How We Saved $30,000 In A Year

How We Saved $30,000 In A Year

I recently shared with you guys that we had set a goal for ourselves just over twelve months ago to save $30,000 to build our new shed and study. I had an influx of people requesting for us to share how we did it, and as a self-proclaimed nerd and numbers girl, I am pretty excited to share this with you!

Before I get started I wanted to clarify a few things – just so you know where this is coming at you from. Jezz and I began our journey with no other debt other than our home loan. We don’t have credit cards, loans or any outstanding debt on things like cars or department stores!

Not to mention we also don’t live in a capital city, we live regional! And while distance wise it has its drawbacks – it does afford us to have a smaller mortgage! So please keep this in mind as I know everyone’s circumstances are different!

Everything I am sharing is our own experiences and opinions, but should you want any financial advice please seek this from a qualified financial adviser or institution.

For us, rather than loaning money to get something we wanted then and there, we chose to save and save. This way we didn’t have to pay dead money to a bank and wait a little longer to get there. I think it also makes you appreciate it a little more when you know you’ve worked really hard for something and stuck at a goal – so you know it’s really what you want!

But without further ado, here are the five things I followed when trying to meet our little goal to save 30k!

Spread Yourself

Ha-ha sounds filthier than it is! I’m talking spreadsheets!!

One thing we did once we started this little mission was to go through our bank statement for the last three months. We went through every expense we had and categorised everything. This included food, children, entertainment, utilities and household.

Along the way, we found costs and expenses that were just funnelling out we didn’t need to be paying, like memberships and direct debits for things we didn’t need or use. So the first thing we did was cancel all of those.

We also got an insight into what we were spending the most on and we had a bad habit of spending small amounts at the supermarket several times a week and lunches, lunches were killing us! There were also a lot of WTF moments! Like WTF did I even buy?

Plan Your Meals/Shop

So, I know this one freaks some people out and I absolutely do not mean making little meals for every day to get buff at the gym – oh hell no!!
This simply meant we sat down and planned out a week of meals before we did our shop. As we were spending a lot of food every week we decided to try and tackle this. We would pick five recipes for the week and shop accordingly.

It takes us about 20-30 minutes each week and we sit down on a Sunday and peruse the internet for what we wanna eat, usually Taste.com and find what we want. Annoyingly, Jezz is super fussy and hates having the same thing weekly, so this might be why it takes us a little longer.

We also shop 90% of the time online, which I find eliminates the possibility of impulse buying in the aisle for things you don’t need. Our food shop per week comes in at between $140-$160 for four people. We definitely save by shopping online!

We also have one take away night a week and what we like to call a “whatever the fuck you can find” night which is an overbaked, microwavable, thrown together staples sort of jig!

I’ll also mention – we recently started ordering Hello Fresh as it came into our area. It’s also been great as everything is provided and portion-controlled. We get 4 meals a week PLUS lunches the next day. It’s been really good $$$ wise helping us save!!

Get Ahead

One thing that really helped us reach our goal was working out a weekly/fortnightly payment for all utilities. Then we set up a direct debit each week. This allowed us to keep our bills in credit and meant no bill shock and large amounts leaving our account at a time. We’ve done this with our electricity, gas, water & rates.

It also means we are not really dipping into our savings to cover large costs and feeling like we’ve been set-back.

Side Hustle

I’ve always been taught that nothing is beneath us and you do what you have to do earn a crust, being from a working-class family. Okay maybe we draw the line at prostitution and drug dealing – I mean within the law haha. But when I haven’t been able to find work or I’ve been studying, I have found a way to earn money.

When I was in uni I started my own little spray tanning business from home. This meant I just needed a tent and some product and away I went. Especially today with social media it is easy to get the word out about such type of business. I know heaps of mama friends who do this! Anything in the beauty space like tans and lashes is a great idea if you have space.

I also used to sell a lot of vintage clothing on eBay. There are also tonnes of other places these days to post items like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. If you know what you are doing, there is good money to be made.

Don’t Compare

I think that this is a really important point to make. Especially in the age of social media and the constant bombardment of everyone’s lives in your feed. It can be easy to get caught up in thinking you want/need something. Especially if you see what someone else has.

A bigger house? A fancier car? A lavish holiday? Do you really need it?

We bought our house about five years ago, it’s an older house and only has three bedrooms. People constantly ask us if we are going to build a bigger house? But to be honest we all fit!

We have a roof over our heads, can comfortably pay our mortgage, go on holidays and enjoy ourselves. Rather than being stuck with a huge mortgage. And for what? More space I have to clean and more rooms I have to furnish?

Work out what you really want, and don’t worry if it not what everyone else has! Be happy with that you already have and realise you are extremely blessed to have what you do!

Our goal is to pay off the house we currently live in before we even look at anything else – like my mumma says “be happy with what you’ve got while working towards what you want”.

I hope that these tips have been a good starting point for your financial goal setting. A lot of it has to do with sacrifice, and working hard for what you really want! In the long run, you definitely appreciate it a lot more know what went into it. As well as knowing you really wanted it because you spent so long working towards it!

Would also love to hear your stories and your own tips for meeting such goals?!



  1. March 16, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing your life on the socials Olivia. I’m nominating you for a smart 30 under 30! Keep banging on about being smart with money, being kind to yourself and role-modelling a healthy body image to your girls (and all of us).

  2. Jessica
    March 27, 2018 / 1:15 pm

    Can I ask what you guys buy for groceries? We’re a family of two adults, two toddlers and one 7 month old and our grocery bills are about $280 a week!!! Insaneeeee!!!

    • Olivia
      March 27, 2018 / 1:26 pm

      I meal plan and usually use websites like Taste.com.au or the Woolies Fresh Magazine!!

  3. Emily
    April 3, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Love all of this! I’m a strong believer in saving for what you want, and everything you’ve said we’ve done too and it has all really helped. We make sure we review our contracts with utilities companies every year to make sure we’re getting a good deal. We have sinking funds for things like car maintenance, medical costs (doctors appts, meds) for when they pop up, gifts & Christmas and even a beauty sinking fund for hair and other treatments. We also make sure each of us gets ‘fun money’ which is just a little bit each pay to blow on whatever we want, just to make the whole ‘working for the man’ worth it.

  4. Keara
    April 3, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Hey Olivia, I already follow a lot of the tips you’ve mentioned (I could get better at meal planning though). I’m curious to know your thoughts on health insurance? We currently have health insurance but have contemplated cancelling it due to the crazy monthly cost. Thoughts? We are a family of 4 too. Cheers, Keara

  5. April 4, 2018 / 5:55 am

    I love this article ! Jesus babe you are so smart in so many ways ! You are humble, hard working and realistic ! I constantly piss money up the wall and even though I work hard I find it hard to get on top of anything and savings is so foreigne to me. Well done xx

  6. April 4, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    Such great tips! I have been meal planning for years and it saves money, time and stressful situations at dinner time. Comparing yourself to others is a biggie so a great reminder the impact that can have on your finances. Thanks again x

  7. Amanda
    April 4, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    Hi Olivia, this is great, thank you. I’ve got a question though… we plan all our meals weekly also and still have a food bill of $280-$300 for 4 people. Given that two have allergies and eat GF bread and DF cheese, but what about nappies and laundry needs etc? Is that all included in your $160 per week?

  8. Christophe
    April 8, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    Dear Olivia, This is not only knowledge of what to do and what we need in life to live sustainably; what you wrote is wisdom!
    It isn’t rocket science to be happy with what we have but it is really hard (for certainly people) to resist to the temptation of compulsive buying, comparing ourselves to facebook “happiness” and other social media marketing of “better” lives.
    If only more people would read what you wrote! It’s not only better to be satisfied with what you have, it also pays off!
    By the way: I read about your blog on a Belgian newspaper.

  9. Amy Lawson
    April 10, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Just wonderful ideas!! Love the idea of a smaller house, which we have. Bigger isn’t always better!! Nice to see that other people save rather than spend…I personally can’t wait until both of our girls are at school and I can begin to work full time without feeling so guilty…but then be able to save money!!

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