How we save $60000 a year
Many of you would have recently seen my family somewhere in the newspapers or on the internet. It started as a story in the Fairfax newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald, and spread like wildfire to sites like the Australian Women’s Weekly, Mamamia and even over the New Zealand. The response has been beyond anything I ever expected, and while most of the feedback has been extremely positive, some has been a little on the negative side, with many people implying that we are all about the saving and not about the living for now. Nothing could be further from the truth, so I have bust those myths and show exactly how we do it below.
We still spend money
Well of course we spend money, we spend money just like anyone else, we are just smart about where we spend it. We don’t spend just for the sake of it, and we only spend on things that matter to us. We prefer to spend our money on experiences rather than things.
Our children go to a private school
Some comments implied that we must not care about education, and our children must go to a very ordinary school. Our daughter started this year at a fantastic local private school and our son is enrolled to start in a few years time, so yes education is very important to us. While we can’t avoid the school fees, we do try to make small savings elsewhere, like second hand uniforms that are still in excellent condition (keep an eye out for Facebook buy and sell groups for your school, they are great!).
We currently own two properties, our home which we live in, and a block of land that is currently a positively geared investment. Next year we will be building a new home on the block of land, and we will be selling our current home to finance it. Part of the reason we are saving so hard is to minimise the mortgage on our new house. We currently have a small mortgage on our home, which is part of the reason we can save so much money.
We bought our first property 10 years ago
We were very lucky to get into the property market when we did 10 years ago. We bought a very small 1 bedroom unit just before the property boom occurred. We have always been excellent savers and bought the unit with a 20%+ deposit. For those assuming we must have been gifted the money, no one gave us a cent.
We have never had a helping hand
Everything we have, we created ourselves. There is no wealthy relative on the side buying us houses, we have worked hard for everything we own.
We love to travel
Another assumption was that we must never travel, making us ‘boring’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before we had children to traveled extensively, and since having kids we generally still holiday twice a year. Its important to use to show our children the world. While our children are still young we tend to not travel too far, and we love cruising holidays. They are excellent value for money and are great for families. We can afford to travel while still saving because we wait until we find great deals before we book holidays, and probably pay a third of what most people would pay for the exact same holiday.
We still buy presents
Just because we save a large portion of our income, it doesn’t mean our kids go without. We still buy our kids birthday and Christmas presents, but the amount we spend is in the ‘hundreds’ per occasion rather than ‘thousands’. We prefer to buy our kids a few gifts that they want, and spend money experiences instead, like family holidays.
We drive big cars
I read a comment the suggested we must drive small, economical cars. I drive a 12 year old top of the range Ford Territory that is still in excellent condition, and I absolutely love it. While I sometimes wish it was a small economical car (anyone with a Ford Territory will know what I’m talking about), my car is only used during the week and is usually used for the school run and driving around the local area, so I don’t use enough petrol to warrant upgrading my car. On that note, buying new or near new cars can be a huge waste of money as they depreciate in price so quickly, so we prefer to find great quality cars and drive hem until they die. I once read that you should look for cars 4 years or older, as the first 4 years is when they lose the most value. As for my husband, he drives a much newer Ford XR6, which compared with my car has an amazing fuel economy, so this is usually our weekend car (and yes we do have a life, we are barely ever home on weekends).
We don’t eat two minute noodles
In fact I can’t stand two minute noodles. We eat a very healthy diet, and believe it or not eating healthier doesn’t have to be expensive. We base our meals around in season fruit and vegetables, which means we can load up our trolley each week without blowing the budget.
We don’t rely on others for childcare
In fact our children aren’t even in childcare. My husband works full time, and I run my business whilst also looking after my children. Life can be busy, but it also means I can earn an income while being at school pickup and drop-off each day, and I also get to spend quality time with my toddler before he starts kindy in just over 18 months.
We have a very happy marriage
I read so many comments saying that we must be very unhappy. Quite the opposite actually. Because we are so good at saving, we don’t worry about money, which in turn means that we never have disagreements over money. We always communicate, set goals together and work as a team to make those goals happen.
What are we saving for?
We are not saving this money to simply stuff it under a mattress, never to be spent. We are planning on owner building our new house next year, and because of the difficulty in securing loans when owner building, we decided it would be much easier to finance the build ourselves. This year we are saving the remaining money we need to pay cash for our entire build, which means once the house is done we will only be left with a small mortgage remaining on the land.
What is our end goal?
Many people seemed to be wondering what the point is in saving like this? Our ultimate goal is to be financially independent, meaning that we will generate enough of a yearly return from our investments that we can comfortably live off, if we were for some reason unable to work in the future, or just choose not too. We will never sacrifice living our life on our journey to reach this point, and plan on dividing future pay increases between ‘saving’ and ‘fun’. Life is after all, all about balance.
So how do we do it?
Wondering how we actually manage to do all this?
- We buy in season fresh produce.
- I stock up on 80% off meat markdowns whenever I spot them.
- We eat barely any pre-packaged food, and instead make things from scratch wherever possible.
- We have never had Foxtel, but do heavily use Netflix.
- We love kids eat free deals when we eat out, and we only tend to eat out every few weeks. We also barely eat any takeaway, it’s definitely not cheaper than cooking ourselves.
- I love to search for bargains when it comes to clothes and shoes, and even often get my kids clothes for free.
- We invested in solar panels 5 years ago, which means our electricity bills are next to nothing.
- We search for better deals on insurance every year, and have some years managed to cut policies by $200.
- I love shops like Kmart for budget friendly homewares.
- We have never had any debt other than mortgages. If we can’t afford to pay cash for something, then we can’t afford it.
- We wait until things stop working before we replace them, rather than upgrading just because a newer model has been released.