Sunday, April 25, 2021

Around here

I love reading articles on finance, savings in the household budget and all things to do with money.  Many years ago Anita Bell wrote a book on how they paid off their mortgage in 3 years on $50,000 income.  The thing with every generation is, house prices get higher and you wonder how your kids will ever be able to purchase a home.

I bought my first home in 1991 for $105,000 and it was 5kms from the CBD.  It was a 2 bedroom post war home which I renovated and over time built a big back covered deck which over looks a park.  I had $2,000 deposit and borrowed $3,000 off my family and borrowed $100,000 from the Queensland Housing Commission.  In 1999 I sold that home for $153,000 which sold 8 hours after I put it on the market.

I then bought my second house about one km away for $117,000.  I also renovated this house by knocking out the back section of the house putting a big covered deck, new kitchen etc and landscaping.  I had a builder to do the building works however I did all the painting.  This house was the same style as my first house, a 2 bedroom post war house with a little sunroom entrance which the main bedroom opens onto.  I also put in the driveway and paths, garden beds and landscaping. I loved both of these houses and as I was single had plenty of time to renovate on the weekends.  I sold this house for $254,000 in late 2002 and basically doubled my money in 4 years.  18 years later It was on the market last year and sold for $680,000 in October, 2020.  It's still a post war house, 2 bedroom with a car port out the front so crazy prices.

I'm so proud of myself for doing this on my own and also knowing that your first house is never your dream house.  I now live in a brick 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 family room home and I love it.  Even though I love post war homes and the traditional Queenslander homes were too expensive for me to buy, they require a lot of maintenance and external painting which costs a lot of money.  I love living in a low set brick home.

Back to money and finances.  Often when people get pay rises it means they can then splurge on things they want because now they are earning more money.  Then the next pay rise comes and the same thing happens and what you can find is lifestyle creep.  People earning less income can often make their money go further because they have to, whereas large income earners aren't so worried about spending the money because there is more of it.

Years ago Wendy from My Abundant Life blog was featured on "A Current Affair" back in 2014 and her story was amazing.  One income family, two kids and they paid off their $100,000 mortgage in a few years. This was a post that Wendy wrote one year after it had aired.

There was also some talk in the media about the family being poor and Wendy wrote this blog post about her thoughts on it.

Over the years I have cut my family's food budget to a lower amount however even I wonder how on earth Wendy does it.  Here's a few links that might be useful on Wendy's blog:-

Posts on cleaning and home made cleaning products thereby savings hundreds of dollars a year and Miracle Spray recipe.

Thrifty living link blog posts.

Is the frugal life worth it.

Soap making recipe.

Every family has a different perception of what is normal.  I grew up in a 3 bedroom house with 7 family members and we all shared bedrooms.  We had one small bathroom and a separate toilet.  In our bedrooms we had two single beds and a stand alone wardrobe and that was it.  These days most kids have their own bedrooms so family homes are larger and often there are two living rooms vs one lounge room when I was growing up.  There are media rooms, study/home offices and generally our homes are double the size of what they were back then.  These days homes are getting bigger and the land size is getting smaller whereas I think it should be the other way round...smaller homes and more outdoor space.

Saving money certainly begins in the home from food shopping, cleaning supplies, not wasting food, getting the best deals on mortgages, insurances, phone plans, electricity etc.  On the home front there is a lot that can be done towards the household budget.  You will certainly be inspired by any of Wendy's posts.  If you have any special tips or tricks you would like to share I would love to hear them.


  1. Kathy, I remember that book. My hubby bought this old house before we were married. He paid $15,000 in 1978 for a house on 1/2 acre. That wouldn't happen these days. We have always lived frugally and had the house paid off with a few years.

    1. Yes hard to believe $15,000 in 1978. These days $15,000 would be a second hand car however regardless of the amount, spending less than you earn and putting savings away and investing long term you end up getting ahead.

  2. My story is a bit like yours - my ex-hub and I bought and renovated and sold a couple of houses over a number of years which means that when I down-sized and bought a small cottage post-divorce I could pay it off entirely.
    There were a number of years where 3 kids shared one bedroom, and they loved it, for the most part. Sometimes you can end up with lots of rooms and lots of debt..

    1. So glad you are in a good position post divorce and I agree kids sharing rooms is not a bad thing although I was jealous of my best friend in high school as she had a big old house with a room of her own...she had 6 brothers so being the only girl she got the bedroom on her own. Thanks for popping in and taking time to leave a comment. Kathy

  3. I, too, adore Wendy's blog and story. I have also tried cutting our grocery budget back and it takes some work. It's amazing to me that both she and her husband were on the same page with getting their mortgage paid off as the top priority. I think that's a big piece of the puzzle. I hadn't read her follow-up blog post so thank you for sharing that. It looks like you did an amazing job with your previous home and a huge accomplishment doing it all by yourself! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

    1. Thanks Staci...I've made a big effort to drop my grocery bill this year and mostly it works and on the odd occasion I go over a bit however it's much lower than it was about 3 years ago and even last year. Have a good week.