Net Worth Update (and FIRE NW)- December 2021

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)

Net Worth Calculator available here

Total Assets December 2021 – $1,708,457 (up $10,338)

Net Worth Calculator available here

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)

Net Worth Calculator available here

End of 2021 Goal 1 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.

  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)

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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Side Hustle Income – December 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.

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

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

December 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

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

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:

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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Money Confessions: We used my husbands superannuation to buy a pool

I’ve made a tonne of mistakes in my life, and this one ain’t one of them.

A photo of the worst financial decision we’ve made

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.

Superannuation

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.

No Regrets

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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I’ve lost my FIRE mojo…

As midnight passed on the 31st of December 2021 I didn’t feel my usual excitement, or the desire to create a set of goals for 2022.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com

In the days leading up to the end of 2021 I saw so many awesome fellow bloggers sharing their 2021 wins and their goals for 2022. I was happy and excited for each of them, and usually this would then inspire me to to write and share my own. But instead I felt no desire to do so, and just figured that the desire to set some goals would come once 2022 rolled around.

I was wrong………..

So here I am sitting here trying to think of anything I want to aim for (and can likely achieve), and I’m coming up with blanks.

Something is wrong and I’ve think I’ve lost my FIRE mojo.

Don’t get me wrong I still want to FIRE but I’m worried about making any goals this year. 2022 just feels so uncertain, and I don’t feel I have a lot of control over what is going to happen this year. This lack of control has left me feeling extremely unmotivated, and searching for ways to get back my motivation back.

So what am I doing about it……..

Well the first thing I’ve done is recognise it and accept how I’m feeling.

Next I’ve done a bit of a google search to find the top ways to get your mojo back, and have cherry picked five that I like best and I’m going to try.

  1. Get a small win: When I read this mojo suggestion it made complete sense to do this. So I’m setting a really small goal for this week which is to print out and set up my 52 week investing challenge for 2022 (link here to free printable). I’m hoping seeing this printable on my fridge ready for my first pay of 2022 will get me feeling a little more motivated to setting some goals.
  2. Physical Activity: I had a bit of an ‘of course’ moment when I read this one, but me without a mojo just didn’t have the capacity to come up with this myself. So this week I’m going to go for a good walk and hopefully feel a little more inspired.
  3. Stay away from Triggers: Another suggestion I kept reading was stay away from negativity, but I decided that staying away from triggers was more tangible. Common triggers for me are not enough sleep, alcohol, and too much screen time so I’ll be avoiding these.
  4. Be Kind to Yourself: I’m going to be super kind to myself during this time, and give myself some extra time to get used to 2022. It’s okay for me to not be operating at 100%, and I’ll get there in my own time.
  5. Look backwards and review your progress: Hubby and I skipped our date night in December as we were just so busy. During our date nights we usually look back at our last sprint’s (month’s) progress and refocus. Reviewing our progress usually gets me motivated for the next sprint. So I’m going to make sure we prioritise it this month.

Anyway I’m hoping that these mojo suggestions are going to have me back to feeling more motivated for 2022 (fingers crossed).

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Airbnb Update – December 2021 (We are ready for bookings)

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

Merry Christmas Everyone !!!!! if you follow our adventures on Instagram you will know that we finished the majority of our renovations in December, and have officially listed our home on Airbnb. Therefore in 2022 these blog posts are going to move from documenting our Airbnb renovations to documenting our experiences as first time Airbnb hosts.

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

Bathroom/Toilet Renovations

Since our last post, we finished the bathroom/toilet renovations thanks to our fantastic electrician. Getting an exhaust fan into our home was a bit of a task as the bathroom space didn’t have one in the first place. So we had to get a self-contained exhaust fan that would fit in the roof, and had to take out a brick to run the ducting out of the roof space. In the end it was more expensive than expected (as there was only one exhaust fan model that suited our situation) but we are happy with how it’s turned out.

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

Laundry Renovations

In December I finally was able to start doing my laundry inside the house which is something I haven’t been able to do since May 2021 (over 6 months ago).

We are 95% finished in the laundry with the two overhead cabinets and the appliance divider to be put in. We are still waiting on the supply of the appliance divider from IKEA, and my husband has made his own (not as pretty) until we can get one. Neither of these is absolutely necessary to get the Airbnb listed so we’ve delayed these to give us more time on other areas of the house.

In December we had the front kickers and stone benchtop installed. I was very impressed with the contractors we got to do the benchtops and would happily recommend them to anyone (link here).

Other Renovation Activities

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but we have 70sqm of large format concrete pavers in our backyard that guests will be using during their stay. When we initially put them in they looked great, but after 6 years of use (chlorine water, possum poo, two dogs, and full sun) they were faded and stained. We contemplated removing them and getting something more hardwearing, but given we paid 7k for them I decided to try repainting them. So we went to our local paint store (Crowies) and found a product called Eco-pave that you paint over the pavers. The Eco-pave product can be tinted to most colours to suit your needs. To apply you simply clean your pavers/concrete before applying as per the directions (we used rollers and two coats). For 70sqm we used approximately $300 worth of product, and we are really happy with the results (see photos below). I’ve had quite a few people ask me about the product – link to Ecopave here.

We also finished the external lights under the veranda area, but we still have the edging strip to do (we need an air compressor and just don’t have the funds for it currently).

In December we also completed a few renovations that weren’t originally flagged to be done. These included making the walkway to the veggie patch safer for guests, replacing our letterbox, and building a stone garden wall for a new garden area. All of these were what I would call cheap renovations (no more than a couple of hundred dollars), but they have really finished off the outdoors perfectly.

What Airbnb related renovations are still to be done?

  • Edging Strip on outdoor veranda (Can live without these at the moment so will complete in early 2022)
  • Hang the two remaining cabinets in the laundry and install the appliance divider (Can live without these at the moment and will complete in early 2022)
  • Order in 2 plantation shutters (Can live without these at the moment so will order in early 2022)

How much have we spent to date?

$26,715.75 (Spent up to the end of November 2021)

This amount includes everything from new flooring throughout all of our downstairs area, new bathroom/laundry/toilet, new doors, new furniture throughout, curtains/plantation shutters, painting everything internally and externally, two new lawn areas, plants, garden wall, garden pathway, letterbox, professional photography, 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?

As of the 20th of December 2021 we are officially listed on Airbnb, and already have our first bookings in January 2022.

Our original goal was to be ready for guests by September 2021 so we were a few months behind. I’m really looking forward to sharing more about the set up and hosting side of Airbnb with you in 2022 via the blog.

What does our Airbnb look like?

We hired a professional to take photos of our house for us. It was worth every cent and if you are thinking of listing on Airbnb I recommend getting a pro in to capture your hard work.

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

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Expense Review – November 2021

This post is super overdue so I apologize for the delay. We have had a huge November and December and there is no sign of things slowing down. So I’m trying to just lean into it, and I’ve made a few changes to my blogging habits. As of December, I’ve set aside a little time each day for blogging instead of larger chunks of time. I’m finding it difficult to find larger amounts of time in my day, so let’s hope this approach works a little better.

So November marks our 2nd most expensive month of 2021 thanks to a staycation in the city, more renovation expenses, and a lot of dining out (whoops).

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – November 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $4,980.83

Notes: The majority of this month’s expenses are made up of two large bills for stone benchtops ($1800) and last payment to our bathroom contractor ($1700). We also purchased more lawn ($550), and made several trips to Bunnings for various bits and pieces for the Airbnb renovations.

  1. Mortgage= $2,059.64

Notes: Our loan was recently refinanced and we have a variable rate of 1.99%.

  1. Car Rego, Servicing, Maintainence, Petrol and Insurance = $1,024.09

Notes: Higher than usual thanks to our cars needing new tyres. We also had two parking fines which I’m sad about, and trying to move on from (neither of them are mine but blame gets us nowhere). Onwards and upwards.

  1. Food and Alcohol = $836.37

Notes: Our food bill decreased in November which was nice. We continue to do our main shop at Aldi 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).

ShopAmount
Aldi$572.57
Foodland$168.60
BWS$47.00
Bakers Delight (Bakery)$41.60
Woolworths$5.00
Coles$1.60
Total$836.37
Breakdown of Food and Alcohol spending
  1. Restaurants / Eating Out / Takeaway and Activities = $570.59

Notes: November was a very spendy month for going out. We had multiple nice dinners out with the family (at least once a week), and a night out with our friends in the city. This month was well above our monthly average.

Year to Date Comparison

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

We spent $11,869.05 in November and $9,280.82 the previous month which is an increase of $2,588.23. We spent $395.64 per day in November which is up from last month’s $299.38 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – November 2021

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

New Expenses (November)

No new expenses.

Changes we’ve made this month (November)

No changes.

Changes to expect next month (December)

A reduction in renovation expenses as the majority of our renovations are now paid for in full.

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) = $98,791.19 or an average of $8,981.02 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.

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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Net Worth Update (and FIRE NW)- November 2021

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 November 2021 – $380,555 (up $10,443)

Total Net worth November 2021 – $1,144,561 (up $115,913)

Net Worth Calculator available here

Total Assets November 2021 – $1,698,119 (up $114,789)

Net Worth Calculator available here

Our overall assets (non-FIRE assets) increased substantially in November as we readjusted our house price in line with the updated and conservative realestate.com.au valuation. We believe our house value is still very conservative given our neighbours house sold last month for well above this price (100k).

In November we invested a total of 5k (outside of super/retirement) via Pearler’s auto investment feature (as per our regular investment strategy).

In 2021 we have invested 57k into ETFs and are aiming to have invested 60k of our income by the end of the year. We are also hoping to hit our super stretch goal of having 200k invested by the end of 2021. At the end of November, we are 7k away from this goal (We don’t count the debt recycling-related ETF purchases towards this goal).

Our retirement funds continued to grow thanks to generous employment benefits (My husband receives 17.5% employer superannuation contributions).

Total Liabilities November 2021 – $553,558 (decreased $1,124)

Our liabilities decreased this month which was a lovely change to the last few months. Our interest rate is 1.99% and we have a variable home loan.

Total Net Worth Increase in 2021 (to date) = $384,341

Net Worth Calculator available here

End of 2021 Goal 1 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.

  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)

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, jewelry, and retirement accounts that we are unable to access until 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.

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.

If you would like to have articles like this delivered to your inbox subscribe below.

Side Hustle Income – November 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.

At the end of October, we were just $700 shy of our goal of hitting 10k in side hustle income in 2021. I can now officially share with you that we crossed that goal in November just in time for Christmas.

Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison

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

November 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

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

Total Side Hustle Income – November 2021 = $830.27

Total Side Income 2021 (to date) = $10,162.52

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 = $666.45 (approximately 20 hours work)

Hubby had a pretty average month of gardening. He prioritized getting our Airbnb renovations completed, and we made some great progress. It should be complete by December which will mean we can list it in January (I’m super excited to have another income stream coming in). If you want to find out more on doing Gardening as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Etsy = $10.27

It was a quiet month on Etsy because it seems I forgot to renew my listings and so I haven’t had my items available for most of the month. Apologies to anyone impacted by this. If something is out of stock feel free to message me. I’ve had a few people ask me to do a post on my tips for getting started selling printables and digital products on Etsy. I’m hopeful that I will find some time to share what I’ve learnt from this side hustle. I’m currently working on 3 new templates (including my AirBnB host guide), which I’m hoping to have ready for the store in December 2021 (so stay tuned). If you would like 10% off any of my Etsy items click here to view my store.

Affiliate Income = $200.00

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:

Next Month

I’m just looking forward to winding down and celebrating the new year.

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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Airbnb Update – November 2021

Just a quick update on how our Airbnb renovations are going since our last post in October, 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 October?

Bathroom/Toilet

Since our last post, we have finally installed that pesky towel rack that I didn’t know where to put. Ultimately that decision was made for me as I quickly realised there was only one space it could fit.

We were hoping to have the exhaust fan installed by the electrician in November, however my husband underestimated how busy our electrician would be this time of the year. So by the time he called to lock a date in there was no availability in November. We have a date in early December for this to be completed.

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

The Laundry

In November we started installing the laundry cabinets. Putting the IKEA cabinets together was pretty easy, but getting them attached to the wall was a little more difficult. We are installing our cabinets onto a tiled double brick internal wall so getting the fixings right for this was important. We didn’t want to crack the tiles, get the holes in the wrong place, or have issues with the fittings coming out of the wall. My husband purchased a special wet drill bit for the job, and we had a couple of practice runs before doing the real thing. It was very nervewracking but I can happily say we’ve completed the bottom cabinets without any issues.

We still have two overhead cabinets, front kickers, an appliance divider, and side panels to install but we are waiting until the benchtop is installed in December to complete these tasks.

Speaking of benchtops we locked in the benchtop in November, and have paid for this in full ($1800). We settled on white engineered stone with little sparkly flecks in it. Photos below from the display centre.

I believe that we should have the laundry complete by the middle of December (all things going to plan of course), and I can’t wait to do my first laundry load inside the house.

My current laundry situation

Other Renovation Activities

We installed IKEA curtains in the bedroom, and I’m over the moon at how they ended up looking especially given the cost ($100 total). The hardest part about installing the curtains was hemming them which I proudly did myself (and they don’t look horrible). It took us a good 4 hours to complete the hemming and installation.

Our new IKEA curtains

We installed the two remaining grass areas with new grass, and my husband has been carefully tending to them twice a day to ensure they survive the sudden burst of hot weather we’ve had.

I have ordered new cushion covers for our outdoor couches. Our couches and cushions are over 10 years old, and although the hardwood is in good condition the cushions are really weathered and need replacement. I had a lot of issues finding replacement sizes as it turns out our cushions weren’t standard sized. I also had some outrageous quotes for replacement custom covers from a few online companies ($1000+). So in the end I went with a product that is waterproof and stretches to suit most sizes ($160 purchased via eBay see below). I’ve yet to receive these so I can’t comment on if I’ve made a good choice yet (my fingers are crossed).

Whilst shopping at Bunnings in November we stumbled upon a great deal on a cantilevered umbrella for the pool area for $69.95. So we nabbed that, and have ordered a cover for it online via Kogan ($25) to protect it from fading.

The pool area is ready for summer (and hopefully guests)

Lastly, we finished the painting of the outdoor veranda area, and it’s ready for the corner edging strip and lights in December.

Hubby finishing off the veranda painting

What Airbnb related renovations are still to be done?

  • Install Laundry (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Install exhaust fan (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Get plumber to install laundry taps and sink (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Install benchtop (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Repaint the outdoor pavers (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Finish off outdoor veranda (cornice and lights) (ETA Dec 2021)
  • Order in 2 plantation shutters (Can live without these at the moment so will order in early 2022)

How much have we spent to date?

$21,734 (Spent up to the end of October 2021)

This amount includes everything from new flooring throughout all of our downstairs area, new bathroom/laundry/toilet, new doors, new furniture, curtains/plantation shutters, painting, 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 January 2022.

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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Why we continue to use Buy Now Pay Later companies like Afterpay

I have been meaning to write and publish this article for a while now, and have deleted it many times over. As a personal finance blogger on a journey to financial independence, I’ve been hesitant to talk about my use of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) companies like Afterpay. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of well-justified hate from most finance gurus around BNPL, and I’ve felt unable to share my use of it with you until now.

I first used Afterpay in 2016 very early in the BNPL days and have been a customer ever since. Prior to Afterpay I grew up watching my mum use layby programs to purchase our Christmas presents. It was a weekly tradition in our house travelling to the local shopping centre each week, lining up at the back of the store and watching her make the payment. When I became an adult and eventually mother I also used Layby programs to spread the cost of Christmas out.

So when I was first introduced to Afterpay it was pretty revolutionary for me especially given there were no pesky fees (unlike the layby programs I used), and it was so much more convenient. Since my first purchase in 2016 I’ve continued to use Afterpay and other BNPL companies infrequently for large purchases, and even more controversially I plan to continue to use them.

What is Buy Now Pay Later?

At the time of writing this, there are over 10 companies offering BNPL payment services in Australia (with the major players being Afterpay, Zip, Humm, Klarna, and Latitude Pay). Similar to layby these services allow you to purchase a product, and pay it back in interest-free installments. The big difference between BNPL and layby is that you get to enjoy your purchase without paying for it in full.

So why do I use them?

We have a tight budget and we pay ourselves aka our investment accounts first which sometimes leaves us very little room in our weekly budget if a large purchase is suddenly required.

We try to foresee large purchases and put aside money for items in advance in sinking funds (for example our renovations). But sometimes things happen earlier than expected, are costlier than our sinking funds, or are something we didn’t foresee ourselves needing to pay for at all.

We know we could wait and divide the total cost of it up and then save the amount each week for it instead of using BNPL. But I’ll be honest it’s not always convenient to wait, and I will do pretty much anything to avoid using my emergency fund or temporarily stop investing.

A recent example of us using BNPL was for our Airbnb renovations.

The circumstances leading to this decision were that we didn’t have the funds to purchase a vanity upfront. This lack of funds was due to our renovations being more expensive than expected and we subsequently ran out of funds to pay for this from our renovations sinking fund (we’ve since been rebuilding them).

Our bathroom contractor negotiated a trade discount on the vanity we needed, and they offered BNPL. We didn’t want to use our emergency funds because it wasn’t an emergency. We also didn’t want to divert investing funds temporarily so we chose to split the cost across 8 weeks with BNPL. This enabled us to continue to invest our regular amount, get the vanity, not touch our emergency fund, and pay for it within our weekly budget.

For us, utilising BNPL for this purchase suited us and our risk appetite. We were also careful to ensure that this purchase fell within a set of rules we created for ourselves. These rules aim to mitigate the risks that BNPL carries and ensure we don’t fall into the common BNPL traps.

Our 10 Rules of Using Buy Now Pay Later

These are the rules and boundaries we’ve set for ourselves around BNPL. If you choose to use BNPL you may wish to set your own rules that work for you (and keep your BNPL use in check).

  1. We don’t use BNPL for bills.
  2. We don’t use BNPL for gift cards.
  3. We don’t use BNPL for food/drink.
  4. We don’t use BNPL for entertainment.
  5. We don’t use BNPL for holidays.
  6. Only one BNPL purchase at a time.
  7. We use BNPL for large purchases that we were going to make anyway (all purchases are thought out, no spontaneous purchases).
  8. We don’t choose to buy items based on if BNPL is offered. We make sure we are getting the best price on an item regardless of BNPL.
  9. We must have a fully funded emergency fund that can cover any purchases in full.
  10. We only use BNPL companies where there are zero fees and charges (as long as we pay on time). So we avoid Zip, and others that charge you a monthly fee to use the service.

Why am I sharing my own experience on this subject?

When I started this blog I knew I wanted to be transparent with how we spend, save and use our money. So I wanted to come clean on our use of BNPL and why we use it.

I also want to be clear that I don’t encourage the use of BNPL. You can’t escape the fact that BNPL takes advantage of those who can least afford it and it causes significant pain:

One in five customers are late to make repayments and miss out on paying other bills — or have to cut back on essentials — an ASIC survey has found.

It’s a terrible statistic, and there are so many others.

Ultimately personal finance is personal and no-ones journey is the same. Do what works for you and avoid what doesn’t (and if that’s BNPL then never ever use it).

Keen to hear your views in the comments below. All opinions welcome.

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