6 Free Things to do on the Gold Coast

Posted On March 30, 2015| 3 Replies

free thingsI’ve been living on the GC since my family and I got off a Qantas flight at the Brisbane International Airport at the beginning of June in 1991. It was hot and humid even at the start of the Aussie winter, I remember going to the The Spit and running along the shore, feeling the sand between my toes and the waves crashing against my ankles. I was 8. My family were starting a new life, away from the harsh winters and realities of Eastern Europe, with only four suitcases to our name, and a few boxes somewhere over the Atlantic that would reach us three months later. We had little money, we spoke no English at the time, but we had each other and we managed to get by.

The Gold Coast rocks. The people are generally nice. The streets are clean. It’s Australia’s sixth largest city by population. There are opportunities abound for those who are willing to work hard, go the extra mile and make their dreams come true. It mightn’t be Hollywood, but the Gold Coast is a place where you can be who you want to be. But I guess the same goes for most places on the planet, your level of success is mostly dependent on you.

The Gold Coast is my base. While I dream of being location independent and spending months in other countries once we’re financially free, I know that I will always want to come back to the Gold Coast. It’s an expensive city but at the same time there are many free attractions to be taken advantage of. Here are a few of my favourites.

burleigh

Burleigh Beach
Whether you want to swim, surf or take a walk, Burleigh Heads has it. It’s also mostly free from tourists. If you ever head to the GC, avoid the crowds of Surfers Paradise and head about 10k south. The Gold Coast has a 40km stretch of beach to be enjoyed for free and under the safe eye of lifeguards. Remember to always swim between the flags and slip, slop, slap!

botanical

Botanical Gardens
From the Sensory Garden to the Rose and Butterfly Gardens, the Gold Coast Botanical Gardens has something for everyone. You can take a walk on the boardwalks that surround the lake, enjoy a delicious coffee overlooking the gardens, have a barbecue, let your kids go wild in the playground, or take your dog for a stroll (or run) in the dog park adjoining the gardens (dogs are not allowed in the botanical garden area).

exercise

Keeping fit
Why pay a weekly fee at the local gym when you can workout for free outdoors? Both Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads have outdoor exercise equipment from monkey bars to sit up benches and stationery bikes to stairs. The Gold Coast City Council even offers free classes like tai chi, aerobics, and yoga in the park in the mornings and evenings.

natural bridge

Rainforest trails
If you’re more a forest than beach you can head west and enjoy a different type of nature. There are many trails leading to waterfalls and bush wildlife. From Hinze Dam to Natural Bridge, O’Reilly’s and Mt Tamborine. It’s all free and most places are under an hour drive from the main city hub.

alfrescoAlfresco dining
One of the things I love about the Gold Coast are the outdoor barbecue facilities available free of charge in most parks across the city. You can find them near the beach or when you take a drive to the mountains. These are cleaned most days by council workers but remember to always clean up after yourself so that the next person using it doesn’t have to do it for you. We often take advantage of these places and have used the facilities to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food always seems to taste better in the great outdoors.

currFestivals
The city of Gold Coast hosts many festivals throughout the year. From the Bleach Festival in March, the Broadbeach Blues Festival in May, to Swell Festival in Currumbin in September and many others in between. They’re free to check out and put on lots of fantastic talent. If you’re here around Christmas time, you can listen to Christmas Carols in Surfers, Broadbeach, Burleigh and many other suburbs around the city.

Do you take advantage of the free attractions in your home town?

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10 Reasons to Create Multiple Streams of Income

Posted On March 25, 2015| 1 Reply

picImagine, you’re sitting at the cafe overlooking a lake, a row of ducks swim leisurely with their family in tow, you watch admiring the beauty of nature, a waiter brings you your breakfast of poached eggs on spinach with salmon and hollandaise on the side, along with your favourite coffee, a flat white made with half milk half water. You’ve just been made redundant but you don’t care because the bills are still getting paid and you can afford to sit back and enjoy the day for what it is. That’s just one of the benefits of having multiple streams of income, here are ten more.

1 – Pay off your debt quickly
Having multiple income streams means your debt can be eliminated much quicker than if you’re just relying on your day job. An extra stream of income means that while your day job covers the minimum repayment, your extra income stream helps you make extra payments to save on interest and get rid of the debt burden. And who doesn’t want to get rid of their debt as soon as possible?

2 – Increase your savings
Multiple income streams can help you grow your savings in a speedier fashion. I don’t know about you, but the snail’s pace of my savings account growth drives me insane. I’d love to see the numbers rise faster. An extra income stream is the best solution. There’s only so much you can cut in your budget until you’re driving yourself insane living off two-minute noodles and saying ‘no’ to every outing you’re invited to.

3 – Create financial freedom
Financial freedom is one of the most popular goals for personal finance bloggers. Financial freedom means being able to do what you want, when you want, without having to worry about paying bills, losing your job, or not having enough for the little things. More income streams equals more freedom and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

4 – Less reliant on your day job
Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to worry about unemployment? The news often spread fear about rising unemployment resulting in employees stressing about their positions and employers looking at making their stuff redundant. If you rely on more than one income stream redundancy is not going to be an issue for you. It might be a mild annoyance but you can continue with your lifestyle because you have cash coming in from different avenues.

5 – Ability to follow your passion
Creating multiple income streams means you can have money coming in while you focus on following your passions. The things you love doing may not necessarily bring in money. If you’re having your bills paid by your share dividends, your retirement accounts topped up by the rent your tenants are paying, and you make your play money creating niche websites. If you absolutely love knitting sweaters in pink, yellow and green, you can go ahead an knit without having to worry that you won’t survive financially.

6 – Return to university as a mature aged student
The more I learn the more I realise I don’t know. If I didn’t have to work full time, going back to university to study is something I’d definitely consider doing. I’ve a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree but I’d be happy to study inevitably. Creating multiple income streams means returning to university becomes a serious option. Maybe you’d like to commit a few hours a day to master Italian before spending a month drinking wine in Tuscany ,or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn Japanese and spend six months immersing yourself in the culture. Creating those extra income streams means you can do all that and more.

7 – Spend more time with family and friends
The older I get the more time I want to spend with family and friends. Now that I’ve become a mum, I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with my son and my husband. I just don’t see the point of having a family and spending the majority of my day at work making someone else rich. I want a few more hours a day at home with my child cuddling, singing, playing ball, exploring the great outdoors, learning, teaching, laughing. I want to have leisurely lunches and dinners over glasses of wine or vodka shots discussing everything from silly TV shows to politics with my family and friends.

8 – Reduce your stress levels
Stress is a killer. Financial stress even more so. It sucks when Christmas is around the corner and you’re analysing your budget to try to make room to buy some Christmas presents. It’s frustrating when you work so hard, make a savings plan and then get pounded with half a dozen bills in the one month. If you work on building a few income streams you reduce those stress levels which means you can start stressing about whether your employer will give you an extra week’s leave for that Thai holiday instead.

9 – Do what you love every day, not just on weekends
Weekends come slow and go quick. Two days is just not enough to get everything done let alone have time to relax and unwind. Imagine having a few positive cashflow rental properties up your sleeve, a share portfolio paying dividends, an online business bringing in weekly deposits into your bank account, and a few freelance writing gigs here and there. Would you really need that day job cutting into your free time?

10 – Give more to help others through your time and money
We live in a world with several billion other people, some are better off than us, others are worse off. One of the great things about having more than enough to meet our own wants and needs means the ability to help others. Giving money is easy. Giving time is much harder. Time is a precious commodity especially if we’re constantly working. Having a few income streams means we can take the time to volunteer at a dog shelter, we can assist in clean ups after a cyclone hits a nearby town, we can do the shopping for our elderly neighbour, or participate in a fundraiser.

There are many reasons to create multiple streams of income. While it mightn’t be easy, anyone can do it, but not everyone will. I want to be one of those that will.

What are your reasons for creating multiple streams of income?

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How to create multiple streams of income

Posted On March 22, 2015| 1 Reply

income streamsThe first time I came across this concept I was maybe eighteen. I picked up Robert G. Allen’s book ‘Multiple Streams of Income: How to generate a lifetime of unlimited wealth’ and was hooked on the concept. Theoretically anyway. I wanted to put it in practice but like many eighteen year olds the money I earned went on going out, buying clothes and having a good time. I wish I had more money sense back then. Now looking back I wasted thousands of dollars that could have been used to secure a healthier financial future.

Generally our primary source of income is our job. We work say 38 hours per week and get a wage at the end of it whether it’s weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Once upon a time this income was secure but in uncertain times and fluctuating markets there is no such thing as job security.
This is where multiple streams of income become very useful. They provide more financial security. They provide peace of mind when unemployment beckons. Having multiple steams of income is the difference between paying your bills and getting into debt when there’s no job in sight.

So what are these stream of income? How can I diversify my eggs so they’re not stuck in just one basket? Below you’ll find eight income streams with links to useful information around the Internet.

1 – The Day Job
Your job is the first stream of income. It’s necessary to build the other stream of income. You earn a wage and what you do with that wage will depend on whether you will develop the other streams in the future. The good news is that you don’t have to start with millions. The average income is enough, even on a low income if you’re determined you can grow your streams so that in the future you can be more financially secure. Spruce up your CV, update your Linked In profile, and get yourself out there and into the job you want.

Top 10 Ways to get a better job
The 10 Best job-hunting secrets of all time

2 – Start a business
A business can be a job or a stream of income if someone else is doing the bidding for you. Some people buy a business but all they are doing is buying themselves a job without all the benefits. A good business will have others working for you while you earn the profits. This is a stream of income that can grow indefinitely depending on the type of business you’re running. Nowadays it’s so easy to set up an online business and earn extra income that anyone can do it. Start up costs are much lower and you can get started almost immediately.

How to start a small business in a few hours (US)
Starting a business (AUS)
50 Side business you can start on your own

3 – Shares
Investing in shares is an easy way to start an extra stream of income because the barriers to entry are rather low. You can start with as little as $500 and build onto that slowly. As companies generally pay dividends once or twice per year at the beginning you can reinvest that until you have enough to reach a desired income level. Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a an influx of cash every month from the companies you invest in? This is one income stream I am growing. Right now it’ s nothing to write home about but it’s growing. My current annual income from shares is about $400 per annum and I’m hoping to double that by the end of the year. I see shares as a long term investment (15-20 years at least). Last year I made the mistake of selling one of my stocks, while I had made a profit of more than 100%, I had to pay capital gains tax on the whole amount (if held over 12 months there’s a 50% CGT discount in Australia), and nine months later, the stock has increased again and would have given me more than 300% profit had I held onto it for longer. Silly, silly me.

The Motley Fool
Top 40 Buffet-isms: inspiration to become a better investor

4 – Property
The barriers to entry for property investing are much higher than shares. The profits can be greater too as is the security. With real estate you need a much larger sum to start with. Generally, at least 5% of the purchase price. So if you’re buying a property worth $200,000 you need at least $10,000 as a deposit and another $5k for purchasing costs. Once you do have a property and have it fully paid for, the rent is your income. I’m a huge fan of property. It’s tangible and it’s a necessity. People are always going to need a roof over their head. Having said that buying any old property isn’t enough. Research and leg work is required to finding the right one and then committing time and energy in maintaining it. One of my dreams (goals) is to own enough properties to create $50,000 in passive income in the next 10 years. I spoke with a mortgage broker last week to get started on my goal.

Six reasons why most investors never get rich in property
10 Common mistakes made by first time property investors

5 – Managed Funds
This is investing in shares indirectly. Funds invest in different equities so that you have greater diversification. Personally, I’m not a fan of managed funds due to the fees involved for fund managers but whether you invest in them is a personal choice. They do have their benefits. Someone else is doing the research for you hence the ongoing costs and you can start with as little as $1000 and then direct say $100 per week or month to the fund and let it grow. Managed funds also pay distributions which can be reinvested so that your investment grows quicker. Once your investment has grown you can switch from having the distributions reinvested to having them paid into your bank account.

Managed funds

6 – Interest
Savings in the bank are not the best investment as you’re cash gets eaten up by inflation but generally you’re money is safe. If you have a hefty sum and are adverse to risk stashing your cash in an online saver account or term deposit could be the way to go. Although if you have a mortgage, and your interest rate is higher than the interest return on your savings account, you’ll save more money by paying down your mortgage into an offset account, than having it stashed in a savings account.

7 – Build a blog or niche website
People are earning lots of money from the Internet. If you do it right you can create a substantial income stream from the comfort of your living room or at home study. A successful website can help you become location independent and even let you quit your job early. What’s not to love? Check out the hot spots below where the owners of the blogs/sites are doing it themselves and can teach you how it’s done:

How to make money blogging @ Making Sense of Cents 
Make money blogging @ ProBlogger
28 Ways to make money blogging @ The Work At Home Woman  
Make money blogging @ Make Money Your Way 
How to build a niche site @ Smart Passive Income

8 – Other
There’s other ways to add to your streams. Freelance work can bring in a bit of extra cash whether it’s play money or to pay down the mortgage or invest. You can moonlight with a second job though this means extra work hours and less time for yourself, your family and friends. Royalties are great if you can publish a book and it sells well. Writing songs and selling them to music producers if you have the talent. Complete surveys and get paid extra cash. Rent out a room in your house. Teach English to foreigners in the evenings.

Creating multiple income streams is something I am aiming to do. I don’t like the fact that I am so dependent on my day job. Having cash coming in from different sources will allow me to create the lifestyle that I want and that includes writing, traveling, spending time with family and friends, investing running more and doing triathlons in different parts of the world.

The benefits of having seven or more different streams of income is that you have more financial security. If one income stream goes bust, and it can happen, you still have a few more keeping you going. When times get tough and the economy isn’t doing too well you don’t have to worry about redundancy. During good times you can grow your investments, increase your retirement accounts, or enjoy a leisurely holiday because you have income coming in from different directions.

*The links provided in this post are from information I have found useful. If you don’t like being linked to, please let me know and I will remove it. 

Are you building multiple income streams?

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Are you expecting a different result?

Posted On March 20, 2015| 1 Reply

your actionsExpecting a different result by doing exactly the same thing? You’re insane, at least that’s what Einstein might say.

Most of us have some sort of goal. Be it to become financially free, lose weight, run a marathon, see the world, write a novel, start a business, get a better job, start a family. Why is it that only a small percentage of us will ever achieve these goals?

The difference is the way we behave every single day. A simple example is the dieting example. You cannot expect to shift the kilograms if you’re constantly snacking on Tim Tams and going back for seconds at dinner. Stop talking about wanting to lose weight, and swap the biscuits for some carrot sticks and stick to one dinner portion and you might just achieve your goal and lose the excess pounds.

Another example that is significant to many is trying get out of debt. Getting out debt is simple – spend less than you earn, pay the difference onto your loans, and ta-dah! like magic with time the debts are paid off. It isn’t going to happen if you’re constantly rushing off to the stores to buy the latest fashion statement or booking that round-the-world trip when you’ve still got a $5k credit card hanging over you. It’s simple but no one said it was going to be easy.

You can’t expect change without making a change yourself. You can’t blame the people or circumstances around you because they’re just variables that come and go. You are the constant in your life, your actions will have the biggest impact on your life and on your goals.

So as Einstein nicely put it, doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Are you insane? 

No, I didn’t think so.

So what are you going to do today? Hopefully, stop blaming everyone else for your problems. By the time you hit 18, you’re responsible for your actions not your parents. You’re friends are not going to diss you if you go out every other week rather than shout rounds every Friday night; you are not going to turn into a pumpkin if you come home before midnight (after midnight you might make more reckless decisions though); you will still have a job if you don’t attend the work party because you have a run the next morning; and, Thailand will still be there next year, so you can enjoy it after you’ve crashed your credit card debt, not before.

Life is a series of events, some fortunate, some less so. It’s how we react to them that will determine what happens next. Change our reactions and change the course of your life, for the better or the worse, inevitably it’s your choice.

Make small changes today, and tomorrow your dreams may become a reality.

I’ve spent a large chunk of my life talking about being a published author. I enjoy writing stories, characters tend to have conversations in my head, and I often find myself asking ‘what if’ when reading or seeing news stories. I’ve been writing fiction since I was 10, that’s more than two decades, but I’ve been to scared to show anyone my fiction writing. Until last year that is. I couldn’t expect to get published if no one ever read my work. So I took my fear, rolled up into a ball and put it in my pocket (figuratively speaking of course), and gave my completed manuscript to two people. They enjoyed reading it. Last month I hired an editor. I’m planning to self publish mid year. What changed? My actions. Instead of talking about getting published I took steps to make the goal into a reality, and in a few short months it will be. Did I mention I’ve already started works on novel #2.

Are you still talking instead of doing? What are you going to do different to achieve your biggest goals?

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How much do you spend each month?

Posted On March 16, 2015| 7 Replies

My finances are driving me nuts. Each time we plan on saving an expense comes up. I can’t say that I’m surprised because we know that these expenses are regular and they generally fall on in the one month. Like March for instance. This month alone we have to car registrations due ($1300), one insurance ($200), our car service ($130), and an upcoming electricity bill ($300 estimate). On top of the that we also will have a dentist bill ($250 estimate), and our regular monthly expenses ($4000). OMG!!!

How in the world have our regular monthly expenses jumped to over $4000?

I seriously freaked out when I saw this number. I thought it was much closer to $3,000 but that just shows how closely I track our expenses. I probably should do a better job at it.

$1780 rent
$  630 car repayment (0% interest over 4 years with 2.5 remaining)
$  430 commute to work
$  150 petrol
$  180 private health insurance
$  230 life, trauma, TPD insurance
$    60 car insurance
$    80 home phone & Internet (we had to get a phone line to get internet)
$  100 mobile phone x 2
$  600 food
$  100 electricity
$  200 miscellaneous spending (eating out, clothes, magazines, etc.)

$4540 total monthly expenses

OMG!!!

Our current income is $5200 per month + bonuses which I don’t add to our monthly income. The cash is generally used for expenses that crop up, like this month’s big ones, or they are used to top up our savings account or shares account.

So that leaves us with $650 per month to put towards our savings. Crap. Shit. What the f#*@?

Fortunately, as of May I’m back to work four days per week which will mean our monthly income will jump to about $5900. So we will be able to save $1350 per month (plus quarterly bonuses) which is much better, but just not good enough.

I’ve tried to see where we can cut back but there’s not much to cut from. The only option I see is to earn more. I could go back to work five days per week but then I would have to put my son into childcare. I don’t want to do that just yet although I am going to put him on the waiting list just in case. Having three days off work each week will allow me to put more time into some side hustling. I have been seriously slack and not putting much effort into reaching out to get work. As soon as I try, my confidence plummets and I’m back to step one. Something I seriously have to overcome!

While our monthly income is higher than our monthly expenses, the difference is not a comfortable one. Should an emergency arise, or one of us become unemployed we are screwed. I don’t like the thought. But not thinking about is not going to help matters. I need to face it head on. Yes, being irresponsible with money and not planning my maternity leave accordingly has contributed to this and I have no one to blame but myself. Now the only thing left to do is to fix the situation. I need a permanent solution rather than just a bandaid.

Earn extra income!

Yes, that really is the only solution. Create an extra income stream that is sufficient to meet our monthly expenses and allow us to save at least 50% of our income.

The side hustle I had has dried up. It might pick up again but it might not. It’s not really dependent on me but the person who gave me the work. Once I finish my financial planning course I will be able to seek out more work in this area but that won’t be until the third quarter of the year.

I need an income stream that will be dependent on the effort I put in right now. Unfortunately, at the moment I’m taking instead of doing and the talking is driving my husband mad. It’s driving me mad too. Have you noticed how the Internet is a time waster? You start reading one blog, then move on to the next, until you look at the clock and two hours have past and instead of having written a post, outlined a story, and made notes on the new novel, you’ve instead got lost in other people’s words, and it’s time to get the baby up and move on to the housework?

So, I’m off to start hustling. I’ve got another hour before Baby J wakes from his morning sleep. Plenty of time to do some hustling!

How much do you spend/save each month? Are you trying to earn more or spend less? 

 

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