Why did we all want to be grown ups again?

Remember thinking how good it would be? The doing whatever you wanted, eating whatever you wanted, not having to listen to anyone tell you what to do? HA. If only I knew that when I walk into a room now I see this. All while being yelled at by children we made FROM FREE CHOICE. Who are mini versions of sometimes the worst parts of ourselves?

Imagine being rugged up on the couch, eating and drinking what you like, having it brought to you: CUT FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE then maybe napping, maybe not. Imagine having smooth, supple heels?

Take me back!

Right now, and maybe this year in particular as work has been slow while living expenses remain HIGH I feel like I have been chasing my tail. There’s BAS & PAYG, there’s quarterly rates and electricity and right now in winter, constant and relentless HEATING bills. We have gas tanks that need filling for central heating, wood for the fire, electricity for life, groceries, extra cirrcicular stuff and we don’t even have big school fees YET (that all starts next year so help me GOD). There’s car regos and new tyres, the incidental stuff like broken dishwashers or ovens that need fixing, insurances, bills and ADULTING. All the while keeping fit and healthy and on top of your budget and seeing friends and making sure you read and ARE WE DONE YET? How are you meant to save for a holiday as well?

It’s bloody hard going isn’t it?
How does everyone do it?
Do you find yourself screaming that at Instagram too? “HOW DOES EVERYONE DO IT?” Or is that just me?!
I mean I look like an adult, and apparently am about to be 41, but I still don’t know what I am doing.

We got our quarterly electricity bill today that I have been waiting for. It’s a winter one and I knew it was going to be a big one. Surprisingly it wasn’t that bad for the 5 of us in the dead of winter when it’s been SO cold just over $750 but knowing we have spent so much more on gas tanks as well as endless deliveries of wood, man it’s expensive just to live and stay warm isn’t it?

We have started watching a great show on the ABC called Teenage Boss with the girls that they love which is a great insight for kids to see how budgets work. Legendary Maths teacher, Eddie Woo takes 15 teenagers and gives them control of their families budget for a month. Having to do all the shopping and pay expenses for day to day stuff. It’s fascinating and a really great way to open up conversations with kids about budgets and allocating money and saving…highly recommend it.

For months now I have been trying to chase that tail. Not spend any money on anything that we don’t need. Making sure that our weekly shops are planned for, all the food used and spent every week without any waste. I’ve been trying to make sure I get money out, and use cash, rather than tapping for everything where you just lose track of how much things are. Having actual money in your wallet that you see and slowly tap into has been a really useful way for me to SEE what’s going out and keep on top of budgets.

I also find unsubscribing from EVERY EMAIL helps make you not get tempted by buying stuff when it hits your inbox.

But sheesh, it’s not much fun is it?

I’d love to know how you guys do it all. Got any amazing budget tips that you use or help you to stay focused?

Do you have a budget? (I know how much we need each month just to live but ti scares me)
Do you save any money? (I am finding it SO hard)
How much do you spend on your weekly grocery shop? (my weekly shop right now is about $250)
How much was your winter electricity bill? (ours was $750)

My top tips?

1. At the start of the week take out cash (even whack it into envelopes for expenses like shopping, coffee or eating out) and once that cash is gone, you are done!

2. Unsubscribe or delete emails from shopping so you don’t even get tempted

3. Know and plan for those big quarterly bills that you know you have coming up (PAYG, rates, electricity)

4. Plam your meals for the week ahead and use everything in your fridge and cupboard before going shopping again

5. Don’t be an adult

I’s love to know the answers to the above and any words of wisdom. I know so many people find Barefoot Investor really useful, but anything you can share with us all please do. Otherwise, let’s just all have a sticky beak at each other. I am fascinated by this kind of stuff (hello spreadsheet on how much we all spent on hair). I suppose I did work in finance for over 10 years…

And do I need to turn my knitting into slippers for us all to save on heating?!


  1. $850 for our electricity (gas stove on top); that’s pretty good as it was a long, hot summer and that one rolled in at $1200 (aircon and pool). I’m pretty shite at it all but have decided this year is the year to grow up. And I have. A bit. Credit cards are going this week. Yep, another one on the Barefoot train.

  2. Oh this! Everything about this! We’re self employed as well and it is sooooo hard sometimes. Feeling as if you’re sliding backwards somedays. All I wanted was to be an adult and buy pretty shoes, well adulting sucks big time!

    Money wise, if I had the answers I’d be sitting back drinking margaritas.

    Best thing we do – every $10 note and gold coins that come our way, I stick in a jar (then into the safe) At the end of the year this money pays for dance concert tickets (which are not cheap), dance pictures, school books, uniforms, school shoes, haircuts for our 2 girls for back to school expenses. Oh and pays for school photos during the year. This has been such a help for us – traditionally end /beginning of year times is slow for us workwise and with Christmas as well not a good time for money. Left over money this year also went towards a new phone for me after my old phone died a horrible death.

  3. OMG Beth, we had a slight sewerage problem in the backyard over the weekend so I called the plumber out to fix it – $8,000 and 3 days later 😩 We need new tyres on our car but that’s going to have to wait because I can’t spend upwards of $10k in 1 week! I use Pocketbook to track my expenses. I’m an accountant too and I got silly amounts of satisfaction being able to pull a download into a spreadsheet of all my income and expenses for the past financial year all neatly categorised. I was horrified by the extra-curricular total for my 2 kids – think private school fees for a year 😳 – but I’d rather they’re busy and having a go at as many things as possible. You never know what might become a passion. Don’t get me started on electricity bills – mine was horrific and I don’t understand why 😞

  4. I live on my credit cards for frequent fliers (hello Christmas in Scotland and New York this year) but I religiously pay them off every month so NO INTEREST. I find budgeting very difficult because I work fulltime so if I fall off the super organised train there can be last minute grocery visits or take away unexpectantly. School fees are the bain of my existence. Every fortnight I shed a little tear when I see the invoice pop in my inbox, feels even worse when the kid your shelling out thousands for declares every night that he hates school. Sorry no tips on making it easier but I share your despair.

  5. I pretty much do all the things you mentioned, except the don’t be an adult one, think I might have left it too late to go back.
    Interestingly this year 3 of my 4 children have moved away to study (don’t get me started on the cost of uni education 😮, actually it’s not the education it’s the cost of living that’s killing me) but our electricity, and food bills have still gone up. Everything is just so f@#$ing expensive.
    Last time we had a family holiday was 2010 and that was only a road trip up the east coast.
    Supporting the studying kids has just about emptied my savings, I don’t know what will happen next year because we just won’t be able to do it.
    Can’t say anymore it scares and depresses me too much and I know still I’m one of the lucky ones.
    Cheers Kate

  6. I was terrified to buy this book because I thought it was a bit cult like BUT we are doing The Barefoot Investor method and we are saving like crazy people (who are not in a cult)

  7. We’ve been following Barefoot for about 9 months now & it’s really changed our financial lives. We used to put everything on credit cards & pay them off in full every month, but never felt like we were getting ahead.

    Have now cut up the credit cards (banks hate it when you do that!) & have set up 5 accounts (one for daily expenses, one for fun, one for holidays, one for car expenses – rego/insurance/services/tyres etc – and another for savings.

    Since becoming more conscious of what we were spending, we’ve gone from $300/week on groceries to about $180 & I’ve negotiated discounts for all of our insurance policies & electricity supplier. If you ask them, they’ll give you a discount. Also changed banks from one of the big 4 who we’d been with for nearly 30 years, but they wouldn’t play nice when I asked them to discount our home loan (small), business loan & investment loan. We left them for a smaller bank & saved over $6,500pa in interest! It all adds up & it’s proven that loyalty for the customer is not always best.

    I know exactly how you’re feeling though – life is busy & expensive!

  8. I treat my mortgage payments as savings and I am schlepping as much as I can into that each month. We have switched to Aldi which is a massive saving. I never buy anything that isn’t on sale. Use cash only is a great one. Have things fixed instead of replacing stuff. Buy second hand when you can. ( Furnitures cars etc) I stopped shopping as a hobbie which helped. Buy things that you need, not because you want it. Splurge on experiences not “stuff”. Just a few things we do xx

    • Nic Wesley says

      Agree re shopping at Aldi – massive saving – $80-$100 a week for us – also not shopping as a hobby – I just don’t go to the shops so I’m not tempted. Also, boring but when I’ve got lots of bills to pay no eating out or takeaways – homemade pizza anyone??!!!?? Totally does my head in that I’m cooking every night but have just started allocating one dinner a week to each family member to cook – so I don’t top myself!!

    • Great stuff 🙂

  9. We have a series of accounts, a bit like the old envelope system. We took every bill from last year and put each one into a spreadsheet, totalled it up eg. $1800 on regos then divided them by 26 weeks. We then save that amount in its specific account every fortnight. This way we rarely get bill shock and often accrue interest.
    We have accounts for fun and savings too.
    Our grocery bill is about $120/week for 2 adults, 1 toddler, 3 cats and a dog. Pets eat special pet food but our week depends entirely on catalogue specials, I will visit more than 1 grocery store to get the best deals and the Woolworths rewards program often gives me free “groceries” last week I got $80 off my shop.

  10. Ughhh. Adulting sucks. We’re self employed and it’s just sooo hard. The cost of everything has gone up triple at least in the past couple of years and 2 kids in high school doesn’t help.

    One thing we do is save every gold coin and $10 in a jar during the year. This pays for end of year dance concert tickets and photos, school books, uniforms, shoes, haircuts in the January which is a very slow time for us with work and just after Christmas as well. Usually also pays for school photos and haircuts during the year and this year also paid for a new iPhone when one of ours died

  11. Well you could be on the other side of the Tasman in New Zealand – weekly food $400; power can be $350 a month at least ( and I know people who pay more!) .. average wage is A$45K… state school uniform/fees/stationery, stupid tech $2000 for one kid. And I’ve just spent $10,000 for two of us for 4 months uni fees … We have to pay straight up. No HECS – as someone who used to live in Oz and who has a business in Melbourne – I think things in Oz are cheap and wages are 35% higher too and RDO’s and long service leave . .. I don’t know how people live here – probably will zillions over there!

  12. We shop at Aldi, and all our payments are automated fortnightly. Still feel like school fees are the big struggle for us, although it’s not something we would change!
    I kind of deleted sales emails too – but used Unroll.me instead, so I get a Daily Rollup email with all those emails inside it, so if there is a good sale on something we NEED, I don’t miss the sale.

  13. Well you could be on the other side of the Tasman in New Zealand – weekly food $400; power can be $350 a month at least ( and I know people who pay more!) .. average wage is A$45K… state school uniform/fees/stationery, stupid tech $2000 for one kid. And I’ve just spent $10,000 for two of us for 4 months uni fees … We have to pay straight up. No HECS – as someone who used to live in Oz and who has a business in Melbourne – I think things in Oz are cheap and wages are 35% higher too and RDO’s and long service leave . .. I don’t know how people live here – probably why zillions over there!

  14. As a family of 6 in one income I am a budgeting/frugal badass!!! Here’s my tips for food-
    The fact that I can shop for my family & spend between $150-$200 a week makes me bloody happy. I do this by shopping around. Screw being loyal to anyone. I go to Woolies, Aldi & Spudshed (its a WA thing) most weeks.
    I cook from scratch.
    I’m not afraid of Home brand stuff.
    I ALWAYS use leftovers. Not much goes to waste around here.
    As for household bills these are the things I’ve done for years-
    Add up a years worth of bills for whatever thing you want to pay (water, gas, electric, phones, internet, insurances)& divide by 52. Each week that amount is taken from our accounts & put straight on to that bill. Right now I am $600 AHEAD in my electricity bill & over $400 ahead in my water bill. It’s taken a while but it means each month we rarely have to fork out extra for any of the necessities bills.
    SHOP AROUND. Do not be afraid to switch providers or haggle with your exisiting one. I recently had $80 per month taken off my home insurance. That’s a huge amount for us!
    Be mindful of how you use stuff. Switch off at the switches. Don’t leave shit running. Nah the kids to turn stuff off when they aren’t using it. Every little bit helps.
    As for other life stuff-
    I have two seperate savings accounts that’s that money I’d put into each week as soon as hubbys pay goes in. One is for expenses like rates & rego/big stuff we didn’t see coming. The other is for Xmas. Come November I have a decent amount to buy gifts with & some left over to take us away for a week in our caravan.
    Use your local library or online library apps like Libby. Why books you’ll only read once?!
    Get some chooks & grow some food. It’s fun, good for the environment & will save you a bit of cash while being good for you.
    Don’t be afraid to be frugal. I don’t mind saying no to stuff because I’d rather say no than stretch our very small budget. I’m not a shopper & nor do I really crave “stuff” so that makes it easier to live within our means.
    By no means is it easy & sometimes it’s really fucking disheartening (hence why I’ve gone back to casual work just so we can Have some breathing room each week) but I’m so proud that we’ve been able to stay afloat these last few years because sometimes that’s all it’s aboit isn’t it, not living a flashy,fancy life but just being able to stock your kitchen with food, pay your bills & keep a roof over your head. There’s nothing wrong with that!

  15. BIG fan of number 5!

  16. Ah budgets! 🙄🙄💩💩😵😵

    As someone who lives alone, and has only ever made fairly average money, AND has had to rely on Newstart for a couple of long periods (a few stints of over 12 months) I am officially a Frugal Boss.

    Newstart, in case you’re unfamiliar, provides $ well UNDER living at the poverty line. There’s no coasting, it’s soul crushingly hard.

    I literally could not have done it if there wasn’t an epic amount of incompetence in the utilities sector (lucky me). I only cried once or twice (in financial despair) during that season and I’m frickin’ proud of that.

    It’s amazing what you can go without when you don’t have the money.

    Can’t afford the internet?
    Go to the library. It’s free! And so are the books, magazines, movies, and use of computers…

    Take a home made coffee to the park. Kick some leaves. Look at the clouds.

    Can’t afford to put the heater on?
    My dad’s words echo down the decades “Go and put a jumper on!”. So I did. On ya dad!

    I would set myself incremental goals – don’t put the heater on yet, have a cuppa, grab a blanket, wait until lunchtime, now wait until 2pm, now 3pm.

    Humility and frugality go hand in hand. I learned to accept help gratefully, and to ask for it. The people who respond are your angels on earth. Let them lift you up.
    Pay it forward when you can.

    Shopping your pantry is a definite $$ saver. Why do we have pantries heaving with staples we don’t use?? Baked beans on toast with a few dried herbs or a tiny sprinkle of parmesan is a perfectly good lunch.

    Take an inventory of the pantry and the fridge. Write a list of meal ideas and stick it to the fridge door.

    Keep something fun too. I kept the basic Foxtel package when I was out of work, it was less than $1 a day. It impacted my teensy budget but I kept it. It was my “one thing”.

    Now I am earning $32K p.a. and I feel wealthy!! I know I can’t afford all the things.. here’s the good part, I don’t want or need them. They are just things. And I still go to the library!

    I’m going on a short holiday in a few weeks, to the beach, just an hour away from home. I might spring for a third night in the AirBnB I’ve booked. But I might not. I’ll have to consider that carefully.

    Go away in the off season, go locally. We live in a diversely beautiful country.

    Budgeting sucks, I find being frugal so rewarding!

    Change your mindset, keep your attitude positive, and if you need to have a little cry while doing the dishes, that’s okay too.

  17. Lesley Minter says

    Wow! Some great ideas. We are looking at the Bare Foot Investor, just scared to take the final leap. We have credit cards and pay them off each and every month. For the moment this works for us and I love the rewards system. I have a direct debit for any bill that I can pay monthly. One year we had 2 regos, house insurance, rates and electricity all within 4 weeks of each other! So I had to do something. It was very sad. Just keep chugging away, always lots of people worse off. However sometimes you fell that you are just spinning your wheels…………….

  18. Barefoot Investor has changed our lives. 9 months after reading it we’re down to 1 credit card from 4, 90% credit card debt paid off and holiday saving accumulating. We have a splurge account that is 10% of our pay and takeaways, clothes etc all come from there. It’s liberating on how simple and easy it is. I’ve also gone full time and while it’s more hectic with 2 kids, the financial stress is so much less and we’re happier.

  19. Hearing you Beth. (Especially re the someone bringing you cut up food!!!)
    I used to be a bit blasé about money, but the real world seems to have caught up and life seems so bloody expensive now. At the start of the year I started writing down every single thing we spent, adding it all up at the end of the month and organising into food/alcohol/miscellaneous etc. sounds a bit painful, but it was eye opening and really made me realise just how much we were spending unnecessarily. I’ve since tightened the purse strings considerably without much pain at all.
    I also don’t go shopping as a hobby, I used to be terrible at that.
    Aldi is great and so is avoiding takeaway.
    So many great ideas from people!

    • Aren’t there? People are amazing! We have done all these things too and its helped…the writing down how much everything is such a pain but at least you know where you are.

  20. Hi
    Managing cash flow when self employed is so hard its either feast or famine. You have to find the balance in between. Find a hobby/therapy that is not shopping.

  21. Hi!
    We have not had a Credit Card for ten years! If we want it we save for it and pay cash. This included my 40th birthday trip to NYC last year that’s cost me 10k and three years of saving and a recent trip around Aust for two months, also saved slowly but surely for. We do the same for bills, work out what each utility costs per year, get online accounts for each one and EVERY payday I go in and pay off the predetermined amount. Gas is $30, electricity is $50 and water $30 and if I have extra I pay extra to cover the two bills I actually get per year, one winter one ( extra electricity for heating) and one summer one (aircon!). Haven’t had a gas or water bill in years by doing this. Same goes for rates $25 week and always can pay in full when the bill arrives. Honestly doing it this way is life changing. I never worry about money for bills ever and we are not rich by any standards. If we can’t pay for it we simply don’t have it. Also cook from scratch and no car loans, again we have only ever purchased cars we can pay for. Would rather have an older model I actually own! Same goes for furniture and clothes. Its probably a a very old fashioned way to handle finances and our mortgage broker was astounded that we were under 40 (I’m 41 now though and hubby is 39) and had no debt whatsoever besides our mortgage. Debt to me is just stress I don’t need. So I think the biggest tip is to ALWAYS live within your means. That doesn’t mean you can’t have holidays and nice things, we do but just save for them and it takes a little longer but when it happens or we get the thing with no debt attached to it, it’s so much sweeter! Also get chooks and grow veggies, it’s awesome and saves heaps xxxx

    • Such great tips here thanks for sharing Jody – good on you!

      • Agree so much about the car! So many people I know have cars they can’t afford just to keep up with the joneses!! I have a second hand car I paid cash for that is perfectly fine. I’d much rather save my money on a nice holiday

  22. I hear you! We have the same thing. My hubby works casually and it’s irelrgular as he’s a tradie.
    I’ve started shopping weekly with a budget of $120 max, and it’s maslde a huge difference, less overall and no more extra supermarket trips in between the big fortnightly shop.
    I buy things in bulk then divvy them out into small servings – perfect for lunchboxes or snacks
    I buy home brand whenever I can
    I put our bills, savings, groceries money in separate accounts accounts as soon as we get paid, so what’s left in the day to day account is all we have and once it’s gone it’s gone
    I salary sacrifice my car and superannuation contributions

  23. I put any gold coins and 50c coins into a purse, they add up quickly. I take the purse to the farmers markets, the stall holders like the change too. Also $5 notes, I use them to save for things I want sometimes, at the moment I am saving them to give my granddaughter some extra spending money on an overseas trip next year. Don’t go to the shops for something to do, you will ALWAYS see something you want! Turn appliances off at the wall, used to nag my kids about it and now they nag theirs! Cook from scratch, use leftovers (or freeze them for another day), grow vegetables/fruit/herbs, get a few chooks. Use the library, I am an avid reader so joining the local library has saved me a lot of money. I shop at Woolies because of their loyalty program, saving the points for Christmas. I know a lot of people like Aldi but I’m not a fan. I have made my own laundry detergent in the past, it’s great clothes came out lovely and clean, it’s so cheap too. I haven’t used my credit card for ages, those things are so dangerous! My parents always paid cash for what they wanted, and if they didn’t have the cash they waited. Prices seem to be going up all the time, and wages aren’t.

  24. I find it hard too. Someone got me into a project called The Resilience Project. It’s on you tube. I’m someone who worries about money and it really helped me realise that in this country, for many of us even when we’re “poor” we’re weatlthy and having gratitude does help a lot.
    Ps absolutely love your blog x

  25. I’d had a credit card for as long as I could remember and I hated it. Should never have got it. So, when I got an overtime windfall from work, instead of spending it on a holiday or stuff that I thought I needed – I paid the card off. Adulting level achieved!

    Some of these tips are excellent. We’re about to drop to one wage and while it’s a decent wage, we’ll need to tighten our belts. Thank you so much to everyone for sharing!

  26. These tips are all brilliant and so encouraging. One thing we’ve done for years is to only have long life globes in all our lighting. We rarely have overhead lights on of an evening, instead we have lamps in every room and as darkness falls I go around switching on a few lamps here and there, so the house is lit but dimly. If we want to read, we do it by one of the brighter lamps. Once dinner is cooked and cleaned up, the downlights and bright overhead light in the kitchen go off and stay off. Plus we turn all appliances off at the switch except microwave and fridge which are hard to reach. Simple but effective. We are recent empty nesters so it has all become much easier plus the satisfaction of seeing our children incorporating some of our frugal tips in their own households now. Those tough decisions and choices in the hurly burly of raising kids are all worth it, hang in there everyone 🙂

  27. Can’t speak highly enough of the Barefoot Investor either – so good. He has some great tips, we have been following his guidelines for a few months and actually have savings!

  28. Having your own business is tough. Tough because not everyone pays on time. We have some clients that havent paid for 6 months. We have a direct debit set up for rates, power, bupa etc. It works well for us and our rates are so far ahead. We also put aside all $5 $2,$1 and 50c in a tin and do not touch until the end of the year. It can add up to thousands and you don’t miss it. you know i sat there the other day with pen and paper and calculated a few things. We pick up 2 coffees from 7/11 on our way to work. Good coffee. Any way they ae only $ 2 each. We work 7 days a week and it costs us about $1,400 a year on those coffees alone. think of all the others we buy. When you add up a yearly total it makes me feel ill with how much we are wasting. We both have the frank green coffee cups yet still buy. Challenge your self and work out how much you spend on the visit to the bakery/takeaway/newspapers. It could work out at around $20,000 a year, not kidding.

  29. Linda Jenkins says

    Adulting is tough! I was made redundant on Tuesday and the 4 weeks pay I received was immediately eaten up by 3 car related expenses and a vets bill and its only Friday ! Lots of great ideas listed. Definitely meal planning and careful food shopping is a saver. Even having an idea of what certain family favorite recipes cost to make. Last year the free coles magazine were promoting $10 dinners so I got some good ideas from that. Library resources are great I agree. Doing a budget so you at least know what the upcoming expenses will be or which months are extra expensive. Planning for Christmas is important -yes to the gold coins method. By following the Barefoot Investor we have some savings and have cut up 2 of our 3 credit cards which has given us some breathing space. I also avoid the shops as an outing.

  30. Adulting is a pain in the ass! LOL Seriously!

    Like many others, I have electricity, water, rates and phone/internet come out weekly, I have set up bpay for them. I am $900 ahead for electricity and nearly the same for water. I have started the barefoot investor but haven’t finished it. I have school fees come out every fortnight. Our electricity bill in winter is probably $600-700 and around $400 in summer a little less in the autumn/spring seasons. We use an air con to heat our house (small house not ducted, 2 bedroom) and only have gas for the stove. Our car “expenses”, i’ll use that term lightly, are considerable cheaper than most as I have a handy hubby who has two best mates as mechanics, so our goods are sourced at a cheaper price and my husband does any repair needed (with the help sometimes of his mate). But we recently bought a new car so until thats out of warranty that will be getting served at the dealership but services are very reasonable considering. The tyres on that car will be more though lol Our grocery bill is usually $150-200 (sometimes that includes some takeaway, and sometimes that doesn’t include going out for dinner ) and thats for two adults and one child. It Is now different as hubby is living away and is doing a shake diet thing for the days and I prepare dinner (which is frozen and sent with him). We just have a savings account which is offset from the mortgage, and an everyday buffer account (which currently has nothing in it lol) I need to be a bit better with the saving accounts but I’m yet to figure that out! lol I hope you get some good ideas Beth! I am super motivated at the moment to get our finances in order and to smash out some debt!

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