Budgeting, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

How I Got 10% More of My Pay

Hi friends,

Recently, I discovered a way to get 10% more of my pay. Not to be confused with getting 10% more pay, I made a few simple changes over the last few months to get 10% more of what I already earn. Today I’d love to share with you how I did it, and how you can too.

It all started when I made a mindful habit of reading my payslips. One day, I realised that there was a large discrepancy between my gross income and my take-home (net) income – specificially that I was receiving about 74% of my salary in my weekly pay. To give you an idea, here’s the same percentage based on different salaries:

If your salary is $52,000, making your gross weekly salary $1000, you would be receiving a net weekly salary of $740.

If your salary is $60,000, making your gross weekly salary $1154, you would be receiving a net weekly salary of $854.

If your salary is $45,000, making your gross weekly salary $865, you would be receiving a net weekly salary of $640.

Quite a difference, isn’t there?

With some easy steps, I managed to close the gap and lessen the difference between what I ‘earn’ and what I receive. I’d like to make a small disclaimer and highlight that these were personal decisions. With that, here are the steps I took.

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Lifestyle, Personal Finance, Wedding

Creating Our Dream Wedding | Chapter 2

Hi friends,

Welcome to Chapter Two of my wedding series!

May was an expensive and eventful month, one full of wedding accomplishments. Some of these include:

  • paying off our honeymoon
  • booking our florals, lighting, decor, and photography
  • ordering my wedding dress

…And attending two amazing wedding shows!

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Budgeting, Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

When Shit Happens

A few weeks ago, my colleague & friend Lucius asked me, “Hey Sophia, you know your personal finance blog.. What about when shit happens?”

My response: “When shit happens? Do you mean like having money for an emergency fund?” He said yes.

So I told him I’d thought about writing about this, and the times I’d had to use mine (a brief period of unemployment, taking my car to get fixed at the expensive Mini Garage, etc). However, I was currently in a strange position as I had a large emergency fund that I was planning to use as my soon-to-be wedding fund and therefore, may soon need to start fresh. I offered, “You’re welcome to write a guest blog if you like!”

So here is the result, my friends. Please note that we have different opinions on our job, where I get to round out my financial experience in insurance, banking and tax; where we work in a tall building in my favourite suburb overlooking the Sky Tower & city skyline on one side and the majestic Mt Rangitoto & ocean on the other; where the pay is average but having a few other income streams makes it manageable; and where the job itself can be challenging (also, but less often, rewarding) but our team is amazing to work with. That being said, his thoughts are also completely true, valid, and hilarious. Enough of my rambling – enjoy!

Hello to all of Sophia’s readers. As you all might have guessed I have the fortunate “privilege” of working in a dead-end, shitty job wishing that some random shitstain would just throw you off the top floor of the excrement filled building… Motherfucker! A call centre job is not only career suicide, it presents you with constant and elevated stress due to dealing with the very dregs of society, being monitored like criminals by management, and more importantly, shit-all pay. With the cost of living only going up and the value of the dollar diminishing every year; our standard of living has been worse than it’s ever been.

Being more tight-fisted, finances has become a certain necessity for some and a daily struggle for many. Indulging in luxuries once in a blue moon could shove you into paupacy for a few weeks, while a catastrophic event like a car crash or medical condition could tumble you headfirst into financial ruin… And this is exactly why Sophia has invited me to be a guest blogger: to tell you how to prepare when the metaphorical shit/excrement/faeces/turd hits the fan.

Accidents happen, life is shit and shit happens; moral of the story is shit! Personally, when shit happens to me, it happens all at once. Not only did I crash my vehicle (my fault), the garage door malfunctioned, vehicle tyres needed urgent replacing and I had already pre-ordered re-enactment equipment that needed to be paid off that week. Fortunately, I was able to and am still able to pay these off and multiple times over should I need to. You can budget wisely and save to prematurely prepare for said unforeseeable event(s) that would put many ordinary civilians into crippling debt. I call it: managing micro-transactions.

Sun Tzu (shitstain) once said that the leadership of many is the same as leadership of a few; it is only a matter of organisation. Believe it or not, the management of micro-transactions can make the difference between having a safety net to fall back on or hanging yourself with your neighbour’s extension cord that you had to “borrow” due to financial depression. Saving a small sum on hundreds of small transactions can be much more effective than saving on big ones; the key point is to live within your means. I’m not here to tell you about how to manage your fixed costs, but to educate you wretched shits by how you can save over the long term by breakdown down your variable costs. Let me give you a few examples:

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Budgeting, Lifestyle, Personal Finance, Wedding

Creating Our Dream Wedding | Chapter 1

 

Hi friends,

WELCOME TO CHAPTER ONE OF MY BLOG’S WEDDING SERIES!

It sounds fancy and official, but really, it’s a practical and sentimental record of our wedding planning journey – a diary to share my inspirations, reflect on in the future with sweet nostalgia, and of course, keep ourselves mindful with money. I’m excited to share with you every part of this journey – of creating our dream wedding that will be both magical and money-conscious.

This month, we:

  • went to a gorgeous wedding open day
  • started making a financial plan for funding our big day
  • started requesting quotes on florals, lighting, photography & more
  • booked our wedding venue!

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Budgeting, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Personal Finance

The Cost of Owning a Home | My Personal Experience

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Hi friends,

It’s been a while! I want to thank you all for the incredibly positive, warm and supportive feedback I received on my last post, How I Save Money on an Inconsistent Income. It means a lot to me to know that I’ve helped and inspired some of you with your own finances!

Today I’d like to share with you all the costs & expenses I’ve come across as a homeowner. Of course, everyone’s experience is different, so this is tailored to my personal expenses – after all, my house is no luxury beachfront villa; it’s a modest, free-standing house in a safe and sensibly priced suburb. I thought it would be interesting to share what I pay for now that I own a home vs. when I was renting, and hope it will be helpful to both other homeowners and future homeowners with my transparency.

What do you think of when you think of buying a house? Personally, I think it’s so easy to simply think of the purchase price and mortgage payments – plus mortgage protection if you want that peace of mind. I obviously knew there was going to be more, but now that it’s been two years, I truly have a fuller picture to share with you all.

But first, some background..

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Budgeting, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

How I Save Money on an Inconsistent Income

Hi friends,

Today I’d like to share with you how I save money on an inconsistent income. Just a few years ago, I’d rely on $1400 to hit my bank account every fortnight – and it did, each and every fortnight without fail. Even then, my income regularly fluctuated because I volunteered for so much overtime and, twice a year, received a performance bonus – but it was positively inconsistent in that I could always rely on at least that amount or more. It was blissfully easy to budget.

Fast forward to 2019, and I’m sure those of you who are freelancers, self-employed, contractors, or run a side business can relate to earning a wildly inconsistent income. It started in 2018, when I had six sources of income, one of them being a part-time job that would give me 21 hours one week, 4 hours the next; another being photography, where one month I’d shoot two events and others where I’d shoot none.

Here’s a snapshot of my income now:

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Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

My 2018 Money Wins + 2019 Goals

Hello friends, and Happy New Year!!!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season and feeling rested, refreshed, and inspired for the year to come! This time of the year always calls for reflection and aspiration, so today I’m sharing with you my 2018 money wins – the best things I did for myself financially. I’ll also share with you my financial goals for the year to come.

2018

Money Win No.1 I did a 0% balance transfer
I shared a little about this in How I’m Paying Off My Debt Faster | 3 Easy Ways. Instead of letting the interest-free period on my credit card balance pass and consider it sorted if I met the minimum payments, I said “no thanks” to 25.99% interest and transferred it to my bank. More than just the benefit of having tons of time to pay off the balance, the peace of mind I had made it easily one of the best financial decisions I made last year.

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Budgeting, Personal Finance

How I Saved $232 a Month While Looking for a Job | One Year Update

Hi friends,

A year ago, I wrote a blog called ‘How I Saved $232 a Month While Looking for a Job. It was well received, and I was especially delighted to hear from others who could relate to my situation of saving money through big life changes (whether or not they were job related)!

The six expenses I cut or reduced were:

  • Spotify Premium
  • LinkedIn Premium
  • Mobile phone data
  • My gym membership
  • Office 365
  • My mortgage payments

Of these I have four updates to share, so today I’d like to share with you how I’m doing one year on.

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Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance, Purpose & Passion

Manifesting Money

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Hi friends,

Today I’d love to share with you what I’ve learnt about manifesting money – what it is and why it’s real.

My first experience consciously manifesting money was at the NZ Spirit Festival. I attended a workshop called ‘Tapping into Money’, which taught us the power of tapping on meridians to remove energy blocks and tap into a mindset of abundance, and was surprised to have seemingly manifested money that very night. From the $180 I made from selling concert tickets, to the $50 I made selling my extra festival ticket, to the $500-600 I’d receive later thanks to two photography enquiries in one night, it was excitingly strange and synchronous.

Since then, I’ve learnt plenty on the topic, mostly thanks to Youtube & books. Among the self-help books I’ve read this year, the money-related books I’ve read are Creating Affluence by Deepak Chopra, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason, and You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I’ve also bought Conscious Money by Patricia Aburdene and The $1000 Project by Canna Campbell to add to my reading list!

What stands out to me is that, no matter how practical and tangible people think money is, everything I have read or watched touches on the most important aspect of attracting more money and building wealth: your mindset.

No, manifesting money isn’t praying to the Universe to give you money while you’re sitting around doing nothing, or the opposite – working to the point of burn-out. It’s not simply using Law of Attraction and positive affirmations to say, “I am wealthy” – it’s so much more than that. Here’s the best lessons I’ve personally learnt about manifesting money.

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Homeownership, Personal Finance

How to Buy a $650,000 House in NZ

Trade Me Property Search

Hello friends,

Today I will be answering a big question: how might two people earning an average salary buy an average priced property in New Zealand?

Writing this out of curiosity and to inspire & inform, I need to make a few disclaimers. The first is that I will be making assumptions. The second is that I will be over-estimating and simplifying numbers & figures. Banks and financial entities have this disclaimer when presenting their calculators – and creating hypothetical scenarios here is no different because it’s not realistic to personalise this to everyone’s individual situation.

In saying that, I’ve chosen what I believe to be realistic – of the average millennial earning average dollars buying an average house – based on my experience, my knowledge of others’ experiences and good ol’ fashioned research!

I hope this helps to give you an idea of how two people in New Zealand might buy what is officially called an ‘affordable home’ in New Zealand, at the humble price of $650,000.

Let’s call them Jessica and Noah!

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Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance, Purpose & Passion

The Six Ways I’ve Made Money This Year

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Hi friends,

It’s only the end of September, yet so far, 2018 has been a very interesting year for me – in life, in love, and in finances. A few years ago, like most people, I worked full-time and had one income, but this year so far, I’ve earned income from several different sources – six to be exact. Today I’ll share with you these six ways I’ve made money this year.

First, let me take you back to last year, 2017 – where I lay the foundations for where I am today. Let’s go in quarters, shall we?

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Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

Is the Entertainment Book worth it?

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Recently, my partner and I made the exciting yet slightly unsure decision to buy an Entertainment membership. You may have heard of the Entertainment book, which claims that you can “discover thousands of valuable 2-for-1 and up to 50% off offers for many of the best restaurants, cafés, arts, attractions, hotels, travel, shopping and much more.”

How true is this? Today, I’d like to share with you our experience so far.

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Budgeting, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

How I Saved $232 a Month While Looking for a Job

Hi friends,

Today I wanted to share with you how I reduced my monthly expenses, and talk about whether I’ve noticed much difference in my life. I’d like to thank a brief period of unemployment that motivated me to make these positive changes, some of which were only temporary – if it weren’t for my need to reduce expenses, I might’ve never truly evaluated where my money was going, and what was important to me.

Here’s exactly what I cut back on..

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Homeownership, Money Mindset

First Steps You Can Take Today Towards Buying a Home in NZ

Hi friends,

Recently, I shared my personal home buying experience in Auckland, and at the end, I share a few helpful resources that I used. Today I’d like to expand on these, and share a few steps I’d recommend if you are an aspiring homeowner in New Zealand.

It can be overwhelming with the amount of information out there, so hopefully I can condense and simplify some of it for you. Some of these, like Kiwibuild, are extremely new developments that didn’t exist when I was looking to buy a home, but now do, thanks to our government. Aren’t we blessed to have access to such a wealth of resources and support?

Without further adieu, here are steps you can take today towards buying your first home. I hope they help!

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Lifestyle, Purpose & Passion

What’s on Your Reverse Bucket List? | My Goals & Dreams

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Hi friends,

Have you ever heard of a reverse bucket list? While a bucket list is a list of everything you want to do before you die, a reverse bucket list is simply the opposite. It’s a list of amazing things that you’ve already achieved and experienced.

My kikki.K bucket list book is very dear to my heart. A brief stay in hospital in 2015 inspired me to purchase a timeless journal to write down all my goals, dreams and aspirations – where I want to travel, milestones I want to achieve, concerts I want to go to, and more.

It’s fun to read over it when I’m going through a rut and feeling ‘blah’, sometimes adding to it – but now, I realise that it tends to constantly keep me focused on the future. Future goals. Future plans. Future achievements. Why not also count and celebrate everything I’ve already achieved?

If you’ve got 5 minutes, I invite you to take a moment to be mindful and grateful with me. Here’s my reverse bucket list; I’d love to hear what’s on yours. ❤

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Money Mindset, Personal Finance

How I’m Paying Off My Debt Faster | 3 Easy Ways

Becoming debt-free has always been one of my biggest personal finance goals – and last year, I got to say that I achieved this. It was the moment I received a letter from my finance company confirming that my car, a gorgeous red Mini Cooper, had officially been paid off!

YASSSSS!!!

For a time, I had no consumer debt – and it felt good not to owe anyone anything. Unfortunately, this didn’t last too long because shortly after, I had to get several expensive dental treatments. Fortunately, my local dental clinic partnered with a finance company to offer interest-free finance for 6 months – so naturally, I went ahead for the sake of my oral health.

This interest-free finance felt like a personal loan, but technically, it was a credit card – and once issued, I was approved with a credit limit way higher than I needed. Seeing that they wanted me to spend more, accruing more interest, I reduced my credit limit immediately to help myself resist the temptation to spend. On top of this, here’s 3 more easy, effortless ways that I’m paying off my debt faster that you may find helpful too!

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Homeownership, Lifestyle, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

My Personal Home Buying Experience (Auckland, NZ)

In 2017, I ticked off one of my bucket list goals: to buy a freehold property. And by tick off, I mean literally – it had long been written in my kikki.k Bucket List Journal, alongside goals like ‘Go to Japan’, ‘Try anti-gravity yoga’, ‘Go to Tomorrowland in Belgium’ and ‘Fly a plane’. Needless to say, it was a dream come true.

After I shared the news, I got asked more or less the same questions from friends & acquaintances alike. So I’d love to share my home buying journey and what it was like, as a recount of my personal experience.

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Budgeting, Money Mindset, Personal Finance

How to Live on 80% of Your Income

When it comes to budgeting your money, it can be confusing to know where to start. How much should you be spending – and what should you be spending on? How much is ‘normal’ to spend on everything in your life, from your rent or mortgage, your car, entertainment and eating out?

If you have no idea where to start, or would just like to refresh your money mindset and give your budget a makeover, here’s a super simple budgeting rule: the 50/30/20 rule.

If you have a 50/30/20 budget, that means that:

50% of your net income goes towards needs;

30% of your net income goes towards wants; and

20% of your net income goes towards your financial goals, like paying off debt or buffing up your savings.

Let’s say that I bring home $1500 every fortnight. Ideally, my budget would look like this:

$750 (50%) for my needs;

$450 (30%) for my wants; and

$300 (20%) for my financial goals

So what does this mean? Because 50% goes towards needs and 30% goes towards wants, that means that 80% of your budget is allocated, leaving you with 20% to grow in your personal finance goals. Of course, if you can increase that 20% to 30%, 40% or more, even better! In an ideal world, right?

What it means for you is that you need to learn to live on 80% of your income. Here’s how I did it, and you can too!

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