A while ago I set the challenge to double my money, starting with $2 until I got to $1,000,000. Sitting at $30,000 I had plans to use it in Vanuatu for some specific projects.
That was meant to be last year, we kept waiting then other things came up so plans were delayed there. Next they got hit by two cyclones, so it got delayed further.
Now, a year on from when it was meant to be going forward, it still isn’t. Since I’ve been patient with it and nothing seems to be happening, I have decided to move in another direction.
What is the $2 to $1,000,000 Challenge?
My aim was to show different things so it wasn’t me doing the same thing (e.g. reselling) over and over. I also wanted things that could create residual income, not just one off income.
Creating and selling an eBook was next and something I still make money from. I don’t include the ongoing income from this in the challenge though.
Crypto (although this is volatile), followed by investing in myself with courses and things, buying and selling websites (one of my favourite options and I’ll explain more further down) were the next things I did.
Why Can’t Things Progress With the $2 to $1,000,000 Challenge?
After seeing things in Vanuatu were not as they seemed, on the flight home I thought long and hard about my next moves.
Living in Australia there are so many options. The main reason I was planning to do things in Vanuatu was to assist family and progress things there for them.
When it became clear recently our plans cannot work how we anticipated due many factors, we realised we have to change.
I always have ideas and am kicking myself now for waiting to see how this panned out instead of simply moving ahead with other ideas.
That said, there isn’t much I could have done the past year or two with babies, pregnancy, moving house etc.
So as much as I would have liked to be further along in the challenge, it didn’t happen and I have accepted that.
What is Next for the $2 to $1,000,000?
Even though things couldn’t progress as hoped, there are always other things I can do to double my money and continue.
On the flight home, I had a great idea, planned it out and presented it to someone I would like to partner with me on it.
It won’t be shared as yet but once it is ready to go, I will. It will take me a few weeks to lay the groundwork between all my other commitments and then I will be interested to see how it goes.
Interestingly, this plan requires a larger startup cost than anything I have done in my life so far. Even bigger than starting a company previously but I feel strongly it will pay off.
Other than the first thing, most of the things I have done in this challenge did not cost the full amount of money I had to double my money.
How to Know What to Do
Research whatever it is, learn what you can, use your knowledge and skills, get professional advice and go from there. Do not invest in things you don’t know about.
All investing comes with a level of risk. Only you know what your comfort level is for risk, whether you are happy to do higher risk for higher potential rewards or if you prefer more stability.
When it comes to my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge, knowing what to invest in or do at the lower levels was easy. Low risk resulting in low rewards meant I wasn’t worried.
I had the knowledge for what I was doing and it didn’t require much effort.
My next step in this challenge will stretch me. Some of the knowledge I have but not all.
Having been involved in various businesses and marketing for years, I know a lot and feel comfortable moving ahead with my plans. They are based on my previous knowledge and experience.
Here is what I will be doing.
Researching my idea and whether there is a demand for it was the first step. While it is not as big a demand as some of my other ideas, this is the one I feel most called to.
It is also one I will be able to outsource easily and will flow into other business opportunities so it is worth it to me.
For information on how to do market research, Business.gov.au covers it well. It is simple the process of researching and analysing your opportunities or ideas. Sprout Social has a comprehensive guide you might want to read.
This step is important because it shows you whether it is worth it to pursue or whether you are wasting your time. There is no point creating something or investing in something no one wants.
Every business I have had, I got professional advice. There are great lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, business managers, coaches and other professionals you can learn from.
Getting advice specific to your situation is the best option. You can learn. a lot from podcasts, YouTube and similar.
When it comes to legal advice though, you need a lawyer. An insurance broker will help you get the best deal on insurance and make sure you are covered for everything relevant to your business.
Accountants help you with all things money, including what you can claim on tax and how to do those things better.
No one knows everything so seek professional advice for all of it. It is well worth the money spent.
Use Your Knowledge and Skills
What do you know well, what are you qualified in, what are your skills? All of these things can help determine how well you will do with your business idea.
Yes, you can have success sometimes with things outside your area of expertise or experience. It is much easier though to work with what you have and what you know.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, utilise your current resources in the form of your knowledge, experience and qualifications. Along with your current network.
You never know who you might know that could help but don’t go telling everything to everyone until you are ready.
Learn What You Can
Use the time with professionals to learn more. Listen to relevant podcasts and audiobooks on your commute. Find out where to learn more and learn as much as you can that is relevant to what you are doing.
You don’t need to know everything but you do need to know some things. Including if you got the right professionals, what to outsource, what to be aware of legally and for tax etc.
Business isn’t a walk in the park, there is a lot involved, a lot to know but it is worth it for those who. are committed and determined.
What are you doing with your financial goals and how do you manage when things don’t go as planned?
This website is a hobby, something I enjoyed doing so isn’t updated regularly. I have been sharing bits and pieces of our multicultural blended family, cultural obligations and turning $2 into $1,000,000.
With 4 kids here, one overseas and other family in Vanuatu, cultural expectations and obligations, health issues along with all the needs of everyone, life has thrown some big lessons our way.
Realistically, some of these lessons I had learned before but apparently needed a refresher.
Here are 9 lessons we learned blending cultures, health issues, kids and everything else.
1. Set Clear Goals Using Systems and Adapt as Needed
The goals we don’t achieve are the ones we don’t have systems for and aren’t 100% clear on. Without a proper plan and system in place, nothing will happen. At that point, goals are just a wish.
When we started this site, we anticipated achieving quite a few things faster than we have. However, not everything had a system created to ensure its success.
On top of that, pregnancy, studies, interstate moves, kids and obligations overseas change everything.
Most of the advice I’ve seen about achieving goals, sticking to things no matter what etc has been from Caucasian men who have wives at home or staff taking care of everything. It’s easier to stick to everything when you don’t have to take care of kids or manage everything in a household.
With 4 kids here, life did not always go as planned.
This means, sometimes goals and systems need to be adapted to work with things around the kids. Or more correctly, my goals have to be as the mother because I am the one with them all the time.
Pregnancies, birth, childcare, healing, school, medical issues, appointments, sports, jobs, all the things kids need fall on me.
Systems had to be changed, timelines for goals extended etc. But overall, the general goals remained and these were discussed with the teenagers so we were all on board.
2. Know Your Values
For us, life is about family, the kids, and ensuring a good lifestyle, amazing memories and that our kids grow up to be strong, independent, confident, successful and healthy.
Leading by example, I live a life where they know they are a priority, as are family experiences, travel, working out, eating well, being honest etc.
When you know what your values are and the life you want, everything else is much easier. Making decisions about what to do, how to spend your time and money become simple because they need to align with your values.
Not living your values is a recipe for disaster and will leave everyone feeling stressed, unfulfilled, disappointed and lost.
Know yourself. Know your values. Know the values of the members of your family. Create a lifestyle where it all works together.
Read this article on working out your values for more information.
3. Learn to Say No
Growing up in a religious home where sacrifice was praised, women were meant to be stay-at-home mums and I was babysitting for free from the age of 12 for single women in the church, I learnt my needs come last.
Living this way cost me dearly and set us up for failure. Constantly saying yes when I felt no, taking on too much, putting everyone else before myself and pushing myself past my breaking point was atrocious for all of us.
Even though I knew I needed to say no, for some reason, with the new babies and everything else that was going on in our lives and the world, I stopped saying it. I took on everything and it ruined me.
Saying no to my kids has been hard but if I didn’t, I would never have healed from my pregnancies or had the time to work.
Cutting toxic people out of my life and putting in clear boundaries has helped my kids and I have a healthier, happier life.
No is a complete sentence. Use it.
4. Cultural Expectations Don’t Need to Dictate Your Life
Australia is a wealthy country, our wages much higher than our family in Vanuatu and as such, expectations have grown significantly.
However, just because they expect something, doesn’t mean we have to provide it. Needing a residency visa, setting up a home, doing the dive course, buying a car, getting dental and other medical work done has all been expensive.
If you have cultural expectations like we do, it’s ok to say I need more time or to say no. Setting up your foundations first is crucial. Constantly giving and supporting them before setting up your own foundations is a recipe for disaster.
We had a lot of pressure, did what we could but I eventually had to re-evaluate things and say no more right now. It did not go down well at first, however, it had to be done.
It’s your life so it’s your choice. My kids come first and our needs here had to be met before I could do any more over there. I wasn’t saying no forever, I was saying not right now.
Doing that, making my boundaries clear, was a game changer and enabled me to focus on my family, my health and goals here in Australia.
5. Australia is Incredibly Wealthy
Despite the numerous interest rate rises, extremely high inflation this year and general cost of living crisis, it is still incredibly wealthy compared to where our family lives.
We knew this before but it has really been drummed into us the past few years with different natural disasters, the ease at which we can access things here in Australia and the cost of things over there.
Anything they need costs them more than it costs us in Australia, yet our wages are significantly higher. Rent, childcare and a few other things cost more here but overall, Australia has much more wealth and it is easier to get wealthy here.
That means, it is difficult at times to navigate the expectations from family overseas and reinforce our boundaries around money.
When we visit, we bring what we can that they request. We send money when we can, pay for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s daughter to have a private education there that is based on the Australian curriculum etc.
While we are obligated to help in Vanuatu, build things there etc. Overall, we know it is Australia and things here that are going to push us forward in terms of wealth.
6. There are Opportunities to Make Money Everywhere
Yet, despite the wealth in Australia, there are opportunities everywhere. The key is to be prepared. Have your finances and life in order so that when an opportunity arises, you can jump on it.
Recently, my 14 year old had an incredible opportunity that aligned with a few other things we had planned. I can’t share too much but if it does work out how we are hoping, it will completely change our lives.
It was an unexpected opportunity that seemed to come from out of nowhere but we were prepared to act fast.
Similar has happened with property, business and other investments. Keep your eyes open, network, learn, save, be smart with your money and life because you never know what might happen.
7. You can Always Make More Money
Be smart with your money but don’t be a Scrooge. Our view is you can only cut back so far but you can always make more money.
Know where your money is going, cut back on anything you can so you can have a lifestyle you enjoy that is below your means and then focus on making more.
Look at ways to increase your income without much effort such as investing, knowing tax laws, getting a pay rise etc. Check out 9 ways to increase your income for some ideas.
Often the only limit to our earning potential is the one we put on ourselves.
8. Time and Experiences Matter More Than Money
Travel, Friday Family Fun Night, road trips, dinner as a family, going overseas to see family, weekends full of fishing, beach activities, camping, cooking over the fire etc. All of these things matter more to us than money.
Yes, we need money to live and for the lifestyle we have but if it is a choice between sacrificing everything else just to save a few bucks or spending what we can afford to have a great experience with the kids, I am likely to spend.
We have a plan, we invest, we know what we want. Making sure we are connected as a family, teaching our kids, there to support them and living life our way is important too.
When you get to the end of your life, how much money you made won’t matter so much. How you spent your life will.
Some people will argue you need to keep making more to have a happy life. The research shows that simply isn’t true. You need your life needs met, you need to be in control of your money and wise with it. But it is how we spend our time and the relationships in our lives that matter most.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire grew up in one of the least developed countries in the world. We met in a country where a good wage was $5,000 AUD a year. 50 cents an hour was the minimum wage only 2 years ago.
So when we say experiences, relationships and time mean more, it comes from that background, not a wealthy one.
9. Prioritise Health
Over the years, I have faced various health issues. Most recently, the pregnancies were extremely complicated and healing after them has not been easy.
I also didn’t make it a priority. With so much else on from the visa and Mr Aspriing Millionaire being in another state for his course, then his job and then me having another baby plus moving interstate, I put myself last.
Other than going for walks with the babies or time at the beach with all 4 kids, I didn’t seem to have the strength or commitment to do what I needed to heal and get healthy.
As a result, my mental health suffered as well.
Make your health a priority. Dedicate time to exercise, healing, eating right and taking care of your body. You only get one so do everything you can to make it a good one.
What are some lessons you’ve learned recently?
How to Increase Your Income
There is only so much you can cut back on in your budget. At some point, you need to look at ways to increase your income.
Most of us don’t have a lot of time though and really, it’s about working smarter, not harder right? No one wants to spend all their free time working a second or third job and not living life.
So how can you increase your income without it draining all your time?
Disclosure we do use affiliate links for products and services we use and recommend.
1. Ask for a Raise
Depending on the job you do, how long you have been there, the results you get and the financial state of the business you work for, you might be in a position to ask for a raise.
Do your research, learn about negotiations so you know how to approach it. There are ways to do this successfully and ways to really mess it up. Never Split The Difference is an excellent book to learn about negotiating.
Be confident, know your facts and use the right tactics. If you don’t get a raise, see if you can negotiate something beneficial to you such as more time off, increased benefits or similar and make sure you get it in writing.
However, if you can’t get anywhere with it at all, it might be time to change companies.
2. Switch Companies/Businesses
Too often companies offer better rates to new employees rather than rewarding current ones. Check the going rate for your job, including all the extra you do now compared to when you were hired.
Chances are, you could get paid more elsewhere. Years ago you were expected to stay with one company for life. Now, career hopping is expected although changing jobs every 6 months still doesn’t look great.
Compare your options, speak with recruitment agencies, update your LinkedIn profile and see what comes up. Do not quit until you have something else lined up and be sure you resign according to your contract.
Meaning, some have a non compete clause, some require 2 weeks notice, other places require 4. Go over your contract and know what you are required to do and your entitlements when you leave such as getting paid your vacation leave.
3. Change Careers
Some careers simply do not pay much and you might need to look into careers that pay more. Think about your skills and interests to see how you might be able to apply them in another career for a higher wage.
For example, Mr Aspiring Millionaire was previously a dive guide and tec diver doing exploration trips in the South Pacific. In Australia, he was able to retrain and move into commercial diving which pays much higher and has huge potential depending on how far he wants to take it.
As a writer, I have the option of writing ebooks to create passive income, do website and marketing copy, write books for other companies, articles for magazines etc. Setting up multiple sites has also increased my income.
Research careers you are interested in, what the pay is and what you need to do to transition. There are so many options out there now but also take into consideration careers that could become obsolete compared to those that will increase in demand.
4. Maximise Benefits
If changing jobs or careers isn’t an option right now, see if you can maximise your benefits. Read your work contract thoroughly and check all the benefits your employer offers, as well as everything you can claim on tax.
Some employers offer benefits such as health insurance, gym memberships, childcare assistance, meals, bonuses etc. Knowing what is on offer at yours means you can utilise it to save money.
Every career also has things you can claim on tax so make sure you know what you can claim and keep the evidence necessary for it. Check the tax department website as they have a lot of information about it.
Learn how to invest and start early. Investing is a long term game so it’s not about replacing your income or increasing it immediately. Instead, you are looking to the future to ensure you have ongoing income into retirement and beyond.
Be aware of your risk profile, what you are comfortable risking and don’t over-invest. Also, don’t invest anything you plan to need short term.
For example, if you are saving for a house deposit, don’t put that money into the share market as it can be volatile in the short term.
6. Get a Side Hustle
How much time you dedicate to a side hustle and what you choose to do is up to you. Some side hustles require little effort, others can be quite time consuming.
A few of our favourites have been writing, renting out a room, renting out the garage, reselling things, online work such as blogging, consulting and marketing.
For others we know, running an Etsy store, influencer work, setting up a business, dropshipping and photography have been great.
Research side hustles and look at what would work for your lifestyle. It might take a little experimenting until you find the right one for you but it can be worth it.
Make sure you track everything so if it becomes a business, you can claim things on your tax properly.
7. Own a Business
With a business, you need an exit plan and a way for it to be outsourced. Too many businesses are set up and rely solely on the owner, but what happens if the owner gets sick, injured or unable to work for a period of time? They can lose everything.
Look at owning a business but create a proper plan to ensure you are not working for your business, rather your business is working for you.
8. A Second Job
It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Our preference is anything else such as a side hustle or creating a business instead of a second job.
But if you need the consistent income, a second job might work. There are many businesses that require shift work such as hospitality, delivery drivers, aged care, disability etc. Most of those jobs are quite physically demanding though so it can be draining.
Doing a second job isn’t a long term solution so try to look for other options to increase your income when you can.
9. Passive Income Ideas
We shared 10 passive income ideas already, or ideas that are passive once set up. Our preference is to have multiple streams of income and not be the ones working on all of it.
Things such as books once written and promoted with a solid marketing plan, websites once outsourced, investments, real estate if you have good management etc can all be good passive income options.
Some such as real estate aren’t always that passive though. Do your research on which options are right for you and how you will manage if they aren’t passive at times or take a while to become passive.
How are you increasing your income?
Steps 11 and 12 of my $2 to Millionaire Challenge: Turning $7,680 into $31,570
I haven’t updated my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge in a while. This challenge is about doubling my money, starting with $2, repeatedly until I reach over $1,000,000.
Updates were paused partially because I have been busy but also because I didn’t know how to describe this one. I started to write it a few months ago but only posted it now.
Sometimes when selling a business or website, there is a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) in place which means I can’t share the details. Which is what happened with this one.
As such, I took some time to complete this step and the next one, which also has an NDA. Below I will share the limited details I can.
Finding Time to Make Money
Having 4 kids here, moving house right before Christmas, one kid in robotics (HUGE time commitment), sports and other things the family needs means the past few months have been hectic.
How did I find the time to do anything? It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.
I applied everything I learned from Life Admin Hacks and kept telling myself this is a stage of life. A stressful stage, but only a stage.
In my experience, we tend to find the time and money for things that really matter to us. My kids come first so most of my time went to them and their needs the past few years, while my projects waited.
Including this challenge and site. I had to put it on the sidelines while doing everything else in my personal life.
Now, I finally have the time to update things and be more focused.
How to Have the Headspace to Make Money
Time is one thing but how can you focus on making money when so much else is going on? The truth is, I couldn’t.
It was overwhelming, I felt like a taxi driver, a maid, and everything else. I completely lost myself and it wasn’t good for anyone.
Fortunately, I have systems in place for some of the things I do to make money. If I didn’t, it all would have fallen completely apart in recent years with all the things we’ve had to deal with.
What helps me be in the right headspace?
Knowing My Ideal Outcome
Being clear on my goals, the systems to achieve those goals and knowing the exact outcome I want. My kids and I are close, so my ideal outcome for anything is usually tied to our freedom and flexibility. Being able to spend time with them and have incredible experiences is important to me.
As mentioned, I have systems. Things don’t always run smoothly but the more you can automate or systemize something, the easier it is to do. Without systems, it would be like starting from scratch each time I tried to do something.
We can’t do everything ourselves, no matter what supermums might have you believe. Everyone has a limit and I was over my capacity for too long.
I know what needed to be outsourced but wasn’t always able to do it quickly. Fortunately, I finally got childcare for my younger two earlier this year so now I can pursue things I have had on the back burner.
I wrote about outsourcing here and how much it helps.
How I Doubled My Money
I know what you really want to know is how did I double my money and how can you do it too? As mentioned, there are NDA’s around these ones. Buying and selling or creating and selling is something I have enjoyed for years but with the 2 new babies (2021 and 2022) it has been harder to do.
With these, it’s not exactly doubling my money. Only a small portion of the money was used and I more than doubled my investment. Check out the article I wrote about building and selling websites.
Recently, I set a goal to write a book a month. Books were one of the things I did earlier to double my money and while it won’t be specific to this challenge, these books will form another income stream and obviously take up some of my time.
In terms of doubling the $31,570, it’s already in play. On our next trip to Vanuatu, we will review it all and then I will be able to share what’s happening with it.
Check out the $2 to $1,000,000 updates here.
How and What to Outsource to Make More Money
One of the biggest obstacles financially for me has been time. Not enough time, no childcare, and everything falling back on me to manage. With moving house, setting the teens up in new schools, having a toddler and baby etc. It’s a lot.
A few years ago, I made great money, travelled and had a super flexible lifestyle. My teens and I loved it. Then the world changed drastically in 2020, we had some major hurdles with bushfires, a double family death in Vanuatu, getting locked down in the Solomon Islands and needing to set up a home there, hit by a cyclone, repatriated and needing to set up a home again and buy a car.
That was just the first few months of 2020 for us. Then, then 2 back to back complicated pregnancies, a residency visa and studying for Mr Aspiring Millionaire in another state. As I said, everything fell back on me. This greatly impacts my earning capacity and motivation.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
We Can’t Do It All On Our Own
With so much going on, I neglected myself, my career/business, my life, and everything. We had agreed once we moved, the kids would go into childcare, and I’d be able to complete my studies and work.
No childcare was available, no nannies, and no options for months. The waitlist for childcare is 18+ months!
This greatly reduced my capacity to do anything and set me back mentally and emotionally as well. Doing it all on my own was slowly killing me. Plus, it meant I couldn’t do anything about my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge.
Finally, I have made an arrangement and now get time to work, do self-care etc. It wasn’t easy to set up but is essential.
As much as we like to think we can do it all, we can’t. I get called superwoman or supermum a lot. People are amazed at all I do and wonder how I do it.
Yet often, I feel stressed out and like I’m failing because there is too much to do and I feel I am always behind. My goals, needs and wants don’t happen.
Being so busy, having so much on, trying to do everything perfectly myself is no way to live. Something had to give so I made the decision to outsource more.
How Much Can Outsourcing Make You?
How often do we waste our time on things that would be better outsourced? If you can make $50hr doing something you are great at and outsource the little stuff for $25hr, aren’t you better off outsourcing those things so you can focus on income?
The amount you make from outsourcing depends on what you outsource, how you do it and how much you or they make for you during that same time.
Outsourcing has been a struggle for me over the years even though I know I could make more money if I did it more. The desire to be in control of everything as it impacts my reputation is strong. I know if I have a good team, I can make a lot more though.
So both not being able to outsource childcare and being reluctant to outsource too much in business was costing me money.
How to Know What to Outsource in Business
When it comes to business, outsourcing should be easy but for many small business owners, it’s tricky. You have specific skills people are paying for and that is where you make your money. So your time should be spent on those tasks and admin outsourced, right?
How many business owners do you know who waste a lot of their time and energy on the small stuff? I’ve been guilty of this many times.
Write a list of all the tasks involved in your business. Next, you’ll divide the list into tasks that absolutely have to be done by you vs tasks you can outsource.
Then, place them in order of tasks that make you the most money to tasks that make you the least. How much time do you waste on those things that need to be done but don’t need to be done by you? When you could put that time into money-making pursuits only you can do?
Looking at this list can make it easier to know what to outsource first. The more you outsource the more time you can dedicate to those things only you can do and that earn you the most money.
Some tasks you might consider first are bookkeeping, emails, social media, marketing, all the administration tasks, bookings etc. Sometimes when business owners do this, they find the professionals streamline a lot of these processes for them saving even more time and money.
Take the plunge and outsource.
How to Know What to Outsource in your Personal Life
Outsourcing your personal life might sound weird but it is amazing how common it is and how much time it can free up. You already outsource somewhat.
Think about it, you outsource car repairs and maintenance to the mechanic and most families have to outsource some childcare.
Cleaning, gardening, ironing and even booking appointments are common things people outsource. There are personal concierges that will take care of picking up dry cleaning, arranging gifts, booking flights etc.
Decide what you want to outsource and make it happen.
If you want to grow your business or career, consider time vs money when it comes to outsourcing parts of your personal life. It might be quicker, cheaper and easier to have someone clean the house, do the ironing, mow the lawn etc.
How is Outsourcing Quicker, Cheaper and Easier?
Once you have the right people in place to do the tasks you’ve chosen to outsource, it flows easily. You don’t have to think about those tasks anymore. Those parts of your business or personal life get sorted without your effort.
It is often quicker because professionals usually do things faster and better than we do. That’s why they are the professionals getting paid for it. Outsourcing them is often cheaper because if you can do something that earns $50 to $100 an hour (as an example) at the same time you’re paying someone $25 to $45hr to do those tasks, you’re in front. You can earn more in that time than it costs to pay someone to do those tasks.
How to Know What to Outsource First
I outlined one way to decide how to outsource for business above. Write down all the tasks you have to do, split them into groups of things you have to do vs what someone else could do. Then order them from highest earning to lowest earning then choose things to outsource.
When it comes to personal or business, I tend to outsource based on what I hate doing or what I need help with first. Previously, this has been gardening first. I hated mowing the lawns, weeding etc. So it was worth it to me to pay someone to do that.
Childcare is one I have had to do at times but I do try to be there as much as possible for my kids instead of having them in full-time care.
Work out what can be outsourced and what would free up the most time or provide the most value to you if you outsourced it. Not everyone will start with the same things, it is up to you what you outsource, how and when.
What I Outsourced to Increase my Money
Having 2 babies close together (January 2021 and February 2022) meant I did not have the headspace to outsource. During that time we were also focused on getting Mr Aspiring Millionaire his residency visa and commercial diving qualifications so he could work. Then the focus was on moving house and healing from the pregnancies.
Once settled in the new house I did a full evaluation of where my time was getting wasted, costing me money. I also reviewed what was costing me mentally and physically. Too much has been left to me to do by the whole family and I was exhausted in every sense of the word which impacted my capacity to earn an income.
My first step was to sort out the chores and things in our home. I want my kids to have all the life skills I have and more. As such, they’re involved in cooking, cleaning, repairs etc. Once this was more organised (read What is Insourcing and Why You Need to do it to understand it).
Next, I had to outsource childcare a little but that was difficult. Waitlists for childcare centres are 18 months, there are virtually no nannies and even getting a babysitter has proven difficult. I finally got 2 days of care starting February 2023 for my then 2 year old but I still have my almost 1 year old at home.
As such, I had to get creative about childcare. A mix of nannies, seeking out an au pair or even getting a cousin to come over were all considered.
Paying someone I trust to look after my kids so I can work has been huge. It was hard for me to deal with it at first but it needed to be done. Without it, I was never going to progress in my career or achieve the goals we wanted as a family.
Plus, while I do spend most of my time with my kids and they are my priority, I needed the break mentally.
Originally, Mr Aspiring Millionaire was going to be with the kids in the afternoon so I could work. Commercial diving varies a lot though and even though his finish time is 3pm, he rarely finishes then. It’s not like an office job where you can up and leave, it’s underwater welding, construction, repairs etc.
Weekend work is common too, making time for me to work difficult. I have no guaranteed time I can work without finding alternative childcare.
So I worked out a plan with some help at specific times that should free up about 20 hours a week for me. I’ll try it until the end of April and see if it can continue.
This is where I spent the money from my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge. I needed to spend money on childcare to free up my time. I anticipate I’ll double my $3,849 within 1 month with the time I have to focus and do things such as reselling.
3. Admin Tasks
The next step was outsourcing more of my websites. They’ve been my ‘babies’ and I was reluctant to let go as my identity was so entwined. As a result, they have barely been touched the past 2 years while I was off having kids.
Setting up a larger team to do various tasks them has saved me significant time to earn more.
Reviewing my business and seeing where I make the most money and how I can increase that was crucial for this. Once I saw where the bulk of my income is coming from and the things that can only be done by me, I set to outsourcing everything else.
This step alone is set to double my income within a month and freed up so much headspace for me. In fact, I can work less and earn more overall.
4. Some Meals
My kids are more than happy to cook 2 nights a week each and are keen to learn more recipes from me, which we are working on. It was a bit of a juggle, me writing out and teaching recipes to my kids so they could do more, but it was worth it.
They also loved learning from and following HelloFresh recipes. We used HelloFresh a lot when I was pregnant. It was great as they could select the recipes they wanted to cook and hardly needed any instruction or help from me. If you want to try HelloFresh, get a free box here.
Why Didn’t I Outsource Cleaning, Gardening etc.
I want my kids to be good at all these chores so right now, cleaning, gardening and similar tasks are not outsourced in our home. Eventually, they will be or they might be occasionally but overall, I want my kids to still do some chores.
All the kids I grew up with who didn’t have to do any chores were fairly entitled and struggled in adulthood. My aim is to raise confident, intelligent, capable and compassionate adults. To do that, I have to teach them now.
How Did This Increase My Money?
Spending thousands on outsourcing feels weird at first but it was worth it. Outsourcing made me money by enabling me to spend time on the tasks that make me more. Plus, outsourcing to the right people means they increased the business income due to their expertise.
I was able to earn 2 to 3 times what I was paying someone else. Meaning, for every hour of any service I paid for, I was able to earn 3 times what I paid them.
For the things I outsourced in my business, they made double what it cost them to do what they were paid to do. Plus some of my time was freed up not having to do those tasks.
You can’t do everything and trying to do it all costs you time, money and your health. Do a review of your life and business to see what you can outsource to make time for what matters to you.
What Have you or Would you Outsource?
This past year was a mess. That is putting it mildly. We achieved some great things but so much of my life was on hold. No childcare, moving house twice, high achieving kids requiring a lot of my time to get them to and from events etc.
I had no time for myself or for my $2 to $1,000,000 project. With 4 kids here and doing most things on my own, I can barely think.
On top of that, there have been some big changes and issues with some cultural matters. I’ve written before about how we manage our cultural obligations (including sending money back to Vanuatu, planning to support the parents there in retirement etc).
This means it is time to review my goals and cultural obligations.
How to Review Goals
If the goals you set aren’t working for you, it’s ok to change them. It’s also ok to take a break if you need to so you can reset and decide if those goals will truly get you the outcome you want.
My $2 to $1,000,000 goal is mainly a hobby and bit of fun for me. As such, I do it when I can but haven’t focused on it as much as I would have liked.
Some opportunities were suggested that would have worked great with that goal. However, it’s been months and those things still have not happened, so I am moving in another direction with it to ensure I can keep doubling my money.
Making these decisions wasn’t easy. Here is how I reviewed my goals.
1. Look at the Past, Compare the Good and the Bad
Maybe you set a goal and it isn’t moving ahead as fast as you thought or it’s not providing the result you wanted. Look at what has been happening with it, both the good and the bad.
Have you dedicated proper time and resources to the goal to ensure it happens? Was it a realistic goal to begin with? Did you have a proper plan?
What success have you seen on the journey with this goal?
Thoroughly review what you have done and can do to achieve this goal. Be honest with yourself. We often overestimate what we can do in some stages of life and at times we need to adjust our own expectations.
For me, with a baby, a toddler, two teens, doing it pretty much on my own, dealing with other issues in the background plus needing to move house twice this year and having severe health issues due to a traumatic birth means realistically, I couldn’t do my goals.
I achieved numerous other things but in this stage of life, with no childcare or help, I need to be realistic and accept I cannot do the things I wanted to, yet.
2. What End Result do I Want?
While we do need to be resilient and persist so we can grow, it’s also ok to ask yourself if this goal will get the end result you want? When life changes, sometimes goals we set are no longer relevant.
If a goal won’t get you the life and end result you want anymore, and you are being honest with yourself that it truly won’t, it’s ok to change tactics.
How is This Impacting my Family?
Family is my everything so this is something I ask with every decision I make. If my goals detract from my family, cause stress or anything along those lines, it is not worth it to me.
Due to all the other issues this year, my goals needed to take a backseat while I supported my family. Now, moving into 2023 and beyond, I can focus more on myself.
3. How is This Impacting my Mental Health?
If you set goals then beat yourself up because you didn’t achieve them or you feel awful because you can’t achieve what you set out to do, it might be time to re-evaluate your goals and choices.
At times my mental health has suffered because the goals I set were too extreme. This impacts my family as well so is something I need to constantly check.
4. Make Changes
If a goal will still provide an end result that you want but it isn’t working for other reasons, work out what changes you can make so you still achieve it. Sometimes a few tweaks is all that is needed to make it easier or better.
How to Change Cultural Obligations
Let me start by saying, it wasn’t me that lead the decisions on this. Being Caucasian means I haven’t grown up with these expectations placed on me. We tried to make them work but due to various lies and other issues, we are stepping back.
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
You cannot help others if you are struggling or barely breathing. As with emergencies on a plane where you fit the mask on yourself first and then help others, the same can be applied to cultural obligations.
A lot of pressure was put on us to provide financially, for the parents to retire, for us to buy a new car for the family there (we did pay to repair theirs and then a family member messed around with it and completely destroyed the engine).
We keep getting asked to buy a boat and so many other things.
Yet, in the past few years we had to repatriate, set up our home, get residency, a commercial diving course, move states etc. All up, it’s been about $100,000 to get set up here with all of that. On top of regular living expenses.
We did send money back, paid for house repairs, car repairs, new phones, education and more. But we have goals here that aren’t happening because of the pressure and expectations from Vanuatu.
It is ok to put yourself first.
How much more could you do and how much better off would everyone be if you got your own life sorted first? One thing I noticed, with the financial expectations from family is how they expected us to improve their life before even being set up here.
Getting a house here, a second car, childcare and other things mean we can then develop more in Vanuatu. So we have started to say no and set proper boundaries.
Let Them Know
This was hard. Letting them know we won’t buy them a boat, a car, pay for retirement right now or anything else as we have other things we are focusing on was tough.
Not everyone handled it well and there were some things said and done that showed true colours. That also helped solidify our decision though.
Decide how you will let family know things are changing. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail. Set a time to call or if you are going to see them in person, it might be better to do it then.
Outline the changes. Make it clear these boundaries are firm. Then stick to it.
Family will push back and try to guilt you into doing what they want. Stand firm on your boundaries. If you let them keep pushing you around, you will never achieve your financial goals.
As hard as it can be, if they behave this way, you might need to step back for a while. Don’t let them suck you into drama.
Be clear on the life you want, the plan you have for your finances and stick to it.
What tips do you have for reviewing goals and financial obligations?
4 Tips to Afford Cultural Obligations
We shared the difference in finances when it comes to cultures and how we manage it before. Now, we are faced with a big decision due to numerous issues – how to afford cultural and family expectations.
Last year there were funerals and other expenses, the family car in Vanuatu (which is also income) needed significant repairs and we had strong pressure for new phones and other things for the family.
Since we live in Australia, the view from Vanuatu is we are super rich and can afford everything. In some ways, we are a lot wealthier, have higher incomes etc.
But we also have high expenses and it cost us around $100,000 the past few years to repatriate, set up a house, buy a car, retrain for a new job, move to another state etc.
Yet we have been constantly pressured to buy a new bus/van for the family which is about $40,000AUD or $27,000USD. Buy a boat, pay for education, retirement and more.
We have been happy to do what we can but the demands have grown and we have to make some tough decisions. It is at the point where the expectations exceed what we can do and things need to change.
How to Afford Cultural and Family Expectations
For many of you reading this, I assume you are in a position where you have extra expenses due to culture. Or you are in a relationship where the cultures are clashing with money and expectations. Or something came up suddenly and you now need the cash, fast.
Here are our tips on managing these unexpected expenses and cultural expectations in general.
1. Determine If It Is Essential
Being Caucasian (I, Ms Aspiring Millionaire, am) means so many things can be dismissed. The cultural expectations are not as strong and it is easier in some ways to decline demands.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire is from a rich culture in Vanuatu where certain things CANNOT be ignored or dismissed without causing more issues. Many cultures around the world will understand this.
There have been some things we could ease off on but others need to be adhered to. If you are facing cultural financial expenses, determine if it is truly essential, what the pros and cons are of adhering to it and what you can do.
As an example, we paid for car repairs last year as, without it, his father couldn’t work. But the phones were not essential, we gifted them for Mother’s Day.
2. Decide on Your Budget
What the family says you need to spend or send doesn’t matter. How much you contribute is up to you. As an example, recently, family requested $10,000 Vatu (about $120AUD) for a funeral. We sent that immediately, without hesitation.
However, the constant demand for a new bus is not in our budget and not something we are willing to do at this time.
For 2023 and the next few years, we have decided to send a set amount each month. That is it. We won’t be paying for anything extra on top of that.
If we don’t set this boundary, we will never get ahead here. Buying a house and some educational expenses for the oldest two children are top priority instead.
It is ok to set a boundary around the budget and say no to everything else! They might push and try to guilt you but the reality is you cannot help if you aren’t set up.
Set yourself up, follow your own goals and path, while continuing cultural obligations within a budget you determine.
3. Plan It Out
Realistically, everyone needs an emergency fund for unexpected and unavoidable expenses. Those in interracial relationships should also add a category for cultural expenses. We all know they will happen.
Set aside a small part of your budget now so when things come up you have some money at least to manage things. This might be for you to fly back to the country for a funeral or something else. You decide what an emergency covers and how that money will be spent.
Do not let the family know you have this account. Otherwise, there will be an endless stream of ’emergencies’ and you still won’t get ahead.
Create a plan for this account, how you will fund it, how much will go into it and what it will be used for.
A plan is essential because it is too easy to get into debt or take on too much due to cultural pressure. Know your limits, put your immediate family first and plan out what you can and can’t do.
4. Make Money
Chances are you haven’t set aside money up until this point and you are reading this because you are disagreeing over money and cultural matters or you suddenly need to find $10,000 or more.
Be honest with the family, if you don’t have it don’t say you do and don’t go into debt for it. Look at ways to make money but do it quietly. If you happen to make enough and want to send it, you can.
There are many ways you can make money fast. Here are a few we have done:
Buying things to resell has been great for me. Especially rockabilly clothing and collectables. Know what things are worth, where to sell them and be consistent. Check out How to Make Over $10,000 a Month Reselling for exact tips on this.
Renting A Room
If you have a spare room, rent it out. For those renting, check with your landlord first otherwise you might breach your lease and that would leave you homeless. This won’t get you heaps immediately but if you have a month or so to get the money together, you might save $1,000+
Delivering flyers, cleaning, yard work, deliveries etc. There are so many odd jobs available through Facebook groups, apps such as Airtasker and delivery apps too.
If you have the time you might be able to generate an extra $1,000 or more a week with this.
Overtime or a Second Job
Again, this requires time and isn’t always feasible. If you can get overtime at work or you are eligible for a second job, it might be a good option. The consistent income will also help you budget but it can be exhausting juggling two jobs.
How We Afford Cultural and Family Expectations
Previously, we sent money and paid for things as they came up. As of now, that is not happening anymore.
We have decided to focus on our goals here in Australia. Mr Aspiring Millionaire will send a set amount each month to his parents. That’s it.
If we don’t have it here, we aren’t providing it there. By this, I mean we don’t own a house in Australia, so we are not paying for his parents retirement yet. We don’t own new cars so we are not buying them a new car. A boat would be amazing for our lifestyle here and until we have one here, we are not buying one for over there.
Did this ruffle some feathers among family? Absolutely. Do we feel better about our finances and direction? 100%!
Making these changes will see us achieve our goals here faster. This means in the long term, we will be able to provide better over there as well.
How do you manage cultural and family obligations?
10 Ways to Upgrade Your Life when you have no Money
Currently, we need to find a new home to live in, buy a larger car (a Corolla does not fit 2 adults and 4 kids), and visit Vanuatu to sort real estate/business/family matters at the end of the year. With moving to where we are, the kids have the opportunity to be involved in some incredible programs, so there are costs for that as well.
Aside from the needs, we want to set up a home gym, do more camping and other trips. Basically, after having a few years kind of stuck, focused on 2 pregnancies, Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s residency visa and commercial diving qualification, we are ready to upgrade our life again.
How can you Upgrade Your Life on a Budget?
Knowing what you need and want to have your ideal life is part of it. The next part is making it happen. In our experience, there are a few components to upgrading your life.
1. A Mindset Shift
Visualise and know the reality you want. Work on removing any scarcity mindset, money blocks, negative views around money or ‘rich people’ etc. Doing this work makes a huge difference. Read Rich As F*ck and Lucky Bitch for more on mindset. The Psychology of Money is another recommended book. It takes a more factual, science based approach for money and our minds.
You will need to continually work on your mindset to level up. Spend time with people you admire and want to be like, who have the mindset and life you aspire to. Read their books, follow their channels, look for motivation, nor for comparison.
Still spend time with your friends, family and others in your life, be aware of how you spend your time though and how it makes you feel. 4000 Weeks and Die With Zero are good reads for spending your time wisely.
2. Take Action
You don’t need to know exactly how everything will work out but you do need to be taking action to create the life you want. Knowing what you want and focusing on your goals makes it easier for your subconscious to scan your life and everything you do and connect opportunities for you to get what you want.
The list below will show some ways to take action.
3. Acceptance and Gratitude
Acceptance plays a huge part in our life in various ways. By accepting and being grateful for where we are in life and what we have, while still striving for more, we are happier and find opportunities easier.
It isn’t just about accepting life as is. You also need to accept and feel comfortable with the upgrades you want to make in life. Too often we self-sabotage because we aren’t comfortable with wealth or happy relationships or whatever it is we want.
Being comfortable can be good but not when it is connected to unhealthy life patterns. Just because something feels comfortable, doesn’t mean it’s right. It generally means that is what we are used to. If you want life to change, you have to get uncomfortable.
What Steps or Action can you Take to Upgrade Life?
Action to upgrade your life depends on what you want your life to look like and how you want to spend your time. The steps below are suggestions but tailor them to suit your life goals.
1. Champagne Life
How to have a champagne life on a beer budget wage is where I shared a few tips to have a fancier lifestyle. If you know what you want, there are many ways to make it happen.
As an example, we love travel and experiences so I went into tourism marketing as a side gig. This enabled us to get paid to travel and do some incredible things we might not otherwise have done.
More recently, I wanted more of my time back and help from the kids. The day after I decided this, I was offered a promotion with some meal kits. Now the meals are planned out for us each week, delivered on Monday, my family take turns cooking and it has definitely upgraded my life.
2. Time Management
What do you want to spend your time doing? How can you make that happen?
We spend a lot of our lives doing stuff we don’t want to do or being so busy and stressed out, we miss out on a lot.
Recently, I read and implemented the tips in Life Admin Hacks. It is all about streamlining everything from paying bills to getting a will.
As a result, we’ve changed quite a few things our home. Instead of going to the shops, we have a running shopping list that we add to and order when it reaches a certain amount. This is saving us time and money.
The family calendar got updated, we are using meal kits (check out over $600 worth of discounts for meal kits to get save you time and money), we are more conscious of how we do things and when. Tasks in our home are proper organised and it doesn’t all fall on me, the mum.
Plus, we are buying a larger car and planning travel again.
Spend your time in a way you’d be happy with so you can look back on life with joy instead of regret.
3. Know When to Say Yes and When to Say No
Many people I know say yes even when they don’t want to do something. Learn the power of saying “No.”
It is a complete sentence, you don’t need to explain yourself and there are many ways to say no so you can take back control of your time and life.
In general, if it won’t add value to our lives or isn’t something that absolutely has to be done, I say no. Too much of my life was spent pleasing others. Knowing when to say no to things I don’t want to do but say yes to things I want to do even if I don’t know how I can make them happen has upgraded my life drastically.
4. Read and Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power. The application of knowledge is what will change your life. Learning can be free, depending on what you want to learn and how.
Borrow books from the library, listen to podcasts, join groups relevant to what you want to learn, sign up for cheap classes through places such as Udemy or Coursera. Then put what you learn into practice.
Doing things to upgrade your knowledge and skills can often lead to promotions, increased incomes, side gigs, a wider network and more opportunities in general.
5. Grow Your Network/Community
Expand your circles whether they be career circles, friendship circles, community connections or any other aspect of life. Go to networking events, join a gym or do some classes, volunteer and get connected.
During the past few years, we have not been able to do that as much and it has greatly impacted our mental health. Humans need connection.
Get out of your usual circles if you want to change your life. Connect more with others, get involved in projects you have always wanted to and do the things you want but haven’t made time for yet.
Doing this can often result in new opportunities for career, travel, relationships, health and all areas of your life.
6. Get Out In Nature
Numerous studies show the benefits of getting out in nature, yet most of us still don’t do it enough. This doesn’t even have to cost anything but can have a profound impact on your mental and physical health.
Take up a hobby such as hiking, diving, beach volleyball, yoga in the park or similar. Use websites or apps such as Meetup and Facebook to find similar events in your area.
Getting outside has benefits such as vitamin D, being active with these sort of hobbies will improve your overall health and if you do it with others, you will strengthen your relationships.
7. Plan Your Retirement
Those within the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early) have their retirement planned out. The average person does not. Most people have compulsory contributions done and that’s it.
Few think about what they want to do in retirement, when they want to retire and how they will fund their lifestyle. While superannuation or retirement funds in general are great, they won’t cover everything and the pension options get changed, so you can’t rely on that.
We plan have a plan but probably won’t fully retire since our lifestyle is fairly flexible already and our focus is helping others, especially in Vanuatu. Helping the whole family progress and have opportunities is important to us.
8. Focus On Health
Without your health, life can be severely limited. In 2015, I was paralysed on and off for 7 months. My last 2 pregnancies in 2020 and 2021 came with numerous health issues. At those times, my life basically stopped.
Get control of your health, make it a focus and your life will drastically improve. Whether that is slimming down, getting fitter, more flexible or stronger, it all helps. As does ensuring you look after your mental health too.
When you are clear on the life you want, health will play a part. While we aim for body positivity and acceptance, the reality is, health impacts our life. There are some things that simply cannot be done if we are not in good health.
One year, I did a lot of diving, international travel and even got offered a place on a once in a lifetime hike through Slovenia. If I had not been focused on my health, getting in shape, increasing my stamina and flexibility, I could not have said yes to those opportunities.
On top of physical health, focus on your mental health. When our mental health is good we are more resilient, patient, better parents and friends etc. Mental health needs to be a priority, get any help you need to optimise it.
9. Improve by 1%
You don’t need to overhaul your entire life drastically all at once. Aim at improving by even 1% and increasing it by 1% regularly. Changes will compound and you will eventually have made significant change over time.
You’re living life, why not live it with a 1% improvement? Doing this will ensure you are living the life you want. The time passes anyway so do it with your ideal life in mind.
For example, if you want to focus on health, start with a 20 minute daily walk or 10 minute yoga session. Going to the gym for 2 hours a day is not typically sustainable. If you can walk or do yoga or similar daily, you are more likely to stick to the habit and can expand on it.
Another example is money. Transfer 1% of your income into savings every time you get paid. Increase it to 2% the next month and so on. You learn to adjust your spending to these small amounts and before you know it, you will be saving 10% or more.
Choose an area of your life you want to change and look at a way you can do it starting small. Check out 10 Small Habit Changes to Drastically Change Your Life.
10. Upgrade in Areas that Matter to You!
Just because your neighbour bought a new car, doesn’t mean that is what you need. Same goes for their clothes, gym membership or anything else. Someone else having it or suggesting it doesn’t mean it is right for you.
This is your life, you know how you want to life it and you are in control. Make decisions based on your values and what you want in life.
Choose an area of life you want to improve, create a plan of action then make it happen.
5 Lessons From Numerous Bank Errors
Recently, $15,400 landed in my account unexpectedly with no description except ‘admin’. I had no idea what this money was for, where it came from or what to do with it.
At the same time, I was waiting on the payment of a much smaller invoice. After some follow-up, it turned out that invoice was paid into an old account.
On top of that, I was having issues with the tax department over my tax return. My return needed to have an amendment done as I forgot to add one thing (the rest was prefilled). Issues with this went on for months.
The $15,400 happened on Friday, and then on Monday, I found out what it was for and it was not mine. That same Monday, the $700 happened and I finally got a call about the tax issues. Only for me to have to teach and show the person on the phone what tax was payable and why etc. Luckily, I knew my stuff and had the proof.
All 3 of these took time and energy away from my work and personal life. I felt stuck.
When the $15,400 hit my account I actually froze. It was unexpected and suddenly, I didn’t know what to do with my money, despite being all over it normally.
I realised with all these money issues, something has to change. I need to get serious about my money, streamline it and get more organised than I ever have before.
1. Know All Your Accounts and the Details
Often, people sign up for bank account bonuses then end up with an account they don’t need or use. Check your banking, know what money is doing, where it’s going and then close any unnecessary accounts.
That old account the $700 went into really should have been closed by now. Due to my work and referral bonuses from banks, I have too many accounts.
These bank errors were the push I needed to close the accounts I don’t need and streamline the rest. Essentially, I need the business accounts, a personal account, we have a joint account for expenses with the kids etc and a joint savings account for Vanuatu and things we agree to save for together.
Yet, I have accounts with 6 banks right now, 3 I get referral bonuses through so don’t want to close them. The rest are unnecessary now.
What I need to do is edit a few payments to go into and out of another account then close them. It’s not hard, I’ve just been lazy about it which costs time, money and energy. (Note, none of these accounts have extra fees, they are fee free. It would be worse if I was accruing monthly fees on top.)
2. Work Out Your Goals
What are your money goals? Do your bank accounts and how you manage money reflect that?
Having my money managed through different accounts instead of one is a pain. There is more to check, more to juggle and when applying for rentals, I had to send across so much paperwork.
None of that aligns with my money goals. These banking errors brought to light just how far away from my goals I am with how I manage my money.
How can I expect money to flow to me quickly and easily when my financial process is such a mess?
3. Decide on the Accounts you Need
In general, the following is used or recommended:
Daily expenses account
Sanity/Splurge/Fun money account
Larger expenses account
An emergency fund
If you are partnered, a joint account and joint savings account are good as well as having your own.
Some people prefer to have multiple accounts for various large bills such as car registration, insurances, medical expenses etc. I have them in one account, the larger expenses account and pay for them as they come up.
The bank errors made me look at the accounts, what I want to use them for and change their names to match my goals. Plus, with Up Bank I can set an emoji for the account so the joint account for Vanuatu has the Vanuatu flag.
4. Cancel, Close and Open Anything you Need to
I have already mentioned it but will again, get rid of what you don’t need. If it isn’t being used, close it. There are rare exceptions to this rule but in general, if you aren’t using it, it’s a waste of time and energy to have it.
If you are paying fees on any banking products, look for fee free options or how you can get those reduced. Also, check the interest rates on anything you have, even call and ask for a better deal.
It’s your money. Make it work for you instead of wasting it on fees.
Look at your money and work out what you can automate. Most of our bills are paid by direct debit. I have a reminder set in my calendar for when things are due. Investing is mostly automated, as is savings.
The less I have to manage my money, the easier it is. In general, I prefer to have enough sitting in the expenses account to cover anything that comes up instead of having to transfer money as needed.
Doing it this way, late fees aren’t an issue, discounts are usually offered for direct debit and pay on time so I save money too.
6. Get On Track: Money Meetings
Our finances (well, the bank accounts) are reviewed on a daily basis. This is to ensure no scamming or similar happens and if it does, we can resolve it quickly.
Money meetings happen weekly in our house and cover what was spent, upcoming expenses, goals and tracking where we are at. Money wins can also be celebrated.
Being open with the kids about money has enabled them to learn and as a result, my eldest is better at saving than I ever was.
Money Manage Books I Recommend
Sometimes, getting on top of finances is a little trickier so reading a book that outlines what to do can help. Here are a few I recommend.
Essential reading for any business owner, Profit First shows you how to implement a system and guarantee you actually have profit sitting in your account at the end of the financial year.
Money With Jess
Jess writes a regular money column and her book, Money With Jess is a great way to set up your finances. She also shares numerous tips for all areas of the budget to save money.
The Automatic Millionaire
If you want to know more about automating your finances, how and why you should, The Automatic Millionaire is a wonderful read.
Life Admin Hacks
Not only for your finances but your life in general. Life Admin Hacks will share all the ways to destress your life by streamlining all the general admin tasks that build up.
How do you streamline your finances?
Too often everything in the home falls on the shoulders of the mother. The mental load is huge and expectations are high. Mothers now are expected to work as if they don’t have kids and raise kids as if they don’t work.
Research shows a woman’s workload increases when she gets married. Even more once kids are involved. The amount of us that are doing almost everything at home, working full time, doing most of the child things plus all the paperwork and mental load things is huge. Burn out is real and this is why.
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What is Insourcing?
Insourcing is getting others who live with you to do things. In our home, we are of the view that we all live here so we all need to pitch in. This means we take turns cooking dinner, my kids pack their own lunches, whoever cooks dinner doesn’t have to clean, laundry is alternated etc.
Although there have been many times where it slips, for the most part, having this approach means the actual chores within the home are shared. The mental load is another thing though.
How do you get Everyone Else at Home to Help More?
The younger you start, the easier it is. As soon as my kids show any interest in any house chore I was doing, I involved them, even though it meant the task took longer.
Some examples, as soon as my son could walk, he wanted to help his older siblings take the rubbish out, he wanted to help load the washing machine and push the buttons. By encouraging this, I know he will turn out the same as his older siblings.
His older siblings are 13 and 15, they each cook 2 nights a week, clean the kitchen after dinner, take the rubbish and recycling out. Once a week other chores such as the bathrooms, floors etc are rotated and they do these. We all live here so we all help and they don’t complain, they just do it.
Involve your kids! It can be a pain in the beginning, messier and slower but it is worth it. My kids have been capable of everything including cooking dinner since age 7. My nieces and nephews are the same.
At one point, things slacked off at home. My son was a few months old, I was the only one providing financially, we were trying to get a residency visa, did a 3 week road trip in the middle of Covid to get all our stuff from another state (Noosa to Melbourne and back) and so people could meet my son.
I ended up doing everything and I was exhausted. So much paperwork for the birth of our son, registering Mr Aspiring Millionaire, the visa, Medicare, tax, stuff with the teens. It broke me.
Enter Fair Play, a deck of cards that really helps show just how much each person is doing, the mental load we carry etc. There is a book and cards. Both are so useful in visually showing and getting everyone in the family to see what the reality is when it comes to who does what and how much needs to be done.
Life Admin Hacks
If there was ever a book that would save you time and money by helping you organise everything from doctor appointments to tax, this is it. Life Admin Hacks covers every aspect of your life and budget, and provides you with resources and systems to streamline it and make your life easier.
It is a must-read book for everyone.
This was a game-changer in our house. While my family has been pretty good with splitting chores, no one really understood how much was required to run the home and our lives efficiently.
Once I set up a family calendar and started putting things in, time blocking and allocating what needs to be done, they realised how much I did. Every appointment and task from car maintenance to the dentist was put in.
A family calendar also helps everyone see if there is time to go to a friends or accept an invitation etc. We know what we are all doing and when so nothing is double booked or forgotten.
We shop once a week and plan our meals around what is in season and on sale at the market. Before we shop, I cook what we have left or organise it into things so nothing gets wasted. For example, any vegetables that are too soft will be used in a soup or spaghetti bolognese or similar.
The foods made from what’s left at the end of the week are typically meals we can freeze to use on a night we don’t feel like cooking. It prevents us from getting takeaway on those nights and prevents general waste.
A meal plan makes it easy for the kids to know what they are cooking and when. It also enables us to teach them more recipes and for them to make decisions about what they want to cook or learn to cook.
This one is still a juggle and a work in progress. As most of my work has always been done around the kids, it was taken for granted that I would do the bulk of the childcare. However, with a toddler and a baby, Mr Aspiring Millionaire working long hours and sometimes away overnight, it got tricky.
With no childcare available, we had to work out options and routines to make this work better until the youngest two get into childcare or we get a nanny. Otherwise, I won’t be able to work much at all and all our goals will be on hold.
The way we’ve ‘insourced’ childcare, for now, is the kids all play together at times. Our toddler thinks he is one of the teens anyway and they love teaching him things. Then on weekends or if Mr Aspiring Millionaire finishes early, he looks after them for set times then so I can work.
Our main reasons for doing it this way until we can get childcare is so I can still have an income, the kids are all close and the older ones do not feel like permanent babysitters. It’s important to us that it is play, not constant childcare when they are with their younger siblings.
With the rest of the chores such as washing, sweeping, mopping, the bathrooms, ironining etc. I do some during the week, around the younger two. The older two chose their chores and we aim to do all the big chores on one day so it doesn’t feel like constant work.
Since we all live here, we all help. By having that attitude and the kids being raised that way, insourcing this has been relatively easy.
What and How do you Insource?