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)
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 affiliate links that will result in you getting one free trade if you sign up, and I receive a small monetary benefit as a result. The benefit I receive is at no cost to you, and it helps me pay for the running of this website.

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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.


  • 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


  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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Purchasing our first home at 19 on a 35k income

Today I’m covering off on the story of buying our first home 15 years ago (pre-GFC). This is a story of misadventure, and I hope that by sharing this story that it may remind us all that we all make some crazy decisions on our money journeys. No-one’s journey is perfect least of all ours.

Let’s go back in time to 2006, I was 19 and my boyfriend (now husband) at the time was 20. I was in my 1st year of university and after just over a year of dating we were ready to move out of home together. At the time I had been living with him in his mum’s home for almost a year. She had kindly taken me in when she realised that I was couch surfing with friends or sleeping in my car to avoid a bad home situation. My boyfriend was working fulltime in an entry level job making just under 25k per year (pre tax), and I worked casually as a barista between university commitments making approximately 10k a year.

We initially planned to rent a small townhouse or unit close to family and spent our spare time perusing rentals on My research led me to look at how much the cheapest houses in metropolitan Adelaide were, and I was pleasantly surprised by my searches. In 2006 you could purchase a 3 bed, 1-bathroom home on 500sqm for 100k less than an hour from the city. 100k didn’t feel like a lot of money so I decided to investigate how much mortgage payments would be. After finding an online calculator I discovered that the mortgage payments were slightly less than what we could afford to pay for rent (even with the 8% interest rates which were the norm at that time). I also discovered that we were eligible for the first homeowners grant worth $7000 at the time. At this point I decided to take my research to my boyfriend and present my case for buying a house together. In hindsight my boyfriend had very little option but to go along with my crazy plan (I was a girl on a mission), so he said yes to at least going to a mortgage broker.

Our first experience with the mortgage broker wasn’t great…. in fact, the meeting ended up with him laughing at us, and us leaving feeling a little sheepish. Looking back on this response it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us that we received this treatment. We were a terrible investment to any bank. We were just kids earning under 35k a year and didn’t even have a deposit.

The first experience didn’t deter me in fact I remember it spurring me on. We then found another mortgage broker who ran the numbers with us and explained our options. He was very young much like us and plotted a path for us to make home ownership a reality thanks to a product available at the time called no deposit 100% home loans (remember this is pre GFC). After our meeting we were granted a borrowing capacity of 125k and started house hunting.

Armed with our home purchasing budget we looked a little more closely at the suburbs that were in our price range. We looked specifically for houses that were walking distance to the train station and to local amenities (such as healthcare and shopping centres). We then started viewing houses that matched our very low requirements. In the end we viewed only one house before we purchased our first home. I feel comfortable telling you now that we had no idea what we were doing, and what to look for in a house. We picked our first house through gut instinct, it had less cracks than the last house we saw, and the bathroom wasn’t pink.  

Although we were proud of buying our first house not many around us felt the same when it came to sharing our news with family / friends. I can’t blame them. It was the worst house in an area with a bad reputation, we were moving away from where we had grown up, we had only been dating for a year, we had no idea how to renovate, and had very little financial security.

Despite our lack of experience in buying a house, we managed to haggle the price down by 6k to 114k and paid a very small holding deposit from our tiny emergency fund. We were also fortunate that the real estate agent recommended we put the sale down as subject to finance and a building / pest inspection. Like I said we had no clue what we were doing and are fortunate that we didn’t get into trouble here. After negotiating a price, we quickly learnt that we required a person called a conveyancer to assist us in the purchase of the house, and were referred to one by the real estate agent (we are still with our conveyancer to this day after multiple purchases).

Our next learning experience was being told that our first homeowners grant wouldn’t pay for all the fees and stamp duties that come with homeownership, so we had a shortfall. We didn’t have savings and we had already used our emergency fund, so we sold both of our cars (including my husbands prized Celica 1991 with pop up lights) and became a one car family.

By some miracle the rest of the home sale went through without any other problems, our finance was approved thanks to our mortgage broker (and pre GFC lending), and settlement occurred within 30 days. Funnily enough this purchase remains to be the smoothest home purchases we’ve made to this day (but that’s another story).

As I write this post, I have lost count of how many times I’ve cringed at my own naïve actions, how many times it could’ve gone so wrong, and how many basic home buying rules we broke. That said I have no regrets buying our first home as it provided so many learning experiences that have shaped us to this day.

Our 10 biggest takeaways from buying our first home have been:

  1. Make sure you have a deposit to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI (not like us).
  2. Make sure you have a Fully Funded Emergency Fund (We always keep 3-6 months these days because something always breaks or costs more than expected when purchasing a new property).
  3. If you buy a property requiring renovations then budget this out in advance and have these funds saved (or at least a portion saved).
  4. Make sure to do a pest and building inspection and write it in your contract.
  5. If you require finance then be sure to consider writing a subject to finance clause (in case your finance falls through).
  6. Don’t forget to budget for additional costs besides the mortgage. Just because you can afford the mortgage payment doesn’t mean you can afford the property. Home ownership comes with additional costs like maintenance, additional insurance, council rates and water rates.
  7. Discuss your future relationship and financial expectations, wants and dreams before buying a house with a significant other. Our relationship is still going strong, but we could’ve avoided a lot of finance related arguments if we were both on the same page from day one.
  8. Find a good conveyancer or lawyer before you purchase your property.
  9. Find a mortgage broker who has your back and cheers you on from the side-lines is important.
  10. Lastly make sure you visit any potential homes at different times of the day / week to really scope out the neighbourhood (Unknown to us our street had weekly fight nights, all night party music playing, street racing, and regular visits from the police).

Do you have any crazy first home buying stories? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Our First Home – We never had a celebration shot in front of the for sale sign. It was in such a bad suburb that it didn’t even have a sign (as they kept getting covered in graffiti)

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FIRE Calculator / Compound Interest Calculator – Free Download

Do you know how much you need to invest each month to retire in X number of years? Well today I’m sharing a Financial Independence Retire Early and Compound Interest Calculator I created in Microsoft Excel that assisted me in finding the answer out for myself.

Late last year as I was approaching burn out I decided that in 2021 we would be taking a different approach to achieving our financial independence goals. We decided to calculate how much we actually needed to invest each month to reach financial independence, and contribute just that amount. Anything above that would be put towards living our best lives now (and not waiting for early retirement).

In the process of calculating our monthly figure I decided to create a simple calculator in Microsoft Excel. After creating the calculator and inputting our details it was clear that we could to take the pedal off the gas a little from 2021 onwards, and adjust our investing goals. This had the awesome consequence of me being able to reduce my hours at work, and will enable us to do more renovations to the house to improve our comfort levels.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who could benefit from doing a similar FI/FIRE Calculation so I’ve decided to upload this free to my blog (no sign up required although I would love it if you did).

I’ve included a few screenshots below of what the calculator looks like so you can make the decision to download or not (Please note the data in the spreadsheet and screenshots is example data only – not mine). The link to download the file is at the end of this post.

Screenshot – Tab 1 – FI / FIRE Goal Calculator (Example Data Only – Not Mine)

The spreadsheet contains two worksheet tabs:

  • FI / FIRE Goal Calculator – Where it calculates your FI number and gives you an indicative amount of how much you need to invest to hit your FI/FIRE goal.
  • Compound Interest Calculator – This is just a bonus really so you can have a play around and see what the future value of your investments may be.
Screenshot – Tab 2 – Compound Interest Calculator (Example Data Only – Not Mine)

To download the file simply click on the download link below.

To view my other Personal Finance Templates please feel free to visit me at ‘The Frank Basics’ Etsy Store.

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Side Hustle Series – 3 Side Hustle Podcasts you should be listening to

As part of my Side Hustle Series I’m covering off on a different side hustle every week. If you want to go back and read all of the series click here. To mix it up a bit I’ve decided to list my 3 Top Side Hustle Podcasts.  

1.       Side Hustle Pro – By Nicaila Matthews Okome

OMG if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about side hustles, or want to be inspired whilst starting your own side hustle then look no further. Nicaila is an amazing podcaster, and it’s no surprise her podcast was named ‘the perfect entrepreneurship podcast‘ by Mashable. Nicaila is also a TED talk speaker and I encourage you to view her TED Talk here called ‘This is the side hustle revolution’.

So this is my number one for so many reasons but ultimately its because Nicaila has a presence that makes you feel like she is talking to you (and just you). At the end of each episode you will feel inspired, ready to take action, and feel that you have found someone who has your back.


  • Female Focused
  • Telling the stories of amazing black women
  • Focusses on turning your side hustle into your main hustle
  • Longer style episodes  (+ 30 minutes)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to (launched in 2016)
  • Very little advertising (or you won’t notice it at all – well aligned with the podcast)
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

By all means listen to the Podcast, but take a look at Nicaila’s amazing website Side Hustle Pro. The website has a tonne of awesome FREE resources to help you grow your own side hustle or passion project into a fully fledged business.

Favourite Episode 

231 : How to Decide What Your Side Hustle Should be in 2021 – This is a rewind episode and straight after this one it leads to an awesome Side Hustle Pro Bootcamp podcast episode series.

2.       The Side Hustle Show – By Nick Loper 

This is a podcast I stumbled upon recently following a google search where I found found Nick’s website aptly named Side Hustle Nation. This podcast has quickly become a favourite. To date there are over 434 episodes available in the back catalogue to keep you busy.  


  • Longer style episodes (+ 30 minutes)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to 
  • Diverse side hustle stories from a range of different narratives
  • Case study style of podcasts
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

Nick also runs the website Side Hustle Nation and I encourage you to take a look at the site to read the blog, and some awesome free resources including the free guide ‘The 5 fastest ways to make more money’. I also really enjoy using the back catalogue feature to find podcast episodes that align with what I’m wanting to learn about (each episode also has an accompanying blog post which offers additional information about the podcast content).

Favourite Episode 

6 Low Start Up Cost Business Ideas from Side Hustle Nation link to blog post and episode via site – (or link to Spotify episode here)

3.       Side Hustle School – By Chris Guillebeau  

Side Hustle School was the first Side Hustle Podcast I found, and I’m still a fan. Chris has a huge back catalogue which is great if you’ve never listened to this podcast before. At the time of publishing this article Chris has published 1529 different episodes on Side Hustles. Each episode focusses on a different side hustle or alternatively a Q&A session on side hustles (from listeners).  

Chris also runs a website named Side Hustle School which contains a number of free resources, and show notes for each episode.


  • Short punchy episodes (Under 15 minutes)
  • Great for finding side hustle ideas (big and small)
  • Large back catalogue to listen to 
  • Case study style of podcast
  • Additional resources available on website

Other comments: 

Whilst no podcast is perfect I will warn you that the advertising on this podcast gets very repetitive due to the short length of the podcast.

Favourite Episode 

1474 : Q&A: How can I increase my conversion rate? – This was a really punchy episode which I found really helpful, and on a subject that most small businesses / side hustles should take a look at.

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How frugal are you? We audited ourselves against 70 frugal tips (Free Printable)

Our family is pretty frugal, and during the last year I believe we’ve cut our expenses significantly in response to the global uncertainty. That said I always believe there is room for improvement so I audited our household against 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life.

Canstar being the legends they are recently produced the following article which I started reading ‘Frugal Living: 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life’. Instead of just simply reading the article which you need to read I decided to do an audit to see if there were any areas that my family could improve upon.

If you want to do this audit on your own individual circumstances I’ve created a free printable below for you to try it for yourself

A screenshot of the free printable ‘How Frugal Are You?’

These are our results from doing the audit:

These are our results from doing the audit:

Frugal TipImplementedNeeds improvement
Spending Diary or Regular Expense Tracking
Write down your goals
Make Savings Fun
(Visual Tracking or Savings Challenges)
Self-awareness of emotional spending and avoidance of triggers
This is a constant battle
Join an online community (eg Facebook or Instagram community like She’s on the Money)
Start a coin jar
Shop at a physical supermarket
One shop, once a week
Use a shopping list app
Meal prep like a pro
Make use of leftovers
Use your own coffee machine
Swap meat for veg regularly
Buy frozen veggies
Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach
Buy generic brand versions where possible
Pay bills on time to avoid late fees
Monitor your bank balance
Audit your bank accounts to see if you are paying fees
Check how much interest you are paying on your credit cardN/A
Phone your bank and ask them for a discount on your home loan interest rate
Shop around for your car insurance regularly
Review your health insurance regularly
Review your personal insurance regularly
Review your superannuation fund
Track down lost money in bank accounts
Review your telecommunications contracts
In the last 6 months
Seek cheaper ways to connect internationallyN/A
Avoid streaming on your phone using mobile data
Review your electricity and gas use regularly
In the last 6 months
Pay yourself first (your savings / investments etc)
Use ‘Rounding Up’ programs
I do mine manually
Get your bills online
Get discounts on petrol
I could be better
Get bonus interest on your savings account
Organise your tax receipts
Check your family is registered for the Medicare Safety Net
Keep things in working order
Fix it yourself
Buy clothes that don’t need dry cleaning
I cannot remember the last time I needed dry cleaning
Make your own greeting cards
Start doing Secret Santa for Christmas
Check your calendar to save money on gifts (Plan ahead)
Delay gratification: Follow the 10 second rule
Delete stored debit / credit card numbers
Calculate the value of your impulse buys in hours of work
Use your local library (including online libraries such as the Libby app)
Make your own cleaning products
Look for coupons or cashback opportunities
Consider joining a customer rewards program
Shop out of season
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Rationalise your subscription services
Price match where possible
We need to do this more
Shared expenses: use splitting and repayment toolsN/A
Use air conditioning more efficiently
Get your head out of the fridge
The kids need improvement
Save on electricity and air dry clothes
We are mostly good at this
Freeze uneaten food
Save on water costs by using water savings techniques (timed showers, water saving shower heads etc)
Participate in free online surveys for cash
Take your reusable bags to the supermarket
Collect and cash in (Bottle Deposit Schemes)
Check your payslip
Grow your own veggies / produce
Propagate your own plants
Learn for free
I need to do some more research on this
Ditch expensive printers
We’ve compared ours and its one of the cheapest out there
Know your refund rights
Get help from a financial counsellor if you need itN/A
Table – 70 tips to reduce your expenses

The Verdict:

So we have successfully implemented 60 out of 70 of the Frugal Tips recommended by Canstar. In the next few weeks I’m going to work on some of our improvement areas and:

  • Start a coin jar
  • Meal prep
  • Check to see if we have any missing money
  • Consistently use petrol apps and discounts
  • Trial Secret Santa this year
  • Be a little more organised with gift giving
  • Calculate the ‘real’ cost of splurge items in relation to work hours
  • Take advantage of price matching more
  • Put more effort into drying clothes naturally
  • Find out about free study options

Overall this audit has been a really great way to check in and find a few areas to improve upon (and it didn’t take long at all). I highly recommend doing the same and the link to free printable is below:

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5 Signs your Mindset is limiting you from achieving your financial goals

It you are having difficulties in your pursuit of achieving your financial goals then I encourage you to take a few moments to answer the following questions?

I’ve formulated these questions based on research completed by Carol Dweck. Carol Dweck is an American psychologist known for her work on mindset and its role in relation to improving the chances of success. One of the best ways to start is to watch her TED talk and if you like that then look at working through her resources including the book Mindset

  • Do you avoid your financial problems? 
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and give up when you try and fix your financial problems? 
  • Do you avoid improving your financial literacy as it seems too complex and you don’t know where to start? 
  • Do you automatically feel defensive when others offer constructive criticism to your financial situation? 
  • Do you feel discouraged when you see someone else hitting their financial goals? 

If you answered ‘No’ to the questions above its likely that you have a growth mindset when it comes to your finances as described by Carol and as a result have a greater chance of success in what you put your mind to. 

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then it may be that your mindset towards all things financial may be fixed and it might be holding you back from achieving your financial goals.  

Why do I want a growth mindset when it comes to my finances? 

People who have a growth mindset regarding their personal finances are wired to: 

  • Embrace the challenge and the steep learning curve that comes with improving their finances.  
  • Keep trying even in the face of financial setbacks (they get back up again and try again).  
  • They understand that knowledge and mastery of a subject such as Financial Literacy doesn’t come easily, and only comes with persistent effort (and incremental learning).  
  • They take on constructive financial criticism from others and try and incorporate it into their lives. 
  • Celebrate and share other people’s financial wins and take inspiration and lessons from them.   

Those with a growth mindset generally reach higher levels of achievement through their mindset’s ability to view the world in a way that tells them ‘that they can do and learn anything they put their mind to’.  

Those with a fixed mindset often struggle to reach higher levels of achievement as their fixed mindset tells them ‘that there are fixed limits to what they can do and learn’. It’s important to note that often these mindset limits may be based on previous trauma, personal experiences, or other factors.  

I’m sure you can now understand why mindset is such an important tool for achieving your financial goals. The good news for those whose fixed mindset might be holding you back when it comes to your finances is that you can change it (yippee!!!).  

So how do you change your mindset? 

First off changing your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset takes effort, consistency, and time. Carol Dweck states that self-awareness is the key to developing a growth mindset.  

Self-awareness is put simply the act of being aware of your own feelings, actions, desires in relation to our internal values or standards. By being more self-aware and by actively practicing self-awareness you can start to see your triggers and make steps to avoid falling into previous fixed mindset traps.  

Tips for changing your mindset 

These tips are adapted from Carol Dweck’s website, and I’ve put my financial spin on them. 

  1. Be aware of your fixed mindset, identify your triggers and write them down e.g. ‘If seeing someone hit a financial milestone makes you automatically want to spiral and throw in the towel’. 
  2. Know your choices. You always have a choice regarding how you react to challenges, and the things that happen in your life. When a trigger occurs think about the choices you have and write them down e.g. ‘I can choose to let an unexpected $500 financial setback without an emergency fund be a failure, or I can use this as an opportunity to learn and plan to avoid it in the future’. 
  3. Take action today. Once you know your fixed or growth mindset choices in regards to a trigger start practicing what you preach. At the start it will be difficult, but over time you will become more self-aware and choosing the growth mindset choice will become easier: 
  • When you see someone hit a financial milestone reach out, congratulate them, and ask them how they did it (without hesitation).
  • When you hit a financial speed bump and regret a purchase take responsibility and work out what you can learn from your mistake (instead of focussing on it as a failure).  
  • When someone offers you constructive criticism on your finances, take it on board, and try it even though your mindset tells you that it won’t matter that much anyway.  
  • Remember that knowledge on any subject let alone financial literacy doesn’t come easily for anyone even the experts so keep going, don’t stop, and be a life-long learner.  

Further information 

If this subject was interesting and you want to learn more about mindsets I recommend

Or to read about ‘5 simple ways to increase your chances of achieving your financial goals’ check out my article here.

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Side Hustle Series – Gardening Business

Have you ever wanted to start up a lifestyle service business like a gardening business? My husband has run his gardening business on the side for almost 5 years, and in today’s article, we are sharing our experiences as part of our side hustle series.   

Please note that we live in Australia so this experience may not be applicable to your situation. I encourage you to seek professional advice when starting a business. 


In 2016 my husband was the primary caregiver of our two boys and studying full time at University to become a teacher. He was keen to take on a part-time/casual job to help with our bills however it seemed an impossible task as his availability changed so often due to university, placements, and kids’ activities. This is not an unusual predicament, and I know many parents and students who have struggled to find casual/ part-time work that fits in with other commitments.  

To get around the availability issues he and I discussed setting up a gardening business in our local area. We live in an area with large gardens and had noticed that a high percentage of our neighbors outsourced their gardening tasks so the market was already there. The idea also sounded perfect because we didn’t need to spend a lot of money to get started as we already had all the equipment (thanks to maintaining our own large garden).  

Setting the Business Up Legally 

Setting up the business was straight forward, we decided on a name, double checked the business name registers to ensure it wasn’t already taken, and then booked an appointment with our local accountant. Our accountant did the heavy lifting for us in terms of setting up the business and structure (we rang around for prices before proceeding to get the best rate). For us getting a professional to set up the business was worth it, and it was under $200 for what we needed. Our accountant was also important in providing us with additional information as to record keeping and other important legal requirements from a tax perspective.  

Get Insured 

Once we had the legalities set up, we organised business insurance. Getting business insurance wasn’t as easy as getting car insurance and is a little more tailored to your individual business requirements (e.g. there are a few more questions to answer). Due to our existing home and car insurance being with a certain insurance company already and our discounts for multi policies we opted to go with them.

Marketing and Sales Funnels 

We have kept our marketing very simple from the start with our gardening business.  

  1. Created a logo thanks to my awesome mum and graphic designer.  
  2. Purchased some simple business cards (lowest spec available) from Vista Print using a coupon. 
  3. Canva to create a flyer to place on community notice boards.  

We don’t have a social media presence for our business. We would’ve happily created this if we needed it but have found enough work with our current sales funnels.  

Getting our first customer 

Our first customer came from a flyer we printed from home and placed at our local community board in our shopping centre. The flyer had the details of the gardening services we provided, and the business cards attached to the bottom to be taken by customers. My husband got a call within 2 days of putting up the flyer.  

Growing our customer base 

Our first customer became a regular customer straight away opting for a weekly gardening service. My husband was upfront from the start with all his customers that he was a student and that there may need to be changes to the scheduled time of a service. Being upfront from the start set up the right expectations for everyone.   

Our first customer quickly turned into two and three thanks to the power of referrals. This continues to remain our best sales funnel. Our community is extremely tightknit, and people in our community want to employ locals which is why referrals have been so successful for us.  

Over the years our customers have remained pretty stable with a number of regular customers, and a number of repeat once off customers. We still get new customers from our referrals and these have often coincided with our existing customers moving and no longer requiring our services. When we do want more customers, we revert to our usual strategy which is putting up a single flyer on the community board. We find that for every flyer we put up it returns one customer back to us.  

How many hours do we spend on this side hustle? 

My husband sets aside one day a week for gardening work which equates to approximately 6-8 hours. There is very little time spent on admin related tasks as we use an app for invoicing customers (Joist – we use the free version), and have outsourced our tax requirements.  

How much does this side hustle make?  

It generates approximately 15k per year in income prior to any tax and expenses. Due to the tax deductions, we are legally able to claim (again make sure you talk to a certified tax agent) this side hustle has been more financially beneficial for us than getting an additional part-time/casual job as an employee.  

Will you continue to do this side hustle in the future? 

The short answer to this is yes so long as my husband still enjoys doing it. He enjoys doing it as a back up to his regular job, and it’s a side hustle that can be scaled up very quickly if needed (by upping our non-existent marketing).  

Would you recommend starting a lifestyle / service business? 

100% yes. Dependant on the service you provide costs are often quite low to get started, and the demand for lifestyle services such as gardening and cleaning continues to grow as our lives get busier.  

I would love to hear about your experiences feel free to add them in the comments. 

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