Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Don't Tell the Guests; The Music


The atmosphere at a wedding is largely created by the music, so it was something that we did not want to stinge on.

I made the mistake of using a duke box at my 21st, and never, ever again will I doubt the importance of the music to set the tone, create joy, atmosphere, a raging dance floor, ambience and a memorable occasion.

So when it came to our wedding, we always knew that the music was something that we were willing to spend money on.

Luckily for us, mum and I happened to 'bump into' a band that we instantly fell in love with at the Wine Centre's Bridal Expo in Adelaide almost 18 months ago.

The guys were laid back larikans who instantly grabbed our attention and drew us in with their charisma! After sharing some laughs and discussing the wide musical talents we loaded ourselves with pamphlets and I knew from that point that I wanted them at our wedding.

You see, apart from the photographer who hangs around with you all day, in my mind, the next most important thing is the music, as they are going to fill the night with tunes, laughter and love.

So who is this amazing band that I speak of?

Meet Will!

No other then Jazz It Up lead by Will Metzer. I was lucky enough to watch Will win the Carols by Candlelight competition in Adelaide as the pianist for a singer,and they also have their own Fringe show.

What appealed to us about this band?

Their wide range of repertoire, ranging from jazz, to acoustic to old and new goodies!

We always knew that we wanted chilled music over dinner so that people can chat without bursting an ear drum in the persons ear closest to them, and then we wanted the music to amp up over the night so that we could join our guests on the dance floor!

There's a couple people in particular that we want to get on the dance floor, including one crazy thumb dancer, and an 'old man' who likes busting out a move or too, and what better way then with a band who will play something for everyone!

The other major decider was that we just got along really well with Will and the band members. Since they do have such an important role in your day you want people there who will fit in with the atmosphere of your wedding, and who will have a great time and will enjoy their gig!

We are absolutely stoked and honoured to have the band over for Adelaide and can't wait for the memories to follow the music!

All up the music cost us $2000 and the band also scored a gig at the Cummins Pub and the Pier Hotel in Port Lincoln over the October long weekend.

What decisions did you make when it came to the music?

Did you go classical, jazz, modern, a band, iPhone, DJ or duke box?

Look after yourself and those around you,


"From a corporate extravaganza with a 15 piece orchestral band and MC, to an intimate wedding duo, we can jazz up any event, in the style you’re looking for."

Phone: 0404 084 233 
International: +61 404 084 233

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Buying a Home Versus Buying an Investment Property - How It Differs + Tips and Tricks

Buying a house is like popping your overseas experience cherry; it's addictive, stressful, fun, exhilarating, exciting and every emotion all rolled into one!

That's I guess why, so many people out there are now looking at investing in property, as a way to create future financial stability.

Property to some people, can seem safer then shares, as you have a physical investment to rely upon. However, property can be, at times, like riding a roller coaster, especially as the interest rates rise and fall over time.

Who knows what the property market is going to do - at any particular time.

Who knows if we've reached a peak in property investment, as the purchase prices have soared over the past 30 years, blocking many out of the market all together.

Who knows if the Government is going to continue to give financial bonuses to encourage people to take a chance on the market.

And who knows how long a piece of string is?

But what I know is that property investment is fun, but it's also something that you must think very carefully about, and even sought advice from a mortgage broker for.

My partner and I own two homes, one in a major capital city, and one in a quiet, small little country town.

My partner has always had a financial investment mind, and so, I jumped on the bandwagon as I was swept up in his enthusiasm and determination.

Along the way, we've learnt a thing or two, and I thought I would share them with you.

Buying your own home to raise your family within the walls, and live happily ever after is a completely different process to buying a house for investment.


1. You are more emotionally involved with a home for you and your family. You want the white picket fence, big back yard for the kids to run around in, room for the boat, swimming pool, large spaciest rooms, big entertaining area, spa bath, built in wardrobes, and well, the works, because well it's your home.

When buying an investment property it's best to leave your emotions out of it and to focus on the return of money and cash flow that will come and go. You must think of what renters are looking for; close to schools, public transport, shops, something that's easy to maintain, basic garden, grassed area, built in robes, modern but clean, neutral colours, good location etc. If you buy a house that would appeal to the majority of the population, then you are much more likely to find a renter that falls in love with your house and wants to call it their home.

2. Think strategically. There is no point in buying an investment property where you are going to have to put thousands of dollars of your own money into it. An investment property is that; something that you essentially want to be able to set up so that someone else can pay it off for you (score!) To be able to do this, you have to make sure that the repayments can be covered by rent. There's no point in buying a $400,000 house with repayments of $2000 a fortnight if you can only rent the place out for $1000 a fortnight, unless of course, you are willing to pay your own mortgage and pump money into the investment property too.

3. Consider what improvements you can make to the property to increase your return if you intend on selling down the track. The majority of people are looking for a safe place to park their car, an outside entertaining area, a large, but easily maintainable back yard, clean and tidy fittings and painting, and neat bathrooms and wet areas. Things don't have to be fancy smancy. If you can find a house that is cheap, but requires a little bit of tender loving care, then it's a great opportunity to increase your return. A lick of paint can make the hugest difference, as well as replacing carpet with floorboards, and a dodgy looking backyard with grass. Neat and tidy; cheap and easy = big returns.

4. Short term investment versus long term investment. Are you hoping to rent your property out over the long term or are you looking at buying it, doing some minor improvements and putting it back on the market quick smart for a smaller, but quicker, return?

5. Don't overcapitalise. You don't want to get yourself in a position where you are in debt up to your eyeballs, working like slaves to the bank, breaking your back just to make ends meet. This comes back to being financially smart in the first place. Look around the suburb/town/region and now how much the average person pays for rent per fortnight, and how much property is worth in that area. There's no point paying $400,000 for a house when the market in that town is only selling for $300,000. There's also no point in doing major improvements on a property if it doesn't increase the selling price as you will not get your money back and the time and effort won't be worth it.

Getting local builders advice, as well as mortgage brokers, and speaking to the local council and neighbours is a great place to start. We also looked on realestate.com.au at the buying and renting tabs to check both before we purchased our investment property in Adelaide.

6. If you are looking at buying a 'shack' or holiday rental, then you'll need to be prepared for the rent to be seasonal. You might have to forward think about how much you are going to charge in peak and off peak seasons, and be willing to have to invest some of your money in the property too. These proprieties are 'risker' then having long term tenants, but can really pay off if you advertise well, and charge an amount that won't cost the holidayers an arm or leg, but can secure your return.

7. Think about why you are looking to buy in that place. Is it because you want to claim cheap flights to go and 'check out the investment property' in some amazing location (totally want to buy one in Cairns just to do this)? Is it because it's in a major capital city, and hence there's university students, old and young, etc? Is it in the country and your target audience are families? Your target 'audience' or renters, will affect where you buy, and what type of proprieties you are looking for.

8. Once you've purchased the property, you've then got to think about how you are going to manage it. Will you employ a real estate agent to manage the property and tenants? Will you dive into private rental? To be honest, at the start my partner was all for private rental and I cringed. There's so much more to renting then you'd think; like law suits, renters associations, chasing up repayments, complaints, maintenance requests, inspections, and so much more! In the end we decided that it was definitely worth the coin to have a real estate agent take care of all of the nitty gritty, and we basically just have to say yay or nay to maintenance requests when they are sent through!

9. You've also got to consider things like; are tenants allowed to have pets? Are you looking for families, or young people, or the old? How much are you looking at charging? Are you going to pay for water and council rates? Are you willing to fork out money for maintenance requests, are you going to be doing any improvements on the property that may affect the tenants? (If you have a real estate agent, then they go through this with you!)

10. I guess my final tip is to be smart, but enjoy the ride of property investment; it is fun, it is rewarding knowing that hopefully, down the track, it'll all pay off, it's great to know that our children, if they so choose, will have somewhere to live if they ever move to the city, and well, it's challenging, rewarding and everything in between!

Think smart, budget, seek advice, don't overcapitalise, do your research, consider improvements, and bring your long/short term focuses and goals with you to the property investment table!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Don't Tell the Guests; The Ceremony

Haha had to laugh at this - except it should be - Do you Kirsty, promise to blog about Michael, every day for the rest of your life haha Via

How many times have you heard people say 'who cares about the ceremony - bring on the after party' or 'I can't wait for the formalities to be over - look out reception' or 'boring - readings, vowels, hymns, songs, been there - do that - who cares - I just want to make good use of the open bar!?'

To be honest, I think it's incredibly sad that more significance isn't placed on the ceremony - after all, a wedding is all about the joining of a man and a woman to become husband and wife in front of their closest friends and family and well, that happens during the ceremony.
When I was reading my best friends blog the other day, I realised that what she was saying really hit home to me.
Samarz and her husband Joel
She said " Don't forget the ceremony "
I don't know if it's because I'm over planning the wedding with 5 weeks to go, but as it draws nearer I care less about the reception, and more about the ceremony. I am so ready to marry my fiance. I am so ready to stand in front of my friends and family and to say those magical vows in front of everyone. 

You know those words that give me butterflies just thinking about;

"I Kirsty take you, Michael, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

I can't wait to see Michael's face as I walk down the aisle. I'm excited to have my parents stand by my side, hand in hand, as they give me away to my future husband.

I'm thrilled to be able to see those closest to us, standing in the crowd, nervously and excitedly waiting to see us be joined together in marriage.

I can't wait to have our good friend playing guitar, and singing with her beautiful voice, as I walk down the aisle.

I'm eager to see the girls looking all beautiful in their dresses, with their hair and make up, shoes and accessories, and the boys all suited up.

I can't wait for people to see the unique twists that we've whispered about in discussions with the celebrant as part of our ceremony.

I'm honored to have two of my best friends read out special words, written as commitments to each other, and to tell our story.

I'm proud to be standing beside a man, who I love with all of my heart, and who I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with.

I can't wait for all of the planning, stress, and expenses to disappear in front of our eyes, because the day will be more then we could have ever imagined.

So yes, the ceremony is the 'formal' part of the day, but it's also the most special for the bride and groom. It is two people, putting their own twist on the vows, looking into each others eyes, and making promises, that are legally binded by law, but also emotionally promised to each other.

What little twists did you put on your special day?

Do you value the ceremony?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Depression; How it Changed The Person that I Am

Two years ago my life changed forever; I suffered from Depression and it forced me to question everything I knew and everything that was important and special to me.

All of a sudden, things that used to matter didn't and things that I once took for granted became vital to my survival and happiness.

My life changed forever.

While I could've started a pity party, and question, ponder and dwell on why such a horrible illness happened to me, I have chosen a different path and way of dealing with, moving on and accepting my illness; I started a blog and I grew stronger.

I chose to see my illness as a positive experience in my life, that changed me for the better and has made me a much more confident, forgiving, understanding, patient, relaxed and determined little lady.

So how did depression change who I am?

1. I now have the confidence in myself and my limitations to know when to say no, and to trust my guts in knowing that that's the best decision for me. The 'pre depression me' was a 'yes' girl, who would do anything for everyone else and would leave my wants and needs until last; I thought that was the selfless thing to do. What I didn't realise was that if I didn't look after myself first, then I couldn't help anyone else, as I would have no energy left in my tank.

I learnt that there was a difference between being selfish and selfless and that it was okay to put myself first and that didn't make me a bad person.

2. I stand up for myself. Before depression I was a door mat; people would say thinngs, often u intentionally that would hurt me, and I would let it slide because I feared confrontation and I didn't have the confidence or faith in my own voice. I felt like to be liked, I had to go with the flow and agree with other peoples opinions, instead of staying true to my beliefs and values.

Now, I stand up for myself, I know my limitations and I know that no amount of stress is worth my health. I now know that everything in life requires your energy, both good and bad, and even if you love something, if it is draining your energy and causing more stress then happiness, then it's not worth it. I never ever ever want to go back to the place that I went, and I would hate it if I did go back there because I didn't listen to the warning signs that my body was telling me. 

Believing in my voice, and trusting my guts, means that it's easy now for me to stand up for myself, and to voice my opinion if something is really affecting me, instead of letting it well up inside. If I don't voice my opinion if something that I believe in is being questioned, then it plays over and over in my mind, so it's best just to let the person know, so that there is an opportunity for change.

3. I'm not as involved as I used to be. Having said that, I still work full time, coach a netball team, play netball and I am on a social committee, but I just help where I can, and I don't beat myself up if I can't make a meeting or attend training. To be honest, I probably did over commit a little this year before scoring my job, as I didn't realise how full on it'd be, but it has just meant that I have been honest with the people around me about how I am feeling, and I have had to bail on training if I'm emotionally and physically drained. The old me would've felt too guilty and like a let down. The new me knows that my health is far more important then a meeting.

4. I realise now that money and work isn't worth your happiness. You must choose a job that you love, no matter if it means taking a pay cut, for you spend more time at work and with your work mates then with anyone else. If you are unhappy and stressed at work then you have to speak up and sort advice, and if all else fails and you've tried everything in your power, but things don't improve, then a job isn't worth your health.

5. I am much more honest with my feelings. This has been a very difficult task. I have to be mindful of things like social media, and what I say, as I do not want to worry or stress those closeset to me if I say I'm struggling or having a tough time. Instead, I speak to them openly and directly, so that they know exactly where I am standing, and so that they can support me. One of my mistakes while I was sick was hiding my true feelings, and this helped no one. Now I know that I must be honest, and admit when I am not coping, which is a very difficult thing to do.

6. I listen to those closest to me. If they can see that I am stressed, or need to slow down, then I take on their advice. Obviously those closest to me are on alert and are constantly monitoring my stress levels, behaviour and moods to ensure that I am okay and happy. They are always looking out for warning signs of my depression returning. I am grateful for their love, support and honesty.

7. I value my health above everything else. I can not work if I am sick. I can not be a loving and supportive partner if I can not function. I can not be there for my friends and have fun with them, if I am suffering from depression. I can not fulfil my goals and dreams if I become a stressed mess. I can not play netball if I have no energy. I can not be me, if I am exhausted. I need to focus on my health, and beware of my stress levels and to be prepared to give up things that I may love, if I am not coping.

8. I have an ultimate level of respect for anyone affected by mental health, including those supporting loved ones.

9. I am determined to create awareness about mental health.

10. Depression gave me the courage to start my blog, something that brings me so much joy and satisfaction.

So yes, Depression has changed me, but it's made me more honest and respectful of my feelings, it's made me slow down and relax, it's made me stand up for myself, given me the confidence to voice my opinions and has made me more open to peoples opinions of my coping mechanisms.

Depression has changed my life, but I choose to see it as a positive.

How has depression changed your life or someone you care abouts life?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Don't Tell The Guests; Hairstyles

I'm not a girly girl. There are two styles when it comes to my hair; up or down, and with nothing very special done to it at all.

Sooo...when it comes to pampering and weddings, I'm all for splurging to have a professional hairdresser come over and turn my blonde locks into some beautifully crafted design!

I mean, who doesn't like pampering? While I hate doing my own hair, I love it when someone else plays with it! I guess I just lack the imagination and patience that comes with styling your hair (that and I leave myself time in the morning to roll out of bed, chuck my hair in a pony tail, get dressed and have my toast in my mouth while carrying my bags and trying to get the key in the car door as I scramble out to work!!!)

There's definitely no time factored in to make myself look glamorous!!!

So...where on earth do you start with wedding hair when you have absolutely no is about hair at all?

I started on pinterest, stealing ideas from the brides who have trialled different styles in the past. I quickly learnt what I didn't want, and I was tempted to try out the I just put my finger in a power socket, frizz ball style for the girls, but in the end I found the perfect do that would suit the hair for everyone involved.

Which brings me to another point; I guess when choosing styles you have to think of not only yourself, but your bridesmaids too. Is it rude to ask your girls not to cut their hair before the wedding? How much say does the bride have? No to colouring, yes to straightening, no to bob cuts, yes to long and luscious locks?

I mean you think you don't care about the girls cutting their hair into a Mohawk or a shorter then normal style, but when the time comes you realise that it'd be a bitter pill to swallow if all of a sudden, someone decided to shave their head, bleach their locks or hack at their fringe themselves.

I guess you don't want a bridesmaid to stand out for the wrong reasons.

Which brings me to the next big question; do you have all of the girls hair the same, do you differ yours as the bride to be set apart, or do you try different dos to suit each of the girls?

Another thing you have to think of as the bride is your veil; are you wearing one?
Are you going all traditional with the piece of material over your face?
Are you going to use a clip?

How are you going to secure the veil?

Luckily for you, if you choose the right hairdresser then they should be able to help you make these decisions, especially if you are an amateur hair stylist like me!!!

Fortunately enough I happen to have two amazing hairdressers, who both work for Hair Razorz in my tiny home town.

Both have instructed me about the does and don'ts for hair ie don't use product or wash our hair on the day of the wedding if you want curls. They have been incredibly helpful with picking styles. All I had to do was tag each of my bridesmaids on Facebook, so that my hairdresser could check out their hair, and send through some images of styles that I liked, and voila, back came some styles that the hairdresser had already created!!!

Inside Hair Razorz!

So how much can you expect to pay for hair?

I guess this varies quite a lot on the number of girls that you have, how long the girls hairs are, how intricate and time consuming the styles will be to perfect, and where you are located; country prices are always much cheaper then in the city.

In total, I scored the girls hair for $75 each for curls pulled to the side (which takes at least an hour per girl!!!)

If you live around the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, then I'd strongly recommend Hair Razorz as an affordable, friendly and super helpful hair stylist!!!

And as an added bonus, they are even coming to us, which is around a 45 minute drive away!!!

Thanks Hair Razorz!

To contact them for your next upcoming event, call 8676 2690.

Like Cummins Hair Razorz on Facebook for your chance to win a free haircut! The winner will be drawn and notified on the 1st of November.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Monday, 12 August 2013

Over The Wedding - Ready For the Marriage

This crazy thing happens when planning a wedding; you get over it pretty quickly. Yup, that's the harsh truth, or at least it's what I'm currently experiencing and judging by my giggles with other wives, it's the same for them too.

It's crazy to think before getting engaged many people ohhh and ahhhh over the ring, and while the bling bling is super special, beautiful and exciting, once you've gotten engaged you realise that it's the promise, commitment and next chapter in your life that is so much more fulfilling then the ring.

And then, there's all of this hoo haaaa and picture perfect white wedding talk that follows as soon as the ring is on your finger. Sometimes you find yourself on repeat answering the 'how's the wedding plans going' questions, and you start to think about what you used to talk about before the big day! 

Don't get me wrong, planning a wedding is super fun; I have loved almost every minute of it. There's something about planning a wedding that brings you closer to your partner, and gives you an excuse to catch up and go on dates to cake tastings, caterer meetings, discussions over scones for your ceremony, and much more that only the bride and groom can do together. And yes, it's super special when you find that dress that you are going to marry your future husband in, and super spunky to see your fiancee in his suit. 

As the day drawers nearer you realise just how special it is going to be to have your closest friends and family all together to celebrate your decision to commit yourself to your lover for life.

But omg, I'm soooo over it!

We're at the point where we've got the remaining bills to pay for the wedding and we're just like geez, not more. We're going through the emotions of chasing the last minute quotes, having to re lock in companies due to cancellations and well shelling out more money haha

And then, you find yourself at the point where you are looking forward to the marriage, way more then the day. You start to really agree with what they say about a wedding being just one day of your life, where marriage is a choice for life, and you can't wait to 'start' that life as a married couple. It truly feels like things are just beginning and you've got so much more to look forward too!

I am so excited to call Mick my husband. I am so excited to see what we can achieve in our marriage. I can't wait to change my last name to Traeger. I can't wait for Mick to wear his ring so that he's visibly off of the market haha I can't wait for Mick to eventually father my children and I can't wait for our families to unite as one.

But I'm also excited to start focusing on renovating our house and making our life more comfortable rather then spending all of our money on one day.

I kind of feel like our life has been on hold for the year since fully focusing on the wedding time, energy and money wise, and I can't wait to have those precious three things back to be actually able to work on our marriage and build the life we've always dreamed of.

6 weeks and counting until our special day!

I'm sure once it's passed I'll look back and wish I could do it all over again, and I'm sure that it'll be the best day of our lives to date, and all of the organising, moolah and time will be totally worth it to marry my best friend.

Did you 'get over the wedding'?

What tips do you have in the final preparation month?

Look after yourself and those around you,


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Making it all Work Financially; How Do They Do It?

What do you have to show for all of the money you have earnt over your working life time?

I found myself pondering this question the other day on the way to work.

Let's face it, we spend more time with the people we work with then with anybody else, and we spend more time trying to earn our keep then any other activity, so what's the point?

Why do we work so hard? Why do we bust our guts working 40 + hours a week, and often trying to score as much overtime that we can for some extra cash, or taking on second jobs just to be able to have a few more pennies to our name?

I guess the answer is to have a better life, or, for some, to be able to afford to live, and to be able to obtain all of the commodities that we'd like to make our lives comfortable.

So why then, is it, that we often get to our tax return, and scratch our heads over the amount of money that we have earnt, versus what we actually have to show for it. When we look back over the year that was, sometimes we find ourselves laughing at all of our drunken nights, or big retail therapy splurges, but are these the things that we really work towards?

Then, when we start thinking about what we really want, we find ourselves getting nervous, wondering how on earth we'll ever be able to afford to manage our spending or squeeze in repayments for that brand new car, or flash new house, on an already tight budget, that you have to work 40+ hours a week to have in your bank account.

From my own experiences, I truly believe that it's not much how you earn that dictates what you do or don't have in your life, it's more about how you choose to spend your money that counts.

If you really want something, then you will learn how to go without other things, in order to be able to afford that special purchase.

So what on earth am I talking about? Of course it matters how much you earn!

Well true, some people do work full time and still manage to be below the poverty line, struggling to pay rent, but I would argue that the majority of people, would earn roughly $40,000 plus a year, and could therefore afford to go on a holiday, or pay for a house, if that is what they really wanted.

My experience

Lately, my partner and I have been asked, how do we do it financially? We are both 25 and we own 2 properties, one in which we live in, and the other an investment property in an Australian capital city. Last year we performed some serious DIY and added an outside area to our investment property, as well as turning a shed into a granny flat with an ensuite.

At the same time as managing repayments, we are also paying for a wedding, we still manage to have a social life, and we can still travel overseas.

So how we do make ends meet? How do we manage to have any money left in the kitty after the bills?

Well, my partner and I am super lucky and we both work. We have always shared our money, in a joint bank account.

Our secret is to live off of one wage, and save the entire other pay packet.

When we bought our first house, the loan was a super small $60,000, just so that we could get in the market. Yes the house is very average, and yes, many people have told us that it needs a bulldozer, but at the end of the day, the repayments that we make each fortnight are less then the amount that we would be paying for rent, and we get to keep the house! It is going to need some tender loving care and money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, but it is a renovators delight and we're super excited to work on it next year. The fact is, that it's affordable, liveable, and gave us enough equity to be able to buy our house in Adelaide.

Which leads me on to our investment property. Luckily for us, my fiancee was always a forward thinking man, and when he bought the first place, he knew that one day we'd be able to use the equity on that property, as part of a deposit for our next big buy.

When we were looking for our second house to buy, we knew that it was only for investment proposes, and therefore, we had to firstly check out how much on average, people would pay for rent in the city that we bought. Once we learnt that, we knew what kind of a price tag that we could look for, as we knew that the repayments would have to be close to the amount that we could charge the house out for, for rent, so that eventually, the renter's could pay off our property. It wasn't an easy task. On average, fortnightly rent in the city we were looking in was roughly $600 to $700. At the time that we were looking for property, interest rates were quite high, which meant that we would've only been able to afford a house for around $280,000, with repayments that would be covered by our rental income. An evaluation of our first property, confirmed the amount of equity that we'd have, and as a result, we only needed to save $10,000 for our next property. As we were keen to buy a house over a unit, we had to do some serious researching in newspapers and on websites, for property that met our criteria (3 bedrooms, large backyard, low maintenance gardens, little to no renovating needed on the inside, ability to add value with extensions, shed, parking, close to shops and public transport, safe location etc). We ended up finding a house that ticked all of the boxes, and fortunately enough, it was close to our budget. In the end, we spent $320,000 on our investment property. As the interest rates dropped, so did the repayments.

Now we have renter's in our investment property, who fortunately enough for us, cover our repayments. All we need to pay for is water, council rates, maintenance and a real estate agent who manages the tenant and the property to ensure that both are looked after, and repayments are made on time.

One of our wages pays for these additional costs, and the repayments on the house that we live in, as well as all of the bills (food, electricity, gas, property insurance, car insurance, car registration, food, water, council rates on both properties, phones, emergency services levy, income protection, mainytenance etc).

The entire other pay we save.

That gives us enough money each year to be able to afford a holiday, or renovations to improve our properties, or to pay for the wedding, as we are this year.

We have managed to cut down our living costs to be bare minimal, so that we can still afford to buy new cloths, go out for dinner, holiday, renovate and enjoy life.

We probably spend $50 per week, if that on food. We buy a meat pack
once a month for a local butcher worth $100 and that lasts us. We buy meat on special, frozen vegetables, tinned foods, pasta, tuna, potatoes and food that is filling, yet delicious.

We have some fairly basic foods that we eat regularly ie pasta bakes, tuna mornay, baked potatoes, home made pizza, roasts, stews, soups, curries, bbqs, gnocci, and the such, that are all very cheap to make and last a couple of days.

We turn switches off at the powerpoints, and rarely use the heater and airconditioner unless it's ridicously hot or cold to save power.

We only run one car, so that's only one lot of registration and insurance, tyres, services and petrol per year.

We use our mobile phones are wi fi hot spots, instead of paying for the internet sperately.

We are both on $59 a month plans, that we never go over as we have chosen plans that suit our needs.

We buy clothes at factory direct outlets so that we still score the big brands and decently made clothes, but at a fraction of the price.

We give ourselves a budget when we go out, and we make sure that we don't go over it so that we don't regret it the next day when we've got major hangovers and can't afford rent because we over spent on beverages.

We allow each other a certain amount of spending money per week, which can be used at our own disgression, but we don't go over it ie Mick buys a carton of beer and I might buy a jumper or have a massage. 

When special events come up that require spending out of the ordinary, we look at our budget and shuffle things around so that we don't miss out.

We try to pack our lunches for work instead of buying them (but we do splurge occasionally).

It's not really a matter of being tight asses, it's just a matter of knowing where your money is going, and where you can save, so that you can afford to live the lifestyle that you want.

In no way are my partner and I expert budgeters. Of course there are nights when we get carried away with friends and spend way too much that we're scared to check the bank account the next day. We've had to borrow money from our parents from time to time to get through the end of the month, and we've had to take out a loan to help pay for our verandah extensions when we performed major renovations last year that we pay off each fortnight.

But what we try to do is always be mindful of the life that we want to live, when making big purchases. Do we really need to buy surround sound on an interest free loan? Probably not. Do we really want to have a credit card to be able to afford that amazing honeymoon? No. Do we really need to sign up to every online website and spend money on deals that are too good to be true on items that we probably don't need anyway? Certainly not.

What we do want is to be able to eventually afford our dream home and reliable car, while still travelling the world and having an active social life, and to do that, we must be mindful of our wants versus our needs.

Do you have any tips for budgeting?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx