Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

This years review was a lot more complicated to calculate because we earned and spent money in two different countries which meant keeping track in two different systems. The tax was a bit tricky too and it has taken a lot longer than I would have hoped but better late than never!

You can check out last years review here where we achieved a savings rate of 66%.

So how did we do this year?

Let’s get into the numbers.


Savings Rate For 18/19 Financial Year

Our savings rate for last financial year was… 56% (▼-10% from last year)

We earned $185,441 (▲+$43,944…mostly after-tax*)

And spent $80,817 (▲+$32,818)

Compared to last year we increased our income by $44K, which is great but unfortunately, that was accompanied by a record-breaking amount of expenses which was mostly due to our travels. We spent more than $32K compared to the previous year which decreased our savings rate by a whopping 10%. This further illustrates that it’s the expenses that are a lot more important vs how much you earn when it comes to your savings rate!

I’m pretty stoked about 56% tbh. It’s a fair dip down from 66% but considering our travels this year, we can’t complain at all.

I’ve included a breakdown of our income for this years update too so you can get an idea of where our $$$ come from. But the really important part is still the expenses.

*I’m still in the process of completing the tax obligations for the trust and AFB. I’ll update this article when it’s done

Breakdown Of Spending

Below is our Australian expenses for the last FY.

And in pie form

Holy Mackerel our ‘Holiday and Travel’ category exploded into our number 1 expense which isn’t all too surprising really. Majority of that $23K was the costs of flights, accommodation, food/drink and cash out for activities. It also covers some of our London setup costs when we were still using our Australian Money to pay for things before we set up our UK account. It’s a lot of money and it’s crazy how it all adds up but this trip (that we’re still on) was never about saving money. It’s not something we plan to have in our yearly budget once we FIRE though.

Not surprisingly, rent and groceries come in next which was our number 1 and 2 expense for last year.

‘Health & Beauty’ came in 4th because Mrs. FB had a toothache about 4 months before our trip which resulted in an operation to remove her wisdom teeth. We went private because we needed it done ASAP but it cost around $3,500 💸. If we had more time to plan properly, I would have liked to research how much it would have cost in Maylasia or somewhere similar. I’ve heard stories about how dental care there is just as good as in Australia but 1/5 the price.

‘Transport’ was the new category instead of our ‘Car’ one for last year. It went down a little because we left Australia in January and only had ~7 months of Car expenses instead of 12.

‘Food & Drink replaced ‘Entertainment’ and went slightly up.

Our ‘Gym membership’ went way up because I started to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu twice a week but I absolutely love it! I’m still a white belt and haven’t found a gym to train in London unfortunately.

Those were the main ones with the rest of the expenses being pretty similar to last year. Nothing else really jumps out at me.

And here is our break down for the UK

We use an awesome money management tool here in the UK called Money Dashboard which works very similar to Pocketbook but it’s actually a lot better. For one, you can split transactions! This has been a feature request I’ve wanted pocketbook to do for like 3 years but they just won’t bloody do it!

Anyway, our ‘Enjoyment’ category has been our biggest expense while being in London and it drills down to look like this.

To say we have been ‘treatin’ in London when it comes to our ‘enjoyment’ category would be an understatement. Part of experiencing our new city has been taking advantage of what it offers in terms of sporting events, restaurants, concerts, activities and nightlife. The funny thing is, we don’t actually spend that much compared to our friends over here. We still take a packed lunch, get the bus/train, look for things second hand on GumTree etc. It’s just that if I compare how much we spend on doing ‘stuff’ in London vs back home in country Victoria, it’s been a blowout!

‘Bills’ has been mostly made up of our £900/m rent costs and ‘Home’ covers all our groceries home set-up costs.


Breakdown Of Income

A new addition to the yearly update. I thought it might be helpful for people to see where we earn our money and how we have built multiple streams of income that contribute to growing our snowball.

No surprise that exchanging our time for money (a job) generates the bulk of our income. A combination of our Australian and UK salaries equate to over 70% of our income. But the remaining 30% is a little bit more interesting and is part of the pie that we are aiming to grow over time.

This blog generated an astonishing ~$33K during the last F/Y (excluding taxes). That was through a combination of sponsorships on the Podcast and affiliates. I only started to seriously monetise this site last year with companies I was already using. I actually pioneered a few affiliate programs that you now see being used by a lot of other bloggers/authority figures. It’s amazing what a simple conversation can do.

I approached some of my affiliates with something along the lines of

Hey, I use your service and love it. I often recommend your product on my website if people ask. Would you be interested in buying some adverting space on my podcast or maybe an affiliate where my audience gets something that’s not available to them now? What do you think?

Sometimes I don’t hear back from them, but other times it works out better for everyone. I end up getting paid for my work, my audience gets a better way to sign up with a company I use and recommend, and that great company gets a new customer!

A lot of people have mixed feelings about monetising a blog. I’m a huge sceptic myself whenever anyone receives a financial incentive for recommending a product and there’s really nothing I can say or write that will convince some people otherwise. I’m pretty transparent on this website and I would like to think that I’ve built up a certain level of trust amongst you all, but I understand that there’s always going to be people who don’t dig it.

Having a side hustle can be a huge accelerator towards FIRE. But let me tell you straight up, if you’re thinking of starting a blog with an intent to monetise it later, you’re probably not going to get far. And even if you do, I’d doubt you’d make anything worth your while if money was the sole intent. If I was to divide the money made from this blog by all the hours I’ve put in, I’d be much better off working at Hungry Jack’s on minimum wage. This site is about money but was never intended to make any, I simply love creating FIRE content for Aussies and will continue to do so with or without the sponsors/affiliates.

You can see every company I’m affiliated with on the resources page.

Dividends were broken down like so

I’m stoked with $8K but am really looking forward to seeing the results of this report next year. A200 only returned $857 mostly because it was a new fund. Considering we currently have over $150K in that ETF as I write this now, the dividends should be closer to $5K-$6K assuming there’s not a crash or bear market. This is the slice of the pie that we want to grow as much as possible and will become the foundation for our financial freedom. It’s so exciting seeing the income grow each year especially now it’s starting to add up to a considerable amount.

I mean shit, even at $8K a year, that’s a kick-ass yearly holiday for the rest of our lives! Not to mention that even if we never added another dollar to the snowball, it would continue to grow faster than inflation and consequently raise the income without us having to do anything!

We ended up making just over $2K from matched betting which came mainly from the signup bonuses of the bookies. While it is possible to continue making money through matched betting, it takes time which I didn’t think was worth it for me personally after we had exhausted the sign-up bonuses. A Family On FIRE documented her experience using matched betting as a side hustle which is a fantastic case study and well worth reading if you’re considering trying it.

And last but not least we have the good old rental properties generating us a measly $2K. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Australian residential property absolutely sucks at cashflow. The amount of time and effort I put into our two remaining properties with all the banks, conveyancing, tenant issues, chasing rent etc. makes it laughable that they only returned ~$2K cash last year. Now we all know that the real reason most people invest in Aussie property is for that sweet, sweet capital gainz gravy but eh… I won’t know how much that turns out to be until I sell and it doesn’t help me until then.


What About You?

That’s it for another year!

My number one tip has always been to track your expenses. You won’t ever know how much passive income you’ll need to FIRE unless you do and it creates good financial habits. I hope this post was helpful to you as it’s always interesting to see what people spend their hard-earned dollars on.

What about you? Do you have a category you really need to rope in? Or maybe it’s time to look into a side hustle to boost your income?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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