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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
How you can Change Your Life with Small Habit Changes
We have some terrible habits but getting the whole family on board feels impossible. So I, Ms Aspiring Millionaire, decided to do some for myself.
The idea behind Atomic Habits and The Compound Effect is essentially small changes e.g 1% at a time add up. The same as compound interest makes a real difference over time, so do habit changes and they don’t have to be big.
Too often we set out with the greatest intentions, overhaul our whole life, commit to 2 hours a day at the gym then within a few months we fail miserably. Or we pay ourselves last and never save or invest anything.
But if we make a tiny change and build on it over time, eventually, those small changes make a big difference. The small changes are doable. It doesn’t feel like a burden and it can be applied to every area of our lives.
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.
1. Pay Yourself 1%
Generally, it is recommended we save at least 10% of our income, if not more. For many, this feels impossible. But what about 1%? If you’re paid $1,000 a week that means only $10 needs to be transferred to savings.
Surely, if you can live on $1,000 you can learn to live on $990? Transfer that 1% immediately and let it grow. As you get comfortable with that, make it 2% or $20, then 3% or $30. Eventually, you will be saving 10% or more.
I read about this in-depth in Profit First. If you are a business owner, Profit First is a must-read.
We adjust the rest of our lives and budget to that missing money. So pay yourself first.
2. Invest 1%
The same as paying yourself first, invest first. Start with 1% and build from there. You can invest as little as 1% on some platforms. Commit to it and soon you will have a larger portfolio than you could imagine right now.
3. Do 5 Minutes of Exercise
It might not seem like much and it won’t make much of a difference in the beginning but you need to start somewhere. Squeeze 5 minutes of intense cardio in, do 10 squats before your shower or when heating something up in the microwave and you will quickly be doing more exercise than you thought.
Ideally, you’d commit to 30 minutes a day to maintain health but you have to start somewhere. Start with 5 minutes if you need then increase to 10 then 15 and so on until you are doing a full workout you want to do.
4. The 5 Second Rule
Mel Robbins is famous for this. Basically, make a decision and count down to make it happen. Instead of laying in bed all morning, countdown from 5, the same way NASA does then get out of bed! She has a whole book on how this can be applied to your life to snap you out of negative thinking and motivate you to make changes.
5. Ditch the Drinks
Whether it’s alcohol, energy drinks or a daily coffee it adds up. Not only financially but it takes it’s toll on your health too.
Go through your bank account and have a look at how much money you spend on drinks you want to reduce or quit. For me, it was a daily energy drink which is terrible for my health. There is literally nothing good in them but I was addicted hard.
To stop this habit, I decided to start transferring the amount I would have spent on the drink to a special savings account every time I resisted buying it. For a long time, I have wanted to buy a new rowing machine. I’ve never owned one and it is my favourite machine in the gym. Ideally, I’d love to have a full gym set up next year.
Once I started transferring the amounts, it added up quickly. That $2 to $5 here and there was $14 to $50 a week! Since I can’t use a rowing machine for a few more months, this gives me time to change this habit and save enough to get something I really want instead of wasting my money on drinks.
If you struggle with addictions, there is help out there. Support groups, counselling etc. For alcohol, check out Alcoholics Anonymous.
6. Create a Morning Routine
Recently, I tried The Billionaire Morning Routine. As a mother of 4, pregnant, juggling business, real estate, studying and doing it on my own while Mr Aspiring Millionaire is in another state studying, it was a little tricky some mornings. However, it taught me a lot.
I used to always have a morning routine and it is recommended by every successful person I know. Getting up at 5am is working well for me. Getting time before the kids get up, doing some yoga, having my vitamins and smoothie, journalling and prepping for the day sets my whole day up.
With time to myself and some organisation, my whole day goes smoother, I am calmer and much more productive.
Check out The Miracle Morning for tips on your morning routine.
7. Get up Earlier
I used to sleep as long as I could because I struggled to get to sleep. A few habit changes and now I rise at 5am before my kids wake at 7am and it is amazing.
Start with getting up 5 minutes earlier and going to bed 5 minutes earlier if you have to.
8. Night Routine
Set up a night routine for success. Switch off devices 1 to 2 hours before bed and do not keep them in your room. Read, shower, brush your teeth and wind down so when you go to bed, you are ready.
I also like to do a ‘brain dump’. This includes writing in my journal, listing 3 things I am grateful for and having a list to dump all my thoughts or things I think I need to do. Getting it out of my head makes sleep much easier for me.
9. Set Your Most Important Tasks
I do this at the end of the day to prepare for the next day. Once I have finished any work or study or whatever it is I have done that day, I make my list of the 3 most important things for me to do the next day.
Having them written out gets it out of my head and means when I finish my morning routine, I am straight into the most important tasks for the day, often completing them before my kids are up which makes life so much easier.
Use an app such as Balance to start meditating. I used to think this was one of those things people say they do to sound cool but it really does help. By meditating I sleep better and think clearer. Often, when meditating of a morning, answers I need come to me later that morning because I have had time to slow down, breathe and think.
What are some small habits you could change for success?
Recently I posted about the cultural differences with money since we have 5 cultures in our blended family. We have extremely different expectations placed on us and since sharing more about our money, there were issues.
These issues were so big, I stopped posting out of fear. I withdrew on ALL my platforms out of fear. This happened once before, when going through court for child custody. Anything and everything I wrote my ex and his lawyer tried to use against me in court. It didn’t work but it instilled intense fear.
At the end of July, that fear crept in massively when these issues happened and I stopped everything.
What Happened to Stop me Posting?
I mentioned in the article about our cultural differences with money pressure to provide. There have been issues throughout our relationship where I have been viewed as a bank or simply money instead of a person. It happened again in a big way and I was done.
I pulled back completely. We had a 5-year plan which we made clear and it was not being respected. As a result, it felt as if anything I posted on here was being used against us. Because the people asking DO follow and read this.
We have not spoken since this incident and it has taken me until now to overcome the fear and get back into things.
On top of that, Mr Aspiring Millionaire had to go to another state, our son started teething and not sleeping, work issues happened, the kids had issues at school and our eldest turned 14. So there was a lot on.
But I used all of that as an excuse. The thing holding me back was fear.
How to Overcome Fear
Firstly, you need to recognise that’s what it is. As humans, we are amazing at finding excuses to avoid anything without acknowledging we are actually scared.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” is a quote I have often applied in my life. Along with “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
After acknowledging my fear, I asked myself, what’s the worst that can happen?
These people will keep asking for more money? They will think we are stuck up or holding out? They will place their expectations on us?
None of that really matters to me. Deep down, I do not care what they think. What matters to me is my family and I am sick of trying to please everyone.
So I put my foot down with that. I said no. I made it clear I will not tolerate this attitude and I stepped back.
Take Time For Yourself
Fear is also known as False Evidence Appearing Real. I was scared because I felt that if I kept doing this, they would keep asking and causing issues. Putting pressure on us and never respecting me as a person.
That is a whole lot of “what if” thinking. In reality, no one can make me do anything with my money. They can’t force me to do anything and if they keep asking, I can choose to cut contact. I can hang up the phone, not respond to emails etc. Whatever it is I need to do to protect my sanity.
When you are feeling fear or making a bunch of excuses up to avoid something, ask yourself why? Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? What’s the best that can happen? And what really matters to you?
Take some time out to think and work out what is holding you back and why. Then you can take the next step to overcome it.
Decide What You Want
What do you really want? What’s holding you back? You can think about the worst case scenarios if you want to then problem solve them.
Personally, I tend to dive headfirst into things and go for it instead of thinking of every possible scenario. Too man y scenarios will stop me from taking any action.
If you know what you want, which in the case of this site is to double my money until I am a millionaire and track our net worth, it’s easier to make a plan and stick to it.
When you don’t know what you want, you tend to float aimlessly and it is much harder to overcome fears or money blocks.
Create a Plan
In my situation, I already had a plan. I chickened out on it because of my fears and excuses.
Create a plan with actionable steps. Even if you only take one small step in the right direction each day, it will add up. Without a plan, nothing will happen and you’ll waste a lot of time.
My preference is to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. I like to work on one at a time and do it in a block. Each night I journal how I am going and have a plan for the next day. Being accountable this way helps keep me on track.
Nothing will happen if you don’t take action. A plan is great but without action, it is simply a wish. Commit to taking daily action to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.
As you take action, it builds momentum. Moving in the direction you want to be going will help you stay motivated.
What Changes am I Making?
I stepped right outside my comfort zone by outsourcing more of my business since so much of my time is taken up in my personal life right now. By opting out of communicating with the people causing issues, my stress levels dropped drastically.
I’m focused on the next step of my doubling my money challenge to get to over $1,000,000 and have a better plan for everything.
How do you overcome fear and money blocks?
What I Did to Lose $1,000,000
This is from Ms Aspiring Millionaire and happened before she met Mr Aspiring Millionaire. We all make mistakes, these are some of my big ones!
Back in 2014, I was a CEO and my net worth was over $1,000,000. Owning multiple websites, a marketing business and doing a lot of public speaking, consulting and charity work saw me achieving my goals and in a good financial position. So how did I lose it all and have to start over?
Divorce Crushes Your Finances
In 2013, I got divorced. Australian law means you have to be separated for 12 months and 1 day before you can apply. It was a messy divorce because of domestic abuse, so there was a protection order in place and a lot therapy needed for my daughters and I.
The divorce part was easier because I had a protection order, our daughters lived with me and the judge was satisfied with the arrangements. However, custody was not finalised at the time. Instead, I was advised to hold off on applying for that immediately as even with the abuse, 50/50 care was the most likely outcome.
In 2015, I needed passports and he wouldn’t grant them. Which meant, I had to apply for custody. This was just one part of a few bad decisions and circumstances.
Health Is Everything
In 2015, I became paralysed, had multiple surgeries and in the middle of it all, tested positive for cancer of the bladder. I had polyps removed (and have had a few surgeries for this since then) but all is ok. For 7 months, I had excruciating pain and paralysis on and off making life extremely difficult.
Much of my work was able to be done from home but it suffered. If I spoke at an event (using the prescribed pain killers and nerve blockers), I would be out for 3 days after because of pain and paralysis.
Ill health took a massive toll on my body, along with the expense of custody.
Moving and Trusting the Wrong People
At the end of 2015, my health was improving but my finances were in a terrible state. We moved to Melbourne as my then live in boyfriend got an amazing job. He had been unemployed throughout 2015 so this was huge for him.
He moved a few weeks before us, then right as I was meant to be moving and had sold off everything, made all the arrangements, he decided we couldn’t live with him. With severe mental health issues and addictions (which I was unaware of at the time), he kept changing his mind. I made other accommodation arrangements but we ended up back together.
Trusting him was possibly the stupidest thing I have done and it cost me a fortune. We had gone halves in a car but it was only in his name. He sold it and never gave me my half. Everything about his life was more important to him than the needs/wants of my kids and I.
Despite promises of things being even and him providing more since I had financially provided for us the whole of 2015, he didn’t. We called it quits later but it was a messy, co-dependent relationship. His addiction to alcohol, cocaine usage and anxiety issues were horrendous.
To be clear, he was nice in the beginning and seemed to have it together. He had a great job, nice friends, played sport etc. As time went on, his true personality came out but because I had left an abusive marriage a few years before and my kids were attached to him, I tried to make it work.
When we broke up, I was done with men. I was also financially devastated and still in the middle of the custody battle with my ex husband.
Child Custody is Expensive!
7.5 years after I left, I was finally granted full parental responsibility of my daughters. Meaning, I got full custody and he has no rights. The process has changed now but it was a nightmare. We started in Canberra, then I moved to Melbourne and had to go through it there. In Melbourne, my daughters were selected to go to China with their school (only 12 kids got to go). He still objected so it got more intense.
In the lower courts, a lot of lies were told by him and since we couldn’t subpoena evidence until later, our case was pushed to a higher court. He had my daughters put on the watch list once the courts made him sign for the passports so they still didn’t get to go to China.
I had to get a full psychiatric assessment because he claimed I had mental health issues. That cost thousands, on top of the lawyer fees. Then in the higher courts, I had to have a barrister too. I also had to pay for the court usage since I was the one who applied for custody. Not only did I have to pay for each day in court but all the preparations.
During all of this, he was harassing us again with multiple phone calls and threats. I had to get a new protection order as my daughters and I were scared. A 5 year, super strict protection order was granted. Our judge on the day was amazing. My ex didn’t show so it was granted and she gave us more than I asked for. We were hoping for 1 year.
Because it was now 2019 and I had left him in 2012 which is when the first report of his violence was made, it was classed as long term, ongoing abuse. So the judge gave the maximum protection she could.
Extra Legal Expenses
At this stage, I was emotionally and financially exhausted but things were progressing. We were finally able to subpoena evidence from police in multiple states, child protection, teachers, psychologists and other people who had made reports about my daughters against my ex-husband.
When it all came to the courthouse, a lawyer has to go up and go through it all. I had to pay for that time plus the rest of the preparation time. They had never seen so much evidence and it ALL matched exactly what I had said and the evidence I had outlining times, dates, organisations/people involved etc. During this process, his lawyer sent notice that he no longer represents my ex.
Since he never turned up and his lawyer dropped him, he didn’t have to pay for anything. The court made so many allowances for him then finally, in the higher court, we got a great judge who did not tolerate his games. When he didn’t turn up, the court called him, he said it was all too hard and the court ordered him to come to the next one. If he didn’t, a decision and order would be made without him.
Fortunately, he did not show up. The court appointed children’s lawyer agreed with me and the evidence so I was awarded everything we asked for.
But it cost me everything I had. In the end, I even sold off all my furniture and moved out of our house. We planned on travelling full time once court was done, so I didn’t mind doing this. I also had to borrow tens of thousands of dollars from my parents to complete it. Thankfully, my parents could afford to lend me money when I needed it.
Therapy After Abuse
From 2012, my daughters needed speech therapy which was expensive. But with everything else that happened then and over the next few years, they needed a lot of other therapy and help too. As did I.
At $200 a session for counselling/psychology and $90 a session for speech therapy, it added up fast. In 2013, I paid more a week in speech therapy and psychology than I paid in rent. It was worth it though.
My daughters and I are well adjusted. They are eternally grateful I got them out and got them help so they could process everything.
During the years of abuse and court, my daughters were triggered at times. This meant, with all their needs, I could not work full time in a job. I had to do side hustles or my own business but my time to do it was limited.
From CEO to Freelancer
I sold my company when I was in the bad relationship in Melbourne. He had managed to convince me he was better at everything than I was (despite me speaking internationally and winning awards). I lost all my confidence and had enough.
After that, because of the emotional strain of court, the bad relationship and other issues, I barely coped. Instead, I did what I could as a freelancer, did side hustles and focused on healing my daughters and myself.
What Changed and How I am Changing it with Mr Aspiring Millionaire
With all of that, you can see why I would not want to be in a relationship again. I decided to go for financial independence, travel and have a fun lifestyle with my kids instead. It was fun and my kids loved it. We did it like this for quite some time. Deep down, they both told me they wanted me to be with someone and be happy after they grew up. I was not ready though.
But when Mr Aspiring Millionaire and I met at the end of 2018, the connection was instant and obvious to everyone. I was hesitant, yet despite being in different countries, we got to know each other and it worked.
My work took me back to the Solomon Islands where he was working a few times and after 10 months he quit so we could travel together. We have the same goals, same dreams from childhood regarding finances, investments and lifestyle. I don’t know any couple who matches so perfectly on the big things as we do.
With 4 kids between us, our goal is financial independence as a large family. Not only for us but also our family in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
So basically, I lost my million dollar net worth because of bad decisions with men and ill health. Having the right life partner and being healthy makes a huge difference to mind, body, spirit AND finances. I am so happy to now have a partner who wants the same things in life as I do and is supportive.
In the time we’ve been together, we’ve managed to travel a few countries and a large portion of Australia. We’ve faced bushfires, a cyclone, lock down in another country, repatriation, setting up a new home twice (once overseas and once here). Plus buying a car, visa applications, residency applications and so much more.
Yet, we are currently in a better financial position than either of us could have imagined and have learnt from our mistakes.
What Big Financial Mistakes Have You Made?