Up Bank Review: So what’s up with Up bank?

I’ve been meaning to try Up bank for quite some time. If you google reviews for Up Bank you can quickly see that it’s a really polarising bank. People either really love or really don’t love it, and so I decided to try it for myself (and my teenage son).

First off lets cover the history of Up Bank, how your money is secured and more importantly is your money safe?

Brief History of Up Bank

Up Bank entered the banking scene in 2018, and is an Australian mobile only bank (so there are no ATM’s, and no branches). Up has partnered with Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank, and so all the products that are released by Up are issued/backed by these banks.

Is my money secure and safe?

All Up products are issued by Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank and are covered under the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), which covers deposits of up to $250,000 per person.

The history of Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank’s start over 160 years ago so there is some reassurance from the fact that a mobile only bank Up has partnered up with such established banks.

In addition Up banking uses security technology, including smartphone biometrics and advanced cryptography to keep your money secure (this level of security technology is similar to other transaction and savings accounts).

You can read more about security here.

Now that we have covered off on the history and security of Up Bank it’s time to talk about the features, and why Up Bank may or may not be the right bank for you.

What features does it offer?

The most important feature of Up Banking is that there are no account keeping fees.

Additional features include

  • Savings Features include:
    • Instantly create additional ‘Savers’ which are similar to having additional savings accounts. This allows you to track your savings into these separate savings goal (which you can name whatever you would like).
    • Automate your savings to be transferred to your ‘savers’ according to how you want.
    • Split your pay function which allows you to split your pay by % and send it to your ‘savers’.
    • Set goals for your savings so you can see your progress.
    • Round up function which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra into your savings (they also have a handy pull down function in the app which rounds your account on demand and pops it in your savers).
    • A competitive interest rate on savings up to 1 million dollars provided you make 5 transactions in a month (Current rate is 0.7% at time of publishing make sure you check this before you sign up).
  • Budgeting Features including:
    • Automatic Spending Categorisation
    • Weekly reports and insights into your spending habits
    • Bill prediction (which is helpful for those subscriptions)
    • Helpful labelling of transactions so you actually can understand who the transaction was from (I found this really helpful because sometimes it can be really hard to decipher a transaction to confirm if its fraudulent or you simply forgot you spent the money).
    • Notifications for every transaction (really helpful as I utilised this card to assist my son in learning how to use a debit account).
    • Set trackers on budget categories and set a target amount for them.
  • Overseas Banking Features including:
    • Pay no fees on overseas purchases (including no currency conversion fees)
    • Lock your card in a few taps within the app (no phone call required)
    • Cheaper international transfers (thanks to a partnership with Wise)
  • Other Features:
    • ATM access is free for Up users at most ATM’s including Bendigo Bank, Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac.
    • Apple, Samsung and Google Pay enabled.
    • Compatible with Siri voice commands.
    • Easy to download statements which you can then utilise for Tax or providing for loan applications.
    • The ‘Tree of Up’ – this allows you to see what functionality is planned or in development for the future. You can view the tree here.
    • Free swag when you join (eg stickers and a tracker to encourage you to start saving).
The cute swag from Up Bank when you join. I really liked the Save $1000 in a Year tracker.

Why won’t you like it?

  • If you like to connect your banking and share data to other apps such as WeMoney you will find that you may not be able to. That said Up Bank are working on this as we speak, and you can see their development tree via the link here.
  • It’s a mobile / digital bank and therefore if you like to talk to someone face to face or go into a branch this isn’t the bank for you (You access your account via the app. Support is available via the chat function (preferred), email and there is a phone number you can call.
  • If you require a joint account there are no joint accounts at this stage (but this is planned in the future).
  • The app can be a little busy to the eye and difficult to navigate at first.

My Experience with Up Banking

How did I use Up Banking account during this time?

To make the trial a little more interesting I actually had my 13 year old son test the card, and app on his phone (with me supervising and testing the features from the app on my phone). I set up the account with the aim that the features of Up would assist me in monitoring and supporting my son use his first debit card (and associated banking app). We previously looked at Spriggy, but I wasn’t happy to pay the yearly fees.

I applied for the Up card in my name, and he uses it (you have to be 16 years and older to apply for an Up Banking Account). I have the responsibility of the account, but all the money in the account is his. I deposit his pocket money and bus fare into his Up account each week.

My son has used the card over the last two months to pay for his bus fare as needed, and any small incidentals he wishes to purchase (eg from the Canteen or whilst we are out shopping). He has also used the account to make use of the round up function, add a saver, and set up pay splits to start him saving 20% of his income (pocket money).

Setting up the account

I set up my Up Banking account by downloading the app (via the app store), and providing my drivers license. The set up process for me took approximately 5 minutes and was completely painless thanks to the ID process. I have seen some reviews stating that this process can be difficult, but I didn’t have these issues.

What platform did I use to access Up banking?

My son has an android phone and I have an iPhone. We tested the application on both platforms and there was no discernible differences between the two that we noticed.

How long did we trial Up Banking?

We trialled Up Bank for just over 2 months.

Are you going to continue to use Up Banking?

Yes !!!! My son loves Up and I love it too. It’s been a great platform for him to learn on, and I love that I can assist him whilst he gets his banking training wheels.

I’m actually looking forward to him turning 16 now so I can move him over to his own account, and I can reclaim mine. I really loved all the features they offer, and didn’t miss the features that it’s missing. I’ve even managed to get my husband on board, and he’s been happily using Up for the last few weeks.

Where can I sign up and do you have any referral codes?

You can sign up via this link here and we both will get $5. Its a great way to try out a bank, and referrals like this help me run my site (so thank you).

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Expense Review – April 2021

Goodbye April and Hello May. April has been a crazy month with renovations, Easter and our annual camping trip. There are a few changes to our ‘Top 5 Expenses’, but no real surprises. To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses

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

There have been some changes to the Top 5 Categories from this month to last month.

Our Top 5 Expenses were are no real surprise for us, and are made up of the following items.

  1. Renovations (Increased $1953.63 from last month) = $1953.63

Notes: As mentioned last month we have recommenced major renovations to our home. We took a short break from renovations in 2020 to build our investment account to 100k (if you would like to read more about that use the link here). Now that we have hit our 100k investment goal we have stepped off the gas a little, and we are spending any spare cash over our weekly regular investment amount on renovations. This month we spent money on new tiles and dumping costs associated with removing the old carpet and floor boards. We purchased our tiles online from National Tiles, and have been really happy with the pricing, free delivery, and the refund policy.

  1. School Expenses, Extra Curricular and Pocket Money (Increased $537 this month) = $774.00

Notes: Last month this item was our number three top expense, and thanks to a very expensive camp we had to pay for in April it’s moved to second place. Our boys both participate in Scouts and its been really rewarding for the boys, but it hasn’t been a very budget conscious decision. That said I have zero regrets about my boys participating, and thankfully we have the ability to support them in what they love doing. I’m hopeful next month will be a little less expensive. Both boys go to public school and we pay our fees fortnightly until they are paid off completely (there is no benefit to us paying in a lump sum). We pay our eldest son pocket money ($1 for how many years old he is). Our youngest doesn’t get pocket money until he is at High School.

  1. Mortgage (Increased $248.60 this month) = $1243.00

Notes: Thanks to an expensive month for renovations and kids expenses our mortgage dropped from its number one spot to number three this month. Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. April was a five week payment month for us hence the additional cost.

  1. Utilities (Increased $139.35 this month) = $899.96

Notes: Another expensive month for utilities thanks to our water bill being slightly more than budgeted for thanks to our summer usage (we own a swimming pool, and have a large garden with automated watering). Despite the increase I was still happy with this bill as it was less than this time last year (woohoo). This category includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). 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. Health and Medical Items (Increased by $78.02 this month compared to last month) = $656.62

Notes: Increased this month as April was a three fortnight month for our health insurance. Our health insurance also went up in price at the start of April which did sting a little. That said we make use of our insurance and it pays out over 10k a year for us thanks to my husbands condition, dental items, and my optometry. This amount includes all medicine, pharmacy items, private health insurance, doctors/specialists visits, and any pathology/radiology.

Year to Date Comparison

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

With the additional renovation and school expenses we are trending upwards this month. We spent $8505.99 in April which is an increase of $2666.61. This month we spent $283.53 per day which is almost $100 more per day than March (ouch…..).

Other Expense Commentary

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

Food and Alcohol

April was an awesome month for our food bill thanks to doing a pantry challenge, and a freezer of free meats thanks to my mother in law. We spent $549.45 which averages out to $18.32 per day. It was so low that it dropped out of our top 5 expenses this month, however I’m sure it will return in May.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

April was a great month for staying in, and as a result this category was less than usual. The total for the month was $193.65 compared with $387.22 last month.

Holiday’s

In April we went on our annual camping trip with our good friends. It was so nice to get away and go interstate for the first time in 18 months. In total we spent $575.41 and this included petrol, food we purchased whilst away, a hat my son forgot, and a trip to an expensive winery (We previously paid for the campsite in February at a cost of $222. So the holiday was very budget friendly).

New Expenses (This Year)

We had 1 new expense categories added in April:

  • Renovations = Our Biggest Expense in April.

Changes we’ve made this month

My work location has changed and I’m now taking public transport every day. This means that I’m saving money on petrol costs, and my husband has switched to taking my car to work (again to save more petrol). I’m hopeful we may see some changes to this next month.

Changes to expect next month

Next month we expect the following changes.

Renovations: We expect our renovation expenses to increase in April, and this will continue as we finish off the renovations downstairs. The benefit of renovating is that hopefully in Spring we will be able to list our downstairs area on AirBnB (and use this to offset some of the renovating costs for upstairs which still need to be done).

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here . My Income and Expense Tracker has recently been modified so if you have previously purchased it and would like the new version get in touch and I will send it to you free of charge with proof of purchase.

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Should I pay off debt first or focus on building an Emergency Fund?

This post is a part of a new tagged series of posts that give my perspective on a number of common budget, debt or finances questions. I find these questions in several ways including Reddit and Facebook Groups.

Today I’m tackling a common question I see from people at the start of their debt free and financial independence journey’s.

Focus on first getting a starter Emergency Fund

A fully funded Emergency Funds generally should cover 3-6 months worth of expenses, however this may be different for each individual. Regardless of the amount a fully funded Emergency Fund typically represents a substantial amount of money for someone to come up with, and it will take significant time to complete. If the person saving for the Emergency Fund has consumer debt they will likely be incurring interest during this time. Its for this reason why building a starter Emergency Fund first, and then prioritising consumer debt payment sooner over a fully funded emergency fund may be a better option.

How much should my Starter Emergency Fund be?

There are a number of different school’s of thought on how much your starter emergency fund should be. For example:

  • The Barefoot Investor recommends that your starter Emergency Fund should contain a minimum of $2000 before tackling debt.
  • Dave Ramsey recommends a starter Emergency Fund of $1000 as part of his baby step method before tackling deb.

What amount you choose to go with for your starter Emergency Fund is ultimately up to you as this will be different for everyone.

Prioritise getting your Starter Emergency Fund fully funded

Once you’ve settled on your starter emergency fund amount its time to pay minimums on all your debt payments temporarily. That way you can prioritise all additional funds to your starter emergency fund, and knock it off as quickly as possible. If you are going to struggle to get your starter Emergency Fund completed in less than a month think about some ways you could speed up the process. This could be selling items you no longer need or use, side hustling, or some other creative way to raise the funds.

Prioritising consumer debt

Once you’ve got your starter Emergency Fund in place its time to prioritise your consumer debt (excluding mortgage debt). By consumer debt I mean debt such as credit card, student loans, car loans, and short term loans (like payday loans).

There are two approaches to prioritising debt:

Debt Snowball: You list and prioritise paying off your debts from lowest balance to highest balance, and you focus on paying off the smallest one first (regardless of the interest rate). On this method you only pay minimum repayments on your other debts, and put all additional funds to the smallest debt. Once the smallest debt is paid off you then focus on the next smallest debt, and so on and so forth until all your debts are paid off.

Debt Avalanche: You list and prioritise your debts by highest interest rate to lowest interest rate, and focus on paying the debt with the highest interest rate off first. With this method you only pay minimums on the lower interest debts, and put all additional funds to the debt with the highest interest rate. Once the debt with the highest interest rate is paid off you then focus on the debt with the next highest interest rate, and so on and so forth until all your debts are paid off.

Which option is best?

The simple answer is the one that works for you, and you may start a method and switch to the other during your debt payoff. As long as the method works for you who really cares which one is best.

That said the Debt Snowball method has the greatest chance of success from a psychology stand point, and the Debt Avalanche method will result in less interest being paid overall.

It may be worth using a calculator to enter in your debts and compare your options against the methods. I have created one for this purpose (link here) or you could create your own.

Track your progress

Regardless of where you are with in reaching your financial goals whether that be paying down debt, saving or investing I recommend tracking your progress. All debt free journey’s feel slow at times so tracking your progress via a visual chart can really keep you inspired to keep going (its a marathon not a sprint remember).

You can find visual charts easily available online and there are a tonne of free ones click here for a link to my favourite ones from Debt Free Charts.

I also have a free investing printable available here or a free savings printable here.

If you’ve got a question you would like me to cover feel free to complete my contact form. If you would like to have articles like this delivered to your inbox subscribe below.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Starting your journey to Financial Independence in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond – Late FIRE

This post is for those who are worried they may have left it to late to start a journey of Financial Independence. My hope is that it will inspire you to start your journey if you haven’t started, or help you stay on your journey if you’ve already started.

  1. Follow those who have walked or are walking the same path as you

I’m not sure about you but I get a lot of reassurance and inspiration from those who are treading or have treaded the same or similar path as me.

I can’t help but feel a little disheartened when I can’t apply the same methods that others are using to reach FIRE for example:

  • Don’t buy a house to live in,
  • Avoid owning a car,
  • Live at home with your parents,
  • Keep your grocery bill under $50,
  • Start investing at 18,
  • etc…….

I’m sure that I’m not alone and you may have personal circumstances that preclude you from applying certain financial independence advice as well. This can often feel like a barrier, or a blocker in your FIRE journey and with every additional blocker you can start to feel a little less confident in achieving your goals.

This is where it becomes so important to find narratives that are similar to your own. This will help you to stop seeing your own personal circumstances as insurmountable blockers to FIRE, and reassure you that you can overcome them and reach FIRE.

I’ve listed a few of my favourite inspirational Late FIRE blogs below:

Project Palm Tree – Shaun is an Australian who officially declared that he was starting his Late FIRE journey at age 52. He is aiming to retire at 60, and shares his experiences on his blog.

Burning Desire For FIRE – Frogdancer Jones is an single Australian mother to 4 now grown men who retired at 57 (without a 6 figure income). I have followed her journey for many years initially on a site called Simple Savers. If you want to be inspired read this.

Late Starter FI – A blog about starting your FIRE journey in your late 40’s. Late Starter FI isn’t retired yet so this is a great blog to follow for the honest up’s and down’s of being on a FIRE journey.

Started at 50Becky and her husband Stephen from Colorado started their FIRE journey at 50 and retired early at 63. I loved their story and we both share similar retirement hobbies.

  1. Stop the comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy.

My situation is different to your situation and vice versa so if you do struggle with comparison try to work on your mindset by focussing on what you can do and implement rather than anything you can’t implement (shut out that noise).

If you want to read more on how your mindset can affect your finances click here.

  1. Stop wishing away the past and live a life of no regrets

Constant feelings of regret from mistakes you have made, and opportunities you didn’t take will eat you up inside if you don’t let them go.

I started my journey towards FIRE at 32. Prior to the age of 32 we made a tonne of ‘financial mistakes’ including misusing credit cards, buying brand new cars with loans, didn’t invest, and we even pulled out our superannuation (retirement) to buy a swimming pool (these are just a few of our mistakes).

In order to move past these mistakes and work towards FIRE it was necessary for us to acknowledge our bad decisions, learn from them, let go of the regret and forgive ourselves. If you don’t forgive yourself and learn from it then its difficult to grow from it.

Ask yourself. Is there anything you regret, and are you still holding onto it?

  1. Focus on your strengths

As you get older you start to gather more life experience, information and knowledge. You can turn these life experiences, information and knowledge into strengths which someone just starting their FIRE journey at 18 or in their 20’s won’t have.

For example:

Starting your FIRE journey a little later means you are more likely to have an established career that can assist you to get to your FIRE goals.

or

You may have previously travelled the world in your 20’s so you don’t mind skipping a few holidays and putting the money you would’ve spent to your FIRE fund.

or

You had your kids early and your children might be adults when you FIRE so you won’t have to factor in the costs associated with raising children in your FIRE number.

or

You’ve had a bad experience with consumer debt, and dug yourself out of debt. You will never let yourself get back there again.

These are all examples only, and may not apply to your situation. That said I’m sure you can think of your own lived experiences, and I encourage you to write them down and think of them as strengths you will use to succeed on your FIRE journey.

FIRE is a marathon not a sprint

Lastly for the overwhelming majority of people who achieve FIRE it takes a long time, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s easy to feel like everyone’s reaching FIRE so quickly when you don’t reflect on your own journey.

Make sure to celebrate each mini milestone, give yourself a break when you need it, readjust with your learnings, and then get back on that bike.

Ask yourself. When was the last time you celebrated how far you’ve come?

Lastly I don’t know who needs to hear this but you’ve got this (and if you ever need to someone to reach out to on this journey feel free to hit me up).

I’m keen to read about any other awesome Late FIRE blogs that you may have come across (or that you may blog on). Feel free to add them to the comments below.

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Photo by Anastasiya Vragova on Pexels.com

Net worth Update – April 2021

Goodbye April and Hello May!!!! As you know we like to be open and honest with our journey to financial independence so we thought it was about time to share our net worth progress each month.

I’m a huge fan of the Aussie Firebug who has a successful blog and podcast of the same name. He has tracked and posted his net worth with a blog post every month since July 2015. I’ve only been following him for the last 2 years, but all of his net worth posts are available here for you to look at (its quite inspiring). His posts start with a net worth of 161k and at the time of writing this post it was 887k (March 2021)

I’ve tracked my own net worth for the last 2 years and enjoy seeing it grow over time. Being a Microsoft Excel lover I track it in in a custom made spreadsheet which is available here. 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 enter the details from the app into my spreadsheet.

Net worth – $935,309 (up $21,275)

Net Worth Calculator available here
Net Worth Calculator available here

Assets – $1,288,365 (up $25,054)

It was a really good month for us with house prices growing steadily in our area over the last few months. We are very conservative with our house price and base it on actual sales of comparable houses in our local area not just realestate.com.au’s track my house feature (we also allow a -10% buffer).

Other contributing factors to our net worth this month are consistently investing thanks to Pearler’s auto investment feature (read more about Pearler here). This month was particularly good as we had a dividend pay-out which was reinvested into purchasing more shares.

Our superannuation continues to grow at a good pace thanks to my husband and I both receiving additional superannuation benefits above standard benefits. My husband receives 17.5% employer superannuation contributions, and I have deferred tax benefits for any super contributions that are made to my account.

Our micro investing accounts and crypto account also continue to slowly grow over time.

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 – its 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.

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 – $353,056 (up $3779)

Net Worth Calculator available here

As you can see our home loan increased this month and this is no mistake. We made a withdraw from our redraw account today in preparation to pay for the $4000 bill for renovations next week. Our redraw contains our Emergency Fund and renovation funds. We plan to slowing replenishing our renovation funds over the next few months by making additional payments to our mortgage.

What liabilities do we include?

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

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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I invested in Crypto instead of the work Lottery Pool

I started a new job this week, and my new team has a weekly lottery pool that everyone in the team is part of. In the past I would’ve joined the lottery pool without hesitation, however this time I decided to do something different.

The Lottery Syndicate (or Lottery Pool as I like to refer them them)

I’ve been involved with a few lottery pools in previous jobs, and I actually ran one after the previous person left. Lottery pools for those who aren’t familiar are where a group of people pool their money together each week / pay period and buy a lottery ticket (or tickets). The aim of the pool is that by pooling your money together you can purchase ‘better’ tickets (e.g. tickets that have a better chance of winning). According to some sources 1 in 5 jackpots are won by lottery pools and therefore lottery pools are pretty popular (I’m a little hesitant to believe such a stat).

My Work Lottery Pool

My work Lottery Pool is pretty straight forward its a $5 weekly payment to the pool of approximately 20 people. The pool of funds approx. $100 a week is then used to purchase a lottery ticket of that price.

If we win over a certain amount of money (usually over $200) this is split between everyone equally otherwise if it’s less than this amount we will use the funds to buy an even better ticket than usual.

I calculated that over the next year my personal contribution to the lottery pool would be $260. Over the years I’ve been part of a lottery pool I have won zero dollars so working on this assumption, and the current statistical likelihood of winning the lottery its a pretty safe bet that I’m going to see zero return (and lose my capital as well) if I join the work lottery pool.

Investing in Crypto

I’m a slow and steady investor who doesn’t enjoy a lot of volatility, and before this week I have never considered investing in crypto currency. However as I pondered the lottery pool and the likelihood of ever winning my mind thought about how I could better use that $260 a year. My mind initially thought of putting extra to my Spaceship Investments, but then I thought about crypto.

You have to have been living under a rock if you haven’t read about the crazy rise of Bitcoin over the last few years (and other Crypto Currency’s). I decided to find a calculator to run some calculations on what would happen if I put $260 into Bitcoin one year ago (the $260 representing a year of lottery pool contributions).

The screenshot below absolutely shocked me!!!!

This screenshot is from Bitcoin Return Calculator (click the image for the calculator)

If I invested $260 into Bitcoin a year ago I would have almost $2500 today (this is an 840% return).

Please note: Historical returns are not a predictor of future return, and all investing comes with risk.

Gambling vs Crypto

The bitcoin investment return numbers shocked me to my core. The numbers made me realise that investing in crypto has a far better chance of me coming out with anything then joining a lotto pool (this is even considering the fact that crypto in the past has had fluctuations of -70%).

Although crypto is not considered gambling I view it as close to gambling as it gets when it comes to investing (it’s not for the faint hearted).

So from here on in I’m officially a very unlikely crypto investor, who is investing ‘lotto’ money that I was likely going to lose anyway.

Feel free to hit me up in the comments and share your reasons for investing in crypto.

I use Coinbase to invest in Crypto Currency due to ease of use (and will do a review on it shortly). If you would like to join feel free to use my referral code here.

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Pearler Review: Why we’ve moved to the new kid on the block ‘Pearler’

Really excited to finally be sharing this news with you. We joined Pearler last year, however we delayed investing until they had joint accounts available. We are now all set up and I’m looking forward to sharing my experience to date so far.

What is Pearler?

Pearler is an investment platform founded by 3 friends in 2018 who had the desire to create an investment platform that made it easy for Australians to invest in shares and ETFs. The platform aims to decrease the stress of investing, and empower Australians to improve their financial literacy. To find out more on the Pearler founders click here.

Is Pearler CHESS Sponsored?

100% yes !!!!!! Pearler is a CHESS Sponsored brokerage platform which means that you own your investments directly.

Are my investments safe given that Pearler is a relatively new start up company?

Pearler may be a start up, but your investments are as safe as any investments you would buy on other plaforms such as Commsec, SelfWealth or any other big online broker. Pearler have written a great article which details why your investments are safe with them, and I encourage you to read it.

What are the key features of Pearler that makes it stand out in comparison to other brokerage platforms?

Click on the link above to find out more on the Auto Investing function within Pearler, and how to get the best out of this functionailty.

Although we are not using this feature ourselves as our ETF’s aren’t included in the list of brokerage free ETF’s I think this is a great idea. Click on the link above to find out more on what ETF’s are included.

Pearler is a lower cost brokerage option in comparison to many online brokers out there. I was quite impressed by the price in comparison to my broker, and considering the addition features I receive. Click on the link above for current pricing.

Brokerage Free ETFsAll Trades (Per Trade Transaction)
$0$9.50
Pearler Brokerage Pricing as at 20th July 2021

Click on the link above to see the FI Resources that Pearler has available to use. This includes 3 calculators including one which is aptly named Financial Freedom Calculator. There are also a number of awesome and informative resources via the Simplifi section of Pearler. Pearler have also published the stories of others on their Financial Independence in their own FREE for download AussieFI eBook. I strongly encourage you to check out their resources even if you don’t end up investing with Pearler.

I really love the community feel of Pearler which allows you to follow other investors and see what they are up to. Click on the link above to follow me and see my portfolio (Note: Remember to do your own research before buying ETFs/Shares that others have as my circumstances are likely to be different to you). This community feature is something that is nothing like what other online brokers I’ve seen offer. When you join up with Pearler you can update your own profile (optional), follow others, and track your progress to your financial independence goals.

Our Profile Page on Pearler, feel free to follow and be my first follower 🙂

How do I set up an account?

Signing up with Pearler is so easy simply head on over to their online site (click here for link). The online sign up process for me took less than 10 minutes (and we did a joint application). The user interface is really simple and clean. Once you have completed your online sign up you will have access to your Pearler account, however you will have to wait for email confirmation before you can start trading (this normally takes a couple of days).

I wish Pearler was around when I started investing. When we started investing we chose to invest through our bank (which is what we felt comfortable with at the time). The experience we had with applying for an online share trade account our first time was not easy or simple at all. We submitted our applications on the clunky online portal (which took ages), and then had to come into the branch to submit further paperwork. All up it took about a month to get it all sorted.

Why did we move to Pearler?

  • Automated Investing

The ability to auto invest was 100% the main reason we made the move to Pearler. As we’ve progressed and refined our financial plan towards financial independence we’ve found that automation has been a key foundation for building our own portfolio to date. Prior to Pearler we had an automated transfer of funds each payday to our share trade account, however we still had to pull the trigger and invest the funds ourselves. This may not seem like a bad thing, but often I’ll admit I would delay investing for the ‘perfect’ day (eg. I tried to time the market sometimes). Auto investing takes the decision out of when to invest, and promotes dollar cost investing. Time in the market beats timing the market any day.

  • Save money on brokerage costs

Although our ETF’s aren’t on the brokerage free list we are saving $12.45 each month by moving over to Pearler. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if we continue investing over the next 31 years that equates to just over $17,000 !!!!! (Assuming we invest the brokerage savings and get a return of 7.5%).

  • Not just a number

With the community features, helpful investing articles, and attentive customer help I have never just felt like a number with Pearler. I feel that the relationship is more than just customer and business, its a relationship where Pearler want our family to actually reach our investing goals.

Feel free to drop a comment below with a link to your Pearler account I would love to follow you.

Note: Please note that the links to Pearler are referral links that will result in you (and me) getting one free trade if you sign up to Pearler.

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Side Hustle Income – March 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. This is the first of many and you can find them all here.

Year to Date – Month by Month Comparison

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

March 2021 – Side Income Breakdown

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

Total Side Hustle Income – March 2021 = $898.10

Our side hustles for 2021 are broken down into 5 categories currently.

Please note that the numbers below and above don’t include tax so these are less spectacular when you take this into consideration (these are pre-tax figures).

Gardening = $613.60

Hubby continued to run his side hustle this month despite his teaching work ramping up. Next month will be a little less than this month as we took a weekend off to go camping for Easter. If you want to find out more on doing Gardening as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

eBay = $60.00

After 2 years doing eBay selling on the side I’ve decided to call it a day as it just wasn’t a passion for me any more. I initially started on eBay by selling down my own wardrobe and kids toys. March is the last month we will expect to have any income from this side hustle.

Airtasker = $0

It was a slow month here for Airtasker as I’ve been extremely busy with creating more products on my Etsy. I’m hoping to get back on in April, but we’ll see. The good thing with Airtasker is that you get to control what you apply for, and if I don’t like a job I don’t bid for it. If you want to find out more on doing Airtasker as a side hustle I cover it in this blog post here.

Etsy = $89.50

It was my best month here, and every time I get a sale I get extremely excited. Not for the money, but for the fact that someone might be getting value from a product that I created. I use all of my own Etsy products myself so I know the value they bring me, but its another level knowing that other people are using my products. If you would like 10% off any of my Etsy items click here.

Other (including Market Research) = $135.00

This consisted 100% of market research gigs through Askable and Research Connections. You will find links to all of the Market Research companies I’m signed up for here. I’m also in the process of applying for a study worth $460 so fingers crossed I get this one.

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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Expense Review – March 2021

How is it April already!!!! I only just started getting used to writing March as the date at work. With the coming of April it’s time for me to post my March Expenses, and this is the first of what will be many expense reviews (to view all expense review tagged posts click here).

Top 5 Expenses

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

There has been no change to the Top 5 Categories from this month to last month.

Our Top 5 Expenses were are no real surprise for us, and are made up of the following items.

  1. Mortgage (Same as last month) = $994.40

Notes: Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. March was a four week payment month for us.

  1. Food and Alcohol (Decreased by $40 this month compared to last month) = $844.24

Notes: This equates to $27.41 per day in March. We aim for $175 a week or $25 a day so we are a little over.

  1. School Expenses and Pocket Money (Increased $60 this month) = $774.00

Notes: We don’t pay our school fees up front in one payment. This is our choice but there is no benefit for us so instead we pay an amount each fortnight until the the end of June 2021. From July onwards this category should drop off completely. We pay our eldest son pocket money ($1 for how many years old he is). Our youngest doesn’t get pocket money until he is at High School.

  1. Utilities (Increased $60 this month) = $760.61

Notes: This includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). 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. Health and Medical Items (Decreased $150 this month) = $578.60

Notes: This includes all medicine, pharmacy items, private health insurance, doctors/specialists visits, and any pathology/radiology.

Year to Date Comparison

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

I’m loving the trend on our expenses at the moment, however I know it’s only short-lived as Easter is just around the corner. This month we spent $5780.38 or $186.48 per day. I’m really happy with our expenses currently and would love to be able to average this kind of figure over 2021.

Other Expense Commentary

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

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

March was quite a good month in comparison to February, and I’m really surprised as we had a couple of really lovely and expensive dinners (and after works drinks at least twice). The total for the month was $387.22 or $12.49 per day.

Parking and Bus Fare

March was the most expensive month for us with Parking and Bus Fare. That figure will continue to increase as I move jobs in April, however this should be offset by a reduction in petrol costs (fingers crossed).

New Expenses

We had 3 new expense categories added in March including:

  • Discretionary Spending Category = $134.72 (This included bike repairs, and a new sewing machine for me)
  • Pet Supplies = $25.98 (This included a fish net and fish plants for our now deceased pet fish…. sorry fish not sure what happened)
  • Hair and Beauty Expenses = $54.00 (We are not big hair and beauty people so this cost was for two haircuts for the boys)

Changes we’ve made this month

We’ve only changed one thing this month and that is I’ve cancelled my specialised Office product subscription which was costing me just over $9 a month. I’ve managed to get it cheaper through my current employer which is a great work perk.

Changes to expect next month

Next month there will be a few changes when I change jobs and we start renovating again.

Parking and Bus Fare: As mentioned I’ll be buying a bus pass every month for the new job, but I’m hoping to offset this with a reduction in petrol costs.

Afterpay: This category will go up in April with two new camping purchases to make. I know not everyone will agree with using Afterpay or other buy now pay later options, but each to their own (Personal Finance is Personal).

Holiday: We are going camping for Easter so our holiday spending will inevitably increase in April (we are so excited to be going on holiday).

Renovations: We are buying floor tiles in April at a cost of $1500-2000 for the downstairs area, and are hoping to have them laid as well in April (if we can line a contractor up). We are yet to get a quote on the labour costs to getting a contractor to lay the flooring for us. We will be doing all the prep and removal work ourselves to save money. To pay for this we will be dipping into our savings.

Other: Lastly our income will increase in April as my husbands additional teaching contracts start to get paid, and my income will increase by $200 a week once I move to the new job. That said we will be ignoring any increase to our income, and try and limit any lifestyle creep by staying within our budgeted areas.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here . My Income and Expense Tracker has recently been modified so if you have previously purchased it and would like the new version get in touch and I will send it to you free of charge with proof of purchase.

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Australian Hamburger Recipe

Following a few requests I’m keen to start sharing some of our regular recipes that help keep our grocery bill as low as possible. You will find them all tagged here ‘Frugal Recipes‘.

This is a super simple recipe we make regularly in this house. I usually do 1kg at a time (and freeze the patties) so feel free to double, triple or adapt the recipe below to your needs.

Ingredients

  • 500gm Beef Mince
  • 1 tbsp Mixed Herbs
  • 1/2 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and use your fingers to mix together. Its ready when it comes together and can be moulded into balls (Be careful not to overwork the mixture).
  2. Form into patties. I recommend using a Hamburger Press (Link here to the one I use – under $10). Using a Hamburger Press will help you get the right shape, and they will end up looking just like the real deal.
This is the Hamburger Press I use (Link here). It’s really simple to use. I also use baking paper to make it easier to clean and remove the patties.

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