• Life Lessons,  Motivation

    How to Upgrade Your Life on a Budget

    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.

  • Life Lessons

    How to Streamline Your Finances

    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
    Savings 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. 

    5. Automate

    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.

    Profit First

    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? 

  • Culture,  Save Money

    What is Insourcing and Why You Need to do it aka How to get Everyone to Help at Home

    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.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

    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.

    Fair Play

    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.

    Family Calendar

    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.

    Meal Plan

    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.

    Childcare

    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.

    Chores

    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?

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  • Life Lessons,  Motivation

    How to Achieve BIG Financial Goals

    Whether that goal is a new car, saving for a house or maybe something smaller such as dental work or a PlayStation, what you need to do to achieve it is similar.

    1. Set an Achievable Goal

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is setting unrealistic goals. If your goal is a new car, decide the type of car you want and can afford, work out the budget and whether you will save or get a loan for it. 

    We might want a brand new Landcruiser but if you’re on the average Australian wage, a brand new one is probably unrealistic for now. A more realistic goal would be either an older model or a different type of car. 

    As an example, we need a 7 seater car. After reviewing our options we’ve decided on a Hyundai Sante Fe. Our budget is up to $30,000. 

    Knowing what we want in a car made it easy to eliminate many others and not get distracted by others, as well as makes it easy to set a realistic goal.

    2. Create a Realistic Plan

    Once you decide what you want, how will you make it happen? 

    For the car example above, we were considering finance but instead have challenged ourselves to make and save as much extra cash as possible by the end of the year. We’ve done this before with huge success, resulting in $30,000 within a few months for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s commercial diving course.

    Maybe you are saving for a house deposit? If so, you need to work out how much you need, create a budget and saving plan then look at ways to make more to achieve what you want. 

    3. Break your Goal into Easy Steps 

    The simpler you make your goal and plan to achieve it, the more likely you are to make it happen. 

    As mentioned, with the house deposit, you need your budget and a saving plan but you can make even smaller steps. Save bundles e.g. $1,000 as your steps. Get a graph to colour in to keep it visual and to keep you motivated then work out how you can make it happen.

    I like to start with breaking it into small steps and setting it as a savings goal, then I take it a step further by looking at every possible way to make more money to put towards the goal too. Check out 22 ways to make money in 2022 for ideas.

    4. Look for Opportunities

    You’ve got your goal and a plan but that doesn’t mean things will go smoothly or that it’s the only way to achieve your goal.

    For example, I needed a new MacBook and had started saving for it while using my eldest child’s laptop. I planned on having it by the end of September.

    Well, as I had made this known to a few people, recently, someone surprised me by giving me a brand new MacBook! My goal was achieved in a completely different way from what I expected.

    Another example, I wanted a holiday and was offered one in exchange for doing some social media for a tourism company.

    Be open to opportunities and think outside the box. Your plan is definitely what you should do but be open to opportunities.

    Ms Aspiring Millionaire getting paid to holiday in Fiji!

    5. Work on it Daily 

    Small, consistent changes will make a huge difference over time. Too often we view our big goals as unachievable or we pin our hopes on winning the lotto instead of taking small steps every day.

    I wrote about how small changes can make a big difference, including 10 examples of habits to change. By actively working on your goal a little bit every day, you are making progress. That daily action takes you one step closer to your goal.

    6. Make It Visual

    Create a vision board of your goals, write them in permanent marker on your mirrors, add inspirational quotes. Change your passwords to be connected to your goal so when you use them you get reminded.

    Make digital images related to your goal to use as screensavers and backdrops. Do what you can to make your goal front and centre. Doing this will make your subconscious brain work towards achieving it even faster and often in ways you might not have considered.

    When my goals are right in front of me and I am working on them daily, they become much easier.

    What Big Goals are you Working on?

    Ms Aspiring Millionaire reading poolside in the Solomon Islands while Mr Aspiring Millionaire (not pictured) is with friends, while both being paid to be there.

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  • Book Review

    Life Admin Hacks: Book Review

    How to Save Time, Money and Energy Simplifying Life Admin

    Most families are overwhelmed with the amount of life admin we all have. Bills, appointments, activities, birthdays, car maintenance and so on. The list of what needs to be done and when is long. This is where Life Admin Hacks can help. 

    Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

    While deciding on books to read to improve my life, I saw Life Admin Hacks and was curious how much time, money and mental headspace it could save me. Reading it, I already did some things but there was definitely room for improvement in our home. 

    Life Admin Hacks Overview

    A step by step guide to save time and money, reduce the mental load and streamline your life, Life Admin Hacks is a great read for anyone. Each chapter outlines steps to take to drastically change your life admin. 

    What is Life Admin?

    All those tasks that have to be done from booking the dentist to doing your tax. Our lives are full of tasks and many of these we try to squeeze in between everything or we expect to be able to remember it all, which simply is not possible. 

    Sometimes a calendar will be up in the house but most of us don’t use it properly plus that relies on the whole family reading it. More often than not, all these little tasks get dumped on mum. 

    Random reminder emails, text messages, mail, all of it has to be sorted, paid for, booked in and remembered. With so much happening, it can be easy to miss things which can cost you money. Trying to juggle it all is stressful and costs us time.

    What Does Life Admin Hacks Cover?

    I was genuinely amazed at how thorough they are in Life Admin Hacks covering everything from doctors appointments through to Christmas. Every area of your budget, every area of your life you have to make a decision for, it is all covered.

    Each chapter covers a section, outlines what to do and has a guide about how much time/money etc it will save you. Plus at the end of the chapter there is a handy SOS list with the steps of what to do in a short format.

    Life Admin Hacks is the sort of book that is easy to read and easy to implement. Make sure you take the time to do each thing as you read about it or you will forget.

    As such, this is the sort of book you need to dedicate time for. Even 10 minutes at a time will often be enough to read the chapter and implement at least some of the tips immediately to make your life run smoother.

    What did I Implement from Life Admin Hacks?

    With 4 kids, our life can be hectic and it is always left to me to book everything, do the budget, organise our lives etc. It gets exhausting especially as I also do the bulk of the childcare, run a business and do other things. 

    As I said, some of it I already did but it was good to get a reminder and the other tips were great to implement. 

    Digital Calendar

    I semi did this for a few years but no one else used it properly and I didn’t always remember to add everything in. By scheduling things in properly and reminding the family to use it, admin tasks got a lost easier. 

    Form Data List

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. All those details we get asked for forms in one place makes forms so much easier to do. When I was processing Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s residency visa I had a few files like this as there was so much we had to do that felt repetitive. 

    It was fantastic having a file with all the details from our passports, licences and qualifications through to tax file numbers and more. Every time I had to complete a form or do a call it was all easy to find. 

    For some reason, even though I did it for the visa, I didn’t think to apply it to the rest of my life. Now I have, it has reduced a lot of the time I wasted looking for these details. 

    Book Everything In Advance

    I used to do this for everything from my standing beautician appointment to my car service. Every time I did one appointment, I booked the next. In the case of monthly appointments such as my beautician, I’d book the year in advance because I liked my beautician. Occasionally I had to reschedule but that was rare.

    With the car service, I’d book for 6 months so I knew it would be taken care of. Also, with my driving, road trips and things, I usually did 10,000kms in that time.

    Having these appointments locked in made it easy to budget and I didn’t have to remember to book them as they were done ahead of time.

    Time Blocking

    Years ago, when it was my older two kids and I, time blocking was my friend. Monday to Friday when they were at school, I had coffee with a friend every morning then worked the rest of the day. Saturdays was cleaning, yardwork etc. Sundays I cooked, a lot. I made muffins for school lunches and used up whatever we had to make things such as soup for the freezer on those nights I didn’t want to cook.

    Monday, Wednesday and Friday I had gym or dance class. Once a month I went to the beautician. Every morning I had 2 hours blocked to meditate, journal, get ready etc. Basically, do my billionaire morning routine with 1 hour of it being yoga and meditation.

    Once we started travelling full time then when I got pregnant with my son and soon after another daughter, things changed. My time blocking disappeared completely.

    Bringing it back has been amazing. Sunday nights we have an abundance meeting (budget meeting), Monday mornings I dedicate an hour to any and all paperwork, phone calls, booking appointments etc.

    These two changes alone have been amazing. Everything else, such as my work, beauty routine etc has to be juggled around the kids, their activities and nap time right now. That will change once I have a 7 seater car and some childcare.

    Is Life Admin Hacks Worth it?

    Honestly, I didn’t think I would learn much but now, I think everyone needs to read and apply all of it. It’s THE best guide you can find to streamline your life, gain back hours of your time and be more organised. Reduce your mental load and spend more time focused on things you enjoy by reading and applying Life Admin Hacks.

    Not a lot of books make my “must read” list. Life Admin Hacks is one I will be recommending to everyone.

  • $2 to $1,000,000 Updates

    $2 to Millionaire: Step 9 Turning $1,920 into $3,840

    How to Double Your Money

    I have been slow with doubling my money lately due to having my fourth child in February, birth complications then moving house. It’s been at the back of my mind though, as have a few opportunities that have come up.

    To recap, I started with reselling things and still do that a little. I’ve also done an eBook, crypto, invested in myself, sold a website and trialled a business overseas. You can find all the things I have done with my $2 to millionaire journey here.

    How I Turned $1,920 into $3,840

    I did this a while back but hadn’t posted about it yet. In our family there are a few cultures and different expectations with money. Because of this, one side expects money to be sent home and help with money as needed.

    Earlier this year, a car used for work for a family member in Vanuatu broke down and a few other things needed replacing. Because of this challenge, we sent the money immediately along with some other items they needed.

    With this and some other things we were doing over there, we were able to increase the family income back in Vanuatu, thus reducing what we need/are asked to send. Half of the money coming in from one of the things we contributed to is being put into an account there for us to use to develop some land later.

    Plus, during this process, our family were getting one of our properties surveyed for development and we were offered the opportunity to secure more land next to it.

    This is a huge opportunity as it is extremely cheap for us compared to others (cultural reasons) but it doubles our development potential for this block. We are so excited to be going forward with this.

    Breaking It Down

    This might be a little confusing so I will try to break it down into steps to make it easier to understand.

    1. $1,920 in money and goods was sent back to Vanuatu.
    2. We have not had to send money in months, their income has increase and we have secured the option to buy more land for an extremely low price.
    3. The money saved we did not need to send and money set aside for us is the $3,840. While the increased income and cheap land is a bonus.
    4. Being able to do this, pay for things as needed and secure more land has a flow on effect of adding credibility to our future plans and land opportunities too. Meaning, this is the first step in a much bigger plan.

    Once all the paperwork is finalised, this land is another long term stream of income for us as a result of this challenge. The payment for the land and the rent from that will be included in a future step once it is finalised as the payment is separate to this.

    Some of our family and their cars on beachfront land owned by family in Vanuatu

    How Can Others Replicate This

    This step in my doubling my money challenge is different to most and might not feel like something anyone can do. The point of the challenge is to find opportunities and creating multiple income streams.

    Anyone can keep their eyes open for opportunities and act when they arrive. Look around you, join business groups and be open to opportunities. It isn’t always as straight forward as you might think.

    Think outside the box. Too often we look in our local area only but there are properties and opportunities everywhere. Most of what we do for side income and opportunities to make money aside from our salaries is not local.

    Also, in my experience, whenever I help others, it comes back to me in many ways. I’ve had incredible opportunities, made significant money and wonderful connections through charity work and other things I’ve done. It’s not the reason I did charity work or help others when I can though. Always be kind and help where you can because you want to not because you want benefits.

    What’s Next?

    We are making the arrangements to finalise the purchase of the extra land and will be going over once we get our kids passports. During this trip there could be some more opportunities so we are being open minded about things that come up.

    You can see more when we share it on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Uncategorized

    Why we Moved to a Bigger House When the Cost of Living is Going up

    For many, moving to a larger, more expensive home when the cost of living is constantly increasing might not seem smart. Here is why we did it and how we made the move easier.

    Moving With 4 Kids

    Firstly, moving with 4 kids is full on. Fortunately, the older two are teenagers so can pack their own rooms and help a little. However, with this move, Mr Aspiring Millionaire was working in another state so Ms Aspiring Millionaire (me) did it all.

    Cleaning, sorting, listing things for sale, packing the house while juggling work and the 4 kids including the toddler (18months) and baby (4months) with their check ups and vaccinations thrown in. Plus assisting the older kids still with sports, music, engineering, jobs and all the other things they do and represent the school in.

    It was intense, exhausting, overwhelming and not something we’d do again. In fact, the hope is we do not move until we buy here in Australia (properties we own are overseas).

    Why Move to a Bigger House Right Now?

    Living with 4 kids in a tiny loft style townhouse is not doable for long. The home we were in was in our ideal location, perfect for the time we needed it but it has no backyard and the toddler has taken to daredevil stunts everywhere.

    It was no longer safe with him and we couldn’t make suitable adjustments. Our lease was up and we always knew at the end of this lease, we would be moving.

    We spent 2 years in that home, had 2 babies there, Mr Aspiring Millionaire finished his commercial diving qualifications after getting residency etc. By living in a tiny place with super cheap rent for the area we were able top achieve other goals.

    With those things achieved, it was time to move.

    Our Home Requirements

    When looking, we had a list of what we wanted including a minimum of 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large backyard, under a specific amount per week and within 1km of the school, shops etc.

    After months of looking, we secured the home we really wanted. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the right one for us and we were approved the day after we applied.

    Given the current rental market, we were shocked since so many get rejected repeatedly, for months before securing a property. For us, we had applied for a few others and did get a few rejections, some were for sale at the same time and sold hence the rejection. Overall, we felt confident we would secure the right property at the right time and we did.

    We Need an Office

    One of the biggest needs was an office. With studying and working from home, having a space where we can go to focus has been on the list of requirements for a while.

    Previously, having an office made work a lot easier, faster and more lucrative for me. We did what we needed to recently but now the time has come for a proper home office set up again and we know it will have a significant impact on our income.

    Moving and Setting up on a Budget

    It is amazing what you can get for free or super cheap. Our home came with the type of fridge we wanted, already plumbed in. Plus a spare fridge, chest freezer, lawn mower and a pool table.

    Since we are moving from such a small home to a large one, we needed to move some of our belongings and buy more. We sold off probably half our items because when we looked on Facebook Martketplace, they were easy and often free to replace instead of move.

    The main things we wanted to keep were our mattresses, memory items, all the kids things and a few items of furniture. After getting a few quotes from removalists, the price for moving our belongings was about the price of one of our mattresses, so completely worth it.

    Buying/picking up things on Facebook means we have almost everything we want for next to nothing. The only thing I was adamant about buying new was the washing machine. I had such issues with the one we had that was second hand, I wanted a new one. Plus a bigger one due to the size of the family now.

    Tips for Moving Frugally

    Get quotes from removalists. You might be surprised how cheap it can be. Take into account the cost of your time to pack a truck, drive it to the location, unpack etc. Not just the cost of hiring the truck or trailer to move your things.

    Consider if you really need to move everything you own. Sell off anything you can, especially those things you have not used in ages.

    Take the time to compare all your services when connecting and disconnecting. Some companies offer amazing sign up deals, others will offer bonuses to stay with them when you move.

    Budget for more than you think you need to. Connection and disconnection fees, food because you are likely to spend more while doing this, insurance, bond cleaners etc. The list is long

    Clean yourself if you can. Not all real estates allow this, however, my cleaning has always been better than any bond clean I have paid for. This time I had to pay for a bond cleaner and used one with excellent reviews. However, they didn’t do it properly so had to go back which is the first time I have ever had that issue.

  • Life Lessons

    What to do When Things go Wrong with Business or Money

    3 Tips for What to do When Things go Wrong with Business or Money

    As amazing as it would be for every investment, every decision about business or money, to go well, the fact is, it doesn’t. That’s simply not how life works. All investments have elements of risk, no matter how solid they seem.

    I recently shared about a business that was step 8 of my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge. While it seemed easy and the first part went well, continuing it has been a nightmare. To the point where I will only continue with 1 person for the foreseeable future.

    On the upside, we learned a lot, me especially. Even though some of what I learned I already knew but for some reason didn’t apply my knowledge here. Lessons about money and business are priceless. Even better when you learn them without severe consequences.

    Disclosure: We are not financial advisors, seek your own professional advice for your circumstances. This is our experience. This post may contain affiliate links for products or services we use. Read our full disclosure.

    1. Get Professional Advice

    One would hope you got the advice of a lawyer, accountant, financial advisor and other necessary professionals before starting any business or investing. The fact is, many people don’t, they just leap headfirst into either a business or investing. And then they run into trouble.

    With our recent business venture, it was an experiment and since we were unsure how it would go, we did not invest in professional advice. We planned to if it went well and we wanted to continue. However, when I launched a marketing company years ago, I absolutely had a full team with a lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, financial advisor, insurance broker, mentors, all of it.

    Whatever is happening with money or business, get help from the experts when you need it. Recognising this sooner rather than later will save you significant money as well as time.

    Whether that’s solidifying your business team of experts or getting financial advise from a professional, it’s necessary.

    This also includes tax advice for your personal and business ventures so you know what you can and can’t claim, what to keep track of and how best to move forward.

    For businesses, it also includes marketing experts. You cannot be an expert in everything. Marketing is huge now from digital to print, PR and everything in between. Get a few experts or an agency to help with this.

    How do you Know Which Professionals you Need?

    The professionals you need will vary depending on what you are doing. Above were some examples but do your own research.

    For business, generally, a business lawyer, an insurance broker, accountant, bookkeeper, someone for marketing or do some courses and a coach or mentor are a great start. You want to know your business has all the legal bases covered, finances are essential to have accurate and insurance. No one will know about your business if you are marketing it and you need someone to give advice and guide you to success.

    With personal finances, at the very least, speak with an accountant for your specific situation to ensure at a minimum you are maximising tax benefits. A financial advisor can be good, do not rely on social media tips but do take time to read, learn and teach yourself about money too.

    2. Do More Research

    Knowledge is power. Learn what you can and research what you can to gain knowledge.

    If it’s a business you need help with, do market research to find out what you need to do, whether it is worth it etc.

    For your own personal finance, there are numerous books, podcasts, groups and more as well as the professionals mentioned in tip 1.

    With all the research though, have clear goals and set time to actually do it. Know the areas you need help with and start there. Then implement what you learn. It’s no good doing a load of theory without putting it into practice.

    3. Know When to Walk Away

    Not everything goes to plan or is successful. Sometimes, you need to cut your losses and walk away. Yes, it can pay off to be persistent, stick with things and do everything you can, as we see so often on social media and with the huge success stories

    What we see less of are the more common stories. The stories where people lose everything and wish they had cut their losses sooner.

    Always be realistic, try to see things factually instead of emotionally and don’t try to regain your loss. Throwing good money after bad is not a smart idea.

    Knowing when to do this can be the tricky part. This is why tip number 1, get professional advice is so important.

  • FIRE Careers,  FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early

    How to Become a Freelance Writer

    10 Tips for Making 6 Figures as a Freelance Writer

    Our goal is financial independence and to retire early (FIRE). For years, I (Ms Aspiring Millionaire), have done freelance writing which has provided both a great income and incredible experiences. Because of writing, I have been paid to travel, get my diving certifications, do cool experiences with my kids, and publish books and all of it was done around the kids.

    On the site, we will be covering both what we do to make money and other high-income career suggestions to help you achieve financial independence quicker.

    I do a few different things and will cover each in a different article. Mr Aspiring Millionaire recently started working as a commercial diver with a starting wage of $100,000 per year that will go to $3,000+ per day when he does saturation diving.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services we use.

    Woman writing on laptop and drinking coffee

    What is a Freelance Writer?

    A freelance writer is a self-employed writer who writes things such as articles, social media content, website content and similar. Basically, anything you see written can be done by either an employed content producer or a freelance writer.

    Freelance writers need to register their business, invoice, and manage their accounting, tax, insurance, and everything as it is a business.

    How much do Freelance Writers Make?

    The income varies greatly depending on the writer’s experience, qualifications, who they are writing for, what they are writing about and where they are from.

    Many in developing countries charge significantly less than those in Australia, the UK and USA. However, since they are not typically native English speakers, the writing is not of the same quality or usability as native English speakers.

    Those in the UK, USA, Australia and similar countries charge more. Any content (articles etc) that are research-heavy or requires skills such as SEO or qualifications such as legal or medical writing will all attract a higher rate too.

    Making 6 figures as a writer is doable and common among the writers I know. When you start out you might not make that but as you build your portfolio and network, it becomes easier.

    My usual income per article is anywhere from $250 for an article I can quickly write without research through to over $1,000 for research-heavy articles. Clients on retainer or who batch purchase articles get a discount.

    Most work I see on other sites, Facebook and similar is 10c a word or more. Anything below that is not worth it at all.

    How do you Become a Freelance Writer?

    If you have great English skills and an eye for detail, you can do it. Writing takes practice and I recommend everyone do a writing course. Writing courses such as Earn More Writing help you become a freelance writer and teach you all about the marketing and business side of it all to get you to 6 figures too.

    For me, I started with blogging, landed a book contract with Wiley within a year then immediately had websites pitching to me to write for them. As such, even now, I don’t pitch much. Magazines and websites usually come to me.

    I am in writing groups, am a member of some writing associations and have a portfolio to as all of these places provide opportunities.

    How do I get Paid to Travel as a Freelance Writer?

    I started with blogging and writing about finance then tourism boards asked me to do trips and write content for other websites and magazines. Instead of being a journalist for one magazine or an influencer with a travel website, I had writing and marketing to provide.

    My trips usually resulted in fully paid trips, articles I was paid to write, and sometimes being paid to do marketing strategies or the content for websites as well. Plus I often picked up more clients on those trips.

    As such, I wasn’t solely a freelance writer, I was a tourism marketer and could offer complete packages. Especially when Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I did things together as he is a photographer. We share our travels and work for this on Blended Nomads and on my site Kylie Travers.

    Top Tips for Freelance Writers

    Image of desk with a laptop and chair.

    I’ve been paid to write for over 10 years now and love that it is so flexible. The opportunities as well as the income as been great. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer but was advised not to as you can’t make money. How times have changed! Writing is a viable career now, especially if you know what you are doing.

    Do A Course

    If you are serious about making a career in writing and earning 6 figures, do a course. As mentioned, Earn More Writing is the course I recommend for freelance writers.

    There is so much more to this career than just writing. You need to know about marketing, networking, where to get work, how much to charge, how to increase your rates and more. Invest in yourself by investing in Earn More Writing.

    Submit Ahead of Deadlines

    When you get a gig, complete it with plenty of time to spare. Submitting something right on the deadline is allowed but also cuts it fine for everyone. Every editor I have worked with loves it when I submit my work early.

    It gives them time to look it over, edit if necessary or ask me to make changes (rare) so they can send it off to be published on time.

    When you are submitting your work right on the deadline, while technically you are withing the guidelines the editor wanted, it makes you the same as everyone. Submitting early is one way to be easier to work with and get offered more work.

    Learn About Where you are Pitching

    Before pitching an article anywhere, check the place you are pitching. Make sure they haven’t done something on that exact topic already, have a point of difference but ensure it matches the place you are pitching and follow their procedures.

    With a little research, you can find out the best way to pitch according to their guidelines instead of pitching blindly. Adhering to their guidelines increases your chances of success with placing the article.

    Network

    All occupations require networking. New gigs, meeting the right people, being recommended to others and all sorts of opportunities come from networking.

    This doesn’t mean you have to go to networking events specifically, although they can be great. It includes Facebook groups, Twitter chats and similar as well as carrying cards everywhere you go and not being afraid to let people know what you do.

    Have a Contract

    When you do start working, always have a contract. This is covered in the courses usually as it is essential to protect you and them. Know exactly what you are writing, how long it needs to be, how many edits are allowed, when it is due and payment terms.

    Include a kill fee, meaning a fee you will be paid even if they choose not to publish. Know when payment will be made and how so you can plan accordingly as well as follow it up if you’re not paid. Have clear terms and conditions for everything, including a deposit of 50% of full payment upfront and consequences for non-payment if you choose not to have it paid in full upfront.

    Read and Write

    The more you read and write the better you get. I aim to read at least one book a week and I am writing every day for work. When I look back at the early articles I wrote for various places I cringe.

    Firstly, it was different back then and secondly because it seems so immature compared to my writing now.

    The more I write, the faster I get and the easier it is. Practice as often as you can, and write about topics that interest you even before having somewhere to place them. Get involved in language through reading and writing to improve your skills.

    When you are constantly working on your skills, you get better and can charge a higher rate as well as get more work because of the quality of your work.

    Ask me anything about writing below.

  • Make Money

    How to Create Multiple Income Streams and Why You Need Them

    How to Create Multiple Income Streams and 8 Income Stream Ideas

    Life is no longer as easy as going to university, getting a job then retiring. Chances are, if you do go to university, you’ll leave with significant debt and it can be hard to get a job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, it simply means make sure you have other options too.

    It’s becoming increasingly common for people to do university, trade or other career and have a business or side hustles at the same time. The cost of living has risen so much, that most people feel they have no choice but to have multiple streams of income.

    In our view, having multiple streams of income helps buffer you against adversity. If one income drops or you lose your job or anything along those lines, the other incomes help pull you through. Plus, why not make extra money with little to no effort if you can?

    Disclosure, this post may contain affiliate links for products and services we use.

    How to Create Multiple Streams of Income

    We jump on any opportunity that can make us extra money without taking time away from our family or using a lot of time. With a clear view of the life we want, it’s been easy to see what works for us and say yes to the right opportunities, as well as no to the ones that don’t match our lifestyle.

    Decide what you want to do, be open to ideas and experiment. That’s how simple it can be. Always do your research though and know what you are getting into.

    As an example, Mr Aspiring Millionaire wanted to be a commercial diver from the moment he started diving years ago. For many, commercial diving is not a career they would choose due to the hours and risk.

    Currently, he has done his third certification and has to work in the industry for a while before he can move to saturation diving. Saturation diving is the offshore oil rig style work. 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off.

    For us, that is great as the pay is high and when he has 4 weeks off, we can travel anywhere as a family.

    I, (Ms Aspiring Millionaire) have multiple streams of income which are predominantly online. As such, we have great incomes, the flexibility we want and one parent available for the kids at all times. With 5 kids, that’s important to us.

    Why Have Multiple Income Streams

    Relying on one income means if you lose that income e.g. get fired, you have no other money coming it. Multiple streams of income protect you against this plus they help you save and invest faster. If you are aiming for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) like we are, multiple streams of income enable you to get there faster.

    Wealthy people all have more than one income stream but they aren’t working for all of them. Owning businesses, investing, creating passive income streams is the aim. You can check out 10 passive income ideas here.

    Income Stream Ideas

    Here are some income streams you might want to include. Adding an income stream doesn’t always mean more time and effort put into something. Some of them can be pretty simple.

    Careers/Occupations

    The first obvious income stream for most is your chosen career, occupation or any form of employment. When it comes to a career, those pursuing FIRE (financial independence, retire early) typically look for high-income options.

    As mentioned, Mr Aspiring Millionaire is a commercial diver. This is what he chose when we came to Australia and within a few years, he will earn thousands a day. The 3 courses to get to his current level were $25,000 plus accommodation and other expenses.

    Our outlay was $30,000 all up and a few months study. After some experience in the field, he can then do the final level at the same cost of $30,000 for course and accommodation etc. That is when he will do offshore work at a few thousand a day, month on month off.

    For myself, Ms Aspiring Millionaire, I have stuck to more flexible career options including blogging, writing, marketing, CEO of a marketing company, speaking etc. All of it has been done at the same time and around my kids.

    Business

    Even though many small businesses are done as side hustles, there are numerous entrepreneurs and business owners who focus solely on their business. My income has been from my own businesses instead of employment almost my entire working life.

    If you choose to go the business path, ensure you are committed and set it up correctly. Get a lawyer and accountant so it is established legally. Read Profit First to learn a great way to set up your accounting.

    Make sure you have insurance, know what you can and cannot claim on tax, your legal obligations and marketing.

    Owning a business is not an easy taks but as you grow and outsource, it can be a great income. Once you can afford it, if the business is fully outsourced and managed by others, you will have an income stream rather than a job.

    Our Businesses

    With all our businesses and endeavours, the aim is for them to be fully outsourced and we simply collect money. Currently, we have a few small businesses we are growing. We saw some opportunities and took them.

    One of our recent businesses has been quite different for us as it relies so heavily on others from the beginning. Usually, our businesses have been developed by us then outsourced. This one, we couldn’t do without others.

    We have more businesses we want in the future and are currently restructing some of them to free up more of our time and money to invest elsewhere.

    Side Hustles

    Aside from a career and a business, there are numerous things you can do to make money on the side. Part of my challenge to double $2 until it is over $1,000,000 shows what I have done or am doing. Below are a selection of my favourite side hustles that are easy.

    You don’t need thousands to set it up and you don’t need to spend a lot of time doing them.

    Blogging

    There is more to blogging than most assume but it is a business that can be done from anywhere and outsourced quickly if you know what you are doing. I’ve bought and sold websites over the years as well as created then sold my own and still have a portfolio of sites I make money from.

    Read how to make money building and selling websites for more on this.

    Airbnb

    Paula Pant is one of many who use Airbnb with their rentals and make good money. We’ve used Airbnb both as guests and hosts. Being a guest gave us great ideas to improve ourselves as hosts.

    How much you can make from Airbnb depends on the location, condition, what you include and local events. Check out this guide on how to make money with Airbnb.

    Reselling

    My $2 to $1,000,000 started with buying things to resell. It’s been easy to find items under $5 I can resell for $10, $20 or even $100. When I focus on reselling, I can make over $10,000 in a month.

    How to Make Over $10,000 a Month Buying Things to Resell covers what to buy and resell, where to get it, how to photography and list it, postage and other tips. Only $9.95AUD.

    Investing

    More of a long term income plan than a current income option, investing is essential in our view. It requires minimal effort unless you want to research it all. Most choose to invest in indexed funds or similar which is pretty much set and forget instead of investing in individual companies.

    It is lower risk and proivided you don’t freak out when the market ebbs and flows and you are doing it long term, statistically you’ll make money. Get professional advice and learn about your own risk tolerance as well as the risks involved with various investments.

    We have a selection of investments for income in the future and to continue after we pass as well as side hustles for income now.

    Books

    Once written, if you outsource marketing, books can be a great side hustle. Authors don’t typically generate huge income from the book sales themselves, they do provide some income though.

    I get royalties from a book I wrote 10 years ago, as well as income every month from eBooks I’ve written. Audiobooks are another great option. Essentially, you write one book, provide it in a variety of formats and you have 3 income streams from one piece of work.

    How to create eBooks shares my experience and tips.

    Other Side Hustles

    There are so many side hustles available. I wanted to focus on ones that don’t require much effort. However, if you want to check out more side hustles, even if they require your time and effort, there are some great ones in the eBook 99 Side Hustles for Aussies plus most can be done by anyone, not just Aussies. Only $9.95.

    What are you doing to have multiple income streams?