7 Financial Habits Changing My Life
There are some real key financial practices that have allowed me to go from being nearly bankrupt to having paid of $22,000 of debt and build up a 4-5 month buffer fund.
Here are 7 financial practices that are really changing my life.
0:00 – Introduction
1:33 – Van update
2:17 – #1: Earn More Money
4:47 – #2: Pay Myself First
6:25 – #3: Building Up a Buffer Fund
8:41 – #4: Finding a Budget That Works For Me
10:53 – #5: Reducing My Expenses
15:17 – #6: Living a Minimalistic Life
17:01 – #7: Loving The Work That I Do
20:00 – Financial Freedom Is No Longer THE Goal
my financial situation has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. And there’s some real key financial practices that I’ve been doing that have really helped me along this transformation. So 12 months ago, I was looking down the barrel of a potential bankruptcy thinking, I don’t actually have enough money to pay the bills that I need to pay. I remember having a freakout moment, I was either in June or July of 2019, being like, I don’t know what to do.
I had some income coming in, I was able to delay some payments didn’t have to go through bankruptcy. But in the last 12 months, I’ve been able to pay off $22,000 worth of debt, and actually build up a four to five month buffer fund for myself as well. So I actually have enough money to get me through the next four or five months. So very drastic situation to Okay, I don’t know how to pay these bills tomorrow. And I may go bankrupt too. Now, I paid off a bunch of debt. And I’ve got this buffer fund. And I’m looking like I’m in a position where I if things go really well, which looked they probably won’t go as well as I’d hoped I could potentially pay off my debt by the end of the year, but probably take a little bit longer than that. So big transformation in the last 12 months. And there’s some key financial things that I’ve been doing that have helped me along that transformation. So today, as I sit in the van, and as I have a morning coffee, I want to share that with you. Before I do, let me just show you what I’ve been up to. And I did a video a little while back and the van was a complete mess. And you can see that now I’ve kind of really set it up the bed is made, I’ve got my standing desk here. So I can just kind of stand and work on my laptop here. Or I can actually pull up my esci with a seat on it and actually hang out on that the battery for the van is charging at the moment, it’s been dead for a while. So it should be good to drive around. And I should be able to actually work on the beach in here very soon. So I’m very excited about that.
So you may see me filming on location pretty soon. But I want to share these financial things with you. And there’s seven of them. The first one, and I think it’s the most important and it’s made the biggest change. And that’s actually earn more money and focus on earning more money. 12 months ago, I was in a situation where I was not earning enough money to pay for private school to pay for my debt to pay for my rent. and reducing expenses was a big part of that my kids are no longer in private school. I’m currently not paying rent at the moment, but actually building up my income and growing my income has been what’s allowed me to pay off my debt. And allow me to build up that buffer fund. So the way that I approach it is I run my own online business. But each and every day, I’m doing actions that are going to actually increase my income in the long run. So rather than just working for the income that I’m going to earn for the day, the work that I do is going to increase my income in the long term. So whether that be content for on property, or whether it be articles for other websites, all the work that I do generate long term income and build up my income over time. So I have a thing that every single day, I want to be publishing at least one piece of content that’s going to build up my income. And that builds up slowly over time. In August, when I really kind of started along this, I think I made about 30 or $40 in August from the work that I was doing. But each and every month that has grown significantly to the point now where we’re talking about 1000s of dollars per month that I’m earning from work that I’ve already done, and I’m continuing to do work today that will make my income larger in the future. So earning more money was really the biggest one because that just allows you to get on top of things so much easier. Because if you’re not increasing your expenses, along with our growing income, which I haven’t been doing at all, then as that income grows, that those extra chunks of money you can actually use to pay off debt, or you can use to build up a buffer fund, or you can use to save for your house deposit. So earning more money is the biggest thing. Now how you did that in your life may be different from me, it may be through your career, getting a pay rise, changing jobs, getting a higher paying job, and maybe through starting a side hustle and doing something on the side in order to earn some extra money. Or maybe it’s through investing in property that generates positive cash flow, maybe through shares or crypto or however you plan to do it. But that focus on earning more money and not raising your expenses in line with the money that you earn has just been super key for me. The second thing and like I’m kind of going in order of what’s been most important, and the second thing is paying myself first. So I’ve talked about this years ago and it’s something that I use used to do, and I’ve started doing again or have been doing for the last six to 12 months. And that’s when revenue comes into my business, a set percentage goes aside to pay myself first. So we’ve got percentages to pay tax, obviously, and things that you have to do for that, but then also percentage to actually go towards paying off my debt or go towards my savings on my buffer fund. And it’s when money comes in. For me, a percentage of that instantly goes away. So I didn’t even get the choice of what do I want to do with that? Will I use that for expenses? What am I going to do with that? No, it gets put aside, and its sole purpose is to pay off debt, or to build up my buffer fund or build up savings. And then I have to live off the rest and work out what to do with the rest. It’s almost like that money is not even mine, because I’m paying myself first. Now you might not do a percentage for me, I do percentages because my monthly income fluctuates. But for you, you might do a set amount every single month from your paycheck, when you get paid on payday money gets put aside into a bank account, and you don’t get to touch it, you then need to pay your rent or pay your mortgage and pay all your living expenses out of whatever’s remaining. So pay myself first, it just automates that saving all that debt reduction process. And by automating it, and then just focusing on what I have left, that’s happening anyway. And so like something I have to actively do, it’s just happening every single time that I get paid. The third thing that’s been really key for me, and that was actually building out this buffer fund. So in the past, I used to just be like, I would run on the line. And so every extra dollar that I had, I would either spend it, or I would invest it. And so but I got myself in a situation where it’s like, okay, you don’t actually have a buffer fund. So things go wrong, you might have a couple of weeks of money left over, but then you’re screwed. And what I learned through the last, you know, year or two, especially through this period with the virus and everything that’s happening, given enough time, you can work out a solution to your monetary problems, you can reduce your debt, you can take drastic action, like move back in with your parents, or you can grow your income, or you can get another job or something like that. But often you can’t do that within a month. Sometimes it takes a couple months, sometimes it takes three to six months to do that. And so I would always see the financial advisors say, you know, have a buffer Vonda three to six months. And it’s like, well, that’s unrealistic, and not really needed. But then I got myself into the position where it’s like, okay, that that actually is needed. And I do need that. And what a buffer fund gives me is nothing right now. The buffer fund right now is not adding any value to my life, other than the knowledge that it’s there.
But what I lost by not having a buffer fund was so big, because 12 months ago, when I didn’t have a buffer fund and I was in a bad situation, then you have to take drastic actions and things that you might not do, or might not want to do or might not be in your best long term interest. And you just don’t have the time to solve those problems. But with a buffer fund, it’s like, Okay, I know that I can solve this problem. And I can do it in a way that’s for my long term interest. So building that up was key for me. And that happened over time slowly built it out through paying myself first. And rather than pouring it all onto the debt to pay down quicker. It’s like, okay, no, I had some restraint. But without that Bhagavan still make the debt repayments and everything. But that buffer funds there if I need it. And then if I want to pay off debt faster, I actually have to earn money on top of the buffalo fund that I already have. So having that been super important. The fourth thing, and probably one through four or really, really important, and that is finding a budget that works for me, I tried so many different budgets throughout my life. And part of the reason that I got into a not so great financial situation was that I was not actively budgeting for a lot of my life. And funnily I had actively started to budget and save and invest and really start to get ahead before everything went sideways. But it was like I didn’t have enough time have that good habit of budgeting and finding a budget that works for me to get myself set up to have that buffer van before everything happened. So finding a budget that works for me, that lines up with me and my values. And the way that my brain works has been so key, I call it the 15 minute budget, because it takes me 15 minutes to sit down, look at my regular expenses, and automate all of that. And then I give myself a set amount of money each week to live off. And then I just focus on that. So I’m paying myself first all my expenses are automatically paid for and then I get a card with my weekly living money on it. And that’s all I’ve got to focus on. If I want to go rock climbing with my mate this week, and that’s going to cost 20 bucks, well that’s going to come out of groceries or come out of other things that I might want to do with that. So finding that budget that worked for me was hard. It took many years. but it was really important and there’s so many great budgeting videos out there i will link out to my 15 minute budget video down below if you’re interested in that and you can check that out there’s a template for that and stuff but there’s so many different people have so many different budgets but find one that works for you so that you can live a life where budgeting is kind of happening automatically and you don’t need to focus on it doesn’t need to take a lot of energy to budget and that was what really changed for me it’s when i created a budget that didn’t need a lot of energy to maintain and it’s just quite simple to maintain and then i just sit down for 15 minutes every month or every couple of months and reset that budget and make sure i’m still online so finding one that works for me super important i said the top four things are the most important but really the fifth one’s really important as well and then the last two are kind of more lifestyle things so the fifth one is reducing my expenses so six months ago no 12 months ago when i was in that bad situation i had just moved into a new place so i was renting a new place my kids were in private school as well at a montessori school and those decisions were not necessarily made because it’s like well i’m going to live lavishly and i’m going to do this but we’ve gone through a separation and i wanted my kids to the school was great for their emotional health and to have their own space and their own bedrooms and stuff i made that decision for their emotional health and so it’s like i didn’t do this to be excessive and lavish i did this for my kids emotional stability but i did that and i was in a situation where i had these major expenses and i was struggling to pay for them fast forward now and at the moment i’m back i’m with family and saving on rent they’re looking to move out once my debts paid off hopefully by the end of the year and also we’ve moved from private school not necessarily because of the money that was definitely a major factor but also to be more local and to make friends locally and things like that so but major expenses i’ve cut a bunch of those out of my life until my incomes grown enough that i can then get another place while still service my debt and pay that off quickly um but the school one that’s another like drastic expensive so
in lowering my expenses there’s some drastic ones like those big massive ones that i lowered and then like my car died and okay i can do a big massive expense of buying a new car or i actually got a car lent to me for an extended period of time that wasn’t being used not an ideal car but it’s lent to me at the moment and so drastic expense could have been by a car but okay no i’m not going to do that and that’s going to allow me to pay off debt quicker and then also the little expenses in life as well so things like eating out grocery shopping for me coffee so i as you guys know i make all my own coffees now i’ve got to leave a machine at home and i just love doing that and that saves me quite a lot of money per week so rather than buying myself coffee by my partner or my friends coffee it’s like i will make myself and make everyone coffee and so it’s why i can still do what i love and still enjoy that and still be able to be generous in that but it doesn’t cost me as much in order to do that and so saving on those little expenses as well and just kind of cutting everything back to the bone is really key but in that and in cutting expenses is still creating a life that you absolutely love i’ve been really fortunate being back with family i’ve actually had the place to myself i haven’t family haven’t been around but that’s about to change and so that’s part of what setting up this van is is okay i’ve got my own private office that office space that i can take with me anywhere and that i can have the life that i love coffee i love but i’ve worked out how to do it in a way that i love so rather than just like being miserable rather than eating canned beans and hating my life it’s like okay use that extra energy to find ways to love the life that you have while not spending heaps of money and that takes effort that takes energy but finding exciting things to do where you’re waterfowl hunting with the kids and doing that doesn’t really cost anything we pack sandwiches and lunch for the day you know so but we would have eaten that anyway we’re going out into national parks going into the beach going surfing that’s not doesn’t cost money but it’s something that we can do for fun and yes it takes extra effort especially when it’s cold in order to do that versus going to the shops and eating out and things like that but it also makes our life amazing so reduce your expenses in big ways and small ways but also focus on having a great life while you do that and i’m going to talk in a future video about financial freedom and longevity and the potential that my generation and you listen to this we may live well into how lady is talking 100 120 130 and still be healthy so many actually need to start preparing for a long life and an awesome life and loving the work that you do and the life that you have the sixth thing is something that i started doing a couple of years ago and that is minimalism and living a minimalistic life if you look at my wardrobe it’s basically all monochrome so i’m usually in a white t shirt or a black t shirt i got my black pants i have one pair of shoes that i wear i actually only own actually no i own two pairs of shoes one black and one white and i’ve got some fancy shoes for going out but really basic wardrobe and these t shirts i think are two for $40 so $20 each when they get worn out i’ll go out and i’ll buy some fresh ones but i’m not spending a lot of money on fashion or a lot of that and even in my work and in my life it’s like okay i’ve got really basic camera gear in order to do on property and so the content that i delivered to you guys but it all kind of fits in my bag basically all my camera gear will fit in a country road bag and then you know the work that i do on a laptop or on my imac is you know even my work is minimalistic and same with the kids their clothes are minimalistic and simple they don’t have excessive amounts of clothes or excessive amounts of toys and in life in general minimalism and focusing on adventures and having times out and creating the fun through interactions with each other and the adventures we go on has really been great for me mentally because i struggle with too much chaos in my life and also great for saving money too because i don’t have to worry about spending heaps of money on fashion when i can buy your $20 t shirts every six months or something when i run out and the seventh thing is loving the work that i do so this kind of comes back to point number one which is making more money but i am actively engaged in the work that i do and loving it the way that you do forms are a huge part of your life and a huge part of your mental energy of your creativity of your time
and we are creating this life and even though the last month i went through a lot of hard stuff and a lot of hard financial situations i was loving the work that i was doing and i was actively engaged in it put a lot of passion into it and that probably helped me to increase my income faster than i would have otherwise but it also helped me to enjoy my life along the process and like we only get one shot at this or depending on what you believe but i’m kind of in a position where it’s like well you only get one life you get one shot the work that you do throughout your life is super important and loving the work that you do is also important and so how does that affect me financially for me personally it means that i’m actively engaged in my business being creative in my business generating income that i probably wouldn’t have if i didn’t love it and wasn’t thinking about it as i went to bed so that’s been a really big thing for me but i think as well it brings purpose and meaning and fulfillment to your life or at least it does to mine which then means i’m not going out there and spending money or trying to fill that void in some other way so my work gives me purpose my family gives me purpose my relationships give me purpose as i don’t need to spend money to feel okay because i actually feel quite centered and quite content and quite happy with where i’m at and the work that i’m doing in my life and in the world and financial freedom can actually give you that where okay i can actually make the choice to do the work that i love without having to worry about money but you can actually make that decision even when you’re in the midst of money troubles and money stress and by making that decision for me it’s worked out really well i’m not sure if that’s actually applicable to anyone else but loving my work has been so valuable to me in order to move myself forward financially so there you have it there’s seven things that or seven financial practices that have really been changing my life over the last 12 months and in the next 12 months hopefully we’ll be in an even better position and i’ll have more things to share with you about things that have been working for me but really earning more money paying myself first and budgeting they’re kind of like the three takeaways if you want to go ahead and apply them to your life and budgeting includes like reducing your expenses and building up a buffer fund and stuff like that so can kind of all been be summed up in those sort of three main things and hopefully this helps you on your journey to financial freedom or where going for me it used to be financial freedom was the goal i’m going to get to financial freedom that’s my goal and i kind of believe that financial freedom would deliver me happiness and all of my life was in service to that goal of achieving financial freedom so that i could have a life whereas now my focus is so much more on financial freedom it matters because it gives you choices but it also doesn’t matter at all if you’re already doing work that you love and living the life that you love and you have a way to pay for that and so financial freedom is more giving you security giving you an edge giving you an insurance policy so you can continue to live an awesome life regardless of what happens but financial freedom is not delivering you that awesome life we are creating that awesome life ourselves through the work that we do through the air each and every day through the process and so i’m getting away from this idea that we need to strive for financial freedom then be happy not let’s create our happiness now as we move towards financial freedom and so we still want to achieve it it’s going to give us choices it’s going to give us security but we don’t need it in order to be happy in order to live an awesome life if we’re going to live extremely long periods of time i’m not going to want to retire when i’m 67 if that’s only halfway through my life i’m going to want to continue to work and continue to be a productive member of society and continue and positive impact on people’s lives so i’ll leave you with that little thought that financial freedom doesn’t necessarily have to be the goal in order to deliver your happiness you can have it now as you work towards it so take these financial practices if they’re helpful to you they’ve definitely been helpful to me go ahead and check out the videos that i’ve done on budgeting if you’re interested in learning more about that otherwise until next time stay positive