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.

Ingredients 

  • 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) 

Method 

  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.

Bathroom/Laundry/Toilet

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.

Kitchenette

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.

Ingredients 

  • 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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Expense Review – July 2021

July was a busy month for us. We started the month off with a 6 day staycation where we threw caution to the wind and stimulated the local economy. It was such a nice break, and as we get closer to our FI goal I would like to make it a more regular thing. No point waiting until hitting FI to enjoy a little luxury. Life is happening now, and this trip was a reminder to spend a little money every so often. After our lovely mini break our state had a 7 day Covid-19 lockdown, and we kept ourselves busy by continuing our renovations. Overall July has been an expensive month, and that’s reflected in our updates below.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – July 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $2,344.67

Notes: This month we spent up big at IKEA, Bunnings and National Tiles. Due to the lockdown our bathroom contractors were not able to come and do the tiling work that we had expected (and to date have only completed the rendering/waterproofing). So hopefully in August the bulk of the bathroom will be finished (provided we don’t have another lockdown). Whilst locked down we tried our hand at buying and installing an IKEA kitchen ourselves (in our kitchenette space). It went surprisingly well, which is good because we were quoted an obscene amount of money for the laundry so we will now be doing that ourselves. We hope to be finished this space by the end of September (and might have it listed on Airbnb in October).

  1. Mortgage = $1,808.60

Notes: Our mortgage went up significantly this month as we discovered our bank had not increased our mortgage in line with the correct minimum repayment. It’s not the first time I’ve been less than impressed with our bank, and we are in the process of refinancing to a better provider (fingers crossed).

  1. Holiday = $1,338.13

Notes: We had the most lovely staycation in our state lasting 6 days. We would’ve taken more time off, but with me having only been in the job for 3 months it wasn’t possible. I’m a pretty frugal person, but when we are on holidays we like to enjoy the finer things in life. We ate at fancy restaurants, spent money on nice hotels, and filled in time with expensive activities such as Escape Rooms and the Zoo. Lots of great memories were made with this money, and I can’t wait to do it again.

  1. Utilities = $1089.51

Notes: Our utilities were slightly higher than usual thanks to a larger than expected electricity bill in the last quarter. It’s been super cold where we live, and working from home has helped our bills increase even more this winter. Since receiving this bill we have made a few tweaks and will be using our wood heater more. If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

  1. Food and Alcohol = $913.28

Notes: In July we spent money at Aldi, Bakers Delight, Foodland and BWS. We used loyalty rewards at Bakers Delight (6th loaf free), Foodland (1 point per $2 spent) and BWS (1 point per $ spent). Plus we use additional cashback rewards at BWS through Shopback Cashback Rewards (If you want to sign up use this affiliate link – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction.).

Year to Date Comparison

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

We spent $10,008.95 in July which is a slight increase of $495.01 on last month. We spent $322.87 per day in July which up from last month’s $317.13 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – July 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 2.14% of our total expenses in July.

  • Hubby and I had a drinks date at an old university haunt (which was nice).
  • We enjoyed our last pre lockdown meal (drive thru McDonalds). This was a request from the kids.
  • Family Dinner at our local fancy burger joint.
  • An after work drink with my co workers.

The total for the month of July on this category was $214.20 compared with $167.15 in June.

New Expenses (July)

No new expense categories were added.

Changes we’ve made this month (July)

No significant changes to our regular expenses.

Changes to expect next month (August)

Next month we expect the following changes.

  • I feel like a broken record but my wage reconsideration request still hasn’t been paid. I’m hoping it will be paid this month as it will be 4 months worth (and hopefully around $1500). Once this is paid this will be put into our renovations.
  • We are getting a refund on the flights we had to cancel. 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) = $58,142.98 or an average of $8306.14 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10)

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 41%

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 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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20 Savings Tips for Christmas

Did you know that there are only 20 weeks until Christmas? No that’s not an error. If like me you are yet to start planning or budgeting for your Christmas then keep reading. I have written this post with 20 tips you can implement now to help you get prepared for Christmas and hopefully save some money as well.

  1. Start a Christmas Savings Tracker –

If you’ve been following me for a while then you would know that I love visual trackers. The ones you print out and colour in as you reach your savings or investing goals. So I’ve created a free one for you to download to help you track your Christmas Savings.

It’s super easy to use. Simply decide how much you need to save for Christmas, then divide it by 20. This will give you the amount you need to save each week.

Example: I want to save $400 for Christmas.

$400 / (divided by) 20 (The amount of weeks until Christmas) = $20 per week

I need to save $20 per week for 20 weeks to reach my goal of $400 by Christmas.

After you print the tracker out and place it on your fridge you simply write your goal savings amount in the blank goal area. Then you write the value of each weekly star in the blank section (eg $20 a week).

Each week you then colour in a star each time you make a transfer to your Christmas Account (See Tip 2 below)

  1. Set up a designated Christmas Account

Once you’ve set up your Christmas Savings Goal amount and have your tracker printed for your fridge it’s now time to set up your Christmas Account. Your Christmas Account should be a separate account to your everyday banking accounts where you can automate the weekly transfers of funds to this account. I find UP Bank is great for this as you can create additional goal savings accounts, and the round up feature is helpful in encouraging you to save even more than your goal.

  1. Buy one extra Christmas food item each week in your shopping

Each week when you do your weekly food shopping buy one extra food item that you will use during Christmas. Then put it into a box or 2nd fridge/freezer (hidden away) so by the time Christmas comes you already have a good collection of food. Only thing to remember is to make sure you purchase items that have a long shelf life.

  1. Make a Present List

Make a list of who you will be buying presents for in advance. If you write a present list rather than heading to the shops aimlessly you will reduce the risk of impulse purchases, and by taking the time to decide on a present you might end up giving that special person in your life something they will appreciate more.

  1. Shop Online, Do a Price Comparison check and use Coupons

We are in the middle of a Pandemic so it’s a great reason to avoid the shops and do your Christmas shopping online. The added benefit of online shopping is that you can do a price comparison through your preferred search engines before a purchase. Lastly as an extra saving use an automatic coupon finding extension like Honey for your purchases. Honey automatically finds and applies coupon codes on 40,000+ popular sites.

  1. Use Cashbacks

In addition to tip number 5 make sure you don’t forget to use cashback rewards (use the referral links below to save even more). Cashback rewards work by you utilising a link from a cashback website (rather than a direct link to the retailer). The retailer still sells you your item, as normal, but they will send the cashback site a portion of the profits, and the cashback site forwards a percentage of that money back to you. There is no cost to you to use this service.

Cash Rewards (cashback rewards program) – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction of $20 or more.

ShopBack (cashback rewards program) – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction.

  1. Homemade Presents

I love homemade presents so much, and prefer something someone has made me personally than a store purchased item any day. Homemade doesn’t have to be overly time consuming either. I have in the past made homemade gifts like Vanilla Essence, Biscuits, or even Irish Cream Bailys (all of which didn’t take a lot of time to make). There are so many great ideas for homemade presents on Pinterest (click here for the search results for Homemade Presents).

  1. Presence over Presents

We have a no adult gift rule in our home. My husband and I are super busy and the one thing we love about Christmas is that we get to spend time with our family and friends. It might sound sappy but the older I get the less I care about consumer items, and the best present is spending time with the people I love. The exception to this for us is when someone hosts an event for Christmas, and we will provide a hosting gift. The added bonus of this tip is that you don’t end up giving or receiving gifts that end up contributing to landfill.

  1. Second hand isn’t Second Best

A few years ago my son was into dinosaurs in a big way, and so I naturally planned to buy him some dinosaurs for Christmas. At the time the popular toys were superheroes, and as a result there were very little choices in regards to dinosaurs. So I decided to head online via Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, and I found a local lady selling a huge box of her son’s old dinosaur toys. I snapped up the box for $30, washed them and bought colourful gift boxes to put them in. I then placed them under the tree at Christmas, and my son loved them. He didn’t care that they weren’t new in fact I don’t think he even realised.

  1. Plan your Christmas Lunch / Dinner Menu in advance

I’m not sure about you but the most expensive part of Christmas for us is the food. We swap our frugal staple meals for some ultra special and gourmet Christmas items (such as a nice bottle of French Champagne, and fancy seafood). I believe that planning your Christmas menu (and shopping list) in advance can save you a tonne of money, because you don’t over purchase and you can keep on the lookout for specials in the weeks/months before Christmas.

  1. Start a Christmas Savings Account

If you have issues with dipping into the savings you have set aside then a Christmas Savings Account could be a good way to remove the temptation of withdrawing it. I don’t personally use a Christmas Savings Account so I have not included any recommendations or links. There are quite a few out there so when you do search for it via your search engine make sure to check on things like accessibility of funds, interest rate, and terms and conditions.

12. Skip the Traditional Pine Tree

This tip is controversial so feel free to skip it. We love getting a real pine tree each year, but due to a shortage in our state real Christmas trees are costing well over $120 (and the quality is lacking). So instead we are thinking of skipping the pine tree and purchasing an indoor plant from the nursery. It might not be as cool or hold as many decorations, but it will definitely be a talking point at Christmas (lol).

13. Ditch Christmas Wrapping paper

I’m not sure who needs to hear this but there is no rule that says your wrapping paper has to be Christmassy and match the decorations on your tree. Instead consider buying plain brown wrapping paper in a bulk roll, and use ribbons/stamps/drawings to bring them to life. The added bonus of using brown wrapping paper is that you can use it year round for birthdays and other gifts.

  1. Take your own Christmas Photo

The only gift I ask for each year is a Christmas Photo of me and my beautiful boys (including hubby). My husband is the worst photographer (of me lol) ….. and so having a nice photo of me and the boys every so often is the best gift ever. When the kids were young I used to pay for this every year, but as the price creeped up I just couldn’t justify it at Christmas time. So I have learnt how to take my own (semi) professional photos with me in it. Each Christmas morning after the opening up of the presents the boys all know that their job is to get all dressed up for our Christmas photo. I purchased a cheap tripod some time ago and I set it up with our camera on an automatic timer. We then take photos until we get the money shot (as they say).

  1. Ask Guests to bring what you need (and not whatever they want to bring)

If you are hosting a Christmas Event don’t be afraid to actually ask your Aunt to bring a cheese platter instead of that weird casserole that she likes to bring (and no-one eats including her). Be mindful of people’s budgets when asking for a specific item, but don’t feel bad for asking guests to bring items that you need and will be eaten.

  1. Enjoy your Champagne whilst still keeping Alcohol costs low

Alcohol is another area that can get super expensive at Christmas time. As mentioned previously I love a nice glass of Champagne, but I keep my alcohol costs low by doing the following:

  • Buy a couple of nice bottles of wine and save it for the start of the day (such as for toasts). Then buy regular wine for when the good stuff runs out. Let’s be honest after a few glasses of champagne your mum won’t even remember she’s now drinking Yellowtail (this is actually one of my favourite bubbles for under $10).
  • Buy Alcohol Online (click and collect) in the weeks/months before Christmas Day when your favourites are on special.
  • Buy wine in a half dozen if possible as most retailers provide you with additional discounts.
  • Use cashbacks when buying alcohol online to save even more.
  1. Use Loyalty Programs

The types of Loyalty programs on offer will depend on where you live, but being based in Australia I use both the Flybys Program and the Everyday Rewards Program. Both of these programs often have additional incentives and points to be gained in the lead up to Christmas. Make sure you download any apps related to these programs to ensure you’re notified of any new deals that might save you $.

  1. Save your Loyalty Points for Christmas

This is one of my favourite Christmas tips, and one I’ve used for many years. I save my points up for Christmas instead of using them as they accrue. This does take a little self control, but you’ll be thanking your past self when Christmas comes around and you’ve got a nice little nest egg of points to exchange into gift cards (or other items).

  1. Low on cash for Christmas, think about doing some market research

Sometimes saving money just isn’t enough when you don’t have any spare cash to save. With 20 weeks until Christmas you have time to sign up and do some market research (use this link to find a full list of market research companies I’m signed up with). The majority of the companies I use pay out in gift vouchers so I recommend saving these up until Christmas and exchanging these to pay for Christmas related expenses.

  1. Make your own cards

Lastly save money by not buying Christmas Cards, and opt to make your own (or skip altogether). This year we are going to use the kids artwork, but if you don’t have kids you could write your message on the wrapping paper itself. Get creative 🙂

I would love to hear your best tips for saving money on Christmas so feel free to add a comment below. If you would like to have more articles like this delivered to your inbox subscribe below.

Net Worth Update – July 2021

At the start of the 2021 I would never believe that we would be so close to achieving a net worth of 1 million dollars. This year has been incredibly generous to us, and it has rewarded our consistency and hard work with positive growth month on month. That said it’s important to put this into perspective with last year in 2020 where that same consistency and hard work didn’t always result in positive growth. Whilst positive growth is great it’s not guaranteed even when you are consistent and put in the hard work. It’s during these “bad” months that you need to block out the negativity, keep up the hard work and consistency, and remind yourself that this is a marathon not a sprint. With the right attitude you can weather out the bad months, and set yourself up to be ready when those good months come back around.

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

Net worth July 2021 – $965,633 (up $3,906)

Net Worth Calculator available here
Net Worth Calculator available here

Assets July 2021 – $1,332,781 (up $12,399)

Our asset increase in July was made up from our retirement funds (called superannuation here in Australia), and our investments.

So what did we do right?

We consistently invested thanks to Pearler’s auto investment feature and invested $4000 this month (as per our investment strategy). We continue to invest at a rate of $2000 every two weeks so depending on the number of pay periods in the month this amount will fluctuate. In addition to our regular investment amounts July was also a distribution income month, and we reinvested $3,867.75 back into purchasing more ETF’s (if you want to read more about distribution reinvestment click here).

Our retirement funds also 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?

We changed nothing this month and just let our investments do their thing. Our crypto portfolio continues to fluctuate crazy amounts, and I avoid looking at it except for the end of the month to do these updates. Please note that crypto makes up less than 0.6% of our net worth.

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. We will be updating the value of our home in August as we are waiting on the results of a formal bank valuation.

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 July 2021 – $367,148 (increased $8,493)

As you can see our home loan increased this month after we withdrew even more money for our Airbnb renovations from our savings.

The good news to report in this area is that we have now withdrawn all the money we have set aside for renovations, and have placed these funds in a high interest account. We will use this account to continue paying our trades until the renovations are finished. Any leftover funds will go back into our redraw account to offset the mortgage after the refinance has been completed.

Next month our liabilities may increase if our refinance is approved. We have decided after much thought to start debt recycling, and do an equity transfer to move more of our assets into ETF’s rather than our primary place of living. I’ll keep you posted as to how this goes.

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) = $205,413

Net Worth Calculator available here

End of 2021 Goal 1 million dollar net worth: $34,367 to go!!!!

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 – July 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.

July has been a weird month for side hustles here in our household. Hubby’s gardening has been almost non existent due to lockdowns in our state, which has meant that gardening was not allowed during much of July. This severely impacted side hustle income in this category (gardening is typically our biggest side hustle). That said thanks to a one off job that my husband completed earlier this year, and was paid this month for we managed to turn July into our best side hustle month to date.

Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison

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

July 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

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

Total Side Hustle Income – July 2021 = $1,803.48

Total Side Income 2021 (to date) = $5,937.19

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 = $250.30 (approximately 7 hours work)

As mentioned earlier we experienced a drop in our gardening income in July due to taking a weekend off to have a staycation, and two weekends impacted by lockdown restrictions in our state. Hubby also continued to prioritise our own renovating over gardening. In August hubby has decided to increase his gardening hourly rate (which should see us increase income in this area by over 2k a year). 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 July, but we did actually used Airtasker as a customer for the first time. It was a really great experience. We needed an extra pair of hands to do some painting as part of our Airbnb renovations. It was super last minute, but we were happy with how easy it was to get someone who matched our needs and was affordable. We will definitely use Airtasker again in future. If you want to find out more on doing Airtasker as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Etsy = $53.18

I love any and all Etsy sales I get, and July was a slight increase on the previous month (thank you I’m forever grateful). I’m currently working on an AirBnB host guide at the moment, 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) = $1500.00

We had a bit of a windfall in July thanks to my husband being paid for work that he has been doing over the last 6 months. This work involved his new side business which involves custom workshop work with wood, metal and plastics (he is a qualified High School Tech Teacher). This particular job was for an acquittance putting together game boards for a new educational start up. I would love to see him spend more time on this side hustle as we both agree he would like to move into this line of work once we hit FI.

In July I found my usual market research gigs super quiet, and didn’t get invited to any. I therefore made zero in this area in July. You will find links to all of the Market Research companies I’m signed up for here.

Next Month

I’m hopeful that our gardening will go back to usual in August (as long as there are no further lockdown restrictions).

We have set ourselves a goal of $500 of side hustles in August.

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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Frugal Chicken Fried Rice

I’m sharing another one of my budget go-to recipes this week.

Its an easy weeknight dinner recipe that the kids will love (and so will you). It’s also super cost-effective and it’s often a weekly meal on our meal planner.  

You can also adjust the portions to fit your family and preferences, or add / remove items for your own substitutions. It’s a very forgiving recipe.

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

Ingredients 

  • 350gm Basmati Rice (I don’t buy rice at Aldi. It’s much cheaper to buy in bulk either at Coles/Woolworths when they have a ½ price sale or at an Indian/ international grocer
  • 1 diced Aldi Chicken Breast fillet  
  • 1 tablespoon of Aldi Vegetable Oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of Aldi Teriyaki Sauce   
  • 1 cup of steamed Aldi Frozen Tri-mix Vegetable Mix (Corn, Peas and Carrot) 
  • 150gms of Aldi Shredded Ham (Note: it comes in a two pack, so I just use one pack
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten (Optional
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Crispy fried onions (Optional: You’ll find these at your local Indian or international grocer. They are also available at Woolworths/Coles but can be more expensive)  
  • Soy sauce, Kewpie, and other condiments as desired. 

Method 

  1. Cook your Basmati Rice as per your preference (Note: If possible, cook this the day before and keep in the fridge overnight. If you can’t do this that’s okay and it comes out awesome anyway).  
  2. Heat up the vegetable oil in a wok on medium heat.  
  3. Then add the diced chicken fillet and cook until the outside is brown.  
  4. Add the Teriyaki Sauce and make sure the chicken is well coated in it.  
  5. Add the drained steamed vegetable mix and mix together.  
  6. Then turn the wok to a lower temperature whilst you cook the egg mixture. I typically use a fry pan and will fry into one pancake looking egg. Once its cooked I will slice up and set aside.  
  7. Once the egg is cooked and set aside add your rice to the wok and turn the heat back to medium.  
  8. Then stir or fold everything in the wok together, and make sure everything is well coated and combined. 
  9. Cook until the rice is heated through, and check to ensure your chicken is cooked through. 
  10. Then turn off the wok and add your egg and crispy onions on top to serve. I like to serve directly from the wok, but that’s up to you. 

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10 investment terms you should know before investing in ETF’s

I’ll be the first to admit that when I started investing in ETF’s I didn’t know the majority of the 10 terms in this post (or if I did know them I didn’t know enough about them). Not fully understanding these terms at the start of my investing journey set me back as I wasn’t confident in my investment strategy. I also found myself constantly finding things out the hard way like….

Where do I get my tax statements? (From my share registry it turns out, but I didn’t know what that was initially)

Why aren’t my dividends reinvested automatically? (I didn’t know this wasn’t automatic and that I had to do this through my share registry)

Why have I been taxed a tonne? (I didn’t know that I had to put in my tax file number in my share registry)

It took a steep 6 month learning curve of actively getting financially literate before I caught up, and became the consistent and confident investor I’ve become today.

The terms below are a list of the top 10 terms I wish I had understood fully before investing. They in no way represent everything you should know before investing, and I encourage you to seek out as much information as you can. A good place to start is to head on over to your country’s share/stock exchange website. Most exchanges have great free educational tools to get yourself ready to invest. The ASX (Australian Share Exchange) even has a free online course on ETF’s that I recommend doing once you’ve read this post.

  1. Exchange Traded Fund (or ETF)

ETF’s or Exchange Traded Funds are similar to mutual funds in some ways, but are traded like a stock/share on an stock exchange. One difference between shares and ETF’s is that when you purchase an ETF they are referred to as units rather than shares. For example you purchase 50 units of an ETF (not 50 shares of an ETF).

ETF’s themselves are investment funds that are designed to track the performance of an asset (or assets). For example an ETF could track the performance of of a share price index (eg the Total US Market, or the Top 300 Companies listed on the ASX). ETF’s can also give you exposure to a group of equities which can give you instant diversification. This instant diversification is one of the reasons why ETF’s are so popular, and a highly popular choice for investors. If you would like to read more about ETF’s head on over to the post ‘An easy guide to Exchange Traded Funds or ETF’s‘.

  1. MER or Management Expense Ratio

All Exchange Traded Funds or ETF’s pass on management fees to its investors. The MER is a % calculation of the total management fees and operating costs of the ETF. The MER is paid annually, and is calculated by dividing the operating costs by the average dollar cost of the assets held by the ETF. It’s important to know the MER when doing your research on potential ETF’s to invest in as this will eat into any returns that you have. That said you shouldn’t invest in an ETF just because the MER is low, and is only one aspect of any research into a potential ETF. Typically the the MER on passively managed ETF’s should be around 0.2% according to investopedia.

  1. CHESS Sponsored

When selecting an Investment Broker (such as Pearler, Self Wealth, CommSec, or any of the many brokers out there) you need to understand the two different ways that you can hold ETFs (or shares). There are two options for registering your ETF or share holding; on a CHESS sub register or on an issue sponsored sub register (also called a Custodian model). If your investment platform is CHESS sponsored then you will be allocated a HIN number and the ASX keeps a list of who owns each share/ETF. Purchasing ETF’s or shares under a CHESS Sponsored broker means that the ASX has a record of your ownership, and you own your ETF’s or shares directly (rather than someone holding them on your behalf eg in the Custodian Model). The ASX has written a great fact sheet on the two different holding options here, and I encourage you to read more about this to understand which one works for you.

  1. HIN or Holder Identification Number

The HIN or Holder Identification Number acts like an account number and is provided to you by your CHESS Sponsored investment broker when you set up your account with them. This number is used to track your ownership of ETF’s or shares. You can buy and hold multiple ETF’s or shares under one HIN. It’s important to keep your HIN number and any documentation you are sent relating to this number safe and secure as this will help you manage the administration relating to investing.

  1. Custodian Model (Issue Sponsored Sub Register)

If your brokerage platform operates under a Custodian Model then your ETF’s (or shares) will be registered on an issue sponsored sub register. These brokers hold your ETF’s or shares on your behalf, and keeps their own register of your holdings (the ASX doesn’t keep a register of your individual holdings under this model as the broker holds these on your behalf). For each holding in a Custodian Model you will be provided an SRN or Securityholder Reference Number. To read more about the different options for holding shares view this link here from the ASX website.

  1. SRN or Securityholder Reference Number

SRN’s are allocated for each holding under a Custodial model, which is allocated by the company that issued the ETF or shares. If you are using a CHESS sponsored broker then you will not be allocated a SRN (you will be allocated a HIN). To read more about the different options for holding shares view this link here from the ASX website. It’s important to keep your SRN number and any documentation you are sent relating to this number safe and secure as this will help you manage the administration relating to investing.

  1. Share Registry Service

Share Registry Services allow you to manage the administration pertaining to your ETF’s (or individual shares). This is where you can:

  • Download your income (distribution) statements and tax statements,
  • Update your personal details,
  • Add your tax file number,
  • Update your bank details,
  • Opt into a distribution reinvestment plan (if you want more information on how to opt into your DRP then read the following article ‘How do I opt into a Dividend (or Distribution) Reinvestment Plan?’
  • and update your communication preferences.

There are different Share Registries out there, and you are allocated one based on what ETF’s you purchase (you don’t get to choose). If you purchase Vanguard ETF’s your Share Registry will be called ComputerShare. If you purchase BetaShares ETF’s your Share Registry will be called Link Market Services. There are many others. After you purchase your ETF you will receive paperwork and this will contain information on how you can access your share registry. I recommend logging into your share registry as soon as you receive your login details and instructions. This will help you avoid issues like having additional tax withheld due to having no TFN registered, or not having your distribution paid because you have no bank details registered.

  1. Asset Allocation

ETF’s contain at least one asset class (often more), and these asset classes are listed in your ETF’s fact sheet. The asset allocation of an ETF is the % allocated to each asset class/classes. Depending on the ETF these %’s are fixed or variable. If the ETF is a fixed asset allocation then the fund will not allow the asset class to go over the %, and will rebalance the assets as values change over time. If the ETF has a variable asset allocation that quite often there is some wriggle room, and the manager of the fund will allow the % to go over or under depending on the market. The best way to understand this more is to take a look at an ETF that you are looking to invest in, and check out it’s fact sheet. For example use the link here to check out the asset allocation for the ETF VDHG (see page 2).

  1. Distribution Reinvestment Plan

Distribution Reinvestment Plans or DRP’s are an income distribution option that some ETF’s (and individual shareholdings) provide. If you have selected to be paid your distributions via a DRP then your distribution income will be automatically reinvested in purchasing more ETF units (to the value of the distribution). If you would like to learn more about DRP’s check out my post named ‘What is a dividend (or distribution) reinvestment plan?’

  1. Income Distribution Frequency

If an ETF pays out income it will pay out any income in the form of distributions (unlike shares which pay out income in the form of dividends). Distributions like dividends are not guaranteed (in most circumstances), however if a distribution is to be given it will be announced at regular intervals. Distributions can be announced and paid monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, six monthly or annually. You can find this information when you are doing your due diligence and research when selecting an ETF to invest in. The Income Distribution Frequency is most often found on your ETF fact sheet which most ETF managers have (you can find these with a simple google search in most cases).

As mentioned at the beginning of this article these 10 top terms to know before investing in ETF’s are just the tip of the iceberg (and don’t forget to head on over to the free online courses available from the ASX). I can’t stress the importance of educating yourself before investing in anything, and if you don’t have the time then there are a tonne of awesome financial planners out there who can do the leg work for you.

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