Nataasha is a 29-year-old executive assistant and freelance writer from Brisbane, Queensland.
She earns $63,000 per year, runs a side hustle and paid off a whopping $11,500 of debt last year.
She shares her personal finance story with Yahoo Finance.
How much do you earn?
I earn approximately $69,000 per year (including super), $63,000 excluding super which equates to approximately $3,800 a month.
I'm also a big fan of side hustles and earn about an extra $350 a month outside of my full-time job. This side income is from anything such as surveys to recycling cans and bottles to freelance writing.
How much does your rent/mortgage cost?
I pay $780 per month rent as I share a townhouse with a friend. I live in North Brisbane.
Do you have any other ongoing expenses?
Just the usual things such as car expenses (registration, petrol, insurance), public transport, food, a subscription for Stan. I got rid of my gym membership and personal training costs while paying off my debt.
My expenses (everything including rent, quarterly, and yearly bills) currently totals about 50 per cent of my income. Sharing definitely helps when it comes to reducing your expenses. So does shopping around. I saved 50 per cent on my contents insurance by comparing providers first and also save 28 per cent on electricity by asking for a pay-on-time discount.
Do you have any debts? How did you pay them off?
Aside from my HECS debt, I'm debt-free.
I paid off $11,500 of debt last year.
This consisted of my personal loan and credit card debt. It took me a full year to pay off my debt.
During this time I got a casual retail job as well as my full-time job and worked six to seven days a week so that I could put more money onto the debt. I set a budget each month and did my best to stick to it.
I also tried to be more conservative in my spending and not buy things I didn't really need. It was definitely a shift from my previous mindset where I spent without thinking.
How often do you eat out, and how much would food cost you per week?
I am the first to admit that I don't like cooking at all so I often eat breakfast and lunch out at work. In terms of total food and grocery spend, I spend around $600+ per month or $150 per week just for one person. It's definitely an area I need to cut back on.
Do you spend money on travel?
I rarely travel or take holidays. I've never been out of the country. The last time I had a holiday was September 2018 when I spent three nights away in the Gold Coast hinterland after being made redundant. I do want to travel more in the future though.
Do you put money into savings?
Before becoming debt free I didn't save anything at all, I always told myself I didn't earn enough to save. Now that I have a better mindset I aim to save approximately 40 per cent of my income.
I'm currently saving for a tiny home to live in.
When I was made redundant near the end of 2018 I saved all of the money from that which gave me a good kick start into my savings. Now I alternate between investing and saving each month depending on my goals.
I also salary sacrifice $200 per month into my superannuation.
Do you receive any financial assistance?
None at all.
What are your tips for getting by?
For me, the biggest thing was getting the motivation to even begin paying off debt and then to keep going and not just give up.
I first picked up the book "The Barefoot Investor" by Scott Pape in June 2017 which inspired me to start.
I then joined Instagram and created an account focused on my financial journey and through the #debtfreecommunity there I've been able to keep motivated and share my journey to help and inspire others as well.
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