Weekday hack helped me save $12K
When it comes to saving, Kimberley Dobson says she's now made it her weekly hobby.
Throughout high school, Ms Dobson worked various part-time jobs and saved for university, because furthering her education was always a goal as a teenager.
"I started working when I was 11 with a pamphlet run I did until I was 16," she told news.com.au as part of the cash confessions series.
"After that I worked in a radiology clinic part-time for a year and then for an insurance company part-time for a year before working full-time at Kmart in the few months before I went to university.
"Throughout high school the majority of my salary was banked and by the time I started (university) I had managed to save just over $10K."
But after graduating and moving from Auckland to Brisbane in 2011, the travel bug hit.
"My goals were firmly set on international travel after what had been a very long time studying," Ms Dobson said. "My wages were almost $20K higher in Brisbane as well as having superannuation on top of that.
"I managed my first trip in May 2012 … across to Vietnam. I quit my job and left for a bigger trip across New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Europe in October 2012."
Ms Dobson said upon returning to Brisbane after her travels, she accepted an entry level administrative role at a university, and over the course of 18 months she managed to save about $20K to put towards her fourth degree.
But the now 31-year-old says a promotion she received in 2015 didn't exactly result in smarter saving, with her finances taking a very different turn from previous years.
"In 2016, I actually went backwards in savings," Ms Dobson said. "But just because you are in debt doesn't mean you can't start saving. Everyone needs to start somewhere."
It was that change of heart that lead her to her biggest savings challenge yet.
"In 2017, I saved around 33 per cent of my $81k income," she explained. "My income was considered average, which a lot of people say you can't get ahead on. I completely disagree with this, you can make changes, track your money and really save."
Since the end of 2016, Ms Dobson started tracking everything she spends and sharing her experience with the world through a blog and social media.
From how she tackles the supermarket, to making coffee purchases and paying house expenses - everything is recorded.
But Ms Dobson says it's the art of tracking your spend - not sacrificing your life - that has led her to have almost enough money for a housing deposit in two years.
"Before I started on my journey I actually believed that it was not possible for me to buy a house without having a partner and I used to feel dismayed with different stories in the media about housing prices and worry about my future," she said.
"But I reassessed at the end of 2016, and looked at what I was doing with my money. My change wasn't just about saving to buy, it was about reducing my food and plastic waste as well.
"Since I have been budgeting … I managed to save over 30 per cent of my after tax income and cashflow five overseas trips.
"I have tweaked my budget a few times this year but the focus on savings has meant I have been able to recently cashflow the purchase of my first ever car for $17,405. I am still working towards my first house deposit and it is my plan to have $60,000 towards the deposit and $10,000 saved as a cash buffer."
Ms Dobson said her best savings tip is at the supermarket and how you approach your food intake each week.
"I do a food challenge where I spend $40 a week on groceries," she explained.
"I buy organic, eat breakfast and have my coffee at home, and always bring my own lunch to work.
"I eat pretty basic, and buy bulk foods when I can. I will also do an audit of what's in my pantry before going to the shops, and only buy what I can carry home on my own. So usually I will walk or ride a bike as to not overbuy and end up throwing food away."
With living expenses, Ms Dobson has spent the past year boarding with a friend and paid a total of $1033 a month for rent, electricity, water, council tax, internet and home phone, home insurance, Netflix and Stan, a cleaner twice a month as well as any other basic household items they both shared.
"Health insurance is $109.20 a month," she explained. "I own my iPhone 7 outright and I have a prepaid phone deal for $180 a year. I spend $85 every six weeks on my haircuts and $50 every four weeks on waxing. For subscriptions, I pay my friend $50 a year to be a part of his Family Apple music."
As for clothing, Ms Dobson made a pact not to buy any new clothes this year. To date in 2018, she's only spent $111.95 on two T-shirts, a pair of knickers and to get two tops repaired.
Ms Dobson said she had five habits to find an extra $12k a year in your bank account:
1. Skip your morning coffee before work. $4 a day, $28 a week - saving $28
2. Bring your lunch to work instead of buying a sandwich. $10.00 a day, $50.00 a week - saving $50.00
3. Bike or walk to work instead of catching the train for a week. Transport for Ms Dobson is $7 a day, $35 a week - saving $35
4. Plan you dinners and avoid takeaway - $40 for grocery ingredients for four days vs $80 on takeaways - saving $40
5. Invite your friends around for dinner and drinks instead of going to the pub on Friday night. Budget in the pizza ingredients as a part of your groceries $20 for a bottle of wine vs $100 on food and drinks at the pub - saving $80.
"People my age … we want to have more than previous generations," she said.
"My mum and dad bought all their furniture second-hand and didn't renovate. But today, a lot of people are expecting to have a really nice car now, a really nice house now and brand new furniture.
"For me it's about lowering my expectations. No loans or repayments. It does make you feel free."
To follow how Kimberley Dobson spend her money, head to www.theeconomiss.com
Care to confess your monthly spending habits? Are you a savvy saver who knows how to spend smart? We'd love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org