I believe it's important to hear from real people that have benefited from Income Organising - to show us that this system is not something you need to be a superhero to do. All of us regular people can do this! This is Marija's story...
The last three years have been personally some of my busiest (and best), but most financially draining. My now husband and I moved in together, into a rental after living rent free under our parent’s roofs. We got engaged and married, which was celebrated with our dream wedding and three weeks honeymooning in Singapore and Malaysia. And then there were three – adding to our family, a beautiful daughter. One of these events alone is enough to put strain of our purse strings, but we had piled that on top of my husband finishing his university degree.
We have both always had a great work ethic but not really the financial ‘smarts’ to go with the constant and often differing income the goes hand in hand with casual employment and working in your own business. We were prioritising life and social events over savings and “the future” as that was a long way down the road; now the “future” we talked about is here and we both feel like we had nothing to show for all our efforts.
We started playing the comparison game - Having just turned 30, after both working 2 to 3 jobs while studying for the last few years, we were feeling a little left behind. We saw many of our friends buying houses, getting married and starting families in their own home, but we had done things the other way around. We had a combined consumer debt of over $18000, most of which was spent on credit cards, we didn’t own our own home, and we were still paying back our parents for our wedding.
The turning point came when our daughter was born – enough was enough – we needed to stop comparing our situation to Joe Bloggs next door and run our own race. We wanted financial security, we wanted to not live paycheque to paycheque, and we wanted to have a roof over our head that was ours! We had to start putting into place financial goals that were realistic to our situation.
I was on maternity leave and even now we are still currently living on one income, after moving interstate for my husband’s secondment. It has been a huge challenge to prioritise what is actually important – we have reduced our food bill by cooking at home and meal planning, instead of just getting takeaway; we have reduced our daily coffee spend, to buying a bag of beans and making it at home; we have found fun free things to do as a family on the weekend, instead of spending money on activities that lasted a short amount of time.
It has taken us weeks of negotiating what was important to each of us (him – Netflix, me - dessert) and what we could live without until we reached goals. We have researched our ideal home in the area we would like to buy (4 bedrooms on one level, with a second toilet, room to renovate and a decently sized yard) and what figure would need to achieve a 20% deposit. We have added our debt to this number and worked out our repayment figure to then become our savings figure to achieve our great Australian dream.
We gave ourselves the timeframe of wanting to be debt free and in our own home before my daughter’s first day of kindergarten in 2023. Living debt free is our first goal and it's finally in sight! I love knowing this isn't overwhelming anymore. By switching one of our credit cards over with a balance transfer we are currently saving $90+ a month in interest, and we are now using the My Income Organiser method to pay out the other card.
We will then use the same dollar amount to go towards a house deposit. By having that money already “spent” out of sight and out of mind, we don’t miss it in our day to day spending. We have learnt to live within our means.
It has taken us 3 years of marriage to realise we need to have a plan on paper that we could both agree to, to be able to head in the right direction. We’ve taken baby steps in implementing our budget and it will take us years to achieve our goals, but being able to log in to our plan and see that our credit card balance is a little less each time, and that our savings account has grown a little makes it all worthwhile. Even on one income, we will reach our 5 year goals, and any extra income will just push us there more quickly.
It’s celebrating the little wins and putting a realistic time frame on our goals, that keep us on track.
Well done Marija!! Have a wonderful week, Erika Gilbert My Income Organiser