27 Ways To Have The Cheapest Vacay Ever

You don’t have to be cashed up to have a great holiday.

How to Set and Cost Your Financial Goals

Get yourself in position to achieve your financial dreams in 2014 with these money saving tips from this extract from money mentor Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan.

Years ago, I heard a quote from supermodel Kate Moss that really stuck in my mind. When asked how she maintained her fabulous figure, she (more or less) replied: “It’s easy – you just have to want to be slim more than you want that piece of cheesecake, or that chocolate bar etcetera.”

The quote resonated with me because the same technique works for fabulous finances – it is easy to reach your longed-for money goals, you just have to want them more than you want those shoes, or that perfume etcetera.

I have a theory any of us is capable of spending any amount of money. I distinctly remember getting my very first pay cheque from my $24,000 a year job as a cadet journalist – and wondering how I was ever going to spend all that cash! Guess what? I managed it, and have been managing it ever since.

Think about how much, after tax, you currently earn a year (if you don’t know this figure, grab a calculator and multiply your after-tax weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay by 52, 26 or 12 respectively). Now, estimate how much you might have earned in your working life. What do you have to show for all this money?

If the answer is not much, there’s a fair chance you struggle to resist spending your whole pay packet. But here’s the thing – anything you manage to save now, you will get to spend later. In fact, this will ensure there is something left to spend later. It’s not about blanket denial but about deferred spending. And I’d venture you’ll enjoy more what you work for, and look forward to, anyway.

Top Tip Tute: Is micro-spending ruining your future?
Find out in my video.

So it’s time to start dreaming; I always say you need strong motivation to resist instant gratification. Busting out of debt, if you have any, should be your top money priority. But think too about the fun stuff you want in the short, medium and long term:

The next one to two years: 

For example, an overseas trip. Does a friend have an upcoming wedding in Thailand next year? Maybe you fancy a more expensive, longer sojourn the following year? (NEVER use credit for something for which you’ll have nothing to show afterwards but photos). On the sensible side, other goals during this timeframe might be to pay off a credit card and/or a personal loan.

The next three to five years: 

Is your car going to need replacing within this period? If so, you’ll need to start planning to meet the expense (NEVER borrowing for a depreciating asset, one that will fall in value). Or perhaps you would really like a new kitchen.

Five years and beyond:  

The ultimate goal – for all of us – should be to ensure by the time we retire that we have repaid at least our Very Bloody Bad Debts (my term for nasty personal debt that earns you no income) and that our income will be adequate when we stop work. Remember, the money employers are required to pay into your super fund is unlikely to be enough to sustain you for the whole of your retirement. So in this category you could include repay the mortgage and build a nice little nest egg.

Next, make a list like the following of these most-desired money goals. Write beside each one the date on which you would like to achieve it. Then put an estimate of what the goal will cost and how many pays there are until your target date. For example, if the target date is three years away and you are paid fortnightly, multiply 3 (years) x 26 (the number of fortnights a year). Finally, divide the cost by the number of pays to find the amount you have to put aside each pay.

Short-term goals (1-2 years)


Medium-term goals (3-5 years)


Longer-term goals (5 years+)


Top Tip Tute: How can I stop micro-spending?

Scrimping and saving is not much fun but it can yield fantastic results. The trick is to make your goals specific and terrific: A trip to Fiji… A paid-off house by January 2020… Retirement five years before you can get at your super… Now that’s worth holding some back.

And make like Kate Moss and skip the cheesecake and you’ll find yourself in great shape, in more ways than one, earlier still.

This is an edited extract from Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan, available exclusively on TheMoneyMentorWay.com. Together with a fully-customisable prosperity tracking tool, it forms a money makeover system that is delivered 100 per cent online and accessible to all. 

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter @NicolePedMcK.

How To Save Money In 6 Easy Steps

Who hasn’t faced a cash crunch? We’ve tried-and-tested these easy money saving tips that will save you the money for that holiday, and still manage to pay your rent on time.

1. Healthy eating

Here’s another good reason to eat healthy: it costs less than eating out! Junk food might sound cheap, but cooking at home always comes in cheaper. Even those cheap pub meals add up (think about those add-on bottles of wine and dessert!). It’s not even junk food that’s expensive – those daily visits to the coffeeshop and juice bar eats up a lot of your income.

2. Healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle means no binging, no binge drinking, and exercising regularly. What you don’t realise is all these are money-saving activities too. A healthy lifestyle is definitely easy on the purse and has long-lasting effects on your finances as you won’t be spending half your income at the pub.

3. Decide on a budget

Even if you’ve heard it many times, but found it difficult to do so, sticking to a financial budget does help in saving money. Start by paying all your bills at the beginning of the month. Direct debit is a great way to automate bill paying and free up your time. Keeping a schedule of payments allows us to realise how much money we can spend once the bills are paid. Also, log in to your internet banking regularly and check your account balance. Seeing your current balance on your savings and credit card accounts is a tangible reminder of your finances.

4. Planned shopping

You will be surprised how much you can save if you carry a shopping list as opposed to just popping into the shops without a plan. Also, shop for groceries when it’s most convenient for you – if a weekly weekend shop is best, schedule that in and stick to it, but if you’re buying in bulk and wasting a lot of groceries, consider 2-3 smaller shops a week.

5. Pay in cash

Believe me, I tried this myself and it helps. Looking at my hard-eared income disappear in physical cash is far more of a wake-up call to control my spending, than just signing the bill willy-nilly.

6. Go eco-friendly

When you use power-saving devices, not only do you get brownie points for looking after the environment, but you are also saving on those mounting power bills, water bills, etc. Another tip we love is raiding your local vintage shop next time you feel a shopping spree coming on, or holding a clothes swap with your friends.

How do you save money? Share your tips in the comments below!

10 Money Saving Ideas to get you Started

Get Set by 30 is a fantastic new book by award-winning writer Annette Sampson that will have you on the road to financial security and wealth as you head into your thirties. From saving, super and smart home ownership this little gem has it all covered in language that’s not going to make your eyes glaze over.

Get Set by 30 is a straightforward question-and-answer guide that will help you handle very money-related question life throws at you with the poise of a finance professional. Whether you’ve got $50 in the bank or are earning $50,000 a year, you can start managing your money to enjoy the life you deserve.

Here’s a sample of Annette’s sound advice, focussing on saving money…

10 savings ideas to get you started

    1. Cutting out just one packet of cigarettes a week, or one or two drinks, will save you as much as $10 a week.


    1. Unless you’ve got the system rigged, gambling is money down the drain. Rethink your attitude to things like poker machines, scratchies and Lotto.


    1. Take your lunch to work. Even doing this just one day a week will save money.


    1. Takeaways and pre-packaged meals are expensive. Rediscover or discover the fun of cooking. Pasta and red wine with friends at home is cheap as well as fun.


    1. try to do your shopping in one go rather than continually dashing to the corner shop. Consider cheaper brands where you don’t lose out on quality, and don’t shop on an empty stomach.


    1. Try cutting back to just the magazines you really can’t live without. Avid book reader? Scour second-hand stores, share with friends or join a loyal library to supplement your purchases.


    1. Technology has made out lives much better, but it’s also added to our expenses. Do you really need unlimited Internet access? Are you on a cost-efficient mobile phone plan? How often do you watch all the channels on Pay TV?


    1. Are you using your phone cost-effectively and taking full advantage of the cheaper off-peak rates and other special offers?


    1. Consider cheaper alternatives in entertainment. Maybe it’s the movies that incur unexpected costs – why not rent a video one night a month instead?


  1. Buying a second-hand car – rather than the new ego-driven model – can save you heaps!

from Get Set by 30 by Annette Sampson ($22.95, Allen & Unwin). For more fantastic tips on saving money and sorting your life out in general, get Get Set by 30. Available in good bookstores everywhere!

6 Smart Money Moves

Unlike days gone by, no truly savvy Aussie gal waits for a knight in shining armour to come and whisk her away. Yep, harsh, but true. Sure, we would all love a debonair millionaire to just rock up at the next party but sometimes life simply doesn’t happen like a Melrose Place episode!

The reality is, whether you are rich, poor, or in between, the person that you are going to have to rely on the most to keep you from the poor-house is yourself. Don’t panic though all it takes is some dedication and planning, a little creativity and some street smarts.

Here are 6 easy tips to get you on your way.

  1. Get together a Budget and Spending Plan

    By establishing a budget, you are taking a major step to identify untapped resources that can be directed to new investments. Until you feel that you have a true handle on spending , ask yourself, do I need this or do I want it?

  2. Pay Yourself First

    You need to work out the amount of money you need to have in your nest egg, before you start investing. Work out what you need each month if a “worse case” scenario occurs. You can do this by multiplying your net income by three or having about two months worth of ’emergency funds’ saved. The excess can then be safely used for investments.

  3. Get Started Today

    With an understanding of money management and investing, you can set financial goals and create a strategy to meet those goals.

  4. Get Professional Financial Advice

    Preparation and planning is the key to reach your financial goals. The sooner you start planning, the more thankful you will be further down the track.

  5. Be Your Own Money Expert

    Most of us kind of glaze over when it comes to money talk, simply because we don’t speak or understand the jargon of the economists or financial community. Why not demystify the jargon and educate yourself? Dip into the online money sites or start with The Money Book, by Annette Sampson for a good all round introduction. Or read the all time classic, The Richest Man in Babylon, for a truly inspirational kick-start.

  6. Funds: The Basics

    For busy women who haven’t the time or skill to study and pick their own stocks or property investments, mutual funds offer professional management and ease of mind.