then you can pay it off by phone or online via the MyGov ATO portal. If you don’t have the money to pay it off that’s okay you can organise to pay via payment plan. The benefit of paying it off in full is that you will avoid any interest that a payment plan from the ATO may incur.

Payment Plan

If you don’t have enough money to pay your tax debt the ATO allows you to enter into a payment plan. ATO Payment Plans are designed to allow you to pay off your tax debt and any interest in a time frame that suits your financial situation. Be aware that ATO Payment Plans do attract interest so the longer you take to pay off the debt the more interest you pay.

If your debt is $100,000 or less then you can set up your payment plan online without even talking to someone (which can take a lot of the anxiety and even shame out of it). You can also call the ATO directly or have your tax agent negotiate your payment plan on your behalf.

Calculating your Payment Plan repayments and term

The ATO offer a Payment Plan Estimator here that allows you to run your own scenarios anonymously.

Additional Notes:

  • In order to set up your payment plan online you need to agree to an upfront 10% repayment within 7 business days of agreeing to the payment plan.
  • You also need to set up your repayments to pay the debt and interest off within 2 years.
  • Interest is currently charged at 7.04% (current rate Aug 2021)
  • You can make additional payments at anytime after you sign up to a payment plan.
  • You can opt to pay it off as quickly as you can afford to.
  • You can make payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
  • It’s important that you stick to the plan you’ve agreed to once set. If something changes and you can no longer pay you will need to call the ATO immediately to let them know your change in circumstances.

Example ATO Payment Plan: If you used the online payment plan estimator and had a $5000 debt you would need to agree to pay $500 within the first 7 days of starting the plan. After this you would need to pay $50 a week for 96 weeks (plus one additional part payment of $11.03) to pay the loan off within the maximum 2 year repayment period. This would incur $311.03 in interest over this period. If you opted to pay it off sooner the interest would be reduced.

What if you can’t pay a 10% upfront payment? or afford to pay the debt off within 2 years?

If you are in serious hardship, need a little more time to pay, or can’t afford the upfront payment then call the ATO directly. They have additional supports available to those in serious hardship. By calling the ATO directly you can negotiate more time on your payment plan, or negotiate a reduced upfront payment.

So as you can see getting a tax debt isn’t fun, but it also isn’t the end of the world. If you take steps early you can sort out a payment plan that suits your financial needs without completely ruining your future financial plans.

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Devilled Sausages

I’m sharing another one of my frugal and budget go-to recipes that help keep my grocery bill as low as possible, and my belly full.

I love this recipe because its under $10 in total to make and is the perfect winter warmer. It’s a simple dish with simple flavours that warm you up from the inside. We regularly have this on our meal planner.

I also love this recipe because I can get everything from Aldi without any other supermarket trips.  

If you would like to see all of my frugal and budget friendly recipes click here.


  • 500gm Aldi Pork Sausages (or sausage of choice)  
  • ½ tablespoon of Aldi Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or other choice of oil) 
  • 1 large onion sliced  
  • 100ml water 
  • 250ml Gravy – I use 3 Tablespoons of Aldi Traditional Gravy Mix made with 250mls of boiling water (or you can use 250ml of your own desired gravy) 
  • 750-1kg of mashed potato as desired (I make this in my Thermomix at the same time as making this dish to save time and I use the recipe from the Everyday Cookbook) 
  • 2 cups of steamed vegetables of your choice (I love peas and beans with this dish, and I use frozen to save money) 


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place whole sausages into the oven on a baking paper lined tray for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Whilst the sausages are cooking you can make the onion gravy base. To do this heat the oil in a large fry pan on high heat (Note: Make sure the fry pan is capable of holding the sausages, onions and gravy).
  4. Then add the onions and cook until browned.
  5. Add 100mls to the onions then turn down the heat to low. Use a spatula to scrape as much of the cooked-on onions from the bottom of the frypan and combine.
  6. Then add the gravy to the frypan and mix well with the onions.
  7. Once the sausages are cooked through use a knife (or my favourite a pair of food grade shears/ scissors) to cut up the sausages and add to the onion and gravy mix in the frypan.
  8. Then allow the mixture to get to a nice simmer before serving with the steamed vegetables and mashed potato.

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Airbnb Update – August 2021

Just a quick update on how our Airbnb renovations are going since our last post in June, how much progress we’ve made, and when we estimate we’ll be live on Airbnb for bookings. For all our Airbnb related posts click here.

Eventually the aim is to turn these posts into more detailed monthly posts around the ups and downs of being an Airbnb host (if we ever get there).

So what’s happened since our last post in June?

We’ve been plodding along with our Airbnb renovations and have been focussed on our bathroom/laundry/toilet and the conversion of a linen cupboard into a kitchenette.


Since our last post we’ve demolished the bathroom/laundry/toilet areas. We decided to do all of this work ourselves to save money, and we are fortunate to have the skills to do this. Demolition work included completely removing the shower screen, vanity, toilet, all fittings, fixtures, and tiles.

After demolition we paid a plumber and electrician to complete the first fix of the spaces. This included moving taps, drains, and power points. We also added in an exhaust fan (something this area didn’t have before), and we added a power point behind the mirror. Why a power point behind the mirror you ask? Well let’s just say I fell in love with a touch controlled LED mirror (similar one here for inspiration). It’s a little bit boujee, but I’m hopeful it will really class up this bathroom.

We decided to get contractors in to do the rendering of the walls, waterproofing and the tiling. These are all tasks we’ve previously done ourselves, but we currently lack the time to do this (sometimes it makes more sense financially to get some additional help in). At the time of writing this post we have had the floor tiles glued down, and have our wall tiling started tomorrow. I can’t wait to come home tomorrow to see the progress.

If you would like to see the inspiration behind our Bathroom renovations check out our Pinterest board here.


When we decided to Airbnb our downstairs area we quickly realised we would need to create a kitchenette (mini kitchen) space for guests. We had a few potential spots, but ultimately decided on converting a linen cupboard located under the stairs. We got the inspiration for this from Pinterest.

If you would like to see the inspiration behind our Mini Kitchen renovations check out our Pinterest board here.

Other Renovation Activities

We finally received the plantation shutter order for the downstairs nook in July which was extremely overdue. We are pretty sure they 100% forgot about us….. We ordered it in January 2021 and received it 6 months later (talk about painful). They are super easy to install ourselves, and again this there is a cost saving for us by doing it ourselves.

We also finished installing 5 out of the 6 doors that needed to be replaced.

What Airbnb related renovations are still to be done?

  • Finish the bathroom/laundry.
  • Finish the kitchenette.
  • Put in 1 external door once the bathroom/laundry is completed.
  • Touch up paint the walls.
  • Buy all the items for the kitchen/bathroom/toilet (furnishings).
  • Put in 2 plantation shutters.
  • Put in a new curtain.

How much have we spent to date?

$12,511.36 (Spent up to the end of July 2021)

If you would like to see a bit more detail around our monthly expenses use the link here here. We have a category called renovations.

When are we aiming to start listing our Airbnb?

Originally our plan was to start listing for guests by Spring 2021. However Spring is next month, and we are nowhere near ready for guests. At this stage we are planning to list our space by the end of October 2021.

What does it look like now?

Here are a few current photos of the space.

If you would like to follow our renovations on Instagram feel free to follow via @TheBoathouseStirling

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Bolognese Pasta Sauce with your choice of Pasta

I’m sharing another one of my frugal and budget friendly recipes this week.

Everyone loves good pasta (right….) and if you haven’t got your own go to pasta sauce recipe give this one a whirl. It’s super easy but super tasty and it’s a recipe that the whole family will enjoy. You can make it vegetarian or add your own mince (I’ve tried both). I’ve also included two cooking methods for those with or without a Thermomix.

If you would like to see all of my frugal and budget friendly recipes click here.


  • 2 tbsp Aldi Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1 large diced brown onion 
  • 1 tsp Aldi Minced Garlic 
  • 1 tbsp Mixed Herbs 
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (or BBQ if you don’t have) 
  • 1 Aldi Vegetable Stock Cube 
  • 2x 400gm cans of Aldi Diced Tomatoes 
  • 500gm of cooked pasta of choice (Note: I cook this at the same time as the sauce) 

Optional 500gm your mince of choice and/or Parmesan Cheese

Method (No Thermomix) 

  1. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan on high heat. 
  2. Add the onion and brown lightly.  
  3. Add the minced garlic, herbs and Worcestershire sauce. 
  4. If adding mince add it at this step, use a spatula to break up the mince, and then cook until the mince is browned.  
  5. Then turn down the heat to a medium simmer, add the diced tomatoes, the stock cube and stir regularly for 15 minutes.  
  6. In this time your sauce should now be a lovely and rich sauce, and ready to pour over your cooked pasta.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese as desired.  

Method (Thermomix) 

  1. Add onion and garlic and chop 3 SEC – SPEED 5
  2. Add mixed herbs and oil and cook 2 MIN – 100 DEGREES – REVERSE – SPEED 1
  3. Add the stock cube, Worcestershire sauce, two cans of tomatoes to the Thermomix bowl.
  4. Then insert the Thermomix Basket into the Thermomix Bowl and add the mince to the basket (skip this step if not using mince).
  5. Cook 10 MIN – VAROMA – REVERSE – SPEED 1.5.
  6. Use the spatula to break up the mince in the Thermomix Basket and then cook for a further 15 MIN – VAROMA – REVERSE – SPEED 2.
  7. Tip mince from the Thermomix Basket into the Thermomix Bowl and cook for 5 MIN – VAROMA – REVERSE – SLOWEST SPEED.
  8. Serve on cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese as desired.

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Free Monthly Personal Finance Printable

Earlier this month I created a printable to act as a monthly worksheet to track my own personal finance and other goals. Today I’ve decided to provide this printable here for free download on the page to thank you for your support. I hope you find it helpful to your own journey.

I’ve designed this monthly check in printable with the following features:

  • Goal Setting: Set your financial and non financial goals (up to 5 goals)
  • Transfer Tracker: Document the monthly goal amount you wish to save/ invest/ or reduce your debt by. Then track your progress towards this monthly goal each week.
  • Checklist: List your important monthly financial or non financial tasks. Never forget to track your expenses, update your net worth or set your goals.
  • Extra Savings: As an extra challenge and fun activity colour in and track your extra savings throughout the month.

This printable is available as a PDF file, and can be printed as many times as you want. It can be used in a budget/ personal binder (with space for a two hole punch), or you can use it like I do and place it on your fridge (as a powerful visual aid for the whole family).

If you are interested in giving this checklist a try I would love to see you using it so feel free to tag me in any socials with your tracker.

As with all my free printables no sign up is required (but I would love you to follow along if you want to).

Keep scrolling for the link to the file (use the download button below).

If you are wanting an editable version I still have the editable one available via Etsy that you can customise to your needs.

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