This website is a hobby, something I enjoyed doing so isn’t updated regularly. I have been sharing bits and pieces of our multicultural blended family, cultural obligations and turning $2 into $1,000,000.
With 4 kids here, one overseas and other family in Vanuatu, cultural expectations and obligations, health issues along with all the needs of everyone, life has thrown some big lessons our way.
Realistically, some of these lessons I had learned before but apparently needed a refresher.
Here are 9 lessons we learned blending cultures, health issues, kids and everything else.
1. Set Clear Goals Using Systems and Adapt as Needed
The goals we don’t achieve are the ones we don’t have systems for and aren’t 100% clear on. Without a proper plan and system in place, nothing will happen. At that point, goals are just a wish.
When we started this site, we anticipated achieving quite a few things faster than we have. However, not everything had a system created to ensure its success.
On top of that, pregnancy, studies, interstate moves, kids and obligations overseas change everything.
Most of the advice I’ve seen about achieving goals, sticking to things no matter what etc has been from Caucasian men who have wives at home or staff taking care of everything. It’s easier to stick to everything when you don’t have to take care of kids or manage everything in a household.
With 4 kids here, life did not always go as planned.
This means, sometimes goals and systems need to be adapted to work with things around the kids. Or more correctly, my goals have to be as the mother because I am the one with them all the time.
Pregnancies, birth, childcare, healing, school, medical issues, appointments, sports, jobs, all the things kids need fall on me.
Systems had to be changed, timelines for goals extended etc. But overall, the general goals remained and these were discussed with the teenagers so we were all on board.
2. Know Your Values
For us, life is about family, the kids, and ensuring a good lifestyle, amazing memories and that our kids grow up to be strong, independent, confident, successful and healthy.
Leading by example, I live a life where they know they are a priority, as are family experiences, travel, working out, eating well, being honest etc.
When you know what your values are and the life you want, everything else is much easier. Making decisions about what to do, how to spend your time and money become simple because they need to align with your values.
Not living your values is a recipe for disaster and will leave everyone feeling stressed, unfulfilled, disappointed and lost.
Know yourself. Know your values. Know the values of the members of your family. Create a lifestyle where it all works together.
Read this article on working out your values for more information.
3. Learn to Say No
Growing up in a religious home where sacrifice was praised, women were meant to be stay-at-home mums and I was babysitting for free from the age of 12 for single women in the church, I learnt my needs come last.
Living this way cost me dearly and set us up for failure. Constantly saying yes when I felt no, taking on too much, putting everyone else before myself and pushing myself past my breaking point was atrocious for all of us.
Even though I knew I needed to say no, for some reason, with the new babies and everything else that was going on in our lives and the world, I stopped saying it. I took on everything and it ruined me.
Saying no to my kids has been hard but if I didn’t, I would never have healed from my pregnancies or had the time to work.
Cutting toxic people out of my life and putting in clear boundaries has helped my kids and I have a healthier, happier life.
No is a complete sentence. Use it.
4. Cultural Expectations Don’t Need to Dictate Your Life
Australia is a wealthy country, our wages much higher than our family in Vanuatu and as such, expectations have grown significantly.
However, just because they expect something, doesn’t mean we have to provide it. Needing a residency visa, setting up a home, doing the dive course, buying a car, getting dental and other medical work done has all been expensive.
If you have cultural expectations like we do, it’s ok to say I need more time or to say no. Setting up your foundations first is crucial. Constantly giving and supporting them before setting up your own foundations is a recipe for disaster.
We had a lot of pressure, did what we could but I eventually had to re-evaluate things and say no more right now. It did not go down well at first, however, it had to be done.
It’s your life so it’s your choice. My kids come first and our needs here had to be met before I could do any more over there. I wasn’t saying no forever, I was saying not right now.
Doing that, making my boundaries clear, was a game changer and enabled me to focus on my family, my health and goals here in Australia.
5. Australia is Incredibly Wealthy
Despite the numerous interest rate rises, extremely high inflation this year and general cost of living crisis, it is still incredibly wealthy compared to where our family lives.
We knew this before but it has really been drummed into us the past few years with different natural disasters, the ease at which we can access things here in Australia and the cost of things over there.
Anything they need costs them more than it costs us in Australia, yet our wages are significantly higher. Rent, childcare and a few other things cost more here but overall, Australia has much more wealth and it is easier to get wealthy here.
That means, it is difficult at times to navigate the expectations from family overseas and reinforce our boundaries around money.
When we visit, we bring what we can that they request. We send money when we can, pay for Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s daughter to have a private education there that is based on the Australian curriculum etc.
While we are obligated to help in Vanuatu, build things there etc. Overall, we know it is Australia and things here that are going to push us forward in terms of wealth.
6. There are Opportunities to Make Money Everywhere
Yet, despite the wealth in Australia, there are opportunities everywhere. The key is to be prepared. Have your finances and life in order so that when an opportunity arises, you can jump on it.
Recently, my 14 year old had an incredible opportunity that aligned with a few other things we had planned. I can’t share too much but if it does work out how we are hoping, it will completely change our lives.
It was an unexpected opportunity that seemed to come from out of nowhere but we were prepared to act fast.
Similar has happened with property, business and other investments. Keep your eyes open, network, learn, save, be smart with your money and life because you never know what might happen.
7. You can Always Make More Money
Be smart with your money but don’t be a Scrooge. Our view is you can only cut back so far but you can always make more money.
Know where your money is going, cut back on anything you can so you can have a lifestyle you enjoy that is below your means and then focus on making more.
Look at ways to increase your income without much effort such as investing, knowing tax laws, getting a pay rise etc. Check out 9 ways to increase your income for some ideas.
Often the only limit to our earning potential is the one we put on ourselves.
8. Time and Experiences Matter More Than Money
Travel, Friday Family Fun Night, road trips, dinner as a family, going overseas to see family, weekends full of fishing, beach activities, camping, cooking over the fire etc. All of these things matter more to us than money.
Yes, we need money to live and for the lifestyle we have but if it is a choice between sacrificing everything else just to save a few bucks or spending what we can afford to have a great experience with the kids, I am likely to spend.
We have a plan, we invest, we know what we want. Making sure we are connected as a family, teaching our kids, there to support them and living life our way is important too.
When you get to the end of your life, how much money you made won’t matter so much. How you spent your life will.
Some people will argue you need to keep making more to have a happy life. The research shows that simply isn’t true. You need your life needs met, you need to be in control of your money and wise with it. But it is how we spend our time and the relationships in our lives that matter most.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire grew up in one of the least developed countries in the world. We met in a country where a good wage was $5,000 AUD a year. 50 cents an hour was the minimum wage only 2 years ago.
So when we say experiences, relationships and time mean more, it comes from that background, not a wealthy one.
9. Prioritise Health
Over the years, I have faced various health issues. Most recently, the pregnancies were extremely complicated and healing after them has not been easy.
I also didn’t make it a priority. With so much else on from the visa and Mr Aspriing Millionaire being in another state for his course, then his job and then me having another baby plus moving interstate, I put myself last.
Other than going for walks with the babies or time at the beach with all 4 kids, I didn’t seem to have the strength or commitment to do what I needed to heal and get healthy.
As a result, my mental health suffered as well.
Make your health a priority. Dedicate time to exercise, healing, eating right and taking care of your body. You only get one so do everything you can to make it a good one.
What are some lessons you’ve learned recently?
How and What to Outsource to Make More Money
One of the biggest obstacles financially for me has been time. Not enough time, no childcare, and everything falling back on me to manage. With moving house, setting the teens up in new schools, having a toddler and baby etc. It’s a lot.
A few years ago, I made great money, travelled and had a super flexible lifestyle. My teens and I loved it. Then the world changed drastically in 2020, we had some major hurdles with bushfires, a double family death in Vanuatu, getting locked down in the Solomon Islands and needing to set up a home there, hit by a cyclone, repatriated and needing to set up a home again and buy a car.
That was just the first few months of 2020 for us. Then, then 2 back to back complicated pregnancies, a residency visa and studying for Mr Aspiring Millionaire in another state. As I said, everything fell back on me. This greatly impacts my earning capacity and motivation.
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We Can’t Do It All On Our Own
With so much going on, I neglected myself, my career/business, my life, and everything. We had agreed once we moved, the kids would go into childcare, and I’d be able to complete my studies and work.
No childcare was available, no nannies, and no options for months. The waitlist for childcare is 18+ months!
This greatly reduced my capacity to do anything and set me back mentally and emotionally as well. Doing it all on my own was slowly killing me. Plus, it meant I couldn’t do anything about my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge.
Finally, I have made an arrangement and now get time to work, do self-care etc. It wasn’t easy to set up but is essential.
As much as we like to think we can do it all, we can’t. I get called superwoman or supermum a lot. People are amazed at all I do and wonder how I do it.
Yet often, I feel stressed out and like I’m failing because there is too much to do and I feel I am always behind. My goals, needs and wants don’t happen.
Being so busy, having so much on, trying to do everything perfectly myself is no way to live. Something had to give so I made the decision to outsource more.
How Much Can Outsourcing Make You?
How often do we waste our time on things that would be better outsourced? If you can make $50hr doing something you are great at and outsource the little stuff for $25hr, aren’t you better off outsourcing those things so you can focus on income?
The amount you make from outsourcing depends on what you outsource, how you do it and how much you or they make for you during that same time.
Outsourcing has been a struggle for me over the years even though I know I could make more money if I did it more. The desire to be in control of everything as it impacts my reputation is strong. I know if I have a good team, I can make a lot more though.
So both not being able to outsource childcare and being reluctant to outsource too much in business was costing me money.
How to Know What to Outsource in Business
When it comes to business, outsourcing should be easy but for many small business owners, it’s tricky. You have specific skills people are paying for and that is where you make your money. So your time should be spent on those tasks and admin outsourced, right?
How many business owners do you know who waste a lot of their time and energy on the small stuff? I’ve been guilty of this many times.
Write a list of all the tasks involved in your business. Next, you’ll divide the list into tasks that absolutely have to be done by you vs tasks you can outsource.
Then, place them in order of tasks that make you the most money to tasks that make you the least. How much time do you waste on those things that need to be done but don’t need to be done by you? When you could put that time into money-making pursuits only you can do?
Looking at this list can make it easier to know what to outsource first. The more you outsource the more time you can dedicate to those things only you can do and that earn you the most money.
Some tasks you might consider first are bookkeeping, emails, social media, marketing, all the administration tasks, bookings etc. Sometimes when business owners do this, they find the professionals streamline a lot of these processes for them saving even more time and money.
Take the plunge and outsource.
How to Know What to Outsource in your Personal Life
Outsourcing your personal life might sound weird but it is amazing how common it is and how much time it can free up. You already outsource somewhat.
Think about it, you outsource car repairs and maintenance to the mechanic and most families have to outsource some childcare.
Cleaning, gardening, ironing and even booking appointments are common things people outsource. There are personal concierges that will take care of picking up dry cleaning, arranging gifts, booking flights etc.
Decide what you want to outsource and make it happen.
If you want to grow your business or career, consider time vs money when it comes to outsourcing parts of your personal life. It might be quicker, cheaper and easier to have someone clean the house, do the ironing, mow the lawn etc.
How is Outsourcing Quicker, Cheaper and Easier?
Once you have the right people in place to do the tasks you’ve chosen to outsource, it flows easily. You don’t have to think about those tasks anymore. Those parts of your business or personal life get sorted without your effort.
It is often quicker because professionals usually do things faster and better than we do. That’s why they are the professionals getting paid for it. Outsourcing them is often cheaper because if you can do something that earns $50 to $100 an hour (as an example) at the same time you’re paying someone $25 to $45hr to do those tasks, you’re in front. You can earn more in that time than it costs to pay someone to do those tasks.
How to Know What to Outsource First
I outlined one way to decide how to outsource for business above. Write down all the tasks you have to do, split them into groups of things you have to do vs what someone else could do. Then order them from highest earning to lowest earning then choose things to outsource.
When it comes to personal or business, I tend to outsource based on what I hate doing or what I need help with first. Previously, this has been gardening first. I hated mowing the lawns, weeding etc. So it was worth it to me to pay someone to do that.
Childcare is one I have had to do at times but I do try to be there as much as possible for my kids instead of having them in full-time care.
Work out what can be outsourced and what would free up the most time or provide the most value to you if you outsourced it. Not everyone will start with the same things, it is up to you what you outsource, how and when.
What I Outsourced to Increase my Money
Having 2 babies close together (January 2021 and February 2022) meant I did not have the headspace to outsource. During that time we were also focused on getting Mr Aspiring Millionaire his residency visa and commercial diving qualifications so he could work. Then the focus was on moving house and healing from the pregnancies.
Once settled in the new house I did a full evaluation of where my time was getting wasted, costing me money. I also reviewed what was costing me mentally and physically. Too much has been left to me to do by the whole family and I was exhausted in every sense of the word which impacted my capacity to earn an income.
My first step was to sort out the chores and things in our home. I want my kids to have all the life skills I have and more. As such, they’re involved in cooking, cleaning, repairs etc. Once this was more organised (read What is Insourcing and Why You Need to do it to understand it).
Next, I had to outsource childcare a little but that was difficult. Waitlists for childcare centres are 18 months, there are virtually no nannies and even getting a babysitter has proven difficult. I finally got 2 days of care starting February 2023 for my then 2 year old but I still have my almost 1 year old at home.
As such, I had to get creative about childcare. A mix of nannies, seeking out an au pair or even getting a cousin to come over were all considered.
Paying someone I trust to look after my kids so I can work has been huge. It was hard for me to deal with it at first but it needed to be done. Without it, I was never going to progress in my career or achieve the goals we wanted as a family.
Plus, while I do spend most of my time with my kids and they are my priority, I needed the break mentally.
Originally, Mr Aspiring Millionaire was going to be with the kids in the afternoon so I could work. Commercial diving varies a lot though and even though his finish time is 3pm, he rarely finishes then. It’s not like an office job where you can up and leave, it’s underwater welding, construction, repairs etc.
Weekend work is common too, making time for me to work difficult. I have no guaranteed time I can work without finding alternative childcare.
So I worked out a plan with some help at specific times that should free up about 20 hours a week for me. I’ll try it until the end of April and see if it can continue.
This is where I spent the money from my $2 to $1,000,000 challenge. I needed to spend money on childcare to free up my time. I anticipate I’ll double my $3,849 within 1 month with the time I have to focus and do things such as reselling.
3. Admin Tasks
The next step was outsourcing more of my websites. They’ve been my ‘babies’ and I was reluctant to let go as my identity was so entwined. As a result, they have barely been touched the past 2 years while I was off having kids.
Setting up a larger team to do various tasks them has saved me significant time to earn more.
Reviewing my business and seeing where I make the most money and how I can increase that was crucial for this. Once I saw where the bulk of my income is coming from and the things that can only be done by me, I set to outsourcing everything else.
This step alone is set to double my income within a month and freed up so much headspace for me. In fact, I can work less and earn more overall.
4. Some Meals
My kids are more than happy to cook 2 nights a week each and are keen to learn more recipes from me, which we are working on. It was a bit of a juggle, me writing out and teaching recipes to my kids so they could do more, but it was worth it.
They also loved learning from and following HelloFresh recipes. We used HelloFresh a lot when I was pregnant. It was great as they could select the recipes they wanted to cook and hardly needed any instruction or help from me. If you want to try HelloFresh, get a free box here.
Why Didn’t I Outsource Cleaning, Gardening etc.
I want my kids to be good at all these chores so right now, cleaning, gardening and similar tasks are not outsourced in our home. Eventually, they will be or they might be occasionally but overall, I want my kids to still do some chores.
All the kids I grew up with who didn’t have to do any chores were fairly entitled and struggled in adulthood. My aim is to raise confident, intelligent, capable and compassionate adults. To do that, I have to teach them now.
How Did This Increase My Money?
Spending thousands on outsourcing feels weird at first but it was worth it. Outsourcing made me money by enabling me to spend time on the tasks that make me more. Plus, outsourcing to the right people means they increased the business income due to their expertise.
I was able to earn 2 to 3 times what I was paying someone else. Meaning, for every hour of any service I paid for, I was able to earn 3 times what I paid them.
For the things I outsourced in my business, they made double what it cost them to do what they were paid to do. Plus some of my time was freed up not having to do those tasks.
You can’t do everything and trying to do it all costs you time, money and your health. Do a review of your life and business to see what you can outsource to make time for what matters to you.
What Have you or Would you Outsource?
This past year was a mess. That is putting it mildly. We achieved some great things but so much of my life was on hold. No childcare, moving house twice, high achieving kids requiring a lot of my time to get them to and from events etc.
I had no time for myself or for my $2 to $1,000,000 project. With 4 kids here and doing most things on my own, I can barely think.
On top of that, there have been some big changes and issues with some cultural matters. I’ve written before about how we manage our cultural obligations (including sending money back to Vanuatu, planning to support the parents there in retirement etc).
This means it is time to review my goals and cultural obligations.
How to Review Goals
If the goals you set aren’t working for you, it’s ok to change them. It’s also ok to take a break if you need to so you can reset and decide if those goals will truly get you the outcome you want.
My $2 to $1,000,000 goal is mainly a hobby and bit of fun for me. As such, I do it when I can but haven’t focused on it as much as I would have liked.
Some opportunities were suggested that would have worked great with that goal. However, it’s been months and those things still have not happened, so I am moving in another direction with it to ensure I can keep doubling my money.
Making these decisions wasn’t easy. Here is how I reviewed my goals.
1. Look at the Past, Compare the Good and the Bad
Maybe you set a goal and it isn’t moving ahead as fast as you thought or it’s not providing the result you wanted. Look at what has been happening with it, both the good and the bad.
Have you dedicated proper time and resources to the goal to ensure it happens? Was it a realistic goal to begin with? Did you have a proper plan?
What success have you seen on the journey with this goal?
Thoroughly review what you have done and can do to achieve this goal. Be honest with yourself. We often overestimate what we can do in some stages of life and at times we need to adjust our own expectations.
For me, with a baby, a toddler, two teens, doing it pretty much on my own, dealing with other issues in the background plus needing to move house twice this year and having severe health issues due to a traumatic birth means realistically, I couldn’t do my goals.
I achieved numerous other things but in this stage of life, with no childcare or help, I need to be realistic and accept I cannot do the things I wanted to, yet.
2. What End Result do I Want?
While we do need to be resilient and persist so we can grow, it’s also ok to ask yourself if this goal will get the end result you want? When life changes, sometimes goals we set are no longer relevant.
If a goal won’t get you the life and end result you want anymore, and you are being honest with yourself that it truly won’t, it’s ok to change tactics.
How is This Impacting my Family?
Family is my everything so this is something I ask with every decision I make. If my goals detract from my family, cause stress or anything along those lines, it is not worth it to me.
Due to all the other issues this year, my goals needed to take a backseat while I supported my family. Now, moving into 2023 and beyond, I can focus more on myself.
3. How is This Impacting my Mental Health?
If you set goals then beat yourself up because you didn’t achieve them or you feel awful because you can’t achieve what you set out to do, it might be time to re-evaluate your goals and choices.
At times my mental health has suffered because the goals I set were too extreme. This impacts my family as well so is something I need to constantly check.
4. Make Changes
If a goal will still provide an end result that you want but it isn’t working for other reasons, work out what changes you can make so you still achieve it. Sometimes a few tweaks is all that is needed to make it easier or better.
How to Change Cultural Obligations
Let me start by saying, it wasn’t me that lead the decisions on this. Being Caucasian means I haven’t grown up with these expectations placed on me. We tried to make them work but due to various lies and other issues, we are stepping back.
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
You cannot help others if you are struggling or barely breathing. As with emergencies on a plane where you fit the mask on yourself first and then help others, the same can be applied to cultural obligations.
A lot of pressure was put on us to provide financially, for the parents to retire, for us to buy a new car for the family there (we did pay to repair theirs and then a family member messed around with it and completely destroyed the engine).
We keep getting asked to buy a boat and so many other things.
Yet, in the past few years we had to repatriate, set up our home, get residency, a commercial diving course, move states etc. All up, it’s been about $100,000 to get set up here with all of that. On top of regular living expenses.
We did send money back, paid for house repairs, car repairs, new phones, education and more. But we have goals here that aren’t happening because of the pressure and expectations from Vanuatu.
It is ok to put yourself first.
How much more could you do and how much better off would everyone be if you got your own life sorted first? One thing I noticed, with the financial expectations from family is how they expected us to improve their life before even being set up here.
Getting a house here, a second car, childcare and other things mean we can then develop more in Vanuatu. So we have started to say no and set proper boundaries.
Let Them Know
This was hard. Letting them know we won’t buy them a boat, a car, pay for retirement right now or anything else as we have other things we are focusing on was tough.
Not everyone handled it well and there were some things said and done that showed true colours. That also helped solidify our decision though.
Decide how you will let family know things are changing. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail. Set a time to call or if you are going to see them in person, it might be better to do it then.
Outline the changes. Make it clear these boundaries are firm. Then stick to it.
Family will push back and try to guilt you into doing what they want. Stand firm on your boundaries. If you let them keep pushing you around, you will never achieve your financial goals.
As hard as it can be, if they behave this way, you might need to step back for a while. Don’t let them suck you into drama.
Be clear on the life you want, the plan you have for your finances and stick to it.
What tips do you have for reviewing goals and financial obligations?
4 Tips to Afford Cultural Obligations
We shared the difference in finances when it comes to cultures and how we manage it before. Now, we are faced with a big decision due to numerous issues – how to afford cultural and family expectations.
Last year there were funerals and other expenses, the family car in Vanuatu (which is also income) needed significant repairs and we had strong pressure for new phones and other things for the family.
Since we live in Australia, the view from Vanuatu is we are super rich and can afford everything. In some ways, we are a lot wealthier, have higher incomes etc.
But we also have high expenses and it cost us around $100,000 the past few years to repatriate, set up a house, buy a car, retrain for a new job, move to another state etc.
Yet we have been constantly pressured to buy a new bus/van for the family which is about $40,000AUD or $27,000USD. Buy a boat, pay for education, retirement and more.
We have been happy to do what we can but the demands have grown and we have to make some tough decisions. It is at the point where the expectations exceed what we can do and things need to change.
Bells Beach, Australia on a work trip
How to Afford Cultural and Family Expectations
For many of you reading this, I assume you are in a position where you have extra expenses due to culture. Or you are in a relationship where the cultures are clashing with money and expectations. Or something came up suddenly and you now need the cash, fast.
Here are our tips on managing these unexpected expenses and cultural expectations in general.
1. Determine If It Is Essential
Being Caucasian (I, Ms Aspiring Millionaire, am) means so many things can be dismissed. The cultural expectations are not as strong and it is easier in some ways to decline demands.
Mr Aspiring Millionaire is from a rich culture in Vanuatu where certain things CANNOT be ignored or dismissed without causing more issues. Many cultures around the world will understand this.
There have been some things we could ease off on but others need to be adhered to. If you are facing cultural financial expenses, determine if it is truly essential, what the pros and cons are of adhering to it and what you can do.
As an example, we paid for car repairs last year as, without it, his father couldn’t work. But the phones were not essential, we gifted them for Mother’s Day.
The car we have fixed many times on a block of family-owned land in Vanuatu
2. Decide on Your Budget
What the family says you need to spend or send doesn’t matter. How much you contribute is up to you. As an example, recently, family requested $10,000 Vatu (about $120AUD) for a funeral. We sent that immediately, without hesitation.
However, the constant demand for a new bus is not in our budget and not something we are willing to do at this time.
For 2023 and the next few years, we have decided to send a set amount each month. That is it. We won’t be paying for anything extra on top of that.
If we don’t set this boundary, we will never get ahead here. Buying a house and some educational expenses for the oldest two children are top priority instead.
It is ok to set a boundary around the budget and say no to everything else! They might push and try to guilt you but the reality is you cannot help if you aren’t set up.
Set yourself up, follow your own goals and path, while continuing cultural obligations within a budget you determine.
3. Plan It Out
Realistically, everyone needs an emergency fund for unexpected and unavoidable expenses. Those in interracial relationships should also add a category for cultural expenses. We all know they will happen.
Set aside a small part of your budget now so when things come up you have some money at least to manage things. This might be for you to fly back to the country for a funeral or something else. You decide what an emergency covers and how that money will be spent.
Do not let the family know you have this account. Otherwise, there will be an endless stream of ’emergencies’ and you still won’t get ahead.
Create a plan for this account, how you will fund it, how much will go into it and what it will be used for.
A plan is essential because it is too easy to get into debt or take on too much due to cultural pressure. Know your limits, put your immediate family first and plan out what you can and can’t do.
Our neighbours in the Solomon Islands where our kids spent every day until we repatriated mid 2020.
4. Make Money
Chances are you haven’t set aside money up until this point and you are reading this because you are disagreeing over money and cultural matters or you suddenly need to find $10,000 or more.
Be honest with the family, if you don’t have it don’t say you do and don’t go into debt for it. Look at ways to make money but do it quietly. If you happen to make enough and want to send it, you can.
There are many ways you can make money fast. Here are a few we have done:
Buying things to resell has been great for me. Especially rockabilly clothing and collectables. Know what things are worth, where to sell them and be consistent. Check out How to Make Over $10,000 a Month Reselling for exact tips on this.
Renting A Room
If you have a spare room, rent it out. For those renting, check with your landlord first otherwise you might breach your lease and that would leave you homeless. This won’t get you heaps immediately but if you have a month or so to get the money together, you might save $1,000+
Delivering flyers, cleaning, yard work, deliveries etc. There are so many odd jobs available through Facebook groups, apps such as Airtasker and delivery apps too.
If you have the time you might be able to generate an extra $1,000 or more a week with this.
Overtime or a Second Job
Again, this requires time and isn’t always feasible. If you can get overtime at work or you are eligible for a second job, it might be a good option. The consistent income will also help you budget but it can be exhausting juggling two jobs.
How We Afford Cultural and Family Expectations
Previously, we sent money and paid for things as they came up. As of now, that is not happening anymore.
We have decided to focus on our goals here in Australia. Mr Aspiring Millionaire will send a set amount each month to his parents. That’s it.
If we don’t have it here, we aren’t providing it there. By this, I mean we don’t own a house in Australia, so we are not paying for his parents retirement yet. We don’t own new cars so we are not buying them a new car. A boat would be amazing for our lifestyle here and until we have one here, we are not buying one for over there.
Did this ruffle some feathers among family? Absolutely. Do we feel better about our finances and direction? 100%!
Making these changes will see us achieve our goals here faster. This means in the long term, we will be able to provide better over there as well.
How do you manage cultural and family obligations?
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.
At one point, things slacked off at home. My son was a few months old, I was the only one providing financially, we were trying to get a residency visa, did a 3 week road trip in the middle of Covid to get all our stuff from another state (Noosa to Melbourne and back) and so people could meet my son.
I ended up doing everything and I was exhausted. So much paperwork for the birth of our son, registering Mr Aspiring Millionaire, the visa, Medicare, tax, stuff with the teens. It broke me.
Enter Fair Play, a deck of cards that really helps show just how much each person is doing, the mental load we carry etc. There is a book and cards. Both are so useful in visually showing and getting everyone in the family to see what the reality is when it comes to who does what and how much needs to be done.
Life Admin Hacks
If there was ever a book that would save you time and money by helping you organise everything from doctor appointments to tax, this is it. Life Admin Hacks covers every aspect of your life and budget, and provides you with resources and systems to streamline it and make your life easier.
It is a must-read book for everyone.
This was a game-changer in our house. While my family has been pretty good with splitting chores, no one really understood how much was required to run the home and our lives efficiently.
Once I set up a family calendar and started putting things in, time blocking and allocating what needs to be done, they realised how much I did. Every appointment and task from car maintenance to the dentist was put in.
A family calendar also helps everyone see if there is time to go to a friends or accept an invitation etc. We know what we are all doing and when so nothing is double booked or forgotten.
We shop once a week and plan our meals around what is in season and on sale at the market. Before we shop, I cook what we have left or organise it into things so nothing gets wasted. For example, any vegetables that are too soft will be used in a soup or spaghetti bolognese or similar.
The foods made from what’s left at the end of the week are typically meals we can freeze to use on a night we don’t feel like cooking. It prevents us from getting takeaway on those nights and prevents general waste.
A meal plan makes it easy for the kids to know what they are cooking and when. It also enables us to teach them more recipes and for them to make decisions about what they want to cook or learn to cook.
This one is still a juggle and a work in progress. As most of my work has always been done around the kids, it was taken for granted that I would do the bulk of the childcare. However, with a toddler and a baby, Mr Aspiring Millionaire working long hours and sometimes away overnight, it got tricky.
With no childcare available, we had to work out options and routines to make this work better until the youngest two get into childcare or we get a nanny. Otherwise, I won’t be able to work much at all and all our goals will be on hold.
The way we’ve ‘insourced’ childcare, for now, is the kids all play together at times. Our toddler thinks he is one of the teens anyway and they love teaching him things. Then on weekends or if Mr Aspiring Millionaire finishes early, he looks after them for set times then so I can work.
Our main reasons for doing it this way until we can get childcare is so I can still have an income, the kids are all close and the older ones do not feel like permanent babysitters. It’s important to us that it is play, not constant childcare when they are with their younger siblings.
With the rest of the chores such as washing, sweeping, mopping, the bathrooms, ironining etc. I do some during the week, around the younger two. The older two chose their chores and we aim to do all the big chores on one day so it doesn’t feel like constant work.
Since we all live here, we all help. By having that attitude and the kids being raised that way, insourcing this has been relatively easy.
What and How do you Insource?
How we Increased our Net Worth by $166,000 PLUS got Permanent Residency and new Qualifications, Jobs and Another Baby
A year ago, we started this site as a hobby. At the time, we had just applied for a residency visa for Mr Aspiring Millionaire, we had 4 kids (teens, a primary schooler and a 3 month old). Mr Aspiring Millionaire had not been working for 2 years as he was on a tourist visa and Ms Aspiring Millionaire had health issues through the pregnancy causing a drop in income.
We’d seen some extreme expenses including repatriation after getting lockdown in the Solomon Islands. For 2020 it felt like we were bleeding money, so once we did the residency visa and knew we’d be based in Australia for a while, we regrouped and focused on our finances.
So in April 2021, we sat down and worked out where we were at financially, our goals and what we wanted to do.
What did we Achieve in a Year?
With the visa approved, we were able to get clear on our goals and also fell pregnant with a daughter who was born in February. With our son turning 1 in January, this meant by February 2022 we had two teens, an 8-year-old, a 1-year-old and a newborn.
A baby, a residency visa, a $30K course, cleared some debt, 2 trips (a road trip from Noosa to Melbourne then a trip to Tasmania for 3 weeks), a new job and started another business.
For 1 year, and 1 sporadic income, that is a lot to achieve. Many aiming for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) would baulk at some of these expenses and choices. Our aim is to enjoy life, create great memories and do what we want while also working towards financial freedom.
A note on our income, Ms Aspiring Millionaire is the main income earner and due to health complications, her income dropped below 6 figures so we are not using a high income to achieve this either.
$30,000 Course: Commercial Diving
Our first goal was to save for a commercial diving course for Mr Aspiring Millionaire at a cost of $30,000 with 3 courses, flights, accommodation and some gear. In December 2021, he became an ADAS 3 Commercial Diver.
August to December, Mr Aspiring Millionaire was based in Tasmania while Ms Aspiring Millionaire was in Noosa with the kids. As the only income earner for the past few years, it was a little daunting to aim for $30,000 for the course.
Things fell into place in July, so we quickly booked him in the last spot available for the August course. If he didn’t do the course then, it couldn’t be done until early 2022, when Ms Aspiring Millionaire was due with a baby.
So for us, the only option was to find the money asap and we did. Getting the money as well as him getting qualified was a huge achievement.
The teenagers are just over a year apart, they are best friends and are from Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s first marriage. The 8-year-old is from Mr Aspiring Millionaire’s first marriage and she currently lives in the Solomon Islands. Together, we had our son in January 2021 and before we had him, we had decided to have another close in age, the same as the teenagers are.
In February 2022, our youngest daughter was born. Mr Aspiring Millionaire was doing work in another state so flew back for the birth and has visited twice in the 2 months since her birth.
Despite being experienced, her birth had complications and it was an extremely traumatic birth, requiring surgery and extra care for Ms Aspiring Millionaire after birth. Not at all what we planned or expected but 2 months on, things are going much better.
Our daughter is easygoing, much like our other kids and our older children simply adore her. All of the kids get along well and the teens love teaching their younger siblings everything.
In April 2021 we did a road trip from Noosa to Melbourne. For the most part, it wasn’t that expensive as we had a lot of free accommodation with family and friends. The purpose of the trip was to see friends and family as well as collect our belongings that had been stored in Melbourne since early 2019 when we went travelling.
In the September/October school holidays Ms Aspiring Millionaire flew with the teens and baby, while pregnant, down to Tassie while Mr Aspiring Millionaire studied. Ms Aspiring Millionaire’s uncle lent us one of his spare cars for the trip and we stayed with family in some places and paid for accommodation elsewhere.
The Tassie trip was a combination of seeing each other during the course, showing the kids and Mr Aspiring Millionaire where Ms Aspiring Millionaire grew up, seeing family and some travel writing work.
New Job and New Business
In January 2022, Mr Aspiring Millionaire started work as a commercial diver and loves it. His previous career was in diving as a guide and tec diver including doing the trip to find Amelia Earhart’s Plane with National Geographic. Commercial diving was a goal of his since he started diving but wasn’t achievable in the Solomon Islands or Vanuatu.
As for the new business, many of our businesses are small at the moment with room to grow. Focusing on the babies and studies meant we didn’t spend a lot of time on the businesses. However, we had the opportunity to get involved with one this month. Right now, it’s not worth a lot but there is huge potential for growth across the 3 countries we are based in.
Plus the new business requires minimal work (less than 1 day a month) from us as most of the work is done elsewhere.
How Our Net Worth Grew
We are ecstatic to look at what we have achieved in the past year, especially since we know the obstacles we faced that we aren’t sharing here. Doing all of that predominantly on one income was amazing so we know now that we are both working and have the capacity to expand the businesses that our net worth will grow faster.
Here is where we were and where we are now.
Our Assets April 2021
April 2021 I was only able to list out our properties from Vanuatu so below is more specifics from May 2021 after the little businesses were valued. Retirement funds aren’t listed fully but we also plan to retire well before we access them so won’t really include them. In April 2021, we were having issues getting the amounts from the islands so couldn’t list them.
Business 1: $70,000
Business 2: ?
Business 3: $3,000
Our Liabilities April 2021
Combined, our debt is not great. We have a few separate loans and are focusing on one at a time while maintaining minimum repayments on them all.
Custody debt $9,000
Visa debt $6,000
Personal loan $12,000
Cash debt $600
Cash debt $500
School debt $900
Net Worth $571,000 April 2021
Once we remove the liabilities from our assets, our net worth isn’t terrible. We have a positive net worth which is the main thing! Our net worth is roughly $571,000AUD. This will be different once the businesses and retirement are sorted.
Assets April 2022
Business 1: $120,000
Business 2: $20,000
Business 3: $5,000
Business 4: $10,000
Business 5: $0
Total Assets: $755,901
As you can see, we haven’t invested a lot anywhere but the businesses have increased in value due to marketing. The value of the businesses is based mainly on the annual income since most of them don’t have tangible assets.
We would have invested more in shares and crypto but the course was our main focus, along with clearing debt. This coming year, we will invest more.
Liabilities April 2022
Custody debt $5,000
Visa debt $5,000
Personal loan $8,434
Cash debt $0
Cash debt $0
School debt $0
We are quite happy with how much debt we’ve cleared here on top of everything else. Our assumption is this debt will be all gone within a few months.
Net Worth April 2022: $737,467
Considering our expenses, the health issues with pregnancy reducing income and working predominantly with 1 income, we are pretty happy with this.
Knowing how much we achieved is empowering and motivating for this coming year. With Mr Aspiring Millionaire now working on a good wage and the world opening up again so Ms Aspiring Millionaire can do more travel writing again, we anticipate the next year to be even better.
Plans for the Upcoming Year
Rather than sharing plans, we will continue to share what we have done, as it is done. Ms Aspiring Millionaire will continue with the $2 to $1,000,000 challenge. We will continue to grow our businesses and Mr Aspiring Millionaire will work full time as a commercial diver.
As for large expenses, this year we plan to buy a 7 seater car. Debt will be cleared soon and we have a few purchases to make for the home.