SugarMamma.TV is your go to for Financial Coaching, Counselling and Creation. Inspiring a powerful financial movement, promoting financial independence and education. Showing everyday women how to instantly change and improve their relationship with money and finances, with easy bite size steps.
Ruth, a SugarMamma subscriber recently became personally Debt free. Meaning that her $27,272 in personal debt in Credit card and loans is now GONE. Yes, completely gone. $0 owing in credit card debt AND she did this in 12 months. All on a contracting income using the Sugar Budget Appand The $1000 Project. Read below for her story and some serious inspiration on how she did it.
Ruth very graciously opened up about her attitude, desire for change and new money mindset which is here to stay….
Lets get chatting….
To start with how was your attitude about money before you started on this journey?
“My previous relationship with money could be described as ‘winging it’ – I only ever planned for the week ahead, and long-term security was not on my radar. I travelled and moved around a lot in my 20s, my theory being ‘I can pay it off later when I’m older and have settled down’.
I’m a contractor so my employment situation has often been insecure. The debt accumulated slowly – not from impulse buying or high-end purchases, but if there was a gap between jobs that’s when I would get into trouble and find myself relying on a loan or credit card. Which is easy to do when you have no savings and no emergency fund.
As the years passed I just never got on top of it and after a couple of rough periods with family illness etc, it became overwhelming. I felt like, well what’s the point of being able to pay off $30 when there’s still tens of thousands to go?”
How did you feel about money in your life?
“It sounds silly but my attitude was that I just didn’t care about money or think about it too much. Being a creative person, I always thought being money-focused was more of a negative trait and that I was OK living on the bare minimum.”
What was the “Ah-ha” moment for you?
“The two biggest factors were education (YouTube, blogs) and self-awareness – actually facing the problem and crunching the numbers, painful as it was!
I remember a big turning point when I sat down with the Sugar Mamma budget template, worked out exactly how much I owed, and realised my combined minimum monthly repayments on my debts were almost as much as my rent. Essentially, I was paying double rent every month and only covering the interest. I thought about the type of house I could be living in with that money and nearly fell off my chair. It hit me that until I tackled the problem I would be stuck in this cycle forever. And that was it, I wanted my life back.”
How long did this take from there?
“My original plan was 15 months (I included a buffer in case there were any life emergencies) but managed to complete my goal in just under 12 months. If you had told me this 18 months ago I would have laughed. I always assumed it would take at least five years to get myself back on track.”
What was your plan of attack?
“I set up a budget for each fortnight, cut back on every expense I could, sold things, took on extra odd jobs and followed the $1000 project to start transferring regular packages towards my debt, using the snowball method. Using cash for basic living expenses made a big difference as I could see visually in my purse how much I had left for the week which influenced my spending.
I also tracked my progress by setting up a spreadsheet listing all of my debts. On the 1st of each month I would enter the new total and tally the difference of what had been paid off. This was incredibly motivating as I could see the number going down every month and each debt greyed out as it was finalised.
My motto was “The harder I work now, the sooner I get my life back”. I was prepared for a hellish period of no fun but it was actually fine. I realised that buying stuff does not improve quality of life. I kept super busy with my various jobs and, as I wasn’t going out as much on weekends, used the extra time to tackle home/creative projects and things that had been on my to-do list for years, which felt great.”
How do you feel now about your financial future?
“The biggest shift for me is that I used to believe that being financially savvy and secure was exclusively for people in the industry or on very high incomes. I now realise that, outside of covering basic living expenses, it’s not about how much you earn but what you do with it. Society is geared towards encouraging us to spend as much as possible and keep on buying more – it is so very freeing to feel 100% in control of what I do and do not need and what is important in my life.
As a single woman I used to make jokes about eating cat food in my retirement. Now I believe I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and am taking active steps to maximise my super and start building an investment portfolio.”
What is next?
“This year I want to continue expanding my financial education. I will keep following the same fortnightly budget system and the $1000 project, only this time using the $1000 packages to start investing. I cannot put into words how exciting this is – it really feels like a fresh start in life. I’m also aiming to build my emergency fund to $10,000 , and take my Mum on a trip for her birthday.”
I hope that reading Ruth’s story inspires you to change your money mindset, set goals and get up and have a go. Financial freedom is only one of the many insights you will gain from taking more responsibility and self love towards your financial future…
I would never describe myself as a complainer…I like to just get on with things. The way my brain operates is often justified (or excused) by the question of “is my time worth this?”. And to be honest, sometimes I use this as an excuse for deleting the task off my To Do List.
So essentially pure laziness…which often rears it’s detrimental head when I overloaded and overwhelmed.
However recently I went to New Zealand for a nice weekend away. I actually needed to get a lot of work done, but was struggling to concentrate in Sydney. So the idea of a fresh location was just what I needed…and just what worked.
In the planning and preparing of my trip, I set up global roaming on my mobile so that I could still stay connected. And took out a travel pack to get me the right coverage for my time away. I happily went about my business, used wifi when possible and made a conscious point to try and be present with Tom and not to use my phone too much. However to my shock, on the last day, (literally was I was embarking the plane to fly back to Sydney) I found that I had gone over my allowed amount and incurred an extra $250 in additional charges.
After procrastinating for a few weeks, (yes, really procrastinating) I finally called my mobile phone provider, explained my situation, pointed out the late communication in that I had gone over my limit and that I was a loyal customer for over 10 years. I was expecting to be given a lecture that it was my bad luck, I should have been more careful, that they disclosed the caps and charges and that they can’t help that there was a delay in the text message to warn me…I had my guard up ready to argue.
However the customer service person was calm, listened to me, explained the logistics of international roaming and then wiped my bill. Yes, the whole amount. The full $250. I was in shock, and then impressed. And the relieved, and then annoyed at myself that I actually almost “couldn’t be bothered” to deal with this problem and was ready to just pay the bill and be done with the problem.
Instead I saved $250…
This has made wake up and realise that we have a right to say something (calmly and politely of course) if we aren’t happy with our service providers. This “not worth my time” attitude (and yes, now that I have snapped out of my laziness or somewhat arrogance, $250 is most definitely worth my time), by rolling over and paying the bill helps no one is their growth and improvement in life…humans and businesses.
So if something is bugging you, and you don’t think it is fair or good value, I encourage you to see what can be done about it. Sure, nothing may happen, but at the very least, by having that simple conversation where you communicate and give feedback, you plant a valuable seed of improvement and sometimes even understanding and perspective. These can then grow from this point organically on their now, which then benefits more people beyond our own circumstances.
So next time you ask yourself “is my time worth this” be honest with yourself and check that you aren’t using this as an excuse to be lazy, and show some self respect to your sense of self worth as well as the value that the other person may receive in your constructive communication. And of course, always listen with open ears as there is always a lesson there for ourselves.
If you want to make 2018 be your year of financial success and financial peace, one of the most important things to do is understand your true cost of living and then work out how to direct your finances so that you can maintain your lifestyle, stay out of debt, build savings and even some passive income streams. Exciting and empowering stuff!
For over 15 years I have helped coach people out of toxic debt, in particular, credit card debt. I have seen people with $1,000 worth of debt up to someone who had over $360,000 in credit card debt, so I think I can say that I have seen many extremes.
The one formula that always works and helps get people out of debt is to do a budgetwith them and then work out how and when to transfer money, so that not only to they quickly start paying the debt off, but they have their cash proactively planned and prepared for all their quarterly, bi-annual and yearly expenses that always seem to pop up at the most inconvenient time. Queue feelings of self-control, pride and peace!
Essentially giving people instructions as to how and where and when to transfer their money, wipes so much stress and anxiety off their face. In fact, they start smiling a lot more. And love their new found sense of respect, responsibility and direction. Which is why doing a budget is actually empowering and exciting.
From using my one on one client coaching formula, I have turned this into an app, called Sugar Budget, so that everyone and anyone can use this app for themselves and experience their financial shift. I spend over 9 months working with the development team and have been dreaming up this app for over 3 years. So I am so excited to be able to share this with you. I personally use this and I love how easy it is to set up, adjust and review. My bank account has already thanked me.
You can download the app here, but I highly recommend that you watch this tutorial, so that you can get the most of out the app and ensure that it works for you and your financial goals. If you like the app, I would love it if you can give me a 5 star rating, and you can leave your feedback. The Android version won’t be ready until later on in the year, but it is coming, I promise!
If you are a Millennial, I am so excited for you and your future. You are at the start of an exciting adventure ahead of you, with so many opportunities and experiences. And I want you to make the most of everything that crosses your path.
And to help you have the freedom and luxury to be able to seize all these opportunities, you need to have strong healthy grounding around money and managing your money. I want to help you create a future where finances are never an unmanageable obstacle in your life holding you back, or worse blocking you from your dreams and success.
So here are 5 basic, simple and easy things that you need to know as a Millennial to help project you into an incredible future for yourself financially.
1. Good Debt vs. Bad Debt
Okay so good debt is healthy debt. It is money that you borrow to help build further financial freedom and independence. The asset that you borrow with borrowed money ideally grows in value and also provides you with a passive income. The cost of borrowing that money (i.e. the interest) may even be tax deductible to you.
Bad debt, or as I like to call it, “Toxic” debt, is money that you borrow to buy assets or experiences that depreciate in value. Such as clothes, make up, cars, even holidays. These assets pay no passive income and the interest isn’t deductible and normally the interest is much more expensive than interest is to buy financial assets that grow in value.
Aim to minimise toxic debt as quickly as possible or simply not have it at all. To work out how to get out of debt, watch this.
Your credit score is a number that tells the banks how reliable you are when it comes to borrowing money. The higher the score, the more likely you will be to get your loan approved. Now if you have any financial or personal goals to buy things such as a home or investment property, this is really important. Because without knowing what your credit score is, you won’t know if you are a suitable candidate to be able to borrow money in the first place. So if you have big goals and dreams, find out your credit score – which is quick, free and easy to do. And you can find it out right now here.
3. Simple interest vs. Compounding Interest
Most people don’t understand the difference between simple interest and compounding interest and this is often the reason why people can get into massive credit card debt so quickly. Simple interest is the cost of interest on the amount borrowed. For example I borrow $1000 and the interest is 9% p.a., the simple interest is $90 p.a. As long as I always pay the $90 p.a. my loan will always stay at $1000.
Compounding interest is different. Say I didn’t pay that $90 each year in interest on the $1000 loan, well each year my loan would compound, (as in get bigger) after year 1, my loan would be $1090, and assuming that I didn’t pay interest again in year 2, the interest accumulated would be 9% on the $1090 loan, so now my cost of interest is $98.10 (9% x $1090) so each year my cost of interest is compounding on that original $1000 loan as it is now charging me interest upon interest and also my loan is getting bigger and bigger.
4. Small & Simple Habits Everyday
Creating small and simple habits with your finances, results in a much healthier financially secure situation. So create habits such as paying your credit card off in full each month, putting a little bit extra into your super account each year above your employer amount, start a regular investment plan where you build up a share portfolio that pays you a passive income. Or even a simple savings account where you put 10% of every dollar you earn. Easy simple habits over the long run have a powerful effect because this time the compounding interest is making you money rather than costing you money. See the difference now?
5. Have A Budget
Look at where your money goes and take back control. Always have a budget and regularly update it as your lifestyle and goals change. When you understand your true cost of living, you can prepare for large expenses, set exciting savings goals and always feel in control and empowered to know that you are not only creating financial peace in your life but also building realistic financial independence for yourself. If you don’t know how to do a budget, you can use the one that I designed for my YouTube subscribers here. It is easy to use and makes managing your money fun and empowering.
If you can follow these simple steps, continue to educate yourself around money and how to get your money working for you early in life, I personally promise that you will never regret it. Best of all, you will start to realise how powerful and capable you are in achieving your own financial goals and dreams but doing it in a wise and sensible manner.
It is the early days of Christmas and I feel that I am already being blindsided by all the glittery, shiny, glossy and fashionable gifts, neatly displayed in my local department stores. But this is a time where I actually need my strength and grounding.
Rocco is now 4 years old and I really need to imprint to him that Christmas isn’t just about new toys and more stuff. It is about coming together as a family, spending quality time together, celebrating another year of experiences and being grateful to have each other in our lives. Being grateful to have clean running water, being grateful to have clothes to wear, shoes on our feet, healthy food for our growth and strength.
Living in such a beautiful city, where there are a lot of privileged people, it is easy for us to get caught up in the materialistic things, until you see the real picture. Then you come crashing back to earth and get that much needed reality check.
My office is located in Darlinghurst, which is a colourful part of town, a mix of pretty much everything. Young and old, rich and poor, wild and straight laced, creative and conservative. And that it what I love about the area, there is no stereo-typical mould for this area.
However there is a lot of homelessness. People with no shoes, clearly no access to clean running water, old tired clothes, no family, looking hungry and some battling tough demons. But one young lady, Simone Azziis taking some seriously inspiring actions this Christmas to help the homeless out.
Around the corner from my local area, Simone is hosting, The Big Christmas Feed down in Woolloomooloo. She is trying to raise $5,000 by the 17th of December and is impressively half way there. Help me, help her by making any small, medium of big donation will be greatly appreciated. This is the sort of stuff that helps make Christmas more meaningful…
Simone is in the process of organising food packs for the homeless, (most likely the faces that I see in my area). Helping them get through their tough days to make it a little bit easier and let them know that someone does care. If you are able to help her in anyway, please reach out to her through the Go Fund Me page…
We need more people in the world like Simone. So if you are feeling even a little bit inspired, have a go at trying to help just 1 person in need. Imagine what the world would be like if we could all be like Simone Azzi.
And just like that, Round 2 of The $1,000 Project finishes. For the last 13 months The $1,000 Project has been the forefront of my mind. Constantly thinking and looking for ways to manifest $1,000 at a time, saving, earning, investing, reinvesting.
And now it has finished…..well Round 2 certainly has. And I finished on a stronger note, with $36,000 saved and invested over the last 13 months. Some $1,000 parcels were so easy, some were painfully slow. But I stuck to the rules which I created for myself and honoured them. My estimated passive income was over $3,650 upon the last $1,000 being invested.
My goal was to have a passive income of $4,000 per year but I am pretty darn close. And to be really honest, I think I could have done more. However the irony of why I didn’t do as well as I could is because a lot of my weekend were spent writing the $1,000 Project book for my publisher, Penguin. Which is funny because one of my suggestions to people who are doing The $1,000 Project is to write a book to earn some extra money.
Whilst I did put some of my advance from the book towards The $1,000 Project it didn’t quite cover the total time spend working on the book. So hopefully next time when I do Round 3, I won’t have the pressure of the book taking up my weekend time where I could be earning extra money.
So the final $1,000 was saved via a combination of dividends, lunch at home, selling some clothes and things around the house. But one interesting saving actually came from Rocco. With Halloween approaching (I love Halloween with Rocco) I was browsing online for a new great costume for him…naturally thinking I would buy him a new outfit. However when it came to talking about this with Rocco, he actually chose to wear one of his old outfits from a few year ago which he still absolutely loved and was able to alter with a few adjustments to the costume. He took his cute pumpkin outfit and turned it into a scar outfit. This cost nothing and demonstrated his appreciation of what he already has.
There I was, willing to spend/waste money on an outfit, where my own 4 year old son reminded me to work with what we already have and how creative he was. That consciousness and mindfulness with money is something we are all capable of doing.
So with this total savings $1,000 I purchased some more of the GEAR ETF which is within my risk profile and preferred asset allocation. Below you can see my actual portfolio but please realise that this is GENERAL ADVICE. Just because I do something for myself does not mean that I recommend that you copy me. I am a High Growth investor, I love market volatility and my goals are long term based, (10 years plus). I also research everything that I do before I do anything.
The passive income from the project ($3,650 AUD) is going to an orphanage, Pa van der Steur in Jakarta, Indonesia. This money will help create more space so that they can take on more children, giving underprivileged children a much better chance at life. You can read about the Pa van der Steur orphanage here. And if you feel inspired, please feel free to make a donation with me.
This year, well actually, from now on…I am going to try and purchase gifts for friends that are either experiences or support the community. Santa and myself found some incredible gift ideas on the Etsy website and I wanted to share this with you…and yes, it took a lot of self control not to buy myself something.
For my girlfriends…who love scented candles as much as I do!
Life is busy, we tend to rush a lot, we are hard on ourselves, feel guilty and when we do something nice for ourselves, we can be left feeling guilty. But instead of focusing our attention on how hard life can be, I want to focus on ideas, solutions and considering different perspectives as to how we can make life a little easier for ourselves. So here are my personal top 5 personal life hacks…
Wake Up Early or Stay Up Late – Early riser or night owl? It doesn’t matter, but using those quiet, peaceful times to efficiently power through chores/deadlines/projects will help give you not only time back during your day but also mean that you can enjoy your days a little more without rushing as much. Personally I am an early riser, I don’t do it every day, but I love the routine. Before most people have opened their eyes, I have meditated, cleared my emails, looked at my goals and if it is a Monday, I have usually had a good walk and dip down at Bondi beach with Giuseppe (Winter months included). Try it for yourself for 1 week…you will love the new efficiency.
You first – When we prioritise ourselves first and what we need to fill our own cup, we are then relaxed/recharged/happy/calm/in control to be, do, have, go, get what the people who we love the most and our important in our lives need from us. This is hard to do, (especially for people looking after little ones) but when you try it, you feel so much stronger. I used to rush like a mad women to pick Rocco up, rush home with him to walk the dogs, manically try and cook dinner/feed dogs/tidy and do the whole bed and bath. I would be short tempered, frustrated and worst, not present. I changed a few things up, I made sure that I had exercised before picking Rocco up, I came home before picking Rocco up, walked the dogs and tidied the house, and sometimes even throw something in the oven before picking him up. Turning up to daycare became a whole other experience, I could now calmly turn up to greet him, I could chat to his teachers, I could even go and do something fun with him before heading home. As a result I got less tantrums, more quality time with Rocco, the dogs got their one on one time with me and Rocco and I could calmly cook the remainder of the dinner together. Guilt evaporated.
Pre-portioned Meal Service – Coming back to my time poor comments, one thing that makes a massive difference in the stress levels is knowing that I have the food that I need to cook dinner that night. I can be lazy and go with unhealthy quick options as I am too tired to fight the throw down. But this benefits no one and definitely does not keep my cup full. I have been using Marley Spoon for a few years now and not only does it save me so much time (no driving to the supermarket, no scrambles to find a parking spot, no trolleys, no brain freezes as to what to cook for dinner tonight,) but it is healthy, delicious and such great value. I get 3 meals, each serves two people and costs $70 per week. When I head to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for tonight, I average $35…at least…not to mention the risk of my “interesting” cooking skills. You can actually try Marley Spoon for yourself and get $35 off your first box, using this code SUGARMAMMA35.
Tidy House, Tidy Calm Mind – A tidy house has a calm, welcoming, nurturing and recharging energy about it. I can’t think straight, get inspired, motivated or even feel calm with mess around me….actually I turn into an irratiable and unpleasant person when my home is a mess. Taking 10 minutes to tidy the house before you go to bed each night will make a huge difference to your headspace when you wake up. And when things are at least tidy, I can turn a blind eye to the dirt. But when things are tidy, cleaning that dirt only takes a fraction of time.
Mindful of Media – I am actually not going to tell you to get off your phones or other electronic devices, I am going to just suggest that what or who you do chose to watch/follow/ subscribe to is only things that make you feel inspired, connected, and recharged and maybe even motivated. If watching the Kardashians on TV at night makes you laugh, feel inspired or even educated, then that is fine. The same goes for who you follow on social media…switch and replace the people and brands that inspire you to have a more meaningful life. That way spending time looking through Instagram actually serves you, not drains your time.
I finally got paid for my weekend jobs! Whilst I never questioned these people paying me, I have been patiently building up the excitement of investing this money. Again, looking back at my lost weekends, I realised that losing my weekend time off wasn’t so bad after all and the money was worth it but more importantly the feeling of progress was worth even more. I purchased more of the Australian Geared ETF ($2,000 worth) and my estimated passive income is now $3,550 p.a. And I have almost $800 saved up for my final $1,000.
Please stay tuned as to where I donate this estimated passive income, what the portfolio is worth and how much I saved and invested in total!
Seeing people work on their financial goals (as well as other goals), really makes me proud. Stepping up and taking ownership and responsibility for your financial situation and financial direction is a powerful step, with many insights, growth and abundance to be created for yourself and for your loved ones.
But often when people are busy working on their short terms goals, such as paying off credit card debt, student debt or even saving for a big items such as a deposit on a home, they forget about the long term goals which need just as much attention and care.
In particular, superannuation is one of the most neglected areas. And the long term impact of forgetting about your superannuation could result in you missing out on huge investment opportunities or unwanted risks by not making sure that your superannuation is set up correctly in the first place.
So this week’s Money Monday video shows you why you need to take care of your super right now, what the potential impact of not taking care of your super and then most importantly, how to take care of your super. It really is so simple and so quick to do, so do it today.
Also Virgin Money, who very kindly sponsored this video, have superannuation products available to all Australians. Their fees are some of the lowest in the market, they have a range of investment options to suit everyone and they even have Help Centre for general advice, so if you get stuck, you can speak with a consultant who can help guide you. Plus everything can be done online, including consolidating your super accounts, so no paperwork is needed!
So do yourself a huge favour which you will never regret, and invest the time in checking your super, giving it some love and stay tuned as I have more videos around superannuation coming up!
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