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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Five things you wont find in a finance bloggers budget

There are a lot of things in the world worth paying for. Good food, warm blankets, a roof over your head and comfy bed to snooze in every night. There are also a lot of things that you should never waste money on. Some are ridiculously overpriced, some are unfair, and some have free alternatives lying around.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Save money, the environment and your vagina

As a female, I statistically spend 25% of my time walking around with my knees clenched together because it's That Time of the Month. I always resented that not only is it uncomfortable and inconvenient to have a period, but it was expensive as well. I used to spend $10 a month on tampons.

A couple of years ago I made the switch to using a cup, and I have never looked back.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Let's talk about finances and taboos

Despite our lives being ruled by the things we do to get money and the places we spend that money, getting people to talk about their income and outgoings seems impossible. Discussing investment strategies is either considered really boring, or some hush-hush back room conversation that can only be had with your closest confidants. I was in a 5 year relationship where bringing up money was met with avoidance, hostility, and a pretty derisive attitude that made me feel worse than Scrooge McDuck because I was thinking past next weeks pay.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Year of Investing - July

One month down on the year of investing! I'm pleased to say I'm ever so slightly ahead of my investing goal, but it was an uphill slog with the markets fighting against me!

I haven't quite hit my savings goal, but I think we're off to a good start for the year.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Triple Income, No Kids: Is Polyamory the Trick to Getting Rich?

We've all seen the acronym 'DINK' (Double Income, No Kids) but the other day I saw someone post 'TINK"s - now they meant Two Incomes, No Kids, but it got me thinking - how great would it be to have Triple Incomes pushing towards your financial independence goal!

This thought lasted about five minutes before something else caught my attention, but then a couple of weeks later I was watching "You Can't Ask That" on ABC iView and they had a segment devoted to Polyamorous people and their partners.

Which got me thinking again, and the idea has been bubbling in the back of my brain: Is Polyamory the trick to retiring early?

Friday, 28 July 2017

Epic Food Week: Perpetual Food Plan

Food. For many Australians it accounts for the second or third biggest chunk out of their budget, after housing and/or transport. Poor food choices are also leading to an increase of “lifestyle” diseases, such as Type II diabetes and heart disease. Four Australian personal finance bloggers (Adventures with Poopsie, All About Balance, Enough Time To... and yours truly) decided to get together and offer an in-depth look at how we all “do” food in our households. It doesn’t matter whether you like to plan or just wing it, whether you have gourmet tastes or enjoy simple food, or whether you love or hate cooking; we’re sure you’ll find some tips and tricks to eat healthier and find ways to save.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Free books with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Do you like books? I like books. Do you like paying for books? No, me neither. I re-read books time and time again to keep my book intake up without thinning my wallet.

Normally this is where you'd get a recommendation for a magical place called a 'library'. Except to get to a library you have to go outside where there are people, or wait weeks to borrow an e-book.

Thankfully, there's another option!

Friday, 21 July 2017

July Highlights - Best Posts in the Blogosphere

Happy Friday! It's been a crazy hectic week in the FIRE household, which means it's time for another blog appreciation post!

I've been swamped with freelance work, joined the board for my Roller Derby league, and my 9-5 job has picked up. Unfortunately, I haven't had any time for writing posts, but I've read some great ones, let me tell you some of my favourites.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Frugal date nights: Board Games

With winter well and truly set in frugal dates like fishing, picnics and hikes are few and far between. Mr. FIRE and I are still looking for ways to spend quality time together and while they largely involving building a nest on the couch, enjoying the wine and cheese and projecting a movie straight onto a wall sometimes we like something a little more intensive.

We play board games. Somehow we're still together....

Friday, 14 July 2017

Can you get filthy rich by spending more money every year?

I want to retire early and take back my free time. I'm willing to forgo expensive luxuries to get there earlier, but I don't want to retire to a life of poverty and pauperism.

However, if I have a couple of years of ridiculously lean living at the start of my journey, it could supercharge my retirement accounts.

So I feel like I'm presented with two choices. I could live the life I want now - knowing it will take longer to get to FIRE, or I could live like a monk for a couple of years to supercharge my investment accounts, then ease into a slightly spendier, but still frugal existence that I could maintain for many years of retired bliss.
 
Let's investigate this idea with our case study participants, John and Cindy.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pay less tax in Australia - the legal way

Happy financial new year everyone! It's time to do your tax return - which for most of us means getting some money back in our pockets.

The average person pays almost $17,000 a year in tax - how great would it be to pay less? Here's some simple, legal tricks to pay less tax.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Year of Investing

The time has come to set new goals for the new financial year! After spending the last seven months building up a hefty $15,000 emergency fund, it's time to move on.

It's time to start the Year of Investing!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Goals Finale'! June 2017

It's time for the final wrap up! After seven months of intensive savings to build an emergency fund, time is up.

I saved a lot, spend comfortably, and invested a little along the way.

Read on for details!

Friday, 30 June 2017

I want to ride my bicycle: For health and wealth

The biggest change to my life since moving house three years ago is that I can ride my bike to work every day. Apart from saving a bucket load of money I feel so much better. And hungrier. And a lot more likely to die. And I sing a lot of Queen.

Before I became a bike rider, I was pretty terrified about the concept of riding on roads with cars, who are obviously jerks according to most of the comments on news articles. My route to work takes me down the main road of the CBD, which is also where the majority of the busses are picking up and setting down. The bike lane is almost permanently blocked down that road, which means easing around the busses and out into traffic.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

What's up with this 'Vanguard' thing

Have you heard of this 'Vanguard' thing? And you've maybe heard of index funds? If you've been around the early retirement sphere for a while you've probably stumbled across them. Unfortunately most bloggers seem to assume you know what that means.

I'm not going to pretend to be a tax expert, or a genius investor, but I'm going to give you a whirlwind tour of why I invest in index funds, and why I use Vanguard.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Frugal Fooding

Have you ever tried being an adult? It's a truly terrible idea and I recommend that you stay a teenager for as long as possible. It's great to know everything!

But one horrible day you'll realise that you sort of need to adult. Generally when you realise that if you don't organise dinner, no one else will do it for you.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bake yourself rich

There's currently a list on my whiteboard that reads like a dieters bad dream. White choc blueberry, Triple choc, Apple cinnamon, Banana Coffee, White choc passionfruit... These are all the muffins I am making or have made with my fancy new silicon bakeware.

Oh, and I'm getting rich doing it.

Friday, 16 June 2017

For the love of mortgages

“Word nerds will notice an eerie root word in ‘mortgage’ — ‘mort,’ or ‘death ... The term comes from Old French, and Latin before that, to literally mean ‘death pledge.'” ref and yet, despite this roughly 70% of Australians are living with a mortgage.ref

In the personal finance sphere destroying debt is a common goal. Bloggers celebrate living debt free, and lament every dollar lost to paying back loans. Every dollar in interest repayments is a dollar out of your pocket.

There's more to it than that though, which is why I'm not actively paying down my mortgage.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

unF*ck your budget

I am guilty of the same crime as every other personal finance blogger - a crazy over complicated budget with too many categories and auto-calculations and future projections. It can be pretty overwhelming even to me.

Thankfully you only need to do one teeny tiny thing to move your budget from panic stations to responsible adult.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Invest in the Movies!! (Yes, Really!)

Movies have giant budgets and giant earnings, not just from theaters but from spin-off books, kids toys, terrible terrible video games, and less-terrible, sometimes-good mobile apps. When I was contacted to have a look at reviewing a crowd-funded movie investment, I assumed it was a spam message because investing in movies is for multi-millionaires in Hollywood. But it's not a scam, it's open to the little guy and now you can now invest in a movie. How cool is that!


Lights, Camera, Investing!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Date night: Gon' Fishin'

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day. Teach a FIREy Lady to fish and she'll inside on dragging you out to the beach on a sunny afternoon to catch a million tiny fish, throw them all back and call it a brilliant date.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Goals Update: May 2017

What a month. Record income, low expenses and bonus mortgage payments all came together to mean the dial didn't shift much. We also had a trip to the emergency room resulting in surgery, and I flew out to Queensland for a couple of days.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Yes, you should travel in your 20's... just not very far

Australian millennials are currently inundated with advice on how to save for a new house. It boils down to 'stop having smashed avocado brunches' and 'who said you can travel to Europe when you should be saving for a house?!'. This advice completely ignores the fact that the average house is now seven times the average wage, where it used to be only four times. Sure our interest rates are a lot lower now, but saving for a deposit is harder.

Added to that is the question of 'If I save now, when can I start living?' and the extra bit that baffles older generations, some millennials don't want to buy a house.

Friday, 26 May 2017

May Highlights - Best Posts in the Blogosphere

Morning Everyone! It's been a hectic week and as you read this Mr. FIRE and I are sitting in a hospital waiting for him to go in for knee surgery. This will be our third winter in a row with one of us hobbling around on crutches so we really hope it's the last.

Unfortunately this also means I haven't had the chance to write anything for today's update. I tapped this out on my phone in the waiting room, please forgive the formatting and lack of pictures. Instead of my thoughts, here are my favourite personal finance posts from May.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Spend you dollars, on more dollars!

Let's do some maths, baby! I'm going to talk about money, using your money to 'buy' more money, and investing. Plus I get to play with charts and graphs.

We're going to talk about interest, starting with the normal boring kind, then the compounding kind. Most people encounter interest in two ways - banks will pay you for leaving your money in an account. They will also charge you interest on loans.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A new way to invest: Dollar Value Averaging

Investing seems like a big scary monster when you haven't done it before. The idea of throwing in your hard earned cash and then crossing your fingers and toes that the next market crash isn't around the corner is enough to give anyone goosebumps. But there are a few tried and true methods to mitigate some of that risk.

I've just learned about a variant on an old favourite, Dollar Value Averaging is here to challenge Dollar Cost Averaging for the easiest way to plan your investment buying.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Missing the trees for the FIRE forest

In the Financial Independence world we are chasing such big goals and such big amounts of money we can forget the small things. I've been on this journey for a couple of years, even if the blog only started back in December and I have to say that it's full of big boring plateaus. Long stretches of time where it feels like you're running in place like a Looney Tune, nothing is changing and that great life you are chasing is stupidly far away.

Occasionally I need to remember to stop and take stock of what I have, what I have achieved and remind myself why I'm running down this crazy path and not sticking to the road more traveled.

Friday, 12 May 2017

What is your rubbish worth?

Thursday night is bins night in my neighborhood, but for the third or fourth time in a row, we aren't putting our bins out. Mostly we're forgetful and lazy, but more importantly we can get away with it because we generate minimal trash.

I'd love to say that we are super conscious of the rubbish we generate, but in reality we're just really good at turning trash into things we need.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

3 ways to shorten your mortgage right now

Buying a house is exciting. Moving in is exhausting and exciting. Decorating is frustrating and exciting. Renovating is terrifying and exciting. Realising you can walk naked around your house is liberating and exci-.. let's leave that one.

You know what's not exciting, staring down that 30 year ball and chain of your mortgage and the insane amount of interest your are going to pay. Here's three ways to knock years and tens of thousands off your mortgage.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Brickx: The Real Estate Investment Trap

So you're scared that you'll never buy a home? According to domain.com 20% of people will retire with a mortgage debt, and many millennials have 'given up' on ever owning a home.

To fill this void, a new company called 'Brickx' has started up. For less than $100 you can buy a single share of a rental property (known as a Brick) and get your first step on the property ladder.

I have so many problems with this product, I have decided to devote a whole post to it.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Goals Update: April 2017

Happy May! Just two months left to hit my goal. Where did the time go, seriously, can someone check behind the couch?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Adventures in shared finances: The case of the missing rewards points

I should open by saying the Mr. FIRE and I keep our finances separate. This is pretty important to household harmony, because it means when I come home and find packages on the doorstep I can shrug my shoulders and think "when I'm retired and he heads into work on a Monday morning, I'm going to remind him of this." I'm a wonderful girlfriend aren't I?

One thing we do share is a FlyBuys account. Enter the case of the missing rewards points.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Money quotes you missed in pop culture

Did you know that popular culture is full of inspirational quotes about finances? They're hidden in plain sight. From Shakespeare, to Monty Python and back again, the world is full of pearls of wisdom, and I've collated some of the best, just for you. Have a read, your eyes will be opened, your horizons expanded. You will never view the world the same way again.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Saving is boring! Stay on track

Alright guys, I have a confession to make. I am bored of savings. Putting aside $20k for my emergency fund is easily the most dull and meaningless savings goal I've ever had. I love investing, pushing money into accounts that fund my retirement is thrilling. I've had to slow that down to save for my emergency fund and I'm bored.

So I prowled the internet for some tips. While there are plenty on ways to change your saving / spending habits, finding ways to stay motivated was harder.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Another way of looking at 'cost' (and a Chilli Con Carne recipe)

 It's not a secret that I like money. I like having it, I like investing it. I'd like to have enough of it invested that the invested money makes enough money to cover my living costs. Then I can stop trading time for money. Time is pretty finite, I can't earn more of that.

Friday, 7 April 2017

DTF: dollars to fun ratio

What is your DTF rule? Do you have a pretty loose DTF ratio? Or are you super tight when it comes to DTF?

No, I'm not talking about the Urban Dictionary definition, I mean the Dollars To Fun ratio.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Goals Update: March 2017

All in all, this has been a pretty great month! For the first time I actually feel like I might be able to hit my target.

Friday, 31 March 2017

What's your earliest money memory?

Remember this blissful ignorance of youth? When food magically appeared, mounds of toys were gifted every Christmas and birthday and you wanted for nothing? Then at some point you discovered 'money' and things were never the same. Suddenly those toys had a cost, but if you had money you had the power to buy things!

Sometimes discovering money is wonderful, sometimes it's not. I asked some of my favourite bloggers what their earliest Money Memory was, and how it shaped their path to Financial Independence.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Eggscellent pets: Frugal and flavourful!

Check out these beautiful ladies. Tempest, Ethyl and their (unpictured) sister Wookie have been keeping me rolling in eggs for almost three years now. I've owned chicken since late high-school and they are some of the greatest animals in the world. On top of producing eggs daily, they dispose of any food scrap you can think of (except onions and citrus fruits) are solely responsible for the eggscellent soil in my veggie path, and are just so darn adorable.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ratesetter: Peer-to-Peer Lending

Have you ever looked at the huge fees and interest rates that personal lenders charge and thought 'damn, I wish I could be on that side of the equation'. While banks and credit unions are offering us a piddly 3% interest rate on 'bonus' saver accounts, they are charging 13-20%. Someone is making a killing there, and it's not me.

Enter RateSetter, where you can be the lender and reap the profits.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Where should I put a windfall? Tell me what you think

I have an unexpected 'windfall' coming my way. I purchased $5,000 worth of bonds that were listed to last until 2074. Given the current low interest rates a lot of companies have been paying out these bonds and opening new ones with much lower interest rates. It's good business for them, but it means they're closing my investment and I'm about to have $5,000 in my pocket. I have some ideas what I want to do with it, but I'd love to hear your opinion.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How the Pink Tax is ruining your finances

Have you ever actually sat down and worked out how much it costs to be a presentable, functional human being. There's clothes, hair, make-up, hygiene, the inevitable caffeine hit to get you through the morning. Sometime in the past some smart marketing gurus figured out that if they make us feel bad about ourselves the way we are, they can sell us products to 'fix' ourselves. 

And then they realised they could hit women twice as hard. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

She's making a list...

I used to keep a big list of everything I wanted to buy. Every time I had a passing whim to buy something I would throw it on the list. At the end of the week while I was tallying up my budget I would write in an extra $5 next to each item. Things stayed on the list until I had enough money set aside to buy them. It seemed like a great system until I had over 100 items on the list, and almost $3,000 'held' for things I was never going to buy.

Since my March goal is to keep my Other / Miscellaneous spending as low as possible, it seems like a good time to revive the list.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Acorns: Small change investments

Whenever my friends mention on Facebook that they have a bit of savings and they're wondering what to do with it, I'm always the first to pipe up with an opinion. The problem is that most services require a hefty amount to get started (Looking at you Vanguard and your $5,000 minimum buy in) or you need to leave you money there for a long time for a decent return (RateSetter) or the fees are just so appalling you lose half your investment paying someone to manage your tiny nest egg.

Enter Acorns, an absolutely fabulous little platform for getting started.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Goals Update: February 2017

Spending the money, a lot of money. Based on my past budgets the start of the year is always super expensive as I pay all my annual bills and deal with the Christmas hangover and eating expensive food because it's too hot to think straight, but this month has been ridiculous.

At least I got a decent tick on the non-financial goals.

Monday, 27 February 2017

You have no money here

When I first started saving the best trick I ever pulled on myself was to simply have no money.

ring ring
"Hey Dad, how's work going?"
"Good, what do you need?"
"Can't I just call because I want to talk"
"Generally not, we do that when I get home, so what do you need?"
"Okay, you're on to me, I'm a bit short on cash, can you transfer some money over for me?"
"No worries, how much do you need?"

Thursday, 23 February 2017

I just shredded my first credit card...

...so I could open more!

I've been slowly trying out the world of travel hacking. I started last year with a small, not fee credit card and scored 10,000 Velocity points. Now I'm juggling three credit cards, with an expected return of more than 230% value.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sudden (tiny) windfalls

I just scored a couple of tiny leg-ups towards my $20,000 by July goal. My tax variation went through, and my interest rate on my loan has dropped meaning my required repayments have also dropped. Naturally I'm headed straight to the shops for new shoes!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Latte Equation

A favourite of frugality and finance bloggers is the Latte Equation. You can't throw a stone without hitting it, whether it's people saying to ignore the Latte Equation and focus on the big savings, or people talking about whether that $4 a day savings is the basis of a good financial habit, everyone has an opinion. Here's some of my favourite ways to calculate the Latte Equation.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The retirement income myth

Something that endlessly frustrates me about commercial financial planners and retirement gurus is the dodgy maths that they pull. It goes something like this:

"Hello! Welcome! How many of you are prepared for retirement? Did you know that if your combined household income is $100,000, then your after tax pay is roughly $85,000. Do you know how big your investment portfolio needs to be to support an $85,000 income? At least $2 MILLION!! Now let me do some quick maths to show you how you could never save your way to $2 million and you need my special product I'm selling!"

bzzzt, wait, hang on, back that up a second.

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