10 Lessons I Learned Moving Out at 18.

10 Lessons I Learned Moving Out at 18.

In Australia, 18 is the legal adult age. It is culturally appropriate to celebrate big – go hard or go home type of celebration. Yes I was excited to have a huge party, but I also thought often of moving out.

For those of you who know me personally, probably know how often I would get grounded throughout high school. Yes, I said high school.

I was stubborn, strong-willed and hated being controlled. I thought I knew everything. Seeing my younger brothers out late while I was not allowed out after a certain time drove me mad. Not only was it double-standards, it was expected that I obeyed (hint: of course I didn’t). I rebelled. A lot. And got grounded for it. A lot.

Because of this, I made my mind up about moving out as soon as I was a legal adult. I realised years later, my parents were just trying their best to raise a girl in a world where our safety is statistically threatened.

Although my first rental experience was with extended family, the amount of freedom I suddenly had was such a relief. Yes, I now had responsibility with rent and being more organised, but this responsibility meant that I was free.

Since then, I have lived in 5 different homes over the last 7 years. All with their own benefits and challenges. I share these with you below!

Here is a snapshot of the 10 things I learned:

1 – Prioritise financial responsibility. From ages 15-20, saving money wasn’t a huge priority in my life. What I earned, I spent – and quickly. However, moving from home to home, I soon realised that having savings was a smart decision. The kind of decision where past-Angela would always be grateful once I took this responsibility seriously.

2 – You never know what a person is like until you live with them. Life gets stressful for all of us. Some days are so difficult that we lash out at others – our friends, family or even housemates if we live in the same vicinity. Be aware of your own behaviour and respect your fellow housemates when times get tough.

3 – Communication skills. For the most part, I thought my communication skills were great. I’d be told by relatives and strangers alike how well I spoke and when I speak in front of groups/crowds, I could command attention. However, interpersonally, I struggled to let others know how I truly felt. After a few years of meeting new people, going through many ups and downs, my communication is becoming clearer. I’m better at saying what I mean and that is an accomplishment!

4 – I’m responsible for my own life, not anyone else. But if I need help, I have to ask. This is a work in progress. When I was younger, asking for help meant I “didn’t know anything” and the gesture of asking was a shameful thing. However, asking for help when it is needed has been a tremendous benefit. Taking responsibility for my life as an adult, means networking and finding resources when I can’t do things on my own.

5 – People make a home, not the items. Decluttering was a game changer for me. Realising that I could let go of items that no longer served its purpose was a lesson of freedom I will always cherish.

6 – Relationships are a two-way street. Early on, I was busy working 3 jobs and studying at uni that I didn’t make time for a my friends or family. We can’t expect others to be in our life if we never balance our time with other commitments. Spend time with the people you care about! The present is all we have!

7 – Acceptance of others and yourself. *Huge lesson alert!* Growing up in a family of 7, it wasn’t new being surrounded by people. However, what was new, were the differing personalities, clashing schedules and sharing a space with non-family members. I learned a lot about patience, compromise and communication.

8 – Do whatever it takes. Whether it be financially, emotionally or physically, just do it. Achieve the tasks that you set. Pave the way for others in your family of your social circle. Remind yourself why you do what you do. If you’re stressing about money, get a second job or sacrifice Netflix for a year so you have enough to live.

9 – Remember what you’ve been through. There would be many moments I was terrified of not being able to pay rent due to working casual jobs (obviously my choice). I forgot about the plans I put in place to offset my lack in income. I forgot about the reminders I used to set for deadlines. Remembering that I’ve tackled similar tasks in the past, is such a good encouragement!

10 – Stand up for yourself and don’t take anyone’s crap. People have told me in the past that I can be easily persuaded or that I put up with “too much”. I finally took their advice and started saying “no” to demands and people who seek to treat me with disrespect. We all get hurt by others, it is a condition of the human experience. That doesn’t mean we let people take advantage of us! If something isn’t right, stand up against it!

If you have ever thought of moving out of home or perhaps you need a new start, I hope these tips are helpful!

Thinking back on all the memories, joyful times and challenges, reminds me that if I ever find myself in a similar situation that I will make it through. I’ve been through it before, I will get through it again. You will too! Our experiences make us wiser and stronger!

What lessons did you learn when you started renting? Share your experiences below!

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How To: Save Money Living Paycheck to Paycheck.

How To: Save Money Living Paycheck to Paycheck.

The last 10 years (9 considering the unstable hours), I have worked mostly casual positions in hospitality and retail. I became inspired by these motivational speakers and YouTubers when they’d share their experiences. How they would save and what that would afford them – e.g. freedom, travel, security. Could I have this life? If I had this life, what would it mean?

Saving money would address two important needs for me: financial security and personal accomplishment. This would be my “why”.

Below, I share some tips I learned over the years to save money, no matter what income you’re earning.

Find your “why”, goal setting & approximate earnings.

What’s your reason to save? University payments? Buying a house? Attending a concert?Travelling? It could be similar to my goal of personal accomplishment and financial freedom. No matter what your “why” is, write it down somewhere or repeat it to yourself each day from here on out. When things get difficult – and it will – your “why” can serve as a reminder.

I set myself a goal of $5,000 over 12 months. This may seem like too much time to save this amount, but with my earnings (usually minimum wage or less = AUD $18-$20 or less per hour) it would be an accomplishment.

Discussing my goals with my boyfriend, we agreed that I would deposit savings into his account. That way, I wouldn’t have access to it. It would be like a slow-cooker — set it and forget it, except with money!

I spent a few months collating my approximate earnings over time. I made sure that working my minimum shifts, I could afford necessities of life: rent, phone bill, car payments, groceries. If all went south, I knew I could sell my car or phone and still survive on a skeleton wage.

Rent Assistance.

Disclaimer: I understand that not everyone has access to this or that everyone has the same benefits within and outside of Australia. 

Being on minimum wage and paying the amount of rent I was paying back then, meant that I qualified for Rent Assistance. If you’ve never heard of that, it is a small payment you can receive from the Australian government to help with rent. You must be eligible, apply and await approval before receiving this payment. For me, this made a huge difference.

Click the link below if you’d like more information.

Rent Assistance.

Expect the unexpected. 

During this time, things came up that I didn’t account for: family events, special holidays, not to mention winter and the dreaded flu… there were times where I’d put little to no savings away. I struggled to accept these normal occurrences like illness, drop in business at work and general life hiccups. Every second I wasn’t working, meant I wasn’t working toward my goals.

I needed to start expecting the unexpected – go back to basics: one of the reasons I started saving was for financial security. And when I got sick or if a family event came up, I could afford to pay for it.

And just like that, slowly but surely, financial security = check!

Stay consistent.

Every week, as soon as I got paid, I’d pay my rent and my bills. Without question. I’d then transfer money to my boyfriends’ account. This kept me accountable. If I asked for money, it would need to be under either of these conditions:

  1. Would not put my savings into a 50% deficit.
  2. Emergencies only! Meaning, illness, unexpected bill or special occasion.

Staying consistent was the biggest lesson for me. I was used to spending money without a care. Now I had this responsibility and accountability on my shoulders. I began to think about money differently. If I could achieve my goals, it would mean being a step closer to a future of financial stability.

Celebrate, track & automate.

Each month, I would ask Luke where I was at with my savings. These conversations were sometimes difficult to have because I’d be so disappointed in myself if I missed a payment or was $100-200 off my progress mark. Looking back, I wished I remembered that progress no matter how small, was still progress!

To track and plan expenses, you can draw up a monthly table, use an Excel spreadsheet or even create a table in Word. Predicting upcoming expenses including medical bills, birthdays, sentimental anniversaries or family holidays can really help you to achieve your goals.

Automation was new to me, but I utilised it without realising! I used my iPhone calendar to plan expenses every week, no matter what the event. I set my rent/bills on “recurring” for so I didn’t need to re-type it. I also automated my phone bill each month. Without lifting a finger, one of my bills were always paid. I no longer needed to worry about whether I missed a payment or think about when it was due.

If you’re able to, automate one or all necessary payments. Even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, knowing that one of your bills will never be pending can ease one stress off your shoulders. If you can’t automate payments, automate the organisation of your expenses. Set reminders on “recurring” so eventually it won’t be a surprise when a bill comes up and it’ll become a habit. We all have responsibilities, it just depends how we carry them out!

Save within your means.

A famous phrase is to “live within your means” and that’s good advice but I think it frames your mindset to be rigid. You may have to see the doctor and pay for medication — which could mean you can only put away $50 or less into savings. So what? You’re still making the best effort. Save within your means.

Here’s an Example of My Weekly Expenses*: 

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**Job 1 and 3 were my main sources of income. It also fluctuated depending on whether we were low on staff, if there was a function/birthday on or if there was a live act that weekend.

Snapshot of my crazy life: I worked days, nights, weekends… I’m actually surprised how many jobs I took on just to get through at times. 7:30am start at the first job, 1-5pm at another job and then 9pm-4am at the third job. Being young, I had the energy and the motivation – that worked for me!

Please remember that if you’re spreading yourself too thin and become stressed, irritated or start losing sleep — STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND RE-EVALUATE. There’s no point in suffering and negatively affecting your mental or physical health.

Some people benefit in pushing through self-imposed, rigid rules. Some don’t. Find what works for you and stick to it!

Fight the boredom.

Another thing I struggled with was the feeling of boredom. After a few months of saving, the feeling of doing something new had worn off. I wanted to go back to my old life of shopping and going out until the early hours of the morning.

If your budget is tight, find free things to do – go for walks in a new neighbourhood, find a new trail, re-watch old movies, play board games, visit friends or have them visit you. If you have access to internet, there are so many platforms for expression, and passing the time: YouTube, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Quora, Tumblr and so forth.

This journey was not glamorous by any means! Although you better believe that if I happened to work 28-30 hour weeks, I would live it up! It’s all about balance. You can’t keep yourself cooped up at home with a mindset of “I can’t”. You can, it’s about finding a new way of doing the things you love and enjoy whilst on a budget.

Create extra income. 

As you know,  a job that is casual in nature means it’s mind-numbing to predict how much income you’ll earn the following week.

However! It doesn’t make your goal impossible.

I would pick up extra shifts by scrolling through a local Facebook group where employers/managers were looking for staff to fill hours with last minute notice.

Another way I’d pick up shifts was to build rapport with other stores in the same company. In many instances, I was able to work at multiple locations to make up my hours. It did require travel whether it be public transport or paying for my car expenses but it was worth it for the extra dollars in my pocket! I would often take public transport to save on petrol. I figured that if I had the spare time, I’d rather spend it travelling to my next shift!

Lastly, I would flip items online. Whether it be clothes, furniture or luggage – I was selling it for extra income. I would warn that it can be slow, so it requires patience!

In this day and age, income possibilities are vast.

Remember that you’re doing the best you can.

Throughout this time of saving, I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough. But looking back, I know I was just being hard on myself.

A year later, I managed to save approximately $4,400. I predicted with the hours I was getting from two jobs, I’d at least reach $5,000 by the end of the month. Unfortunately, my hours were cut by 70% due to the decline in business (perks of a casual job, amirite?). Nevertheless, I saved a decent amount!

I was so proud of myself for getting to that point.

It can take time for us to reach the next step in our career, land a job with stable hours or find a place that pays us the equivalent for the work we do. So don’t give up. Give it your focus, patience and dedication!

I hope these tips have helped motivate you to save for your next trip or for a rainy day.

If you can save on minimum/below minimum wage, you will always have the ability, discipline and patience to work towards financial freedom as you move into higher income.

What tips have you found helpful when living paycheck to paycheck?

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Review: Instant Cheddar Cheese Tteokbokki

Review: Instant Cheddar Cheese Tteokbokki

Coming back from my holiday in New Zealand was bittersweet. The views, the fresh air and the freedom to wake up in the morning and do whatever I wanted came to an end! The bright side though, was that I was back in my beloved bed and could start making that bread!

It was also time to get back into routine. So – although a day late – we went on our weekly grocery run! I picked up this instant tteokbokki from our local Asian grocer and was curious to try it. I’ve had rice cakes before, but never with it’s own marinade.

Unlike my last review, I’ll focus on these three categories:

  1. Convenience.
  2. Flavour.
  3. Worth it or not?

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intokk

My score: 7/10

As I get older, I notice my time is more limited. Although I try my best to cook something fresh each day, the weekend is usually a hit-and-miss when it comes to eating at ‘traditional’ breakfast and lunch hours. This instant tteokbokki is perfect for someone like me who tends to get lazy every now and then.

On this particular day, I woke up at 8AM and stayed in bed for an hour before actually getting up.Out the packet, it seemed super straight-forward! Good news. A sauce packet and a packet of mini tteokkbokki.

I tried to peel off the nutritional value sticker to see the cooking instructions on the cup. Since that was a fail, I watched a few YouTube videos which was really helpful!

Step 1: Add boiling water (50ml), sauce and tteokbokki into the cup. I added more water as I felt the amount wouldn’t cook the rice cake.

Step 2: Microwave. Time may vary. The only problem with this step?

We don’t actually own a microwave.

Step 3: I set up my portable electric stove and poured everything into a stainless steel saucepan. I simmered the rice cake for about 5 minutes or so, mixing it every so often so it didn’t stick to the bottom or burn.

It was starting to smell good! The rice cake gradually got softer. Once it was done, I turned the stove off and mixed the cheese through. I then transferred it back in the cup for an “authentic instant tteokbokki experience” — that was a mouthful!

Besides having to use a saucepan, throwing the two ingredients in to cook for a few minutes is still convenient to me!

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pottokk

My score: 7/10.

Initially, I tried the rice cake when it was done. It was quite sweet with a slight kick of spice. The cheese level was at a 6/10. It tasted more creamy than it did “cheesy”. For a little more flavour, added more cheese, sesame oil, Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice Blend) and a pinch of chicken stock. Totally optional!

For an instant form of rice cake, the overall flavour was impressive. I haven’t tried anything like this before, so I don’t have anything to compare to. A few additions of my own did bring up the flavour though!

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tokcup

My score: 8/10.

For approximately $4.00, this microwavable snack is worth it! I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest snack to eat or that it would be appropriate for a whole meal, but it does satisfy hunger enough to get you through to lunch/dinner.

If you enjoy cheese-flavoured food, then I would say this instant tteokbokki would be a good product to try! Add some fresh spring onion and shredded cheese for extra flavour!

I hope you all had a wonderful, productive and relaxing weekend!

What’s your favourite savoury snack?

If you like spicy tteokbokki, you may enjoy this New Carbo Instant Tteokbokki!

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*Disclaimer: Affiliate links are in this post. If you enjoy this content and the products mentioned, feel free to use the link. I appreciate your support!*

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Review: Away Travel Luggage

Review: Away Travel Luggage

A month before I departed on my trip to New Zealand, I bought two new cases from Away Travel online both in the colour “sand”:

  1. The Carry On
  2. The Medium

I bought these two as they were essential sizes that I needed to replace old bags. I considered buying The Large luggage, but didn’t think I’d need that much space. I spent a few nights measuring the bags against my old ones, making sure they were the perfect size. The lifetime guarantee was another factor that drew me towards Away Travel; I prefer to buy items that will last, rather than buying something that I will need to replace after a few months.

After months of hesitation, I finally bought them! Altogether, these bags cost $625 AUD. The carry on was $295 and the medium was $375. Purchasing the bags in a luggage set, I saved $45. Shipping was free. On to the review!

I’ll score these bags out of 10, based on these 3 criteria:

  1. First impression.
  2. Durability.
  3. Overall function.

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My score: 8/10. 

On my work break, my sister messaged me and sent me a photo that my new luggage arrived! It took about 10 days shipping to Australia. I assume they have a warehouse in one of the major cities which ensured quick delivery. So far, so good!

One of my concerns buying online, was that the bags could get damaged, lost or stolen on its way to me.  However, my bags were encased in hard foam to keep from denting or damage in transit. And the fact that these boxes arrived without getting lost, was a good sign.

Out of the box, these bags felt quite light. The exterior material is grainy but not tacky upon looking at them. However, the feel of the exterior lost marks as it is rough and made it feel cheap despite it’s expensive ‘look’. The colour was one of the many reasons I went with Away Travel Luggage. I got both bags in the colour “sand” and it was just as beautiful in person as they looked online!

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My score: 7/10.

At first, I was really careful when rolling my bags around. After a week or so and especially when I began packing, I used quite a bit of force to open and close the bags. So far, they haven’t cracked or damaged when I’ve turned the bags sideways or sat on them to zip the bags shut!

When picking up The Medium luggage at bag collection, I noticed a few scuff marks. Other than that, the bag held up well throughout the international flight. The two electronic appliances I took were intact.

Despite stuffing my luggage with thick sweaters and making my bag bulge slightly, it closed relatively easily! For some reason, I worried constantly about buying a new luggage bag and then breaking the zipper on the first go. This did not happen!

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locksyst

My score: 7/10

As you can see in the image above, both The Carry On and The Medium have two compartments: one side with a mesh zip flap and the other with mesh storage and two tightening clips.

Both sides were equally easy to use, fill and re-open when needed. I found the two-clip side really useful for my bulky sweaters and jacket. I could compress the sides down by pulling at the clip tail.

Both bags had a locking system at the top of the bags for security. They also came with luggage tags attached which I only filled out half-way through the trip. Oops.

Both the Carry On and The Medium had four wheels which was essential when purchasing new bags. I didn’t want to worry about having to drag one or both cases with me. Convenience is essential when traveling, especially overseas!

A few things I would note:

  • Overlap: If one side is heavier than the other and you flip it to zip the case up, it can overlap, resulting in a bit of strategic manoeuvring in order to close.
  • Top handles not catching: Both the handles can be temperamental. Particularly, when going through security – especially during peak time – you’ve got to grab your belongings quickly off the scanning belt and continue walking or else you’ll hold up the people behind you. However, the handle of my carry on would not “catch” and I’d end up carrying it out of the way to avoid a hold up. I’ve now learned not to worry about the perfect height of the handle and simply pull it up with some force so it locks in and I can roll away smoothly!
  • The wheels: I found if my carry on was 7-8kg, it would wheel, but sometimes get lost in a different direction than the one I am pulling it. Similarly, at 24kg, my medium luggage bag would wheel but I needed to add force and keep a steady grip so it wouldn’t roll in the wrong direction. This could be because I filled my bags to capacity — I still haven’t completely learned to pack ‘light’! 

All in all, I am so happy with my purchase. These bags got me from A to B AKA Adelaide to New Zealand. Through the road-trips we took, and having to re-pack each time into a small boot space with other luggage, they did exactly what was advertised. My belongings were safe through it all and I wasn’t afraid of anything breaking! Plus, they look stylish AF when rolled together. Totally worth the money spent!

I hope this review gave you an insight to Away Travel carry on and medium luggage bags. Happy travels!

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Reflections during the Long Weekend

Reflections during the Long Weekend

Today, I want to reflect on the last two years. Particularly, for myself as an individual as well as a committed person in a relationship. I’m always starting conversations with my boyfriend about the future regarding property, financial goals, aspirations and ideas. As nice as it is to imagine what our future could be like in career and as people, it is so important to realise how far we’ve come.

In this world of social media (including this blog you’re reading – although I hope this is a positive one!), it can be difficult not to get swayed by what others post or say. And as advertising on social platforms becomes more rampant, it can be difficult to remember what’s truly important. I catch myself wanting material items that could never bring me true joy, so I’m taking a step back today.

A tendency of mine that I’ve had since a young age, is that I can doubt myself in almost every aspect of life. It’s sad and really frustrating. However, I’m becoming better at noticing small accomplishments and reminding myself of where I am now. Below is a humble-brag to remind myself – and you – that it’s possible to improve our lifestyle and well-being by simply working on it.

financially

  • I’m finally earning more after 10 years of being afraid to commit to a self-accountable role (and of earning minimum/below minimum wage).
  • I’m putting away half my pay-check into savings (some weeks 75%).
  • I’ve been able to save for two holidays, one of which I paid off upfront as a birthday gift for my boyfriend.

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  • I’m getting better at not taking things personally.
  • Setting boundaries but also doing my best to talk about how I really feel.
  • Able to hold space for others really well.

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  • My story is my own to change. I can either: repeat it like a broken record and be miserable and blame others for my mistakes OR I can make amazing lemonade out of lemons.
  • Learning what it takes to never give up.
  • I know my limits are only set by my mindset.
  • If I set myself to a task, to follow through.

physically

  • Trying to move my body 2-3 times a week.
  • Pushing through the tiredness.
  • Knowing there is so much room for improvement and that’s not a bad thing.

I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend! Don’t forget to remember where you’ve come from and the accomplishments you’ve made along the way.

By noticing the good in our life, we notice the good in others 🙂

What have you accomplished this year that you’re proud of?

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