5 Back to School Savings Hacks

School costs can always be counted on for increasing each year so I’m sharing my top back to school savings hacks. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

  1. Don’t automatically use the recommended school book list retailer

As I discovered this year it doesn’t always pay to go with the school recommended book retailer. I found this out by accident when I missed the ordering deadline, and had to seek an alternative. I ended up finding out that Officeworks allow you to upload your school book list online so you don’t even need to come into the store. They then pack the items and these can be delivered to your door (or you click and collect). By selecting the alternative option we saved $60 which was then diverted to paying for a new laptop bag. It’s worth doing the sums.

  1. Buy the basic school uniform first

It’s tempting to buy everything in one go at the Uniform Shop to save time, but I have found that by buying everything up front I often ended up overbuying items. Eg buying too many long pants when my son’s only wanted to wear shorts and so on. So now I only buy a basic set of uniform items to get them started for the year, and add to it throughout the year as needed. This hack also helps me spread the cost of uniforms throughout the year.

  1. Work out what you can purchase outside of the uniform shop

Now I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but its worth investigating and seeing what items don’t have to be purchased from the uniform shop. For us we have found that pants, shorts, socks, bags, and hats don’t need to be purchased from the uniform shop. We instead purchase these items from Kmart, Big W or Target. This has saved us a significant amount of money over the years given that the price difference between Uniform Pants and Kmart Pants is about $20-25 a pair.

  1. Buy good quality shoes, but make sure you don’t forget your cashback.

I’m a big believer in buying good quality footwear, and spending a little extra to get something that will go the distance. Something I’ve recently started doing is ordering my kids shoes online. In previous years this wasn’t something I would consider doing as I was concerned with sizing issues / and returns. These days I’ve found more and more shoe retailers are offering free and easy returns to allow people to shop for shoes in the comfort of their own homes. An added bonus of online shopping for shoes is being able to take advantage of cashback offers available at Shopback and Cash Rewards . I make sure to keen an eye on deals in the lead up to Christmas, and have received 10-20% back on my shoe purchases.

  1. Check out your local government entitlements.

It took me a couple of years to find out about the sports vouchers for kids program in my state, however now that we do know about it we make sure to use up our entitlements yearly.

All states except Victoria and the ACT offer rebates to Australian parents who enrol their children in recreational events outside of school. Information on these programs are available below.

I would love to know if you have any savings hacks you use. Feel free to comment below.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Introducing ‘The Frank Basics’ Etsy Store

Thank you for the support you’ve given me in creating and sharing my first personal finance tracker (Personal Finance Budget Spreadsheet and Automated Dashboard).

Since this time I’ve been busy continuing developing other products following requests I’ve received via social media and Etsy. This is a passion project rather than a desire to make money. I work in data and analytics and as part of my role develop solutions for visualising data in multiple platforms for large organisations. I get a lot of joy out of creating solutions for individuals, and working with people to build something to make a work process more efficient (eg through automation of tasks).

I’ve now formally created my Etsy Store aptly named ‘The Frank Basics’. My store now contains 12 digital products at the time of posting as listed below.

Personal Finance Tools

Business / Other Tools

I will continue to add to these products as I develop them so please check in regularly if you are interested (or if you have an idea you would like to see me bring to life get in touch).

Alternatively I also offer Microsoft Excel development (with advanced VBA/Macros) and customisation services to meet your individualised needs.

I’ve put a lot of work into each of my products and have priced accordingly, but for those that follow me on the blog/Instagram I’ve decided to provide you the following coupon code to save you 10% off all products (as a thank you for following along).

Coupon Code – FRANK10

Feel free to get in touch before hand if you have any questions or additional information you would like before making your commitment to purchase.

If you do end up purchasing it please let me know your thoughts and feedback.

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Free Competition Random Winner Generator

I recently held an Instagram competition and built a randomised Competition Winner Generator in Microsoft Excel. I’ve decided to share it with you for your own use for free (no email sign up required – unless you want to follow me).

How to Use the Microsoft Excel – Competition Winner Generator

  1. Ensure that you are running Microsoft Excel 2010 edition or newer.
  2. Ensure that you enable macros when you open the file.
  3. Enter your competition entrants on tab 2 named ‘Entrants’ (Please don’t rename the tab names).
  4. To enter an entrant simply use the button named ‘Add New Row to Table’.
  5. Then to randomly generate your winner simply click on tab 1 named ‘Winner Tab’ and select the button ‘Generate Winner’.
  6. The Winner will then be generated.
  7. Please don’t change the names of the columns on the tab named ‘Entrants’ as this will impact on the macros.
  8. Although you cannot change the names of the tabs or the names of the columns you can alter the colour of the sheet to suit your needs.

As you will likely know I build spreadsheets and other items within Microsoft Excel as part of my day job. I’m also now doing this work in my spare time as a side hustle (link to my Etsy Page here). If you would like something custom build for you feel free to contact me directly, and I would be happy to discuss further.

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#ProjectPan – What is Project Pan and why you should care about it?

If you’ve ever seen the hashtag #ProjectPan and wondered what the fuss is all about this article is for you.

I like others first heard about Project Pan through an Instagram account I followed posting an empty make up tube they had completed. I didn’t think much of it until I saw another account posting a photo of their empty moisturiser. After that I decided to do a little more research into what Project Pan was all about.

What is Project Pan?

Project Pan is a challenge devised for lovers of all things beauty and makeup. Particularly those who may have a problem with buying more products before the previous products are used (lets be honest we are all guilty of this). The aim of the project is to reduce the wastage associated with overbuying beauty and makeup products that often expire before being used.

The initial Project Pan was called Project 10 Pan. Project 10 Pan involved picking 10 beauty and/or makeup products, you then made the conscious effort to use them all up before buying more. The term ‘Pan’ refers to hitting the empty ‘pan’ of the make up container.

What is the origin of Project Pan?

It was super tricky to find the origin of Project Pan, however after much research on the internet I managed to find that a blogger by the name of Lollipop26 first coined the term in the 00’s (She used to have have a YouTube / Blog but alas it doesn’t seem to exist any more).

What does Project Pan look like in 2021?

Project Pan is a much more fluid concept. It no longer specifies the number of items it could apply to, and often its applied to all products by those who follow Project Pan principles. The principles of Project Pan have remained the same.

Principles of Project Pan

  1. Select the makeup and / or beauty items you wish to apply the principles of Project Pan to. This could be a particularly troublesome item which you have multiples of. For me this is Shampoos, Conditioners, and Moisturisers.
  2. Only buy replacement makeup and /or beauty items once you have finished the previous ones. This gives you time to really get a feel for the item, if you would purchase the same item again, and what you will buy next. The aim of this is to be more conscious with your purchases in future.
  3. Work out the order of use for your Project Pan items. If you have more than one of a particular item then you need to check the expiry dates of the items, and determine an order to use them in. The aim of this is to ensure that you use up the items closest to expiry to reduce wastage.
  4. Be consistent with using your Project Pan items. Keep them in a place where you will use them daily or as appropriate for the item (eg. in a place easily visible and not somewhere it can get hidden or forgotten).
  5. Post and share Project Pan. This one is optional of course but given that Project Pan aims to reduce wastage it makes sense to spread the word to others. The more people reducing waste and making more conscious decisions the better in my mind.

Why is Project Pan something I care about?

For me Project Pan represents a great way to be more conscious of my buying habits when it comes to make up and beauty. Since applying Project Pan to my own beauty products a few years ago I have found the habits I formed have stuck with me. I always have items I’m working on getting through before using my next one, and if I’m gifted items I already have I have a system in place to ensure they get used before they expire. An unintended consequence of Project Pan has meant that my beauty regime has become quite minimalist, and I don’t miss having a huge (and largely unused) makeup / beauty collection.

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Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Micro-Investing Platform Review – Spaceship

So what’s the deal with the micro-investing platform called Spaceship.

The Spaceship App appearance

I started hearing about an investing platform called Spaceship on Instagram about 2 years ago. I will admit I avoided it like the plague until very recently, and the reason for avoiding it was lack of real information about it.

I’m a naturally anxious person and as a result I like facts and this guides my desire to explore something further. I mean who names an investing platform Spaceship?

Name aside I finally started using the platform after listening to the two part podcast episode on micro-investing from She’s on the Money . Listening to the podcast gave me the confidence to explore micro-investing, and do my own research. After 3 months using the platform I’ve decided to review it here on the blog so you can make your own mind up.

What is Spaceship?

Spaceship is the name of the company which own the micro investing platform Spaceship Voyager. The Spaceship Voyager micro investing platform has been around since 2018. As per Spaceship’s current information they have over 100,000 customers (this includes customers that use their other products such as Spaceship Super). Spaceship’s head office is located in Australia and prides itself on five key values when it comes to its products. These values are:

  • Forward Thinking
  • Accessible
  • Curious
  • Transparent
  • Straightforward

You can learn more about there here.

What is Micro-Investing?

Micro = Small or Extremely Small

Investing = To place money into shares, property, or other financial schemes with the expectation of achieving a profit.

So in a nutshell Micro-Investing is small investing, and in the case of Spaceship its investing small amounts of money into a pre-determined portfolio of shares.

What are the benefits of micro-investing over regular investing platforms?

The main benefit of micro-investing over regular investment platforms is that they allow you to dip your toes into investing without the usual larger initial investment. They are also typically very simple to use in comparison to more conventional share trade platforms. This makes micro-investing the perfect place to start your investment journey as a new investor.

What are the benefit’s of using Spaceship?

  • No Minimum Investment Amount – invest $1 or invest $100 it’s your choice.
  • Instant Diversification – Spaceship have already created 3 pre-diversified portfolios that have been designed to suit a range of investing values/risk appetites. The benefit of having a diverse portfolio is that the risk is somewhat spread across the different companies.
  • No Fees to Trade – This for me is a big plus given the usual cost per trade given that in a traditional investment platform each individual trade ranges from $9.50 – $25.
  • Fee Free below 5k – Once you hit 5k then dependant on the portfolio option you chose your fees range from 0.05% to 0.10% P.A. Which for a 10k portfolio equates to between $2.50 and $5 per year.
  • Simple to Use – There are limited buy options (no option to buy at market price, to limit price or make a conditional order) which means that its really easy to start investing (you don’t need to know all these terms straight up, although you might want to). To invest you simply select how much money you wish to invest eg $5 through the application on your phone and hit invest. Your investment is then processed dependant on the time you submitted it. If you submit an investment request through the app before 5.00pm on a business day, you’ll generally receive the unit price calculated as at the close of markets on that day. However if you miss the deadline then you’ll generally receive the unit price calculated as at the close of markets on the next business day.

What are the potential disadvantages of using Spaceship?

  • Risk – All investing carries risk. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Micro-investing is no different. Each investment portfolio within Spaceship is assigned a risk profile (Low/Medium/High), and this is designed to assist you in selecting an investment that suits your risk profile. Spaceship give no guarantees of return and previous fund performance is not indicative of future fund performance. If you choose to invest you are taking on the risk that you could lose some or all of your investment.
  • Limited Investment Options – You get to pick from 3 pre-diversified portfolios, however you have no choice in what is in them. For some investors this may not be what you are looking for, and if this is the case then you will need to look at another option.
  • Limited timing / buy options– For those used to investing on regular share investment platforms you may miss the fact that your investment isn’t automatic or that you aren’t able to choose a price to invest at etc (no options to limit price, make a conditional order or market order).
  • Taxation Considerations – Like any investment you are subject to taxation laws, and Spaceship recommend you seek professional advice before investing in their products.
  • Not for short term investors – Investing is for the long term so I wouldn’t recommend using Spaceship for short term investing (you are better off parking that money in a high interest savings account). Time in the market generally beats timing the market so invest what you can afford to, and only invest money that you don’t require for at least 2 years (the longer the better).

How often can I invest?

Spaceship gives you two options to invest. You can make investments in the following way:

  • One off investments on an ad-hoc basis. You are able to choose the amount you invest, and when you want to invest.
  • As part of a regular investment plan. This is where you invest an amount you specify regularly (weekly, fortnightly
    or monthly) to suit you. You decide the amount you would like to regularly invest, and this could any amount ($1 or $100). You can change your investment plan at any time through the app (so you are not locked in).

Does Spaceship pay dividends?

Spaceship pay distributions not dividends as the Spaceship investing fund is a unit trust.

These distributions are calculated annually (if available again there is no guarantees) on or around the 30th June each year. You are then paid these distributions within 90 days of this date. To be eligible for this distribution you need to be a unitholder before the calculation date (30th June).

You will have the option to have your distribution paid to you, or if offered you can participate in DRP (Distribution/Dividend Reinvestment Plan).

More information on DRP available below

How am I personally using Spaceship?

As previously mentioned I’ve been using Spaceship for 3 months. I have $181.03 (at the time of this post) in my account (see photo below). Of this total amount $4.21 is growth and the rest is my own money.

My Current Spaceship Investment Performance on 6/1/2021

I currently invest $25 a fortnight which aligns with our payday. I also add additional amounts to round down my everyday transaction account. Eg If my account is $152.50 then I will transfer $2.50 to my Spaceship account.

I enjoy investing in Spaceship as it allows me to add little bits of money we make over the year and pop it in. This allows us to siphon off side hustle and other bits of money we won’t miss before we fritter that money away on other things. We plan to continue investing in Spaceship for the foreseeable future and believe it sits well beside our main conventional share trading account.

Remember I’m not a finance professional, and really just some random on the internet so make sure you do your own advice before looking to invest in any investing product or platform.

Do you want to find out more?

Well head on over to the Spaceship Voyager website, and after doing your own due diligence decide to go ahead feel free to use my link and code below to get $5 (after your first investment).

https://spaceship.app.link/refer?code=S8EG1U4TAG

Please note that this post contains referral links from Spaceship and I receive $5 if you choose to use my code (but remember you also get $5 so I see it as a win / win scenario).

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Personal Finance Budget Spreadsheet and Dashboard

I’ve been working on this baby for years. Initially it was as my own budget and dashboard and it developed into something I would like to share with others.

Update 25th January 2021 – Please note that since this article was posted I have created additional Personal Finance products to suit individual requirements. I recommend you taking a look at the following post (‘The Frank Basics’ Etsy Store) before purchasing to ensure you find the right product to meet your needs

The Personal Finance Budget Spreadsheet and Automated Dashboard has been a few months in the making since I first decided to share it more widely than my computer hard drive. I have always enjoyed using spreadsheets and it remains the one part of my job that I quite enjoy. As a result I decided to modify my tried and tested one into something that others might find helpful (not everyone likes spreadsheets and this one aims to do the work for you).

The Personal Finance Budget and Automated Dashboard (which includes inbuilt debt snowball / avalanche calculator for Microsoft Excel) contains 9 sheets (tabs) including:

  • Dashboard (Automated sheet)
  • Debts (Data entry sheet) – this sheet includes a debt snowball or avalanche calculator
  • Mortgage (Data entry sheet)
  • Emergency Fund (Data entry sheet)
  • Savings (Data entry sheet)
  • Sinking Funds (Data entry sheet)
  • Budget (Data entry sheet)
  • Review Sheet (Automated sheet)
  • Expense Review (Data entry sheet)

My goal with this workbook is to try to make using excel easy while letting you use all the best features it has to offer.

It also is formatted so you can print the sheets off for your fridge (or other area of your home) – eg the debt and savings trackers.

What does this Personal Finance and Budgeting Spreadsheet do?

For a full list of specifications I would recommend checking out the Etsy listing here.

  • Calculate the % paid off of your debts, and mortgages.
  • Calculates how close you are to reaching your savings goals (Emergency Fund, Sinking Funds, or other Savings Goals)
  • Calculate your income from multiple jobs
  • Calculate expenses you pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or yearly
  • The Dashboard shows you how much you have spent on each category (You decide the categories you want – completely customizable)
  • The Review sheet shows you how much money you have left
  • The Expense Review sheet is an optional sheet with a little quiz guiding you on where you could make changes to your budget to save money.

What you will receive:

  • One Microsoft Excel file template
  • One Quick Start Guide PDF

Notes:

  • Created on Microsoft Excel 2016  (only works with Microsoft Excel not Google Sheets)
  • Please note that this spreadsheet uses Macros so please ensure when you open this file you ‘enable macros’.
  • Please note that every sheet on this spreadsheet has built-in instruction buttons to assist you with completing each sheet.

I’ve put a lot of work into it and have priced it accordingly, but for those that follow me on the blog/Instagram I’ve decided to provide you the following coupon code to save you 10% off (as a big thank you for following along).

Coupon Code – FRANK10

Feel free to get in touch before hand if you have any questions or additional information you would like before making your purchase. I’m also happy to field questions to assist you to get the most out of it post sale.

If you do end up purchasing it please let me know your thoughts and feedback. I’m keen to create some more spreadsheet style items so let me know what other trackers or dashboards etc that you would like to see.

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$100,000 invested in 17 months

This is the story of how we invested 100k in 17 months

In late 2019 we set ourselves a huge goal of investing 60k in 2020, and worked steadily towards this until March when COVID-19 put our 2020 travel and entertainment plans in limbo. With our plans in limbo we decided there was an opportunity to reduce our expenses significantly, side hustle , and invest even more so we upped the goal to 100k invested by the end of 2020.

When did we start investing?

We made our first share purchase (of an Exchange Traded Fund or ETF) on the 17th of July 2019 where we purchased 17 ETF units for $957.46.

We made our last trade on the 17th of December 2020 when we bought 126 ETF units.

Why did it take you 6 months to invest 10k as opposed to 12 months to invest 90k?

They say the first 100k is the hardest, but for us the first 10k was really hard. It was made harder by the fact we were a one income family until January 2020 (but didn’t get our first two income paycheque until February).

We also found our first 10k hard because we weren’t on the same page as a couple. My husband is very conservative by nature financially speaking, and was concerned about losing our hard earned dollars in the share market (which is a real risk by the way). So the first 6 months were really us finding our feet as a couple investing and becoming financially literate together. Initially to get my husband on board I convinced him to follow the path for 6 months without question as a trial, and after this time if he was still not convinced with the plan we would opt out.

6 months went past and although we still had a lot to learn (still do) we were more confident in the path ahead, and decided to push even harder in 2020.

What was your investment rate?

The investment rate of our regular incomes was 60% (we lived 100% off my husbands and invested 100% of mine). In addition to this we side hustled like crazy (read about it here) and invested almost 100% of these funds.

Full Disclosure – In addition to our regular and side hustle income over the last 17 months we had 6.5k in tax refunds, and 2.6k in dividend income which we reinvested into more shares (via DRP – if you want to know more about DRP check out this article I wrote called ‘What is a Dividend Reinvestment Plan’). The 100k doesn’t include any capital growth in our shares so our portfolio is over 100k – at the time of reporting it is 107k.

What side hustles did you do?

Casual Teaching – My husband took on an additional casual teaching class which resulted in an additional 6k.

Gardening My husband has a side hustle doing gardening in our local area and made between $100-400 a week in additional funds (this is pre tax). He has run this business for 4 years, and has regular and adhoc customers. If you would like to read about in in our Side Hustle Series here.

Reselling – I’m an eBay reseller and although its not a huge money maker I currently average $1800 a quarter (before postage and fees).

Market ResearchI started an account with Askable in 2019 and have on average made about $50 in vouchers a month. These go towards our food shopping which allows us to then transfer the money saved to our investment account. If you would like to start doing Market Research I have written all about it in our Side Hustle Series article (including all my top research companies to sign up with).

Flipping Trash – People throw out things all the time in our area and so hubby and I have flipped a tonne of things. Our latest item was a rabbit cage which we got for free and flipped for $120. It looked amazing when we finished with cleaning it up and painting it.

Plants – I’m an avid gardener and propagate my plants. I also raise from seeds to seedlings to sell. To find buyers I joined a few Facebook gardening buy / sell groups. I sell my plants for $5-$10. Its not a huge money maker but I do love it, and if I can make money doing what I love then I’ll take it.

What do you do for jobs?

My husband is a first year teacher who works 4 days a week, and I work for the government full-time in an IT role. Both of us have roles that are under an award, and therefore we no ability to negotiate our pay. Our award rates are also freely available to view online.

Does the 100k invested include retirement or superannuation?

No. The 100k invested excludes our retirement contributions. 9.5% of our income is invested into our superannuation (retirement) accounts every pay by our employer.

Have you wanted to quit whilst on this journey?

Yes. 100% it has not been easy. There have been many times I’ve questioned myself, the plan and have wanted to quit. Every time I wanted to quit I developed a bit of a routine to manage my feelings. The routine involved a walk, listening to a podcast, and reminding myself what we have achieved via our Goal Tracker on the fridge (Free Link to the Printable Here).

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing along the way, we’ve had some bad luck along the way. We were fortunate to have a fully funded emergency fund and without it we wouldn’t have met our goal. This bad luck included many unexpected events in the form of vet bills (5k), boat repairs (1k), home repairs (3k), and laptop repairs ($150).

How are you going to celebrate?

We plan on going out for a nice dinner as a family, and I’ll likely splash out on a bottle of wine over $20. We are also looking at a weekend getaway in early 2021 dependant on COVID-19 restrictions of course.

So what’s the goal for 2021?

With the first 100k invested we expect the next 100k to be a little bit easier. That said although we will be working towards our next goal of having a 200k portfolio we are not sure yet of the timeline. If you would like to read more about our current investment strategy and plan click here.

What we do know for certain is that we will continue to live off one income, invest our second income, maintain our investment rate of 60%, side hustle and live our best lives within our means.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about our journey to 100k either here or via Instagram @frankonfire_

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An easy guide to Exchange Traded Funds or ETF’s

What the hell is an ETF anyway? and what are the potential benefits and cons of ETF’s.

ETF’s or Exchange Traded Funds are managed funds that you can buy in or sell just like an individual share on the ASX or Australian Securities Exchange (or if you are in another country your own country/regions share exchange).

There are many different types of ETF’s so its important that you do your research into a potential ETF before taking the plunge and investing any of your hard earned funds.

If you’ve heard of ETF’s on the #debtfree or #fire community then you would likely have heard of people (like me) in these communities investing in ETF’s.

What is the difference between ETF’s and Individual Shares?

ETF’s differ from individual shares in that you don’t own the underlying assets/or shares held within the ETF. You own the units within the ETF and the ETF provider (eg Vanguard a well known ETF provider owns the investment itself).

ETF’s differ as well in regards to individual shares in that they typically give you exposure to more than one company, sector, asset, or market. Dependant on what ETF you select this spreads your risk exposure to more than one company, and offers diversification to reduce your risk in the event of a company failing or a market event.

What kind of ETF’s are out there?

As of March 2020 there were 200 ASX listed ETF’s and this list is always growing. Additionally ETF’s are becoming more diverse in terms of what they invest in as demand for ETF’s grows. The list I’ve complied below lists some of the different markets, sectors and other assets that ETF’s invest in:

  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares
  • Sustainable/Ethical Shares
  • Sector based share holdings (eg banking, technology, healthcare or mining)
  • Bonds (eg fixed income investments)
  • Gold or other metals
  • Currency
  • Property
  • Cryptocurrency
  • and there are many others.

I hope you can see from the list above its important to know exactly what your ETF invests in before you invest in it yourself. Its important to align your values and risk profile with a ETF that meets your needs.

Benefits of ETF Investment

  • Diversification – This is the big one for me. You can purchase a number of shares in a single trade within single or multiple markets (eg Australia and International Shares). You can also select ETF’s that are diversified across multiple markets/asset classes to spread your risk even further. You can also select ETF’s that aim to provide fixed income or monthly distributions. Don’t skimp on your research.
  • Access to Markets – Investing in individual shares in overseas markets can be difficult for Australian’s so an ETF may be an easier option if let say you wanted to invest in the Indian Share Market.
  • Low Cost – ETF’s are usually cheaper than an actively managed fund. If you do want to know more about actively managed funds use this link here. You can find out the cost of the ETF by checking the management expense ratio or MER (%). You can find this information when you are researching your ETF (if you can’t find the MER referred to directly your ETF may also call it their yearly fees).
  • Trade like a Share – ETF’s can be traded just like a share, and just like buying an individual share you buy during the trading hours of the exchange.
  • Income (known as Distributions) – ETF’s just like shares may also offer regular distributions monthly, quarterly, semi yearly, or yearly. Many ETF’s also offer Distribution Reinvestment Plans (see article here to learn more) , which may be something on your list of wants for your future investment.
  • Higher Liquidity over Property – Just like a typical Share Holding when you sell an ETF you should expect to receive your funds within 2 business days of the close of market. This means that ETF’s offer better liquidity than an investment property for example.

Cons or Risks

  • Investment Risk – The biggest con of all of ETF’s is market risk (same as buying shares). Buying a diversified ETF doesn’t shield you from market risk. The investments your ETF invest in could still fall in value, and anyone who owned ETF’s during Covid-19 (or any other crash) would agree. However if you view any ETF investment as long term you will also know that the market has since rebounded, and no money was lost unless you sold out your holdings. Buy and hold forever is my strategy for investing so I don’t worry about what is happening to the market day to day.
  • Choice – As previously mentioned you need to do your research before buying ETF’s. There is a lot of choice out there, and you need to do your due diligence (just like investing in anything). Two ETF’s may both invest in the Technology Sector, but there may be important differences between the two. Make a shortlist of ETF’s, research the ETF provider to ensure they are reputable, and know what your ETF holdings are made up of.
  • Tax – If you are used to investing in individual shares you will likely know how your tax is calculated. Dependant on your ETF holding you may find that doing your tax for an ETF is quite different to owning individual shares. Your end of year ETF statement provided by Computershare (link to article) includes distributions rather than typical dividend income, foreign income, and capital gains even though you didn’t physically sell any ETF’s. Make sure you know your tax responsibilities in regards to any ETF’s you purchase, and consider seeking professional taxation advice.

Why I invest in ETF’s

I’m 100% a passive investor therefore ETF’s suit me well. I don’t like to actively manage my shareholdings or sell shares to rebalance my portfolio. Instead I take a set and forget approach and aim to buy and never sell. I’m 100% a passive investor therefore ETF’s suit me well.

Please note: This is not advice this is what I have researched and what I feel comfortable investing in. I evaluate my investments regularly and my investments and risk profile may change over time.

More Information

If you would like to know more about what ETF’s are available I have listed some ETF providers below (Australian Links):

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The cost of owning chickens

We have owned our chickens for well over 18 months and I’m keen to share our experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly

In April 2019 we purchased chickens in the initial desire to reduce our free range egg bill, which in a household that loves eggs is about $10 a week. Since our ‘girls’ entered our lives we have learnt a lot about owning and keeping chickens, and I’m keen to share our experiences.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Costs

Initial Set Up Costs

  • Chickens $25 each x 2 (found via Gumtree)
  • Chicken Food $35 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Chicken feed container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Water container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Pea Straw $20 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Hutch $20 (We haggled and found ours second-hand. We then cleaned it up and painted it using cheap sample pots. It scrubbed up pretty well – see photo below)
Our Chicken Hutch where our girls stay safe at night, and when they don’t want to be out.

Ongoing Costs

  • Pea Straw every 6 months $40 / year
  • Chicken Food $70 / year

Cost Benefit Analysis

The total set up costs for two chickens was $155. It took another month before our girls started laying eggs, and luckily for us they reward us with a steady 2 eggs per day (throughout the year).

To date we’ve spent $230 on our chickens and with the cost of 12 eggs being $6 for the quality of egg we’ve become accustomed to this investment took 38 weeks of laying to pay back. Therefore we’ve had almost a year of eggs at no cost to us which equates to almost $300 worth of eggs.

ROI (Return On Investment) = ( $600 expected investment value – $300 investment cost) / $300 investment cost

ROI = 100% approx. investment return

(Not including any of your own time spent caring for them)

Other Considerations

The Good

We have absolutely loved owning chickens. Our chickens are very friendly and have become much loved pets. Our kids have named them ‘Snowball’ and ‘Kentucky’ and they love a cuddle (both the kids and the chickens do). We spoil our chickens rotten and they happily enjoy our veggie scraps daily. We also free range our chickens throughout the day, and they love eating snails and our weeds.

The Bad

Chickens are pretty low maintenance in terms of a pet or animal, but its still additional work. You will need to have time to check their food daily, feed them scraps regularly, check their pen daily for any hazards/pests, restock hay, check them frequently for any diseases (we’ve been very lucky not to have any issues), collect the eggs daily, and wash the eggs before use. If you take into consideration this additional time your return on investment goes into negative territory real quick.

The Ugly

Mucking out the hutch is my least favourite chore in the house. It takes a morning to clean it out, scrub it, spray it down, and restock everything every month or so. It’s a dirty and smelly job, but the silver lining is that the chicken poo is awesome for the garden.

Would I do it again?

The short answer to this is ‘yes’ but I would not do it for the sole reason of saving money on eggs. This is because when your own time is accounted for owning chickens has a negative ROI.

We will own chickens again because:

  • The eggs taste amazing,
  • Its nice knowing that the chickens are well treated,
  • We enjoy using the chicken poo in our garden,
  • The pest control in the veggie patch is much appreciated,
  • and they are extremely beloved pets to our children.

Should you do it?

Chickens are a great pet with benefits. They still require time and money to look after, but if you don’t mind that you will be rewarded with tasty eggs and hopefully a good friend.

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Photo by Alison Burrell on Pexels.com

Free Printable – 52 week Investing Challenge Printable

I’m posting this one just in time for the new year. This my investing tracker which I’m using to track our progress towards our investing goals in 2021.

If you liked my other Free Printable called the 52 Week Savings Challenge Printable you are going to like this one.

You will like this one because its the same as the old one with just a few tweaks for an investment focus. I created this tracker for myself as part of my investment strategy. For those who follow me via Instagram you may notice it’s the same one I post online each payday.

If you’ve read my article on goal setting and how to maximise your chances of reaching your goal/s then you will know that tracking your goal will greatly improve your chances of success.

I like to have a physical tracker like this one so I can visualise my progress every time I go to the kitchen (which is a lot). For me it reinforces my path, how I’m going and if I need to make some corrective changes to ensure I reach it.

To use this printable:

  1. Print it out using the download button below (no sign up required).
  2. Write down your investment goal in the space provided.
  3. Divide your investment goal amount by 52 to determine how much each coin will be worth (and how much you need to put away for investing each week). Example : $10000 / 52 = $192.31.
  4. Document the coin value in the space provided.
  5. Place your tracker in a place that you will frequently see (I place mine on the fridge so even the kids know what we our goals are).
  6. Then get colouring and hitting those goals

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