6 Financial Tips to Help You Prepare for A Baby

Financial Tips To Help You Prepare For a Baby

And baby makes three

If you’ve been thinking about growing your family to 3 (or, perhaps you have a tiny bun already on the way!), you want to prepare yourselves accordingly. Babies are an exciting part of your life, but, they can also be expensive! 

Recent research suggests it can cost an average $144 a week to raise a child between zero and four. Sadly, that doesn’t include childcare. So, what can you do to ensure you’re financially prepared?  

Upfront Costs to Consider 

The costs of having a baby kick in before you’ve even had it. In addition to out-of-pocket medical costs, private health insurance, tests, and birthing classes, there are a few other costs that will add up quickly: 

  • Maternity clothes 
  • Baby clothes 
  • Nappies! 
  • Furniture; baby’s cot, change table, mattress & linen 
  • Transportation; car seat and pram 
  • Bottles, pumping machines, formula.  

First 12 Months’ Costs to Consider 

It doesn’t end once the baby’s born, either: 

  • Time off work. Although not technically an expense – it will put a dint in your cash flow. 
  • Child care – depending how soon you’ll be returning to work. 
  • More clothes! 
  • Food 
  • Medicine and health care. 

 It’s a list that keeps on giving. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, there are a few things you can do to financially prepare and set you and your family up for a more financially secure future. 

6 Financial Tips to Help You Prepare for a Baby


1. Work out your pre-baby and post-baby budget

Having a baby usually means a loss of household income. It’s important you don’t get caught out by known expenses by putting a realistic budget together before you take the time off work. The earlier you can start preparing and putting money away, the better your financial health will be once bub arrives. Do a fact check on employer entitlements and factor this into your budget, too.
Having a budget in place is also great because it stops you from buying everything all at once (as exciting as it is!), you will have at least 9 months to prepare so instead of having a large some of money come out all at once, your budget will help you spread the costs out.


2. Reduce Your Bad Debts

I talk about bad debts a lot – but, it’s only because they really are that bad for you. Personal loans and credit card fees drag you down. Lighten up your financial load, and focus on clearing debts first. I can help you consolidate your debts and regain control. 


3. Build a Healthy Emergency Fund

Make sure you save enough money for an emergency fund to cover you for unexpected life events! While you’re on a reduced income – you don’t want to be caught out with no emergency cash available to get you through. Aim for 6 – 8 months of general living expenses to cover you.


4. Create a Baby Fund

In addition to your household emergency fund, you should also create a baby fund. There will always be unknown expenses associated with children – you want to be financially secure and assured you can cover all costs. Caesareans, emergency hospital care, medicines – even just to cover the additional general costs like clothes, nappies, and food when times get tough. 


5. Buy Second-Hand 

How much of what you need can be borrowed or bought second hand? You might not be keen on second hand rompers, but, you can get some great second-hand furniture in top nick at a fraction of retail price. Ask around with friends and family first, and get savvy with your online shopping for super discounts. 


6. Consider a Minimalist Approach

The thing with babies is, as soon as you have one, you’re lumped with a lot of parent’s (mostly mother’s) guilt. If Jane down the street just bought the top of the range Bug-a-Boo doesn’t mean you need it too. There’s a temptation to buy all this ‘stuff’. Only buy what you really need. And, try not to buy new if it can be avoided. 


Start Preparing Now 

Start putting money away for your emergency fund and baby fund as soon as possible to allow enough time to build up your safety net. Once you have your budget in place, and you know how much you need and by when, you can work backwards to start your savings plan.  

Talk to me if you need help setting up a realistic budget. 

Can You Eat Healthy Without Going Broke?

How to Eat Healthy and Not Go Broke

Fresh Fruit

A common question our clients ask once we’ve designed their new household budget is how the heck can we eat healthy without going broke? Sound familiar? Living from a budget doesn’t mean you must settle for a cheap diet of canned tuna, rice, and French fries.  

With a little forethought and preparation, you can eat healthier than ever without sending your account into the negative.

Here are 6 ways to do it: 

1. Start Cooking

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay or even Jamie Oliver – but you do need to get back in the kitchen and cook your own food. Every meal. Stop buying your lunches while you’re out. Stop ‘grabbing dinner’ on your way home. Learn to cook, and get the family involved so they can learn to cook with you. Start small committing to a week at a time and build up your confidence as you go – once you’re a pro you might then introduce a night out once a fortnight / month.


2. Weekly Meal Prep

Create your meal plan before you go grocery shopping. I mean, for every meal for every day this week, make a note of what you’ll eat and when, and buy only those ingredients. It doesn’t mean you need 3 new meals every day; Cook extra so you have left overs to take into work the next morning. If you whip up a big batch of soup, you can even freeze it.
(Check out the Taste interactive family menu planner for inspiration.)


3. Bubble’n’Squeak

What ever happened to a good old fashioned bubble’n’squeak dish? Growing up I remember we’d delight in mum’s leftover medley once or twice a month. If you’re not sure what this is, you basically pull a heap of your leftovers from the fridge (mashed potato, sausages, boiled eggs, mince, roasted vegetables, pasta) and you throw it into your frying pan and cook it up. Delicious. And, it means your fridge full of food doesn’t get wasted!


4. Add Your 11 Herbs and Spices

No. This is not me telling you to head down to your local and grab a bucket of chicken. Proper seasoning, fresh or dried herbs, and a range of spices can give your meal an epic taste-lift. For those among us who aren’t MasterChef material, just experiment, add a splash here and there and see how you go!


5. Buy in Season

Our relentless need for instant gratification and global trade has us as consumers expecting access to all fruit and vegetable produce at all times during the year. But, fresh produce is seasonal based on our weather (we all know how expensive mangoes are when not in season!). So, print out a chart of seasonal fruits and vegetables, stick it to your fridge, and only buy things when they’re local and abundant! It’ll be cheaper AND tastier.


6. Buy Frozen

Frozen produce lasts longer and as it’s snap frozen, retains most of its original nutrients.
Frozen fruit and veg will usually be cheaper than fresh produce – so you can stock up on it when it’s discounted.  


What do you think? Achievable?  

Get in Touch 

If you need a hand setting up a realistic household budget, get in touch to arrange your free consultation 

How Not To Blow Your Budget On General Living Expenses

How Not To Blow Your Budget On Every Day Expenses

Farmers Markets

Could you access $2,000 spare cash in an emergency? Australian households are feeling the budget pinch, struggling to cover the most basic living expenses pay-to-pay. So, do you know where your money’s going, and can you do better? 

The Rising Cost of Living 

In its 2015 report, Facing financial stress, Wesley Mission found 38% of NSW households were spending more than they earn. 

It’s no secret the cost of living is rising – energy bills, food and produce, public transport, and housing. But, without a budget, spending plan, or expenses tracking system in place, you’ll find yourself forking out cash for these everyday expenses without even thinking, could I be spending less here 

Financial Stress 

Also worrying; the latest ABS study showed that 16 per cent of Queensland households couldn’t access $2,000 of spare cash in an emergency. $2,000 isn’t really a lot of money – it could be car repairs, a mortgage repayment, or emergency root canal. All things you can’t do without. All things that can throw your already stretched budget into turmoil. 

How have you prepared for a financial crisis?  

Having a solid budget and healthy emergency fund in place is the difference between living well, and living in financial stress hell. Increased debt; a life lived on credit; emotional and physical health concerns; relationship breakdowns; bad credit. 

How can you take control of your everyday spending so you don’t keep blowing your budget, sending yourself into further financial stress? 

Don’t Limit Your Life Based on Your Bank Balance 

Don’t let financial stress get to the point you have to ‘do without’. When you choose to go without dinner, or without power, or without health-related expenses because you don’t have enough money to get you through.  

Your life shouldn’t be limited by the money in your bank account. Get a grip on your everyday spending habits – spend smarter and free yourself from money stress. 

Here are a few ideas how not to blow your budget on everyday expenses:  

  1. Create a realistic budget. 
  2. Track where your money is going 
  3. Change lenders. 
  4. Change energy / health insurance providers. Get a better deal. 
  5. Downsize.  
  6. Rent for less. 
  7. Buy in bulk. 
  8. Buy fresh from growers’ markets. 
  9. Start a car pool. 
  10. Use public transport instead of paid parking. 

Stop being a back-seat passenger to your finances by doing the same thing you’ve always done. Start living your best life free from every day financial stress and bad debt. 

Sign Up to My FREE Financial Fitness Mini-Course

If budget blow outs are common and you’re ready to stop living pay-to-pay- Sign up for my FREE 7-Days to Financial Fitness mini-course. We’ll explore your money motivators and goals so you can learn to save faster, spend smarter, and boost your financial fitness into tip-top shape.

Sign up for my FREE 7-Days to Financial Fitness mini-course. 

Are You Saving Money for the Things That Make You Happy?

What are your savings goals? What is your purpose?There’s a conversation I have frequently with my clients, and that is, why do you save money? What’s your purpose 

I find one of the main reasons people can’t stick to their savings plan is because they aren’t truly connected to their life purpose. I mean – what makes you truly happy? And, is your lack of money getting in the way of your happiness? 

If it is, you need to clarify the things that matter most to you in life, and why. 

Clarify Your Life Goals 

We all have different goals depending on our age 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s+ 

When you’re younger, there’s less focus on the bigger picture and more emphasis on ‘wants’ and instant gratification – like, upgrading with every iPhone release, or financing a top-of-the-line sports car rather than saving your money to buy a cheaper, fuel-efficient urban mini.  

But, when you’re staring down the barrel of retirement – there’s usually regret that you didn’t get your act together early enough to create a happy and satisfying life when you could actually enjoy it. 

What Makes You Truly Happy in Life? 

I challenge you to make a list of 3-5 things you truly enjoy doing or that you have on your bucket list to experience before, well, kicking your bucket. 

Why are these things so important to you? How do they make you feel? 

The purpose of this exercise is to identify what makes you happy so you can make sure you always have enough money on hand to realise them.  Whether that’s piano lessons, enjoying quality family time with your children, or shark diving off the coast of South Africa. 

Don’t miss out on your happiness things because you never had enough money saved in your bank account. Live an extraordinary life because you always did. 

Having Purpose Improves Your Financial Habits 

“Happiness is a direction, not a place” – Sydney J Harris. 

Having purpose as the focus of your spending and saving decisions will improve your financial habits and help you achieve your life goals sooner and more consistently.  

Now that you know what makes you happy – you can create a more effective saving strategy to help you get there. 

Sign Up for My FREE 7-Day Financial Fitness Mini-Course 

Did this post light a spark within you? 

If you’re ready to kick-start a healthier approach to your finances, sign up for my FREE Financial Fitness Mini-Course. In just 7 days, you’ll have the basic tools and systems you need to take control of your money, spend less, save more, and get on your way to living your extraordinary life. 

Sign up for the FREE Financial Fitness Mini-Course 

Needs v. Wants: How You Can Have Both and Still Save Money

Needs And Want: How you can have both and still saveIf you feel guilty each time you spend money on your guilty pleasures – it’s time to reframe your thinking. Saving money isn’t always about sacrifice, of going ‘with’ or ‘without’. It’s knowing the difference between your needs and your wants – and understanding the ‘why’ behind each expense so you can spend your money intentionally.  

If you’re ready to kick-start a healthier approach to your saving habits – start with your purpose. Here’s how. 

The Difference Between Needs and Wants 

In case you missed your year 9 Home Economics class, the difference between needs and wants is simple: 

Needs – these are items your life, health, and wellbeing rely on. Like, food, water, shelter, electricity, clothing. 

Wants – These are your nice-to-haves, feel-good spends. They won’t affect your survival, but, they might make you sad if you don’t get what you want. Think – gym membership, smashed avocado on toast, the latest iPhone.  

Most people feel guilty for spending money on their wants – but, truth be told, these expenses very likely make you feel happiness and satisfaction. So, to cut them out entirely makes for a very unhappy you (so, you can throw your new savings plan in the bin!). 

Make a List of Your Wants and Needs 

If you want to make a change to your spending and saving habits – It’s time you made a list of your Wants and your Needs 

  1. Draw two columns on a blank page and start tracking your expenses over the past fortnight.  
  2. Dig out bank and credit card statements and list each expense in one of the two columns – decide if it’s a want or a need. 
  3. Now, add your savings goals to the mix – are you saving for a holiday? New house? New car? Wedding? Where do they fit? 

saving money tips

(heads up) Pretty much everything that isn’t food, shelter, water, and basic clothing will be a want. But, that’s OK. Because it’s more important to understand the why behind those wants – we’ll get to that next. 

Know Your Why 

Is your list of wants drastically longer than your list of needs? Not to worry, I’m not going to be a buzz-kill and tell you to stop enjoying your life. But, if you want to take control of your spending choices, you need to know your why. 

Behind every want is a why 

Let’s use your choice of residence as an example. 

Say you choose to spend $600 each week renting an inner-city apartment. It’s a bit of a shoe box, but, you enjoy living there.  

Shelter is definitely a need. True. But, a lavish inner-city apartment – well, that’s probably a want, because you can get a bigger unit at half the price elsewhere. 

So then, what is the real need here?  

Why do you live in this apartment? Does it make you feel safer? Is it convenient? Or – is it the satisfaction you get from living a trendy lifestyle? The status? Maybe you need to live 5 minutes from work so you can spend less time travelling and more time exercising? 

Now, go back and note the why behind each of your listed wants. 

Financial Success Doesn’t Always Mean Sacrifice 

Once you understand your purpose for each want, you can work out creative ways to cut back on your spending while still fulfilling your underlying need. 

If you’re seriously trying to save money, then you need to be asking, do I really need this? Do I need to be spending this much money on ‘X’? 

What are the opportunities to cut back on your expenses? 

Using the apartment example – If you decided that convenience is your ‘why’ – then, can you rent somewhere cheaper that is still convenient like, on a train line, for example? Or, can you flatshare? 

You like eating out each weekend because you enjoy the connection with your friends. Can you get take out and eat at home? Arrange a picnic share plate? That $70 dine out meal quickly became $10 – but your why is still being met – you’re connecting with your friends. 

You’ll never stick to a savings plan if you don’t allow yourself to enjoy your life. If you don’t fulfil your underlying ‘why’ – you’ll become demotivated, dissatisfied, and miserable. 

Register Your Interest for My FREE 7-Day Financial Fitness Mini-Course 

Did this post light a spark within you? 

If you’re ready to kick-start a healthier approach to your finances, register your interest for my soon-to-be-released FREE Financial Fitness Mini-Course. In just 7 days, you’ll have the basic tools and systems you need to take control of your money, spend less, save more, and get on your way to achieving your life goals. 

Register your interest here – I’ll send you an email when it’s ready so you can start kicking your goals! 


5 Valuable Financial Skills I Wish Were Taught at School

5 Financial Skills I Wish We Were Taught In School

What I Wish We Were Taught In School

Remember when you were sitting uncomfortably in your poky school desk, harsh square chair jabbing you in your shoulder-blades, your prehistoric maths teacher explaining complex algebra equations – and you scratched your head and thought – why?  

Why are they teaching me this? How will this help me get a job next year? Can this help me get rich? 

We’re taught a lot of complex functions and equations during school, but, we miss out on a lot of relevant, practical lessons that would help us get drastically ahead in life.  

Our Youth Lack Financial Skills to Thrive 

According to the OECD, our young are increasingly heading into adulthood lacking life skills and personal financial literacy – they are leaving home at a later age and heading straight into debt; credit cards, personal loans, high-cost rent and lifestyles. But, can we blame them?  

When are we teaching them the financial vitals to help them thrive in adulthood? I’m talking about the stuff that can really help you excel in life – like, managing incoming and outgoing expenses, the dangers and the benefits of interest, and relatable, relevant home economics. 

Five Financial Lessons I Wish We Were Taught At School 

There are a few important lessons I’ve learnt on my financial journey that I wish we were taught at a younger age. Lessons that could help turn $10,000 into $1.3 million over 30 years. Lessons that keep you out of financial debt and subsequent stress. Lessons that lead you to a healthier, more balanced, and enjoyable life within your means. 

So, in the spirit of making life healthier and easier for everyone, these are the five financial lessons I wish we were taught at school to fast track our path to financial security:

1. Respect for the Savings Process 

From a very basic level, we need to all learn the value of savings. More than just setting up a token Dollarmite account when children are 6 – we need to teach them the ‘Why’ behind savings. Why are you putting your $2 per week pocket money into your savings account? What is the benefit? What is the desired outcome? Are you saving for something? How much do you need to put away each week to buy your ‘something’ by X date?  

2. Budgeting and Management of Household Expenses 

Children are staying at home with mum and dad longer as they put themselves through university / TAFE. This usually means a healthy spending budget each month – without the demands of rent, electricity, internet, food, and in some cases, phone bills – some ‘children’ don’t experience the financial demands of life fully until around 25 years of age when they finally leave home.  

Teaching budgeting and management of known expenses from an early age will mitigate the risk of high credit card debts, outrageous phone bills, unnecessary personal car loans, and the subsequent poor credit rating when time comes to buy a home! 

3. Compounding interest

Compounding Interest can be your friend or foe. Foe if it applies to a loan or credit card interest. But, friend if it applies to a savings account – which is what I’m going to talk about here. 

Compounding interest is where you earn interest on your interest.  

Say you created a high interest savings account that calculated and paid interest on a monthly basis – You will earn interest on your deposited amount, as well as the interest you’ve earned each subsequent month. It’s like ordering a Sundae and getting two cherries on top. 

In comparison – a term deposit is simple interest and is calculated at the end of its term in one lump sum. Check out the MoneySmart website for a simple calculation. 

4. Investing Using Index Funds

I’m not talking about going to university and working your butt off for a fancy piece of paper that says you can work in the ASX and invest $millions of client dollars in volatile markets. #pressure

I’m referring to a very simple and effective approach to investing – Indexing. That is, putting a small, but manageable chunk of your money in an index fund when you’re in your 20s and letting it ride the market over a few decades. It *should* perform better than a high interest savings account, however, there are many factors that can affect individual results so it’s best to talk to a financial planner for personalised advice. 

5. Superannuation 

Ill touch on this briefly to say that when you’re young – it’s not really explained to you how superannuation will affect your life. You think ‘well, that doesn’t affect me now, that’s something to think about when I’m ready to retire’. Unfortunately, by that stage it’s too late. 

So, whether it’s basic management of your super fund, like, choosing one fund only and not signing up to a new fund with each new job! – or, exploring Self-Managed Super Funds once you have some money in your kitty after about a decade in the workforce. Super provides a solid investment opportunity – and the earlier you start thinking about it, the better your return come retirement. 

Why Financial Literacy Matters 

Financial literacy is an everyday life skill – it’s choosing the best mobile contract, electricity provider, and rental accommodation for your means. It’s managing your income to cover the everyday bills and expenses before you go crazy shopping the mid-season sales. It’s choosing to use cash instead of credit. 

And, it’s knowing how to make your money work harder for you to reap extraordinary returns in the long-term over instant gratification today. 

Get in touch if you need some extra-curricular tutoring to enhance your financial literacy. I can help you get a read of your financial situation and recommend the best plan of action to gain control of your finances and build a more secure future for you and your family. 

How Not To Blow Your Budget These School Holidays

How Not To Blog Your Budget These School Holidays

Beach fun

Sometimes, life throws a spanner that stops the wheels from spinning. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve been saving over the past few months or how much you’ve improved your spending habits (thanks super budget!). It can all fly out the window when school holidays hit.  

Everyone’s at home. Everyone’s bored. Everyone wants money.  

School holidays shouldn’t be an excuse to blow your budget and put your family straight back into debt! Sure, your children need things to do so they don’t suffer extreme boredom and cause, or get into, trouble. But, there’s no need to rob a bank. 

When Did School Holidays Become an Excuse for Spending Money? 

The more you prepare for the holidays, the more you’re able to stick to a reasonable budget. Unfortunately, waiting until you finish breakfast each morning before working out your plan for the day is a sure-fire way to budget blow-out.  

So, don’t get caught up. Don’t spend more than you have to. Don’t overwhelm yourself running your children all around town, up and down, and out – make a plan.  

Here are some strategies to help you manage the excess in ‘spare time’ without blowing your bank balance.  

How to Prepare for Budget-Friendly School Holidays

  1. Make a budget – how much money can you really spare? Set a daily or a weekly budget that everyone will stick to. This is where your Avocado and Happiness funds come into play.
    If you’ve been collecting an Avocado fund, you could access this account for some cheap family thrills.
    You could use your Happiness fund to book a last-minute stay-cation if you’re in the position to splurge.
  2. While you’re all together, start teaching your children how to budget for fun day events and school holidays – MoneySmart offers a free budget training resource for children in years 5-6 you can do together. Work out how much they’ll have for their daily budget? How can they spend their money? Can they save some for a big-ticket event?
  3. Before things get too silly, sit down as a family and prepare your schedule in advance. Make a list of the cheap or free activities you’re interested in and stick it on your fridge to refer to during the break.
  4. Choose 2 activities that cost a little bit more money, but still fall within your allocated budget. Like, a quick trip away! If spending time away is on the agenda – try camping. Or, if mum’s not really a camper – what about glamping or Airbnb? There are some amazing low-cost accommodation alternatives nearby which won’t hit your bank account.
  5. Organise for one big event / reward at the end of the holidays. Encourage your children to be on their best behaviour and offer up a day at a theme park, day on the go-carts, or a road trip down to the Big Banana for ice cream sundaes.  

You’re Not a Full-Time Entertainer – Look After Yourself, Too 

Remember – you’re not a full-time entertainer. Chances are, you have a job and you need to split your time at home with your existing work commitments. Kids can be bored. The world won’t end. But, if you run yourself down into the ground, it very well might!  

Find time to spend on yourself – use that Avocado fund and shout yourself a massage, facial, or breakfast tucked away in a quiet café. 

Do you have some holiday budgeting tips that stop you from emptying your wallet?
Share your ideas in the comments! 

Save Money Quickly By Treating It Like A Bill

Why You Should View Your Savings As A BillDo you find yourself struggling to save, pay to pay? Do you have your eyes on a prize but feel as though you’re not getting any closer to achieving it? 

It might be time you reframed your thinking and started looking at saving as an everyday bill. Here’s why it works. 

Automation Helps You Manage Your Money 

Automation is a “set it and forget” approach to money management – it helps you stay on top of your bills before you succumb to the distracting calls of end-of-season sales and Friday work drinks.  

Used commonly to manage bill payments, automation is a simple, and effective, strategy to boost your savings, too. If you’re struggling to make progress on what feels like a never-ending savings target, automation will ensure you meet your monthly commitment.  

Automating your bills and expenses 

If you’re in control of your bills and monthly payments, chances are you already have a solid system in place. Maybe you’ve set up direct debits. Or, perhaps you’ve linked your credit card for a simplified ‘one click’ payment process. 

The benefit in automating your bills is less risk of overdue payment fees and subsequent poor credit! Automation also ensures you don’t spend money on shoes that you need kept aside to pay for that epic electricity bill you’re expecting. 

Automating your savings 

How much more effective would you be at saving if you had a direct debit set up much the same way as your bills? You would never have to remember to put money aside into your savings account – an automated process takes care of it for you! 

Set up a transfer between your everyday and your savings bank accounts the day you’re paid and start achieving your monthly savings targets without effort or sacrifice.  

Change your mindset around saving  

If you have a big picture savings goal, like a wedding, house deposit, or retirement, start viewing your goal as a bill that needs paying off. 

So, pay your bills first. Pay your savings second.  

‘Go to town’ with whatever’s left over.  

Start small until you build some momentum and then increase the amount when you’ve settled into your new habit. 

You’ll never reach your savings goal if you keep getting distracted by short term gains like five-star dinners and designer handbags. Even if they are discounted. Your short-term emotional satisfaction is holding you back from something much greater. 

I challenge you to take your savings out of your account the moment your pay cheque hits the bank. Then, sit back and watch your golden egg grow!  

Get in touch for quality financial and budget management advice that helps you reach your financial goals, sooner. 

How Much Money Should You Save Before Buying A House?

How Much Money Should You Save Before Buying A House?I’m keeping with the home buying theme again this week. A question I get asked often is – How much money do I need to save before I can buy a home? My answer is usually – how long is a piece of string?  

Kidding. But, with so much inconsistency between lenders’ criteria – it can be difficult to find the answer to what you think is such a simple question. 

The Great Australian Dream 

It’s the great Australian dream to own your own home. Even now, in this day where the average property price in Sydney is $1 million. Maybe it’s human nature to want what we can’t have? 

Before the GFC in 2005 – it was common for some home buyers to apply for (and receive) 100% LVR (loan to value ratio). Essentially, you could borrow the entire amount of your property’s value.  

That’s not the case these days. After the crash, governments and lenders tightened loan conditions and now require borrowers to put up a deposit to secure their loan – or risk paying that pesky Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI).  

LMI is a one-off payment the lender charges you as insurance against you defaulting on your loan. It’s wasted money – so it’s best to avoid it if you can. 

How Much Money Can You Really Borrow 

When it comes to how much money you can borrow – Each lender is different. Some ask for 10% of the property value, others need 20% before they’ll lend you any money. You’ll find some of the Big 4 banks may even lend up to 95% – pending a solid and secure employment history and documented savings activity.  

But – you will need to take on LMI at this point (it’s added onto your loan amount). We’re talking thousands of extra dollars here, folks. 

Unless you’re willing to pay LMI – I’m afraid you are looking at a 20% deposit saving (and then some). 

Let’s look at the numbers. 

The median house price in Brisbane is now $655,000. Steep.  

If you’re keen to avoid LMI – you’re looking at a 20% deposit = $131,000.  

But, you also need to factor in purchasing costs; conveyancer fees, loan application fees, stamp duty, property transfer, moving costs, building and pest – and having a little bit left over as your safety net once you’re settled.  

How to Save Faster 

If you checked my blog last week, I brought you up to speed with the Australian Government’s latest first home buyer savings booster scheme in the case it gets passed. It’s yet to be finalised – but it’s a start, at least. 

However, there is one fool-proof way for you to save faster. 

Cut back on your expenses.  

Easy, now – Don’t break the messenger’s knees.  

When you commit to an aggressive (but, short-term) budget plan, you can move mountains. Start, by tracking where your money is currently being spent. 

I’m a financial planner, so I have spreadsheets and apps tracking where my money is going and feeding it back to me in a graph. Because, there’s nothing more telling of a budget blow-out than a graph. 

Check out Smart Money’s Track My Spend to get a read of your finances. Then, once you know where your money is going, you can set yourself up for savings success with a realistic and reliable budget 

Be Reasonable 

Many young first home buyers are desperate to step onto the property ladder, but end up taking on too much debt for their circumstances. There’s no point buying a home if you can’t afford to sustain it. It’s not worth the financial and emotional stress (life’s too short). 

Save hard for as long as you can until you’re in a strong position to purchase.  

If you’re ready, reach out – I’ll help you design the most effective budget for your savings goal. 





5 Cheap Ways to Keep Fit When You’re on a Budget

When you’re looking to cut back on your spending, health and fitness is usually the first to face the big chop. Because, when you take out money for bills, rent, and coffee – the little money you have left must stretch a long way. But, there are simple ways to keep you and your budget – fit.

It comes down to making your money work harder so you don’t have to. Like – your gym membership. Let’s be honest – gyms aren’t for everyone and can cost you around $1,200 per year! Imagine the difference that would make to your house deposit.
But, don’t despair! There’s a low-cost to cost-free fitness alternative waiting for you.

YouTube videos

Used to being slayed by a demanding personal trainer? The good news is a lot of your high-intensity workout routines are available for free on YouTube. In fact, one simple search for HIIT workouts returned 1,400,000 results! If you’re not into searching and just want the goods – check out

Fitness Blender


There’s a bright mix of free and paid fitness apps you can download on your phone. Whether you’re after a personalised yoga workout, or the diversity of a 30-day fitness challenge each month – there’s an app for you that will help squat kick your fitness goals without flatlining your budget.


Not something to be sneezed at – a brisk 15-minute walk each day can extend your life by 3 years! And, it cancels out those 3 squares of dark chocolate you just ate (bonus). Walking outside with nature also boosts your well-being and creative thinking.
Take my permission to invest your money in a good pair of shoes, grab your pup, and start pounding that pavement.

Council parks

Many local councils have introduced fitness trails / exercise equipment to their parks to provide an opportunity to get fit for free. Most are set up as a workout circuit and include instructions to use each device.
If you’re in Brisbane, Council also offer several free or low-cost group fitness activities as part of their Active Parks program.
Check out your council’s website to locate the fitness park closest to you.

Treasure hunting

Get online and search for fitness equipment giveaways or discounts. When people downsize or spring clean their home – they tend to give away items they no longer use (or, never used – treadmill anyone?) or sell them cheap to encourage the sale.
Check out Gumtree or Facebook’s Buy, Sell, or Swap pages and snap up a bargain! It’s not nearly as interesting as a hunt for buried Spanish treasure, but still, what you find will be worth its weight in… gold.

Sticking to a budget to meet a savings goal doesn’t mean you need to ditch your health and fitness goals. There’s an old Chinese proverb – A tightened purse doesn’t equal a saggy belly.

My belief is you need to find your balance.

How many times have you given up on a diet because you didn’t allow yourself any fun? Right? Introduce one of these options into your schedule and start working your money harder.

If you’ve got a cheap idea that keeps you and your budget fit – share it in the comments!